If you ask me what I am

If you ask me what I am

The Daily Californian
Berkeley, California

Jasmine Tatah, Senior Staff


Mixed Feelings

I used to welcome personal questions about race and identity. Where is my family from? What’s my ethnic background? Where does my last name come from? However ambiguously or indirectly they were phrased, they all came across as equally amusing. If someone was curious about my heritage, that was fine with me. I considered the attention to be flattering.

There was one day in my senior year of high school when my biology teacher wanted to illustrate the scope of human genetic variation. She pulled up a National Geographic article on mixed-race Americans, scrolled through the various faces pictured and remarked, “Aren’t they beautiful?” The idea that mixed people were considered beautiful wasn’t new to me, but in that moment, her remark made me want to vomit. Was that all she had to say?

Moments like that made me question what others really thought about me. Could I ever be uncoupled from my racial identity? Could my internal connection to my roots ever be uncoupled from my external appearance? Was my race always the first thing people wondered about me and the primary way people identified me?…

Read the entire article here.

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