Multiracial People Are Sharing Things That People Constantly Say To Them (And It's Genuinely Eye-Opening)
OK, but, like, what *are* you?
1. "What *are* you?"
"'Lol, um, a human? Seriously, I cannot express enough how many times I have had this asked. I don't care if people are curious about my ethnicity. I'm Lebanese, Cuban, Navajo, German, and Irish — so I get it, and I'm happy to tell you. Just stop asking, 'What are you?' It seems really small, I know, but over and over again, it's not."
2. "OK, but, like, are you more Black or white?"
"The only thing I am is 100% ready to throw hands."
3. "What are your parents?"
"Human. Greek and Cuban. (To which they say, "Really? You don't look it.") How am I supposed to look? Would you rather I had on a Spartan helmet to look Greek, or wore a guayabera while smoking a cigar to look Cuban?"
4. "Choose the one you're most of."
"I was taking a standardized test when I was in elementary school (over 10 years ago), and we had to fill out a bunch of demographic stuff. For the 'What race are you?' question, it specifically said choose only one. I raised my hand and asked my teacher, 'But what if I'm more than one race?'
"She told me, 'Choose the one you're most of.' Now, that didn't make sense to me because I'm half Asian and half white. And if I understood those fraction lessons correctly, I was pretty sure I was equal parts of both races. That was one of those moments when I realized I was different."
5. "How did your parents meet? Is your father in the military?"
"My mother is Filipino and my father is white. I’ve been asked on multiple occasions if my father was in the military. When I question that and answer no, it's almost always followed up with, 'Oh, how did your parents meet?'"
6. "Is that your boyfriend?"
"I'm half Black (mom) and half white (dad) and hate the assumption that one parent isn't related because they're only one race. On more than one occasion, I’ve had women give me the stink eye because they assumed I was on a date with a much older man.
"In college, one woman even approached me at the table while my dad was in the bathroom and said that I should be ashamed and that she hoped his wife found out. I smiled and said I'd be sure to let my mom know."
7. "You don't *look* Indian."
"Being from Texas, I often get asked, 'Are you Mexican?' When I tell them I’m half Indian and half white, people often say I don't look Indian. It's even more damaging when family say similar things, or when they say that other mixed Indian people 'aren't Indian.' But when they see me, they try to flip it around as if I’m some exception to their ignorance.
"I've struggled with identity issues rooted in my heritage for so long, and these wounds run deep. If you're saying I’m not Indian, then that means I'm not white, either; what am I, then?"
8. "Which one is white?"
"I’m tired of people and the media assuming all mixed-race individuals are half minority and half white. I’m Filipino-Japanese-Mexican-Native. There is no ‘white’ parent. The discourse on mixed race needs to expand because the notion that mixed-race individuals are always half white is damaging — not just to the individual on their self-discovery journey but also to media representation, surveys designed to gather info on public services, medical research, and institutionally driven initiatives."
10. "How much are you?"
"I'm Native American and white. When people ask my ethnicity, I say I am Native (because it’s something I’m very proud of). I am a 'city Indian,' raised in Native culture, and am an enrolled member of my tribe.
"Here is my list: 'How much Indian are you, though?' 'Why don’t you say you’re white, too?' 'You don’t look Indian.' 'What's your Indian name?' 'Do you know *insert random other Native American they know*?' 'How much money do you get from the government?'
"And, of course, the classic response, 'I'm Indian, too, my great-grandmother was a full-blooded Cherokee princess. I don't have any proof or anything, but it's definitely true.'"
11. "Are you adopted?"
"My mom is white, my dad is Black. My mom would always be the one at school functions, and I’m a light-skinned Black person. Everyone asked the 'Are you adopted?' question so much that I started to believe them."
12. "You're so exotic!"
"I'm really tired of being called 'exotic.' They always think that they're complimenting me, but all they're doing is pointing out that I don't fit into their category of 'normal.' When they say 'exotic,' all I hear is, 'I can't tell exactly what kind of brown you are, so I'm gonna point it out to you in the guise of a compliment.' Thank you for listening to my TED Talk."
