When the world sees me, what do they see? A mixed Black girl? A Native woman? A white girl? I’ve been identified as each of these and as all the above and so much more. From East Indians thinking I was from India, to Puerto Rican’s thinking I was a Boricua, and white people thinking I was everything from “Latina” to Asian.
In a world of black and white, how do we deal with the gray? Growing up I thought I was rare, because I didn't see anyone like me, especially high yellow, in any of these communities. Little did I know that statistically, the racially ambiguous and mixed kids were on the rise in the 90's.
According to National Geographic, the general population is only getting more diverse. Will this create a utopia of equal beige, hazel eyed babies? While some hope for this, the truth is that mixed people are unlikely to solve the issues of racism.
In fact, the idea that we all have to be the same skin shade, no matter if it's the caramelized melanated type, is still inherently racist. It seeks uniformity, largely based on Eurocentric beauty standards and Darwin's "Survival of the Fittest." More like "Survival of the Whitest."
People will just create new categories and standards, more than likely, based on whiteness. You see this now in the comments section of multiracial or mixed babies social media accounts.
Comments like, "She has 'pretty' eyes," usually elude to green or blue eye colors, and "They have 'good" hair,' is usually said when the child or person's hair is on the straighter end of the curl pattern spectrum.
Honestly, I've struggling with loving, accepting, and styling my own Afro Indigenous and Caucasian too-curly-to-be-straight-and-too-straight-to-be-curly-almost-wavy-never-easy tresses. I've lamented over being too light to be Black or Indigenous and being too dark to be white. I've had people tell me I wasn't Black because my skin tone "literally isn't black." I've been questioned and scrutinized because my Native heritage stems from our historically Afro Indigenous Occaneechi and Saponi communities.
In an attempt to feel comfortable in my own skin, I've whitewashed myself by changing my voice in high school, was overly loyal to brown people who ended up abusing me to prove I was "down", and forced myself to be EXTRA Native and EXTRA Afrocentric just to belong. The end result was a depressed and withered me who struggled with self-love and acceptance. The result was a life-long struggle with severe depression, and, at times, suicidal thoughts and attempts.
What we need isn't more beige babies. We need to love each child we hold in our arms. We need radical self-acceptance and self-love as well as systematic changes in the beauty industries and in biological studies which tell us that our melanin is a stain that needs to be purged by whiteness.
We must utilize both spirituality and decolonized notions of science and beauty to reclaim ourselves, all of ourselves, and stop the war within us. To save our babies like 1996 D. Daye. And to save the adults those babies will become.
Dominique Daye Hunter is a storyteller, advocate, and multi-disciplinary artist of Black/ Saponi/ Nansemond /Irish/ Polish descent. She is the CEO of D. Daye Hunter Designs and has a B.S. in Nonprofit Leadership Management, with an emphasis in American Indian Studies. Hunter's work explores the complex connections between historical trauma and healing in Black and Indigenous communities. She creates safe spaces for BIWOC, children, neurodivergent individuals, and chronic illness warriors.
Dominique lives between Arizona and North Carolina. Follow her journey on Instagram @ddayehunter and @ddayehunterdesigns.