Coming Out As Biracial

InclusionGreetings Colleagues!

We have been a bit delayed in our postings. Please forgive us.  We are back and look forward to engaging our members, sharing resources, and continuing conversations.

In this post, I want to share a personal writing piece that touches on the issue of being biracial or multiracial, something with which I can identify and relate.  I encourage everyone to read over the young woman’s experience presented in Medium (link below). While it is not scholarly in nature, there is some real value in reading how someone struggles with their identity.  The post comes from the series “Human Parts” by Stephanie Georgopulos.

After reading the piece I felt as if some of the thoughts were being taken out of my mind.  I found value and comfort in these words because there have been many times in my journey of self-identity that I have asked myself, who exactly am I? This is especially true because, most of my life, I was taught to identify ethnically versus racially. Upon moving to the United States, this created some real issues of identity for me.  After leaving Puerto Rico–where I grew up–and responding to the question of who I was in the same manner I always had, I was often challenged by the following response: “No, I mean what are you not where are you from.”  I would frantically search for ways in which to explain myself. The fact that I was from a mixed racial background meant that I often times found myself with more questions than answers.  I felt inadequate; I felt I did not belong and I was unsure of what to do with all those feelings.

I believe this is quite relevant in college admission. The question of identity comes up in the application and many students’ identities are still developing.  I have worked with many multiracial students that are still figuring out how they will self-identify in the college process, and it is important to support students and validate where they are in their self-development.  Self-identification looks different in all of us. For some students this may mean checking multiple boxes in their application or checking one when someone else might have an opinion that they should be checking two.  We cannot take a one size fits all approach. Self-identifying when you are multiracial can be complex and takes time. In my own journey, it took a lot of deep thought. What I realized after all my reflection is that race does not have to be complicated despite the fact that our country’s relationship with race is.

I believe that I am still on a journey of self-identity and I am unsure where exactly the journey ends.  College was a big part of helping me develop my fluid self-identity.  There is one sentence in this writing piece that defines my attitude now when I have to explain myself… “It’s coming out to strangers, and friends, and lovers on the off chance that you might convince them that race isn’t one size fits all.”

The article can be found here: https://medium.com/human-parts/c25d6ae8f2af.

Thank you for reading!

Yamilet Medina López
DEA Committee Chair

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