When you think of a biracial person, who do you imagine? Here's the reality.
This is what being biracial looks like.
Being biracial can often feel like being caught between two worlds.
Biracial folks are often tethered to two (or more) sets of ideas of how someone of their heritage should be, look like, and act. And as a result, they can find themselves feeling unrepresented, lacking a strong claim to any racial background.
That feeling of anxiety is what prompted Jaya Saxena to start #BiracialLooksLike, a hashtag that highlights the faces and experiences of mixed race people.
“Among many biracial/multiracial people I know, there is anxiety over whether we look enough like what we 'are,'" Jaya tweeted. “I want to show, and for everyone to know, that there is no one way for biracial to look."
#BiracialLooksLike took off from there, with users tweeting photos of themselves and their multiracial families as well as the experiences unique to people with mosaic ethnic backgrounds.
I'm biracial, too. My dad is Filipino, and he came to America when he was a kid. My mom was born and raised in Texas.
When I saw the hashtag, I tweeted a picture of myself with my mom and dad:
#biraciallookslike it me/us @jayasax pic.twitter.com/4lzQi6G3ak
— Natalie San Luis (@nsanluis) September 15, 2015
It's not the most flattering photo of any of us (and it's missing my brothers and sister, who are white), but it's a genuine reflection of my family: ridiculous, unprepared, and biracial.
When I was a kid, people would sometimes speculate that I was adopted when they saw me with my mom and my siblings.
It's not uncommon for people to assume that my mom is "not my real mom," even though we look alike.
Many Twitter users posting on the #BiracialLooksLike tag shared similar experiences.
Despite the growing rates of interracial marriages and multiracial kids, many people jump to conclusions when they see families like ours.
Two generations of bi-and multiracial looks, all in one family #biraciallookslike pic.twitter.com/tvINv9ykJF
— Prairie Antoinette (@theverminqueen) September 15, 2015
#BiracialLooksLike me and my sis @JenniferBahadur. (#triracial if you wanna get technical) pic.twitter.com/qYE87o84oH
— Nina Bahadur (@nbahadur) September 15, 2015
Some people even used the hashtag to point out the unique experiences that many multiracial people share, like the inevitable inquiries of “What are you?" and “Is that your real mom?"
Also, #biraciallookslike white ppl telling you you're black, black ppl telling you you're white, and a lot of "what are you?" at bars
— Mariah Minigan (@mariahminigan) September 15, 2015
#biraciallookslike my mom and little me. Yep, my real mom. pic.twitter.com/dYrxNJ6m1T
— Julie Key (@juliekemt) September 16, 2015
At its core, the hashtag is an opportunity for multiracial folks to make our faces, our families, and our struggles visible.
Take a few minutes to scroll through the tweets today; you may be surprised what biracial really looks like.