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Internalized “-isms”; The Struggle Of Being Mixed.

Too black to be asian, too asian to be black, and too “me” to be accepted with either.

image left: pintrest | image right: @krithikasreddy (model) @encoreankur (photographer)

Note: Unlike being one race, the umbrella of being “bi/multi-racial” is much larger. Though I hope this can ease the aloneness my bi/multi-racial community feels, please understand that each mix—and each experience—is unique and should be treated as such.

I was always three different people, and never all at once. On most days I was Indian, at school I forced myself to act “white”, and in the intervals between I either erased my blackness, or had to remind myself it was there.

It was dope being able to be a part of two cultures, but it sucked that code-switching was practically second nature.

Code-switching (in this context), meant changing the way I approached my cultural identity, depending on what group I was with, in order to blend closely with the people around me.

It wasn’t like I changed my entire personality, it was small things I had done to avoid feeling like an outcast (well, more than I was already). Like being more conscious of how I spoke so I wouldn’t come off as “ghetto”, or how correct pronunciations, that came from my extended desi family, were immediately swapped out at my predominantly white elementary and middle school.

It was no longer Tandoori Chicken (pronounced: Thund-oo-ree, and yes you softly roll the “r”), it was choosing to cringe internally while I went for the butchered, accentless, “tan-door-ee”.

Where most kids in my school embraced their culture, I was constantly hiding and distorting mine. Though code-switching as a whole isn’t foreign to people of color, being exposed to it at this degree—practically since birth—fucked with how I saw myself.

What’s worse? All the racist, colorist, bullshit I stand against now, didn’t feel wrong to me. In fact, it was shit I internalized and wholeheartedly believed.

There was Mom’s side