Opening a conversation on societal issues like this that seem to go unnoticed.
| This is not written for grammatical feedback, but rather to open a conversation on societal issues like this that seem to go unnoticed.
THE FORGOTTEN MINORITY
This essay introduces the negative effects of stereotyping multiracial groups and in what ways these people are stereotyped. The work continues to argue how genetics apply to physical characteristics, and how it does not define how close or distant one is to their roots. The main topic of argument is to explain, using outside evidence, how stereotyping these minorities can harm their sense of self after continuous denial from the society. This piece also rebuttals a common opposition to the minority stereotypes and further demonstrates how no matter what an individual looks like, he or she is entitled to their racial heritage. The concluding paragraph will synthesize and recap on the ideas presented to the reader in the introduction and body paragraphs.
Stereotyping is a natural, physical reaction towards interacting with groups of people with contrasting characteristics. People use stereotyping to understand individuals who have contrasting backgrounds, beliefs, culture, and customs. However, stereotyping can have negative effects on both the person categorizing, and the person being labeled in a certain group. This makes the person being judged and analyzed feel as if they have to overcompensate in order to break down the stereotyping barriers. Even other groups feel they may have to prove themselves to stereotyping onlookers that the stereotyped individual deserves to have a certain identity.
Stereotyping is also integrated into the biological aspect of human identity, in the sense that an individual has to look a certain way based on their ethnic origins. Biologically, however, the genetics of offspring are expressed in numerous forms and appearances. Some genetics are prominent in the physical characteristics of individuals or are not shown through physical appearance whatsoever. With diversity in genetic combinations, this can make one ethnicity appear unique and different from other individuals of the similar background. However, people stereotype what a person should look like based on their acquired genetics. Sometimes the stereotyped, mixed-origin appearance only gives people the right to be called mixed if they have those set characteristics. It seems a person must have a certain "look" to deserve to be called what they actually are. Stereotypes have negative effects that alienate the mixed minority by making the multiracial feel invalid to their background, inducing low self-esteem due to the individual falling victim to the stereotypers, and society's assumptions and denial of the mixed minority's heritage.
Stereotyping has the power to make mixed people feel out of place, as if they lost touch with their identity both culturally and racially. For instance, the article "'Racial Imposter Syndrome': Here are Your Stories" by Leah Donnella (2018), a blog writer with a degree in Africana Studies, introduces the phrase "Racial Imposter Syndrome", which is a term used to describe how multi-ethnic individuals feel almost invalid towards some part of their heritage. This stereotyping phenomenon places stereotyped people into a state of mind that limits their confidence and unity with other individuals in society. Losing touch with one's roots is perhaps the most negative effect of stereotyping mixed minorities. To constantly feel the urge to act a certain "race" based on the people around the multiracial person originates from not only mixed-origin stereotypes, but common full racial stereotypes as well. This stereotyping issue originated from populations intermingling with societies that differ from each other, and the problem still plagues individuals today.
Stereotyping multiracial individuals can cause reactions of embarrassment and lowered self-esteem, knowing that they may not fit the mixed-origin appearance stereotypes. When the individual of a multiracial background is stereotyped, they are thrown into a group of mixed or non-mixed, and forever labeled without question. This can make a mixed person avoid any conflict or confrontation with single-raced people when trying to explain why the multiracial individual doesn't look a certain ethnicity. For example, I am of a multiracial background. My father is African-American and Hispanic, and my mother is full Caucasian. I look full "white", but my brothers fit the multiracial stereotype. In the past, people constantly denied my identity, and believe I am invalid to my racial background. These experiences have placed me in a sort of multiracial limbo, where my validity does not apply to any set culture or ethnicity. It forces me to choose the "white" side, because it is easier to pass as full Caucasian, and avoid hate from stereotypers.
According to Becca Reynoso (2017), a fair-skinned mixed-race individual, states in her online article "The Struggles Of Being A Light-Skinned, Mixed-Race Latina", whenever she is told she "looks white" or "doesn't look Hispanic", means the person stereotyping is erasing the individual's racial and cultural background with the dismissal of their identities. This negative effect of stereotyping can make a mixed-race individual feel ashamed of their appearance, in which they have absolutely no control over. Opposers of this argument may say that if someone is light-skinned, regardless of their racial background, has not experienced discrimination, hardship, and cultural exposure. Ironically, there is more room for negative backlash as a fair-skinned mixed-origin individual because there is no definition of identity or set characteristics to label them perfectly. This is due to the mixed population not being as abundant as full-raced peoples. The impact of stereotypes is discussed in the work "An Introduction: At the Root of Identity, from "Whistling Vivaldi and Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us", by African-American college executive chancellor Claude M. Steele (2016), concluding that stereotyping can become a factor in our lives that contribute to numerous societal and personal issues (pp.545-546). Based on the previous evidence, just because one does not fit the mold of the multiracial stereotype does not mean they are any less deserving of their racial identity and acceptance in society.
Being mixed is more than just a physical appearance, it is both a lifestyle and culture. The clashing cultures a mixed child is born into with connections to white, black, and hispanic relatives can be ripped away and invalidated by stereotyping onlookers. The constant fear of when a mixed family is out in public and bystanders stare with disgust, surprise, or complete confusion is an everyday battle multiracial people come across. For a stereotype to deny someone of their background regardless of physical characteristics is both discrimination and a hardship to multiracial individuals.
In today's society, people tend to not realize that interactions with people different from themselves can have an impact, whether it be positive or negative, on the differing individual. Stereotypes unfortunately do more harm than good on mixed-origin minorities. The feeling that one does not truly fit in already makes it worse if the person stereotyping them denies the minority of their identity in every aspect of life as well. Opposers feel that being mixed is only skin deep, that it only really matters if you look the stereotype. However, with multiracial people, they are more susceptible towards cultural exposure, and have influence from each of their ethnicities. So denying them based on their physical characteristics also denies them of their family members, their upbringing, and any other life experiences that seem out of place based on what they look like. To stereotype this forgotten minority, the multiracial population, has a negative impact that outcasts them by branding the multi-ethnic image, resulting in lowered confidence and self-security, and the nonchalant rejection of their racial ethnicities altogether.
Donnella, L. (2018, January 17). 'Racial Impostor Syndrome': Here Are Your Stories. Retrieved February 15, 2018, from https://www.npr.org/sections/codeswitch/2018/01/17/578386796/racial-impostor-syn...
Reynoso, B. (2017, August 30). The Struggles Of Being A Light-Skinned, Mixed-Race Latina. Retrieved February 18, 2018, from https://www.theodysseyonline.com/mixed-race-latina-struggles
Steele, C. M. (2016). An Introduction: At the Root of Identity, from Whistling Vivaldi and Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us.
In A. A. Lunsford, J. J. Ruszkiewicz, & K. Walters (Eds.), Everything's An Argument (7th ed., pp. 545-546). Boston, MA: Bedford/St. Martin's