13. "Look at your tan!"
"My daughter is half Bengali, and a lot of white people (mostly older family members) like to say, 'Aw, look at her tan!' Like, really!? Next time I'm going off: 'Aw, Aunt Karen, look at your pasty, veiny, see-through skin!'"
14. "You're not Black enough."
"I'm mixed Black and white. Society sees me as Black. My 4C Afro is Black. My darker-than-porcelain skin is Black. My heritage is Black. But to some in the Black community, I am not Black enough. I recognize the privileges I receive having lighter skin when I am being compared with those who have darker skin than mine.
"But to anyone outside the Black community, I am Black enough to be discriminated against. I am Black enough to be followed around the store. I am Black enough not to be 'brought home' to the family.
"I will use my lighter-skin privilege and my voice to be heard on issues regarding my darker-skin fam."
15. "I'm gonna marry a Black guy so my kids look like you."
"My friend's white, but I'm not...I'm Black and Filipino."
16. "Your dad must be the white one."
"I am half white (from my mother's side) and half Asian (from my father's). Most people assume that my father is white and my mother is Asian because of preconceived notions that Asian women are sexualized as trophies desired by men of other races, and that Asian men are not masculine or sexually attractive enough for other races.
"I am also constantly being asked which race I identify more with, and no one is ever satisfied when I say both AND neither. Whenever I am around other Asians, I am seen as a white person; and when I am around other white people, I am seen as Asian. I feel as if I have half a foot in each door, but neither side will fully see me as part of them."
17. "Are you sure?"
"The number of times I've heard, 'You don't look Chinese. Are you sure?' when I tell people I’m half is wild. Like, yeah, you know what? You’re right, I should double-check with my Chinese mother, and I'll get back to you ASAP."
18. "Are you hapa?"
"I'm half white and half Asian. On dating apps, 50% of first messages are, 'OMG, you're so pretty, are you hapa?' Because all they care about is that I'm mixed race. I filter those ones out."
19. "You're the whitest Black person I know."
"I'm mixed Black and white. I grew up in a predominantly white neighborhood, raised by my white mom. What I hate the most is when people say that I'm the whitest Black person they know. Just please stop."
20. "Where are you really from?"
"I'm Eurasian (Malaysian Chinese and mixed European), and I often get asked, 'Where are you from?' It's always followed by, 'Where are you ~really~ from?' — which always translates to asking about my family tree and figuring out why I look racially ambiguous.
"I'm tired of not being 100% included by either side of my ethnicities/cultures, even though I identify with both. I'm bilingual, have always celebrated holidays and festivals on either side, and was raised with the two different cultures."
21. "I'm mixed too! English and Norwegian."
"I get a tad annoyed when people of European ancestry say they're mixed like me because they're, say, English and Norwegian. That's not the same thing as being two or more races, and I'm not sure why they can't see that."
22. "There's no way you're related."
"Literally not belonging to either of our racial groups. We have our own race, which is called 'whatever the fuck you think' because no one would believe what we told them we are.
"I'm a fourth-generation Eurasian (German, Chinese, and Indonesian), and my sister is Chinese-Indonesian. No one would ever believe that we're sisters because she looks Indonesian, and I looked like a mismatched version of white and Asian."
23. "OK, but you're not 'Asian Asian,' you're still a white girl."
"I have gotten the comment, 'OK, but you're not "Asian Asian," you're still a white girl' my entire life as a white-passing Asian girl. I am half Thai, Chinese, Laotian, and Vietnamese, but apparently that's not really Asian!"
24. "Is that your nanny?"
"My entire childhood, whenever my white-lookin' ass was out with my very Filipina grandmother, everyone and anyone — from some random lady at the beach to the checker at the grocery store — would ask her when she adopted me or if being a nanny was rewarding.
