Biracial Characteristics: Awkward Outsider

Encountered an interesting new assumption the other day: Because I'm biracial, I must have been awkward or an outsider in high school. Wrong.

This sounds kinda gross/braggadocios, but I was actually a part of one of the popular groups of kids (I say "one of" because, like any big school, we had layers). AND, because I'm fairly outgoing and was raised by non-mainstream people, I was friendly with kids across the high school social strata.

In short, I liked, and was liked in, high school. (slightly embarrassed shuffling of feet goes with this statement)

I went to public school in St. Paul, Minn. The Twin Cities were racially integrated and home of one of the most famous mixed people: Prince. Being biracial didn't automatically make you weird or awkward. In fact, there was a mixed girl at our rival school who was so popular, she was known and liked at my school. I admit, I envied her because she figured out her hair before I did.

At my school, the pot head group had a mixed member; the jocks included two mixed guys; the smart, popular kids included biracial kids. You get the idea. We were everywhere, without stigma.

However, Minnesota is also famed for its Scandinavian population. This had an impact on my personality because it meant I was not considered good looking by most of my classmates. The standard of beauty that was in national magazines and on TV - blond, blue eyes, White - was also the standard of beauty locally. Kids who looked like me were not generally in demand. I think if I had been raised in the south, were being light skinned was valued, I might be a totally different person today.

Looking back, I feel lucky. Being a teen is angsty enough without being considered uncool based on race. And, watching oneself age is hard enough without the chip of lifelong beauty on one's shoulder.

I know this isn't the case for everyone. I know many people who were the "only" at their school - only Indian person, only mixed person, etc. They were treated as outsiders and forced to forge a new path in their classmates' minds or spend years socially isolated. I wish everyone could have Twin Cities experience. I wish America really did accept people for their character, not their color.

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