A project of Center for Brooklyn History

Good topic, Margaret! 

This is a comment that gets all kinds of emotions/reactions/memories flowing through me, and it's still something that I haven't quite figured out how to respond to.  

Whenever I'm faced with this comment, I'm set into this kind of whirlwind of questions of why this bothers me, why people think this, why they say it (to me), and why people don't understand my frustration with it.  After long discussions with family & friends who can relate to my frustration, and also have trouble pinpointing exactly why this is so problematic or after long train rides home with my thoughts, I'm always left with some sort of conclusion that feels like a combination of Jen & Sady's reactions: People want to prove that they're down... but what are they saying about non-mixed people? 

I also notice that these comments didn't start appearing in my life until some time in the mid-90's-- maybe because I moved to NY, where I'm not the only racially-mixed kid in town--or maybe because it became "fashionable"-- literally, as more racially-ambiguous models were becoming the big thing in fashion shows & magazines.

In the end, I've pretty much accepted that my reaction to this kind of comment is something that I'll probably never understand 100%, even though I'm sure I'll spend a good number of hours trying to.  But then, that somehow feels similar to my experience of being multi-racial and feeling strong connections or emotions for which this society doesn't have a vocabulary yet.