"They'd also randomly walk up and talk to me because I 'looked like' I spoke better English than she did. Like, yo, this lady grew up in the US and cofounded our city's Beatles fan club back in the '60s as a teen. She worked as a secretary and in communications; she can definitely speak English better than her tiny 7-year-old grandchild."
25. "Oh, you're mixed? No wonder you're sexy."
"Filipino and Greek here. Dealing with cocky, straight men trying to pick you up with some corny, exoticizing line is possibly the cringiest experience you can have as a multiracial woman.
"'Oh, you're mixed? No wonder you're sexy ;))))' So original, Trevor; you've got this one in the bag for sure!!"
26. "That's cultural appropriation."
"My dad is Greek and my mom is Vietnamese, and they met and live in America. People used to always say my mom was my nanny or some shit. I’ve also gotten called out for cultural appropriation because I 'don’t look Asian,' but that doesn't change the fact that I am."
27. "Then you're not really Black or Mexican."
"I'm really sick of being told that because I'm mixed, that means I'm 'not really Black/Mexican.' I'm both, and I think I know better than anyone else who and what I am.
"I have no connection to either the African American or Mexican American community because people from both sides have decided that I'm unworthy. It's sad, but I have my own identity and my own group of people, so I guess I'm better off."
28. "What breed are you? Bet your mom is keeping a secret!"
"I've been asked, 'What breed are you?' a few too many times. Then some people will get offended when I tell them that I'm not the race or ethnicity they assumed I was (even if I do so in a nonconfrontational manner with a big smile on my face). They'll say something like, 'Why are you mad? Those other people are so beautiful,' or 'No need to be so sensitive, I was just asking.'
"I'm also sick of people saying, 'I bet your mom is keeping a secret from you.' Why does it make more sense that my mother is hiding a love affair from me than the notion that your concept of ethnicity and race is limited?"
29. "Can I take a picture with you?"
"I'm half white and half Asian. When my family and I were in Korea, a lot of people wanted to take a picture with me or look at me. Only later did I realize that it was because I'm biracial. It's always made me feel a little bit weird.
"I look more white, but I've always felt more connected to my Asian side. I'm closer with my Asian family, and I speak Chinese. However, I don't get why everyone feels the need to put me in a box (e.g., 'You're white' or 'You're Asian'). Why can't I be both?"
30. "You got the good hair" and "You don't speak Spanish?"
"Where to start, lol? I listened to punk in high school and got told that was my 'white side.' Black girls always comment on how I got that 'good hair.' Hispanic people have gotten annoyed because I don't speak Spanish. Also, I apparently 'talk white' and 'act white,' and on occasion I get told that I'm an 'Uncle Tom.' That is living as Black, white, and Hispanic. I can't please any race ever."
31. "Only a quarter?"
"'You don't look Japanese.' 'Oh, only a quarter? You're not really Asian, then.'
"It's heartbreaking to hear that you don't look enough like your ethnicity or aren't a high-enough 'percentage' to celebrate it. I was raised by my Japanese grandmother, and Japanese culture is the culture that I relate to the most. But people have made me feel uncomfortable and like a poser for celebrating my own heritage."
32. "Are you telling the truth?"
"I'm half Black and half white. I cannot stand it when people say I don't look like my parents, question my Swedish or African ancestry, or try to guess what I am.
"I also hate it when they think they have the right to question if I'm telling the truth about my race. Yes, my dad is very pale and blonde. Yes, my mom is Black. That's why I don't look like just one race! Because I’m not!"
33. "Where'd you get your kids from?"
"A Caucasian (blonde hair, blue eyes) friend of mine married a Korean man, and their two kids look essentially 100% Korean. So many rude-ass people approach her and ask her where she got her kids from. Finally she lost it and just started replying, 'My vagina,' really loudly while looking them dead in the eye. I've watched it happen and it's glorious."
Note: Submissions have been edited for length and/or clarity.