Mixed Race Mix-Ups

By Jean Mavrelis - 04.25.2010

I met a woman in Oregon who is racially Black and culturally Italian.

My daughter has a friend whose Mom is Irish and African American and whose Dad is German, yet she is racially Black.

My son has a friend with a Polish Mom and African American Dad.

How does this impact mixed race folks where what you appear to be is not who you are, but to claim to be who you are seems to suggest that you are rejecting a “minority” part of yourself ?

I have experienced this at some level, growing up with an Irish Mom and a Jewish Dad, and being the only kid (except for my siblings) named Goldstein at St. Luke’s.

I resented assumptions that I was Jewish, but I’m not sure if it was because I had no Jewish religious upbringing, and it was a misrepresentation, or if it was because of the anti-Semitism I picked up in the environment as a Catholic kid (they told me my Dad killed Jesus).

I’d like to hear from mixed folks about how you deal with being raised culturally one way, yet physically appear to the world as something else.