Let Me Make My Own Box | Teen Ink

Let Me Make My Own Box

September 14, 2019
By RaniaMichaela GOLD, Abu Dhabi, Other
RaniaMichaela GOLD, Abu Dhabi, Other
19 articles 0 photos 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Don't watch what they say, watch what they do." ~ Rachel Maddow


In society, people are sorted into racial “boxes”. Caucasian, African-American, Hispanic, Native American, and so on. Then there are people who fit into multiple boxes, people like me. I’m British-Sri Lankan, Asian and White. Am I proud of my heritage? Absolutely. I couldn’t be prouder of it. In today’s society, racial equality is a top issue but it seems like the world is forgetting that biracial people exist. It’s surprising too, especially considering that we now have a biracial princess (namely Meghan Markle). Over the years, you would think that people would acknowledge multiracial people and be more open and accepting towards them, right? You would think that they would never feel like they had to choose between their races in a survey after influential people like Meghan Markle have spoken out about just that, right? I thought so too, but I was wrong. Why do I say that? An incident occurred recently, something that shouldn’t have happened at all.


I was in my AP US History class and I was signing up for AP Classroom. I was going through the usual procedure; typing in my name, grade, school, birthday, and so on and so forth. All of a sudden, I heard someone in my class asking my teacher about a survey that popped up on their screen. It was asking them about their race and they were wondering why they were asked this. The teacher replied that it was for internal data for College Board so they could get a sense of who is taking their courses. Eventually, the survey popped up for me. Being biracial, I immediately looked to see if there was a multiracial box I could tick, there wasn’t. I looked for an alternative such as “other” that I could tick instead, there wasn’t one. I was stuck with three choices; white, Asian, or not participating in the survey at all. Not knowing what to do, I raised my hand and asked my teacher what I should do because there wasn’t a box for me. He told me that I should just pick one and I picked white. Most people think I’m that when they look at me, I’m particularly pale, but I’m not white. It hurt me to tick that box and submit the survey. 


I felt as if I was denying half of my identity, a half I’m very proud of. I shouldn’t feel like I have to choose between one part of me or the other. I couldn’t draw my own box because it was a digital survey, I was stuck. If I wanted to do the survey, I had to pick. In 2019, I shouldn’t have to feel this way. I shouldn’t have to make this decision because people have spoken out about it and changes have to be made. Biracial people exist and if College Board wanted a truly accurate survey, they should at least have a biracial box or have an alternative instead of putting multiracial people in an uncomfortable position. It’s not just about me, any biracial person who is taking an AP course and is signing up for AP Classroom will have to do this. They will have to make the same painful decision and it’s not right. It’s even beyond College Board, any survey asking about race should have a box for multiracial people to accurately define who they are whether that is in the form of a box specifically for us or an alternative that doesn’t force us to choose one or the other. 


If a box won’t be created for people like me, at least let us create our own. It’s 2019, the world should be past this. We are better than this.


The author's comments:

This occurred earlier this week and when this happened, I was shocked. I couldn't believe that this is still happening and I thought the world was past this. This is the first time I've had to face anything remotely discriminatory and needless to say, I was mad about it. Rather than be furious but keep it bottled up, I have a voice here on this platform and writing this piece is my way of using it. I truly want to make a change and I want people to realize that this happens and it's not right. Incidents like this should not occur and changes have to be made. If biracial people don't speak up and talk about these incidents, who will?


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This article has 2 comments.


on Dec. 8 2019 at 9:47 pm
SheressofPower, Arverne, New York
0 articles 0 photos 20 comments

Favorite Quote:
Progress, not perfection

Raina I think you did a great job at bringing up an issue that many might unconsciously overlook.

on Dec. 8 2019 at 9:47 pm
SheressofPower, Arverne, New York
0 articles 0 photos 20 comments

Favorite Quote:
Progress, not perfection

Raina I think you did a great job at bringing up an issue that many might unconsciously overlook.