Yes, as odd as it may seem, racism does exist for people that are mixed. It’s something that I’ve personally dealt with for over 30 years now. Being mixed with Hmong and Caucasian decent, it’s something that almost never goes away. Although the media would love to expose the typical racism that might occur between Black and White or Asian and Latinos; mixed racism does exist.
The problem with being mixed is that you truly never fit into one race or the other. Growing up, I only knew the life of that of a Hmong person, as I was raised by my mom and dad in a strong Hmong community. While I was light skinned and white on the outside, I only knew how to live life as a Hmong person. I predominantly ate Hmong food, attended Hmong functions, and could speak and understand Hmong along with English. When you’re growing up mixed, you’re typically left with two choices. You either choose one of your races that you’re mixed with, or choose to be an outcast and not fit in with either one.
I should probably provide some insight into who Hmong people are. To those who haven’t heard of Hmong people, Hmong people are a Southeast Asian ethnic group predominantly based out of China, Laos, and Thailand. The Hmong people based in Laos and Thailand helped out the U.S. during the Vietnam War, leading my father to make the journey to America.
While I love being Hmong and identify more closely with that side of my family, there are still constant struggles that occur. I’m sure that although I have my own struggles, the same can be said about most people who are mixed. Ultimately if you’re mixed, you face issues with not being the right skin color, not knowing the language, or not knowing the culture.
As most mixed people can attest to, skin color plays a strong factor in fitting in. Being white skinned versus my darker skinned Hmong peer’s, I stuck out like a sore eye. I was never dark enough, or just completely brushed aside as having nothing to do with my extended family or even being Hmong for the sheer fact that my skin color wasn’t like my peer’s.
Language is a key issue if you’re mixed with another race that isn’t an English speaking race. While I had the benefit of speaking and understanding Hmong, some of my siblings lacked this and were chastised by family and other Hmong people for this. It’s almost as if you were less of a person for not being able to speak the language.
Lastly, culture plays a big part for mixed children and adults. Rather than being seen as maybe too modernized for your peer’s, you’re seen as too American or too white washed.
At the end of the day, I love being mixed. I didn’t fully understand it as a kid, but there are great things about being from both races. I’m sure the struggles that I have gone through are similar and probably fail in comparison to other’s who are going through the same thing. While racism might still exist in the obvious form of Black and White or Asian and Latino; it’s also still very well alive for those of mixed decent.