Other.

by katelin on September 20, 2012

Ten years ago when I was applying to colleges I got pretty good at filling out the standard information request forms. I knew my Social Security Number by heart (finally), I knew my birthday, my address, my parents’ names, everything. All of my practical information. However, one thing I never knew how to fill out was that tricky little box for Race.

My mother is white and my father is black. And thus, I am mixed, a biracial baby, mulatto, mochachino, chocolate vanilla swirl, whatever you’d like to call me.

When it came to college forms there was no option for “Biracial” it was either “African-American/Black”, “Caucasian/White” or “Other.” I struggled with this. I mean, why couldn’t I just check off two boxes? Why was it Must Check ONE? Didn’t they know I identified as both. I was both. I am both.

Apparently not.

So when it came to it, on my college applications I checked off the box for “African-American/Black.” Teachers pointed out that it would help me stand out more, they also said I should go off of my father’s race. So I did. And that was that.

Yesterday I filled out a survey online and when they asked for Race/Ethnicity my options looked strangely familiar, “African-American/Black”, “Caucasian/White” or “Other.” There was no “Check all that apply” or “Mixed races”, simply another PICK ONE! YOU ARE ONLY ONE! scenario.

However, this time, I chose “Other.”

I’m not just white. And I am not just black. I am very equally BOTH.

I am a proud biracial woman.

And one day I hope that’s an option everyone will be able to choose.

I mean our president is biracial for cripes sake. How is this not a  standard thing these days? How are we still limiting each other to single boxes of race, single options, single everything?

 

The world is changing, races are changing and I only wish that our society would acknowledge it.

 

 

 

 

happy thursday!

Posted in Sparkling Revelations
  • I’ve never had a problem checking a box because my family history is so one-dimensional, but posts like this make me wonder why it even matters if we check a box? That seems so silly for all things – none of us are JUST ONE THING, ever, so why are we supposed to narrow it down for race like that?

    I hope we get to see the world change like that in our lifetime. Love you!

  • Amen, sister.

  • Awesome post and couldn’t agree more. They say change starts with just one person, one statement… I think this statement you are making is SO important and I hope that corporations, colleges, and America in general can catch on at some point in the near future..!

  • I hesitate to check “white/caucasian” when prompted because I’m just like, “Who the fuck cares anymore!?” If I’m feeling really ornery, I’ll check “other” or the “choose not to disclose” option. In such a multiracial world, it surprises me how much institutionalized race still comes up. Loved this post, Katelin. Love love love.

  • San

    In this day and age, there definitely should be other options on forms! Ridiculous!

  • Great post, as always Katelin! I can somewhat relate to this as my mother is 100% French Canadian (AKA white/caucasian) and my father’s side are Lebanese and I believe his grand parents were born there. So that makes me kind of split, too, and I completely relate to both of my races. I’ve never ever considered myself more French Canadian than Lebanese. Hopefully there will be a day when those boxes are able to reflect mixed races. I hope that’s one day VERY soon!

  • love this post so much! i certainly hope checking multiple boxes will be okay because if i do ever end up having kids (and with Ryan), there will be a few boxes they’ll have to face in the future. OTHER? PFFT.

  • Hello. I love this post because I have never ever had a box to fit in to either when filling out those forms and always felt a bit annoyed but never realised how annoyed until I read this post and you are right! It just isn’t right!

  • This post made me think about so much. I always check off the most ‘obvious’ box but now I’m thinking of how much MORE I could be checking off once I start thinking of my actual background. Maybe I will start pulling a Renee and refuse to disclose it. Or I will make my own box. OR SOMETHING. It’s ridiculous that it’s 2012 and this is still an issue. Boo to the people. Yay to you.

  • Yes, yes, yes!

    The tide will turn, as more people recognize the reality of our blended, mixed-ethnicity world. Until then, keep on checking “other.”

  • i hate that question, there are not enough choices. i know it probably screws things up but depending on the day i’ll pick white or pacific islander, once in awhile i’ll throw an asian in there because for the longest time i didn’t know if i was asian or pacific islander ha!

  • I’m with you! The other day I filled out a form and it had a box for “two of more ethnicities” and I was SO excited! It didn’t ask me to specify which two or more, but I guess it was a step in the right direction, right?

  • Great post and great point. It’s amazing that those choices are still so limited given how far we’ve allegedly come. Race has never been that simple.

  • Right there with ya, as the daughter of a Filipina mom and a Caucasion-ish dad.

  • I’ve always sort of scratch my head when we say “the first african-american president. ” What about his caucausian roots? Doesn’t that count too?

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