100% Mixed

I am Puerto Rican and Japanese American. I feel entirely both, but other people think I am less of each.

It is predicted that mixed race people will eventually become the majority race. So why doesn't the rest of the world really acknowledge our specific identities? I am sick and tired of having to select the "other" box on demographics forms. As an actress, I am tired of not being able to audition for race-specific roles because I'm not enough of one race. I have never really felt part of a specific community because I'm too much of this, too little of that. I am entirely Puerto Rican and Japanese American, but the rest of the world sees me as less of each.

Sometimes as a joke I call myself "ethnically ambiguous". This is because I have never once met a person who could accurately guess what race I am. The amount of assumptions people have made are both astonishing and extremely offensive. It's a little better when people will first ask me what ethnicity I am, rather than assuming something specific, but every single new person I meet asking me where I'm from, gets really old really fast. I wish they'd just accept that I'm American and treat me as such.

So I'm a 17 year old actress. I used to think that because I am two races, that means I can get twice the amount of roles. I can play Latina, and I can play Asian. But no. After I entered the world of auditioning, I realized I can't actually play any race-specific roles. The breakdowns of the parts I can audition for must include the words "any race" or "ethnically ambiguous". More than anything, I would just love to represent one or both of my race identities onstage or in film, but that's just not an option for me. I mean, I'm not even half something and half white. If I was half white, people would probably be able to tell what my ethnicity is. When race is specified in different roles, the audience wants to see that specific race represented. So since I'm apparently not enough of one race, I don't fit into that description.

I am part of a few diverse friend groups, but I don't even fit in there. When my friends can all relate to each other about their Asian American culture or their Latine culture, I'm not necessarily part of any of those conversations. If I had two parents who had the same culture, that culture would probably have a larger influence on me. However, I am part of two cultures, with each parent representing each one. Therefore, I'm not exactly learning as much about my heritage as my friends are, so I can't have those kinds of discussions with them. To be honest, I even sabotage myself because sometimes I feel like it's not fair for me to talk to them about race issues when I'm only half of that race.

There's also this unique issue of racism. First, I'd like to address how confusing it is for me that the two communities I am a part of are sometimes racist toward each other. Very often I hear racist comments being said toward the Asian American community from the Latine community, and vice versa. So I guess I get offended by things my own race is saying toward my other race...it makes my head spin. On the other hand, since people can't tell exactly what race I am, the racism I personally receive is very mixed. Racist people who assume I'm Asian American will often offend me with racist comments toward the Asian American community, while racist people who assume I'm Latina offend me with racist comments toward the Latine community. Then again, some racist people don't know what race I am, so they don't know how to be racist towards me. In that case, they just offend me by their existence rather than by specific things they say to me.

I want to address all of these identity issues me and other mixed youth are facing as we start to enter the real world. I want to create a community of mixed race individuals so that we can finally feel that we are part of a group. We are more than an "other"; we each have our own specific identities that we should be sharing with the world. So I am creating this blog to start forming this unique community of individuals struggling with identity, acceptance, and where we belong.