When a person is born their childhood is already defined what jobs their parents have and what they have. As they grow older they are more and more defined by whatever their parents are able to give them. they are influenced by what their parents go through, because until they are old enough to understand what they have or who they are they are defined by the previous upbringing of their parents.
When a child is brought up in a multiracial household they face the discrimination that both parents endure. They see the struggle of each race or skin color faces. They are told stories of the oppression and have to hold that on their back for the rest of their life.
These children grow up to face many uncomfortable situations that many monoracial people would see as insulting and rude, these situations have an effect on their psyche. In an article by Astrea Greig, Understanding the Stressors and Types of Discrimination that can Affect Multiracial Individuals, situations discussed include being forced to choose one race rather than being able to identify as mixed, or being called an “other”, situations come up where you are assumed as one race and the group of people starts making racial slurs against a race you identify as.
A research article, Understanding the Unique Experiences of Multiracial Individuals, raises awareness about the importance of understanding multiracial people when they are receiving therapy. When dealing with multiracial clients a tool used is the Multiracial Challenges and Resilience Scale, MCRS. A study was conducted asking multiracial people in urban areas to answer a series of questions concerning; others disbelief regarding racial background, lack of family acceptance, multiracial discrimination, appreciation of human differences, challenges with identity, and pride with racial background. The three studies conducted showed that on average 75% experienced discrimination specifically related to being multiracial.
So what nobody dares to talk about is the possibility of other ethnicities having the privilege or if privilege is even a real thing.
Privilege is believed to be an advantage that you are born with, you are not acquired privilege. When applying the idea of privilege to race a person’s advantage varies from being hired over another based on skin color to have an easier time buying groceries at a grocery store. It is defined by Merriam Webster dictionary as “a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage, or favor”, with this definition it is assumed that only white people experience privilege or experience more privilege than another race.
Privilege is not even brought up when being raised because privilege is what your parents can provide you. Privilege has nothing to do with skin color because of how broad the subject is. In the research of privilege done by Linda L. Black and David Stone it cannot be determined whether “birthright” privilege is real because by definition privilege is “…any entitlement, sanction, power, and advantage or right granted to a person or group” multiracial people are being more discriminated against as they are believed to have more of an advantage over someone else who is part of one of their races. Nature Duran-Smith from Affinity Magazine has experienced first hand “Being… the black sheep” and being “…exposed to stereotypes of every race you are mixed with.”
Duran-Smith shares her experience with Affinity Magazine about her problems with accepting herself and trying to explain that being multiracial has been hard for her to deal with. She has experienced being outcasted and questioned if she really is the ethnicity she claims to be. It is something many others are not asked even if they are darker. This is a question that people who do not fit one category are asked and that is not fair.
When translating that into privilege we hit a wall where it is believed that because multiracial people are considered exotic and more desirable that they receive more privilege but that is insulting. It is insulting to judge anyone by their skin color and to assume that they receive more advantages based on the fact that they are lighter.
Privilege is a hard pill to swallow but skin color and race are not the only things people need to stop and think about. A study group by Black and Stone showed that there were 20 categories of privilege. The category of privilege is broadened by gender, sexuality, age, religion and so forth. The idea of privilege is too broad to believe that because a person is multiracial that they face more privilege than the less desired race.
When growing up in a multiracial household you are accepted by both families as soon as they leave that safety they become an outcast. Multiracial people do not belong anywhere they do not face the same amount of discrimination as anyone race because they are not in the same position as anyone race person. Being multiracial causes discomfort and makes them question themselves as people.
When a multiracial person is put in a position when examining themselves being in the world where they are viewed as being privileged they feel uncomfortable because being light skinned is considered being privileged but yet they still face the same struggles that darker skinned people face.
