Op-Ed: My Multicultural Identity
By: Brielle Chandra
Growing up as a multiethnic, multicultural individual presented a unique set of challenges that many of my peers could not recognize. I’m Sicilian, Filipino, and Indian with broad Mediterranean and Asian ancestry. As a child, I often felt a sense of guilt when asked where I was from. I didn’t believe I could rightfully claim any of my ethnicities because I was not “fully” from anywhere. The concept of blood quantum and percentages split me into thirds, quarters, fifths, and sixths. I longed for a sense of cultural belonging.
Considering my experience with being mixed, I’ve noticed ethnic percentages are a highly valued quantity. Instead of being seen as an individual with a unique heritage, I felt as though many viewed me as simply bits and pieces. However, one's identity and culture are not categorized strictly by supposed percentages. Despite facing unusual challenges, I have grown to embrace being multicultural. Various aspects of Sicilian, Filipino, and Indian culture are all rooted in my everyday life. Once a year, my Mother and I cook a Sicilian family recipe that has been passed down many generations. Recently, I’ve been learning Ilonggo to communicate better with my Filipino relatives. Additionally, I’m looking forward to Holi, a Hindu, South Asian festival that will take place in early March. Through these worthwhile gestures, I form a closer relationship with my cultures and ancestry.
I believe being mixed can be an incredible opportunity. It is a beautiful experience to have multiple nations be your homeland. Everyone on earth has a culture, and everyone should be allowed and encouraged to form a connection with their heritage.