It’s not easy being a biracial student anywhere. Growing up, I was often faced with challenges of finding my place, of feeling included in certain communities, of feeling accepted.
Even with the diverse selection of clubs and organizations here at UF, it can be difficult to feel heard. During Black History Month, I sometimes feel as though I don’t deserve to be celebrated as much as the students who are more “black” than me.
There are no biracial organizations, and often, when I share this concern with others, I am just told to join organizations that represent both. However, that need to join two organizations, as opposed to one, only made me feel more out of touch. What if I don’t understand? What if I don’t fit in?
Even on the internet, it can be difficult to find biracial individuals being celebrated or recognized for their work. But that doesn’t mean that they don’t exist. Barack Obama, Kamala Harris, Keegan-Michael Key, Logic, J. Cole and Naomi Osaka are just a few famous people who have openly spoken about their challenges and experiences as being biracial.
Oftentimes, being biracial can result in a lot of obstacles in the understanding of one’s identity, and with the lack of media representation of biracial people, a lot of people can feel left out. Whether you are Black and Asian, Black and white, or even hispanic and white, being biracial can make it harder to feel connected to your community.
In my time here, I have only met one other Afro-Asian student. That one experience, and seeing how that student had learned to face their differences gave me hope I could do the same. Meeting that one person helped me learn that there are people that share my experience and that I am not alone in my struggles.
Before then, I felt like I was alone in my confusion. Our differences are not shortcomings, but gifts that allow us to connect with our peers. And that goes for everyone; biracial, Black or not.
It’s easy to feel left out when you don’t see people like you everyday. But easy isn’t always good, and it definitely doesn’t mean it’s right.That lack of sense of community can be self-destructive. It can lead to confusion about one’s own identity and it can cause one to struggle with feeling connected to their cultures. This month, or any month of ethnic celebration for that matter, isn’t meant to make you feel out of touch or as though you are not enough; it’s meant to highlight the beauty of Black culture and history.
Whether you are 1% mixed or 100% of African descent, this month is for you. This month is for all of us. It’s an opportunity to learn more about our past, to connect with our peers, to highlight our struggles throughout history and to use them as motivation for the continuous development of our growth. Black History Month is meant to highlight the success of my community. Black History Month is meant to showcase the beauty and depth of our experience. I am proud to be a part of a community as diverse and as complex and as proud as ours.
Here at UF, there are many clubs and individuals that highlight various cultures. Black Student Union, 360BHM, ColorStack and Black Student Assembly are just a few of the amazing organizations at our school that highlight our communities’ history and future. And they aren’t just limited to the month of February! Find a time to attend a meeting or event. Share your story, your experiences, your past. You deserve to share your experiences. Who knows who your words might reach and whose life you might change. It’s worth trying.
Xavier Scott is a UF psychology freshman.