BEING MIXED RACE is a poem that I wrote to capture the complexities of being of mixed heritage and the feelings of homelessness and otherness we can experience. For me, this sensation of not belonging reached a peak when I moved to England, a majority white country, from my beloved California. I had never before been to a place where there was such a visible lack of diversity—and where anyone who was different stuck out.
In England, not only do I not fit, but in some ways, I feel like my tongue has been cut out. The words that had meaning before in my underground society of Xicanx/Latinx folks—our shared jokes, cultural references, and connections that white Anglo people wouldn’t understand—no longer exist. The Latinx community here is so small as to be almost non-existent: we don’t even appear as a category on the census forms. Here, I am always “Mixed—other.”
This poem could have been 100 times longer, because the anecdotes that fill it accumulate and continue to accumulate daily. For so long, as a mixed-race person, someone who has both white Anglo and Mexican Indigenous blood running through my veins, I have felt like an ugly duckling—not “enough” of any one thing to be of value. The feeling of exclusion and homelessness is real.
Though I wish that we didn’t have to go through this, there is healing in articulating these experiences, sending them out to others who may understand. I hope it resonates with others who are mixed race, of any background, just so you know that you are not alone. You are beautiful, and you are whole.