Based on a Time magazine article some years ago, by the next millennium, the population of the United States will no longer consist of a White majority. Homogeneous race constructs will be in the minority as the country will find itself an amalgamation of both homogeneous and heterogeneous populations.

This excites me as an American of both Irish and African-American ethnicity. An aspiring English teacher and writer, I have often heard the question “What ARE you?” or “You’re not from here, are you?”. The former regarding my ethnicity and the latter a reaction to my Northern accent once I moved to Atlanta. I have often felt as “The Stranger” or “Other” which can be found in so many literary themes.

I would like to add to the blogosphere and follow the portrayal of bi-racial people in pop culture, from “The Tragic Mulatto” up to and including President Barack Obama. “The Tragic Mulatto” trope throughout literature and movies in the U.S. is typically a depressed beauty, usually female, who “passes”, or chooses to deny her African roots to live a life of culture, luxury and connectedness by identifying as a White female, generally during the time during and post-Civil War slavery. As time progressed, the acceptance of bi-racial individuals by society and the legalization of inter-racial marriages has been a part of U.S. history but I plan to follow and document the images and attitudes towards us “others” in pop culture.

From William Wells Brown’s first African-American novel on the subject, “Clotel”, the movie “Imitation of Life” starring Mahalia Jackson, and Alex Haley’s novel “Queen”, to Kanye West’s comment that he prefers “mutts” in his videos, the portrayal of bi-racial individuals, the choices they have made and how it has affected their lives will be the focus of this blog.

My own personal experiences have been funny, offensive, enlightening and always a new learning experience. Learning something about myself along the way is always a good thing. From hair texture to dating preferences to outward appearances and stereotypes about either your White or Black side, it remains a question of identity for bi-racial children as they become adults. This “choice” is usually a mandate of society because how can you choose one when you are both. You might as well ask me who I love more; my mother or my father. Like most children, I am closest to my mom but that doesn’t mean I negate my father’s love or support or the bond we share. The same with my identity. I can appear to be certain things to certain people. They “determine” this mostly based on my appearance, and my accent or articulation. But never ask me to choose, because this is not your world, it’s mine and in my world, I am both. (Thank God for the “Other’ box on application forms now).