Friday, June 18, 2010

Bill of Rights

One of the best resources I found as a young adult was Dr. Maria Root's bill of rights (below) for people of mixed heritage, which is now a permanent page on this blog.

Bill of Rights for People of Mixed Heritage

I HAVE THE RIGHT...

Not to justify my existence in this world.

Not to keep the races separate within me.

Not to justify my ethnic legitimacy.

Not to be responsible for people’s discomfort with my physical or ethnic ambiguity.

I HAVE THE RIGHT...

To identify myself differently than strangers expect me to identify.

To identify myself differently than how my parents identify me.

To identify myself differently than my brothers and sisters.

To identify myself differently in different situations.

I HAVE THE RIGHT...

To create a vocabulary to communicate about being multiracial or multiethnic.

To change my identity over my lifetime--and more than once.

To have loyalties and identification with more than one group of people.

To freely choose whom I befriend and love.

© Maria P. P. Root, PhD, 1993, 1994
 
There's far too much I could discuss about her list than I could ever encompass in one post. Because of my upbringing, I don't have many concerns in the second and third section, but in the first section, several have been important.

My existence, for example. When I was a child, people would ask me if I was adopted or ask me if I considered myself to be black or white (never accepting "both" as an answer). Later, more often people would ask questions such as "what are you?" and so on.

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