At 36 years old, Meghan Markle has learned to embrace her heritage and is proud to be "a strong, confident mixed-race woman." However, growing up with an African-American mom and Caucasian dad wasn’t always easy. While the soon-to-be royal is being celebrated by the majority of Black folks frankly because, well, we’re not use to seeing an ounce of melanin among the British monarchy, she recalled a time when being bi-racial felt confusing.
In a piece she wrote back in 2015 for Elle magazine, Meghan said the question “What are you?” is one she gets asked on a weekly, if not daily basis. The actress recalled having to tick a box indicating her ethnicity one day in school, and was told to choose either white, Black, Hispanic, or Asian. "You could only choose one, but that would be to choose one parent over the other — and one half of myself over the other."
She continues, “My teacher told me to check the box for Caucasian. 'Because that's how you look, Meghan,' she said. I put down my pen. Not as an act of defiance, but rather a symptom of my confusion. I couldn't bring myself to do that, to picture the pit-in-her-belly sadness my mother would feel if she were to find out. So, I didn't tick a box. I left my identity blank — a question mark, an absolute incomplete — much like how I felt.”
If you’re mixed yourself, this must be relatable AF, no? And the fact these boxes still exist in 2017 is a wonder. Ms. Markle’s dad had some great advice for young Meghan, though, that has stayed with her ever since: “If that happens again, you draw your own box.”
(Photo: Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)
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