All Mixed Up: The Plight of the Biracial and Ethnically Ambiguous

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Anastasia WashingtonGrowing up I knew my family was a bit different. People think, you were born and raised in Los Angeles how could you ever not be accepted. Racism doesn’t live here. Alas they are severely wrong. In a city where you are categorized and rated on castability, it may not be outward racism, although I’ve experienced my fair share of that, but imagine a plight of someone who can check multiple boxes.

The question of, what are you, is a common one for me. And usually I have a sassy response like, human, black Irish, or whatever riff comes to mind. But the truth is it’s not easy not looking like everyone else when you’re reminded of it every day, especially in the casting room.

Now, I am very proud to be biracial, don’t get me wrong. My parents fought hard for civil rights and I have personally fought hard to be accepted as well, but as my career goes, sometimes it’s quite the snag.

Walking into rooms with girls that are either too white for me to be cast, or too black. Here I am, smack dab in the middle. There’s even a perception of what a mixed woman should look like, and because I’m light skinned and green eyed, not many perceive me as the stereotypical mixed girl. But this is a fallacy. Many mixed actors have my same plight, and don’t quite fit in to the mixed box. So what do we do?

Well for me. It was trying to conform. Light skinned must mean I must try to be cast as white. Right? Well that’s what I thought. Not willing to give up my golden curls, but also not willing to embrace them or accentuate them so that I could try to conform. I went into the world not committed to my uniqueness. And that was just as rough. But I have since realized unique may not get me every job, but it will be what elevates me to the jobs that are right for me. And that’s a beautiful thing.

So now I let my hair out proudly no longer slicking it in conformity. And I accentuate my assets. It may not be make me the most castable item. But it feels good to be me. And let’s see where that takes me! I’m sure to some amazingly wild places!