“So, What Are You?”

Posted in Articles, Campus Life, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, United States on 2016-10-05 14:05Z by Steven

“So, What Are You?”

Columbia Daily Spectator
New York, New York

Alexandra Peebles and Eliza Solomon

Members of the Mixed Heritage Society at a club meeting. (Jared Orellana / Staff Photographer)

“For me, personally, thinking of myself as defined by race has never really worked, because I don’t fit in with the Asians, [and] I don’t fit in with white people,” Zina Sockwell, a Columbia College senior, explains when asked about her identity as a mixed-heritage student.

Sockwell is half Korean on her mother’s side and a quarter Native American on her father’s side, and she identifies as mixed heritage. Her entire “nuclear family” is Asian, white, and Native American. Growing up, Sockwell did not feel different or perplexed by her mixed background. “I didn’t realize for a long time that I was mixed race—I was just a person, in a family. I was a Sockwell; that’s what was normal,” she says matter-of-factly.

But when Sockwell got to college, things were different. When the Mixed Heritage Society (previously known as the Mixed-Race Students Society) debuted on campus in the spring of 2015, it filled what some saw as a glaring cavity by providing an identity-based discussion space for students like Sockwell. These students don’t identify strictly with one race or ethnicity, and as a result must combat the pressure to define themselves as belonging to one specific culture. The club set out to meet a need for the students who wanted to share their often unique experiences with their fellow “mixed” classmates…

Read the entire article here.

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