Coming Out as Biracial

Coming Out as Biracial

Human Parts

Stephanie Georgopulos

A few months ago, I not-so-subtly asserted myself as biracial while having dinner with a new coworker. “I’m a Capricorn,” she’d said. “Yeah…my mom’s black,” I responded (not verbatim, but the exchange was similar). Whoa. What? Immediately after I injected that part of my identity into the conversation, I had a Come-to-Jesus moment. What was I doing? Did I always do this when I met new people?

The answer, if you’re wondering, is yes. (Although the timing and context are usually a bit more appropriate.) I’ve been coming out this way since I was a teenager. First, my friends would do it for me, whenever one of our peers said something racist in front of me (which was often). “Dude. Steph’s mom is black!” The requisite retort was always, “Oh, sorry Steph. Are you half-offended?” (No, but I am wishing tired ass jokes qualified as hate crimes.)

Here it is: My mother is black. My dad is white. Two of my siblings look like my mom, and two of us look like my dad. Of the two who favor my dad, only one is biracial — that’d be me, the pigmentally challenged Michael Jackson of our troupe. Are you confused yet? Good. Welcome to what it’s like to be biracial…

…That’s not to say I understand the black experience. For starters, I have white privilege. Olive skin with curly hair, fine and versatile. Police don’t see me. No one follows me around stores (but they’re confused as hell when I come in to shop with my mother and sister). No one assumes I’m uneducated or that my father left me. No one calls me her token black friend or asks why I talk so white (though I can imagine my mother, sister, and brother have heard that one a bit)…

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