Do mixed people understand the black struggle?

The reason I bring up this topic is because I feel like as a person coming from a biracial background (black & white), people often assume I don’t know anything about black culture. I remember one particular incident where one of my extremely intelligent black girlfriends told me that maybe I needed to “read up on black history.” It seems like it’s assumed that because my skin is light I don’t know where I came from. Furthermore, if I try to bring up the struggles I’ve experienced as a mixed race woman, they are often pushed aside as if they are not as important.

Now, let me say, I am very aware of the history that may cause people to make such comments. I am also aware that there are certain things that I may never experience as a mixed woman. For example, one of my closest friends has (beautiful) dark skin and almost every time she leaves my house, the police follow her, pull her over, or search her car and ask her what gang she belongs to. I have never experienced this. I understand that if I go to a job interview and there is a woman who has darker skin than me, there is a possibility I may be offered the job over her because I make people feel more “comfortable.” But what I also know to be true is that even as a light skinned woman, I have experienced discrimination. I have been called the “n-word”, a monkey, and have been told that my skin was too dark but it’s often assumed that because of my skin tone that I don’t know what that’s like.

What I’m saying is that at the end of the day, although our experiences may have been different, we are all minorities. Your struggle is my struggle. So yes I understand. And the things that I cannot understand, I learn about. Although I know there are people who give each “side” a bad name, I hope that there will come a time where we use our experiences to come together more often.

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