Mixed girl problem #1: Having to explain more than once when someone asks you what ethnicity you are.
Yes I am mixed.
No i don’t have to choose one race to identify with.
My name is Jermani Khemmani Davis. I am Cambodian (Asian) and African-American. Every day someone new comes up to me and asks what race I am. People just can’t seem to figure it out.
Mixed Girl Problem #2: Having to dodge people who want to touch my hair.
Since I was as young as 7, kids would ask me about my hair.
“Hey your hair looks nice braided/down normal, but could you straighten it once in a while?”
When I was younger I felt strangely offended by this question.
Isn't my hair great as is? I mean. . . I like it.
I asked my mom about this, but most of the time she would just respond with “um, no, you’re not straightening your hair. It damages your curls and you don't need that. Your hair is naturally beautiful curly.”
Since then I haven’t really wanted to straighten my hair and I avoided the questions that were asked in elementary until now.
The Fresno Black Girl Magic Project made me realize how confident I am with myself and how I look. My hair is a representation of me. I don’t really plan on changing it.
Mixed Girl Problem #3: Having to check a box.
When people first see me, they want to know my nationality. Most think I'm some sort of Hispanic or Caucasian mix, but skin-tone doesn’t always fit into one category of race, and that’s what bugs me. My skin complexion is a very light tan, and I have an afro, so there’s always someone who wants to touch my hair.
Then there’s explaining that I don’t identify as one, I identify as both African American and Cambodian.
The Food Advantage
My experience with food is totally different. Most people don’t know about some Asian foods until they’re much older, but I grew up eating Pho, fried rice, boba, stir fry, sweet and sour soup. That’s why it’s so cool to be mixed because you’re able to try things out on both sides. Of course there are traditional African American dishes like soul food. They are both so good. I love having such a wide variety to pick from. Which makes me not a very picky eater. I’m always into trying new food.
Mixed Girl Problem #5: The Stereotype trap
Some of my hobbies are sketching and drawing, listening to music (k-pop), and watching anime. Apparently these are “too Asian for a black/mixed person.” The things I like to do are what I like to do. Nothing is “too this” or “too that”. I also have done cheerleading on my brothers’ football team. This past year, I’ve tried out volleyball and basketball, and I really excelled.
Everything should be for everyone, no matter the race, especially for black/mixed kids. Never limit yourself, just try what you want to try and you might end up really enjoy yourself more than you thought.
Being Blasian (African American/Asian) in America is tough but I would never want to change who I am. My roots are my story.