My Experiences As A Biracial Child In Middle And High School

Born into a biracial family has presented itself as both a blessing and a curse: two cultures, two ethnicities, two unique worlds – but a lot of confusion. I never felt like I was African-American, the neighborhoods I lived in were primarily white as were the schools I attended.

Having grown up surrounded by my mother’s side of the family (Mexican), I was cherished and taught to become courageous and self-reliant. During my early years, I associated more with the Hispanic side of my family than the African-American side, mostly due to so many family members residing within close proximity.

My mother and I have almond shaped dark brown eyes, our eyebrows frown in response to aggression, and our faces rest with a smile. We are the same height, have the same small face and chubby fingers and are generally pleasant people. I live my life with a logical plan and an organized approach, this is a trait of my mother as well. It didn’t occur to me that I was “different” than my mother or that we were “different colors.” I was not given reason to believe I was any different from my family until middle school.

Every morning I was dropped off by my mother, a short Hispanic woman, after school I was picked up by my father, a dark-skinned, bald-headed, bearded guy. I remember the other students and parents would look at me and stare at me until they built up the courage to ask the question: “What are you?” As if I was a new breed they had come across. Eventually, my friends became comfortable enough where they would see me after school and say, ‘I always forget that your dad is black,’ or ‘hold on, so which one of your parents is Black and which one is Mexican?’

In junior high school, I was forced to divide my identity in half and perform the way my friends’ thought was acceptable for their particular ethnic group, ethnocentrism at best. I spoke Spanish with the Hispanic students and tried to present myself as “black enough” with the African-American crowd.

It grew into a draining occurrence where I was reaching for certain social cues to understand which of my biracial ethnicities were “acceptable” for any particular group. This led me to become insecure about my individual identity and seemingly incapable of being “me” while being accepted.

Seven years of attempting to become what my peers wanted me to be led to my acceptance during my junior year of high school that I was “Ariana.” My ability to move between ethnic groups is not unique to biracial people and is not a special skill, but an understanding that “you are what God made you and special in your own way.”

The experiences for me as a biracial child have taught me to embrace my Hispanic culture, to embrace my African-American culture, embrace my differences and find balance and acceptance not through my ethnicity, but through the true bond of fellowship.

I have learned to capitalize on elements from both ethnicities as I move through life’s obstacles. The benefit and joy of my biracial ethnicity have given me the ability to understand the triumphs and suffering of various ethnic groups. I am unique, my hair is frizzy, curly and bold, my skin is caramel colored, and the blood in my veins tells the story of a hundred years of struggle and triumph.

What makes me different is not the color of my skin, but my internal drive and passion to overcome obstacles. I have learned to embrace my differences, and to extend my hand in friendship to those suffering and in need. I am different not because I am different, but because I choose not to be the same.

“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I’d be crunched into other people’s fantasies and eaten alive.”- Audre Lorde.

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My Experiences As A Biracial Child In Middle And High School. (2023, Jan 15). Retrieved from