I’ve been thinking about this question a lot. As some may know, I run a blog on mixed race identity called I Am Hapa (“hapa” being the Hawaiian word for half) and while I haven’t been posting on it much, my friend Grace recently wrote a guest post for it. In fact, her post and my other friend Kiyomi’s post have two key pieces I want to focus on today. Grace talks about passing—in her case, being half-Black and passing for White—and in Kiyomi’s, the enduring shame that is intrinsic to being mixed.
Both posts mention our hometown, a strange bubble of New Jersey that is pretty much half-Black and half-White as Grace notes. It was less unusual to be mixed race growing up there, but for sure, people would see me with my White father and ask where I was adopted from. As an adult, I still get the question, but worded differently: where are you from? Jersey. No, where are you really from?