I remember the taste coming sharply. Tears slid down my cheeks and past my lips as my mother raked a brush through my unruly hair in an attempt to tame it. It resisted, and the long mess of curls, tangles, and frizz seemed to wrap themselves tighter around the brush. I stifled a shout of pain. An hour passed.
This event occurred fairly often; I was a mess-prone child with little regard for the state of my clothes or my wild hair. So in the second grade, when faced with this multiple-choice question on a test about measurement —
How long does it take you to brush your hair every day?
a. one second
b. one hour
c. one minute
d. one week
I picked b.
I got the question wrong. And when I asked the teacher why, she said,
“Well for most kids, it only takes a minute!”
Dejected, and still holding a test with a big red X, I returned to my seat. My teacher ran her hand through her own smooth, straight hair and returned to her work.
I went home to my family quite upset. Upon retelling what had happened, they tried to soothe me with the fact that I had still done quite well on the test, that it was just the teacher’s ignorance and inexperience with ethnic hair that had caused her to respond how she did. Even so, I remained angry at what I perceived even then as an injustice.
When an educator presents a diverse classroom of children with a standardized curriculum-based worksheet that only some of them can answer truthfully and still be correct, we’ve got a problem.
This is only one experience, one example, but it’s indicative of a much greater issue in our world today: a shortage of voices speaking out against prejudice. Whether this injustice appears in the form of microaggression, outright racism, or sheer ignorance doesn’t matter. Something needs to be done about it.
In the case of Mixed people, the silent call to be heard is ever more urgent. We come from all places and all backgrounds, yet have no place to turn to when we seek community. No one experience to unite us in our struggles. And more often than not, we don’t know anyone like us who we can ask for help when things get difficult.
This is where Mixed Race Politics comes in.
All activism must start somewhere, and we chose to begin by creating a blog and releasing a publication written, produced, and run entirely by mixed people. We hope to increase awareness of problems that uniquely affect us, show the world through our perspective, create a community within this social identity, and someday down the line even forge our own path in the political sphere. But even if our only success is making someone feel like they weren’t alone in this world, our efforts will have been worth their salt.