jerian What is the ethnic background of your parents?

My mother’s ethnic background is Italian and my father’s ethnic background is black.

What type of colorism have you had to face and how did you deal with it?

Being half white and half black, my coloring and features suggest I may be several different ethnicities. Many people have assumed I am of the Hispanic decent, dominican, or more often, very tan. People approach me on a regular basis and ask me where I just came from, on vacation, or compliment my color and ask how I get so tan.

What do you think of the terms mixed, biracial, or mulatto?

I consider myself mixed or biracial being that I am a mix of two ethnicities. I do not consider them to be offensive. I have not really come across the term mulatto so I don’t have a comment on that one.

What do you have to say to people that think if you look White that you are not Black?

I think a lot of times people refer to White/Black as a cultural reference rather than actual ethnicity, which is odd to me. In the end, you are what you are, regardless of what you look like. Also, I find that a lot of people ask “what are you?” or “where are you from?” when referring to ethnic background. I could answer “I am a person” and “I am from New York”. Rarely do I hear people ask “What is your ethnicity”, which I believe is the correct wording.

Anything else you`d like to add?

This a very interesting topic, that can also be confusing. For me, I am happy with who I am and the way I look. I love my coloring and features and I am proud to be bi-racial. However, as far as culture, I grew up with my mom and her Italian side of the family. So as a culture, I feel closer to my white/Italian side, but ethnically, I am still half white and half black.

Read the series that sparked the interview: The Half Series – When Black People Look White