The Meaning of Mulatto
Radcliffe Quarterly Fall / Winter 1997
by Erin Bannister
My mother is white. My father is black. But I have never known what I am. I used to define myself as multiracial, an eleven-letter, four-syllable, politically correct, trendy word. But this changed when I entered ninth grade and my French teacher asked: Who isn’t multiracial? So when eleventh grade rolled around with the SATs, I became “Other”-a less-than-romantic, slightly mysterious, but definitely unsatisfying word. However, when I told this to my father, he reprimanded me for not marking black on the test questionnaire. He insisted I call the SAT headquarters to change what I had put. For reasons I have never understood, he firmly believed that the right answer was black.
When I look in the mirror, I see a person who looks like she has a tan even in the winter, and whose hair may be dark, but not always curly. I have no prominent African American features (assuming that such features exist on anyone). And, although I am sometimes mistaken for being Spanish, people generally see me as white.
I’m kind of assuming you mean “Hispanic” not “from Spain” there when you say people think you are Spanish.
3/1/2004 2:38:45 AM
i know wht u mean i feel the same way i dont know what i am somtimes and i really hate it when people call me white girl
4/2/2004 12:01:00 AM