This article originally appeared on the weekly newsletter.
It’s been quite a few weeks for the United States of America. Protests, police brutality, it’s been a reckoning moment for our nation.
I attended another meetup for The Mixed Space where we discussed how the issue of how to fight the justice that needs to happen while still coming to terms with our identities.
I am mixed with black, white and Native American. And while I’ve been mistaken for a wide array of ethnicities, many have been very quick to point me out as black and often discriminate me as so. So the fight against oppression as someone living the black experience is something very tangible to me.
But I also recognize that not every mixed person has this same experience or connection. Many of us look white, Asian, Hispanic or any other manner of ethnicities. So we can often feel like we’re imposters or we have to come to terms with our own privileges and difficulties from either not being fully accepted to being able to have not had as many struggles as someone with darker skin. We’re often regarded as more “acceptable” to white America and when we speak up it can be met with shock or surprise as we’re not one of “those people.” And speaking as someone who is part African-American, there is the thought of some that we can’t fully stand with our brethren because of our European heritage.
None of these circumstances matter in the end. Because there is one thing we are all fighting for right now:
George Floyd was a son, a brother, a friend. Breonna Taylor was a daughter, a sister and a friend. The next George Floyd or Breonna Taylor will be all of those same things. And looking at how some of the police have treated those out protesting, they could be any one of ours.
Far too often, the black community has been used as a trial run for any and all oppressive tools use to reinforce injustice and inequality. The drug war that imprisoned and enslaved so many black Americans led to the creation of highly profitable private prisons. And the same poison that has spread to the communities of other ethnicities that have been met with the same process.
We are standing up now so that our African-American brothers and sisters can have justice. But also so that we can all have justice and equality. It’s important that highlight the struggles of what it means to be black. Because it teaches us what it means to be part of America. That there’s not simply one story but many. And the story of what it means to be mixed counts among that collective voice.
When we learn to stand up for one, we can stand up for all. And when we begin to lift up the voice of one, we can begin to lift up the voice of many.
So stand up, declare that you are mixed and that you are standing against injustice.
This is how we create lasting change.