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Friday, December 21, 2007

10 reasons why you should never ask a mixed person the question, "What are you?"

1. It is customary to use the pronoun "who" when talking of persons and to use the word "what" when talking about things. While it is appropriate to ask a mixed person who she is, it is not appropriate to ask her what she or he is. What we are is human.

2. If you feel compelled to ask someone what they are it is probably because you have never seen someone who looks like them before. This means you are ignorant. Asking your question will make your ignorance public. Is that what you want?

3. The compulsion to racially categorize every person you meet is one you should resist. The desire to put people in boxes is rooted in a fear of the unknown. Indulging one's fears is never good.

4. Without racial categories racism cannot persist. Do your part to be a part of the solution not a part of the problem.

5. Knowing the exact ethnic or "racial" ancestry of a person will not tell you WHO they are.

6. Most mixed people find this question very annoying. Some find it offensive. No one finds it sexy.

7. Many mixed people (like myself) are fond of giving false answers to the question just to mess with monoracials stupid enough to ask. Is being made a fool of a risk you are willing to take?

8. You are more likely to get laid if you ask better questions like: How did you get such cool hair? Do you taste as good as you look?

9. If you are only asking what racial components a person is composed of so you can then reduce him or her to one race (i.e black +any race= black, white+Mexican= Mexican) why bother asking? Go ahead and jump to your own conclusions and spare the mixed person the pain of witnessing you do your "monoracial math".

10. You might get an answer you can't handle.