My entire life has been surrounded by the question, what are you? Rather than who are you? And though they say your past makes your present it was never a present hearing that question.
Somewhere along the way, we saw an enormous American flag, all in red, green, and black, the African American colors. “Hey wouldn’t it be cool if the stars were six-point stars?” my biracial daughter said as she fingered the silver Jewish Star pendant she always wore.”That would be me.”
Knowing that my great-grandmother was able to live through times where being Black resulted in beatings and deaths, yet still maintain such strong religious beliefs inspired me to be proud of my Jewish heritage.
But when? and how?! How do I harmoniously keep inclusion as a central value in my life, while also recognizing the need for boundaries?
Without exception, every multiracial person I’ve interviewed has responded that one of the things they’ve encountered most and like the least is the question: “What are you?”
My maternal great-grandfather was a German Jewish immigrant named Adolph Altschul. His wife was a freed slave woman, Maggie Carson. She was so light-skinned she could have passed for white, and one of Adolph's and Maggie's daughters did when she grew up.
Growing up as a half-Black and half-White person who is also Jewish definitely raised some interesting questions and responses upon “revealing” my identity to my friends.
“Hey Buddy!” Whenever I hear that term, so common coming from the lips of dads in my generation, I invariably pause to reflect on the Fifth Commandment which instructs children to honor their parents (“kibbud av va-em”).
Multiracial Americans are at the cutting edge of social and demographic change in the U.S.—young, proud, tolerant and growing at a rate three times as fast as the population as a whole.
If they are raised to identify with both parents and to understand their complex racial heritage, multi-racial people can have higher self-esteem than mono-racial people.
Contrary to previous studies on intermarriage that argue for the erosion of Judaism and Jewish identity, our work has demonstrated the opposite.
Here's the deal: I'm Jewish. My husband is African-American. Our kids identify as both. Except, when it comes to community events, the scale tips much further into the Jewish column.