Aaron Eckelt – A Nigerian/German Chameleon

The interesting thing is that whenever someone who is mixed Black and White, they are just labelled as Black.

People deciding your race for you.

People will look at us and categorise us as one race or another, dependent on how strong specific genes manifest themselves in our appearance. They will feel entitled to label us accordingly and feel completely validated in arguing that stance.

Why they feel they have the right to do so, I have no idea.

But here we are. In some cases, we may even welcome this approach, since we just want to feel accepted by a dominant racial group. Even if our appearance completely reflects one race, we know somewhere in the back of our minds that we’re neglecting part of our heritage and that chips away at our souls.

However, with the growth of mixed-race communities online and in person, this is the age of embracing the mixed-race experience. My identity is valid on its own and I love that. I grew up in South East London and my closest friends were Chinese and Vietnamese. I think that ended up having more of an influence on me.

I became a Chameleon, fitting into whichever part of my heritage I needed to reflect the people I was around. I think depending on the culture you come from, it will affect your experience differently. In the early years of adolescence, we want nothing more than to fit in, to find our tribe. In the “professional” world, we blend seamlessly into the fabric of corporations, large and small.

I’ve not yet felt that my ethnicity was a barrier to my professional progress, but I do see a distinct lack of melanin in the upper echelons of corporations. The calls for this to change won’t cease and I’m excited for what that means for the future. Luckily, this presents an opportunity for those of us who are chameleons.

We are seen less as outsiders, but as a bridge to a future where equality abounds (from a racial perspective).

Our experiences within multiple cultures helps us to navigate conversations around race with a unique perspective.

We can be neutrals – Switzerland if you will.

Are we the answer to all race-related challenges in the world?

No.

Are our unique views helpful in bridging divides that plague many communities across the world?

Maybe….

Do you have a story of your mixed heritage to share? Let us know your story here

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