The Mixed-Girl (Dougla) Tag

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

The Mixed-Girl Tag has been popular on YouTube for many years, and is even a key part of my Major Research Paper (aka thesis).  So, I figured it was time for me to do my own tag and share a little bit more about myself with you all!

 1. What are you mixed with?

My dad is Afro-Guyanese and my mother is Indo-Guyanese, making me a "dougla".


2. What ethnicity have you often been mistaken for?

People usually assume I'm solely Black, and I've gotten Jamacian, Trinidadian, Spanish, Ethiopian. A few people have guessed Guyanese, but since I started wearing my hair curly, people don't usually guess that I'm mixed.


3. Is your hair curly or straight?

Curly!  I have a curly fro.


4. Was coming from different backgrounds challenging growing up?

This question is loaded ... I could spend hours talking about this.  In a nutshell, it was challenging because people always assumed that I was solely Black, and I hated that people did not acknowledge my Indian side.  I tried really hard to get people to know and remember that I am part Indian, but I felt really insecure doing so because there was a lot I didn't know about "being Guyanese-Indian".  I was raised with a lot of "Canadian" ideologies and mannerisms, and I didn't have a "Guyanese accent", so a lot of kids didn't even believe I was Guyanese.  I constantly felt like I had to prove myself to people, and I even started carrying around pictures of myself and my family to prove who I was.  In high school I started flat-ironing my hair so that people would question my racial background.  However, even though I really struggled to find my place and accept myself, that journey was so worth the struggle.  It's played a huge part in making me who I am, and I would not trade that for anything.

5. Which backgrounds do you embrace the most?

I embrace both!  In terms of physical appearance, I appear to be monoracial Black, and since I don't flat iron my hair anymore, I guess physically I embrace my Blackness.  But culturally speaking I embrace my Indian heritage through food, music, and clothing, and I am working to learn more about where my Black ancestors come from in Africa.


6. Have you ever been teased for being different?

Not really ... even though the Black-Indian mix was not common in my community when I was growing up, once I proved myself people were pretty accepting.


7. Have you ever been ashamed of being multi-racial?

No!  I have never been ashamed of being multiracial.  There are times when I wished my physical appearance was different and that I appeared more "ambiguous" or that my hair pattern was different, but I have never been ashamed of my identity.  Being ashamed of being multiracial would mean being ashamed of one of my parents, and I fully support their decision to defy the odds and social norms/expectations and get married.


8. Do you feel that being mixed has its benefits?

Absolutely!  There are so many, but the greatest one is being connected to multiple races and/or ethnicities.  I feel that opens you up to learning more about the world around you and it encourages you to embrace other people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds.

I also think that being multiracial inherently challenges the way we classify people in society.  Being multiracial is like saying 'screw you' to racial categories and binaries and living outside of the boundaries of race that we see as so important in society.  I don't think it's correct or fair to say that mixed-race people are the solution to racism, but I do think that we offer a challenge to those that think that inter-racial mixing is wrong.

Also, being mixed has helped me to be more open and understanding of people whose identities are 'taboo', such as people in the LGBTTIQ2S community.  Being mixed has only recently become acceptable in many places in the world, and when you understand what it's like to have people think your inherent identity is wrong, it's easier to empathize with other people who go through the same thing for different reasons.  I could say so much more about this!  But for now those are my top benefits.


9. What makes being multiracial a beautiful thing?

Again, this is something I could talk forever about.  But I think the most beautiful thing about being multiracial is something I mentioned before, being able to challenge the way we think about race in society.  I get to force people to open their minds up to think about how and why we classify people the way we do.

Also, I love that I get to play with people's minds when I identify myself as mixed-race/Indian.  People get so confused ... it's great.


10. Any adviceto someone who struggles with their multiracial identity?

Yes: don't struggle!  I know it's not that easy, especially when you experience struggles because of your race, but honestly, you can't change it.  Even if you can pass as monoracial, you can't erase the fact that you were born to two people of different races.  Regardless of whatever struggles you face, know that there are people in the world who will accept all of your mixed up parts!  If you're really struggling and need help, there are people who can support you.  I am always open to talking with anyone about this subject, so if you need help send me a message or leave a comment down below !

Hope this has helped some of you out there get to know me a bit better!  If you have any comments or questions, leave them in the comment section below this post!

Take care,

Jenell


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