Multiracial people may hold feature of one race but the skin color of another because of that they should not be held in a position where they are put in one category. Race does not equal skin color. Many times when multiracial people are asked what race they are they face forced to pick what matches their skin color this is wrong. In an article by Huffington post, Does Race Equal Skin Color by Aurelie Mathieu she discusses the problem she faced when applying for jobs and colleges. The fact that they ask what ethnicity you are. Mathieu recalls when she was asked by her employer during an interview if she mistakenly put down Black as she has light skin and green eyes. Stories like these are shared by many as people are judged when they are first seen. Because of this skin color becomes a big indicator for race which is a habit that will be hard to break but should indeed be broken.
Being multiracial is seen as the best of both worlds in many people’s eyes as they can experience a culture without the oppression that comes with it. But in reality, multiracial people are born into the world with the idea that they are more privileged than the race that is generally more oppressed. This is not true, they are experiencing if not more discrimination as they cannot express themselves. They are told they dress wrong or talk too much like one race when they appear to be from another.
Multiracial people suffer from identity problems from being told what they are and they are not. Going back to the study of Multiracial challenges and resilience scale, the study showed that many of the people interviewed suffered from identity problems. On average 63% showed that they suffered from racial identity. Psychologically this isn’t right that multiracial people are being put in these uncomfortable racial situations that make them question their identity. This than makes people think what is the difference between being discriminated against as a multiracial person versus an oppressed monoracial person.The difference is that multiracial people do not belong, they do not look like either race, they are put down by both races where as a monoracial person only deals with the privilege given to the majority of the population.
Privilege given to white people has nothing to do with a race thing it is because they are the majority of the population. When examining the article, White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, many privileges suggested to be given to white skin colored people are privileges because they are the majority of the population. There are simply more lighter skin tones people in this world.
When examining the life a multiracial people we may see that they are only discriminated against based on their skin color and only by the lighter colored race, but this is wrong. Multiracial people are discriminated against by everyone and a lot of the time they do not get treated equally to who they are talking to.
In 1989 an article was published titled, White Privilege Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, this article was written by Peggy McIntosh. This was the earliest article found introducing the idea of privilege. Considering this it is a fairly recent article. McIntosh introducing the idea that people of color have an unfair advantage that white people do not have to deal with.
Throughout the article privileges listed are things such as having hair products found easily for your hair type, or bandages matching your skin color. These examples are used and are talked about in reference to race, not skin color. McIntosh goes back and forth using race and Skin color interchangeably when really they are different. They do not mean the same thing and you can not make an argument when using them as if the mean the same thing.
You cannot look at someone and assume their race. A light-skinned multiracial person does experience things that would be considered unprivileged and that can be proved through examples given by multiracial people such as Sierra Fang-Horvath. She is an Asian American where she can be considered white passing who shared her experience with KQED Radio, in this interview she shares her experience when she took a survey to measure how much privilege she had. In this survey she came across the question asking if Bandaids matched her skin color, she responded by saying ” should they?”. In this one sentence alone she explains how people should think. After the survey, she felt like she would be looked at differently because in her eyes she never questioned her identity. Before the interview, a picture of Fang is shown and you would assume that she would not have a problem with privilege based on McIntosh’s article but you really have no clue how a multiracial people think or feel.
When you read the article by Fang you are shown that you really we’re not aware how unprivileged you were until you are told to check it. This makes multiracial people feel more uncomfortable because then they will be seen by others as having something they do not. You are no longer yourself and are a label of your skin color how is that in anyway considered being more privileged than a darker skin toned person who knows who they are and others do not question them are who they are.
Privilege is sometimes a difficult concept to pinpoint and identify in culture but as a community we have to realize that not everything is about race. Many people are treated differently than other but that is because many factors go into it. Multiracial people have a very difficult time connecting with people around them because they are viewed as an ideal but in reality they are just being judged for something they aren’t. Being brought up in a multiracial family can be tough but they are the perfect people to ask about the perspective of both races. They see hatred from both sides and they see that they are pulled to be something they are not. This is not a privilege and neither is the mental health issues that go with the identity.