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What are you? Such a dumb question to ask someone else, especially when the answer is always, I’m a human being. However, it is just one question that I have had to fend off. It’s 2018 and being mixed-race is still a foreign concept to some people. People tend to fail to understand how the different parts of who I am, are not mutually exclusive. How my identity is not homogeneous and how acknowledging all of me because I want them to, does not in any way, shape, or form, mean that I am troubled or confused. In fact, it means the exact opposite. What it means it that I fully accept who I am and I’m hoping you will too. I don’t identify more with one side over the other. Unfortunately, for most people, I’m either too black to be white or too white to be black. Apparently, there can be no in between, and I have to be one or the other. To make people feel more comfortable about themselves or to fill out some stupid little checkbox on a random form. It’s frustrating to feel like I always have to be defined because it’s human instinct to categorize people. In actuality, I don’t even like saying I’m mixed-race. I’m not even sure what the term means half the time. “Mixed-race” doesn’t identify who I am. Rather it explains my parents coming together and two different heritages meeting as one. My parents have always made sure that I know where I came from. Growing up I was shown both of my parent’s heritage, they made sure I knew that I was two halves of a beautiful whole. I didn’t have to identify more with one half or the other, I just had to be me. However, over the years I have encountered people who have categorized me into two separate boxes. I, once had a friend tell me that she loved me because she never knew which Jess she was going to get. If I was going to be the “black” Jess or the other Jess. I don’t think she really understood what she was saying, but for me, one thing became astonishingly real. To everyone else, I would always be either or, I would never be both. I’m not going to lie it took me a while to accept that it is perfectly okay for others not to be okay with who I am. The only thing that matters is that I am okay with who I am. I had to come to terms with the fact that yes, I am biracial, but no, I don’t have to choose a race to identify with.