The First Mixed Girl Meetup

At the end of May I hosted my first “Mixed Girl Meetup.”

The goal was to give fellow mixed gals a place to feel safe talking about the struggles and joys of being mixed.

There were eight of us and we talked for a little over an hour. There were differences but also many similarities in each of our individual mixed girl experiences. Without telling their stories completely, I created a quote wall of words that stood out from our discussion and posted them daily on Instagram (@rj_is_rebbyjohnson). They are here in their entirety below.

If you are mixed, I hope that you will find some quotes that make you say, “Yes! I’m not alone in this!” I also hope that you see some words that challenge your thinking, as all of our mixed experiences are different. And ultimately, I hope you feel compelled to share your story in whatever way feels natural and safe to you. If you would like to be a part of our next mixed girl meetup, please send me a message!

If you are not mixed, I ask that you read these quotes with a kind understanding that this was a safe space for us to speak freely regarding our mixed girl experiences. Yet, every woman felt that there was power in sharing the vulnerability of our stories. I hope you would read with empathy, and see some of your own story within the mosaic stories we share. I hope you would seek relationship with people who look different than you. I pray that you would both give and receive joy from having friendships with mixed girls like us.

Without further ado, I give you snippets of our mixed girl meetup:

A Conversation Between 8 Mixed Women...⁣
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...We as mixed women have had to find ways to not deny or submit to one culture, but create one in which celebration of our diversity is welcome. We have also had to make room to mourn over racial injustice. We have had to learn how to balance pain and privilege. We have learned to speak multiple languages. We have become cultural super humans.⁣
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...Every woman in the conversation happened to be a follower of Jesus. And while each of us have struggled with our ethnic identity in some way, we have found comfort in our Kingdom identity, and the culture that comes with it. ⁣
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2 Cor 5:16 says that no longer do we regard anyone from a worldly point of view..... If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come... All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors... We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. ⁣
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...We had this meetup before the death of George Floyd, not knowing that it would be a catalyst into the conversations of the last few weeks. We hope these series of posts have given you a taste what we as mixed women experience, and that in some ways, no matter who you are, you can say, “I’ve felt that too.”⁣
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...We hope some of the stories represented in each of us help spark the ministry of reconciliation in you- first being reconciled to God, the one we believe transforms our hearts SO THAT we can be reconciled to the people around us. SO THAT when any person of any color + culture walks your way, they may feel the culture of the Kingdom of God. FOR THAT kingdom will eventually be a mosaic of people from every tribe, nation, and tongue. ⁣
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... I want to thank every woman that was a part of this conversation and was willing to open up their story to others. There is more to come from each of us. Stay tuned for a follow up blog post, as well as future meetups. ⁣
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Thanks to @stephaniemariehealth , @randi.andy_ , @mamasandy_ , @amorousyouth , @wendy_molina4 , @estherwalbert , @danigirl492 ❤️ The mosaic of each of your stories has great Kingdom purpose. 👑

Many of the women in our group had parents who immigrated to the United States. In light of trying to fit into a new culture, some of us were told to act more like the culture around us, as usually demonstrated by white Americans. As mixed women, many of them us told to leave the traditions of our parents’ culture behind.

A Convo Between 8 Mixed Women...⁣
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... Some of us were told to blend in to the culture around us. “Don’t act too Mexican. Act more ‘white.’ Speak their language.” From a young age some of us learned that it wasn’t only our skin, but even our behavior had a color.⁣
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...Paradoxically, many of us have been told that we were “too white” to be accepted into relationships with people of color.⁣
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... We have all lived in constant flux between being “too much” and “not enough.” ⁣
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...But we are women with a new mindset, really that mixed is simply “more.” We’ve got more angles on our point of view. We’ve got more lenses to see more perspectives on the stories at hand. We have more experience to draw from to answer some of the worlds’ greatest needs.⁣
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...We’re more colorful. Our behavior more informed. Our education more vast. ⁣
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...Others’ hurtful words and actions that once cut us up have now created the pieces that form a mosaic. And the mosaic of our lives is beautiful. It is glorious. ⁣

Some of us felt forced to deny evidence of the color of our skin to the point of not engaging in traditions such as quinceaneras, or even being told to “act white.” Growing up as kids, this idea was confusing. Did that mean changing the tone or accent of our voices? Changing our language? Being quieter in conversation? All of the above? What did it mean to act like a color?

Some of us, in our mixed heritage were told they were “not enough” to participate in some cultural traditions. We didn’t know the language well enough. We acted “too white” to even have a quinceanera. We didn’t speak the language well enough to be accepted by our extended family.

Some of us felt it was unsafe to engage with certain family members due to strong and dangerous racial divisions.

Some of us had experienced very little familial discussions on race and ethnicity, causing us to seek out ways to explore our ethnic identity on own as adults by seeking out new friendships, history classes, learning new languages, visiting countries, or some online Googling.

A Convo Between 8 Mixed Women... ⁣
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...For some of us with a darker complexion, while we may embrace all sides of our identity, we have come to realize that the world only wants to recognize the brown hues of our skin... ⁣
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... Some of our mothers were unafraid to prepare us for how the world would perceive us. While they loved us both for and beyond the colors of our skin, they gave us warning to the struggles we would face outside their arms.⁣
⁣ ...This was a difficult task for some of our family members, as many of them knew that we would be facing struggles they had never personally experienced. We give these family members a great deal of credit for teaching the truth first, before the world got a chance to teach us in its more painful ways.

One of our women had a white mother who taught her about her ethnic identity in its entirety, as well as how the world would perceive her. She did not shy away from difficult conversation in order to prepare her daughter the world’s commentary.

A Conversation Between 8 Mixed Women...⁣
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... For some of us, our families are unsafe. For some of us, our blackness, our Latinx heritage, our Asian descent.... keeps them from engaging with us, anyhow.⁣
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...Which is why we are thankful for the family that shows its love regardless of color⁣
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...Which is why we find our identity in imago dei, made in the image of God.⁣
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...And we hope for a day that others would see God’s intentional nature with every part of our making, including every color blended into our skin.

It was very clear to all of us that no race is better than another. No part of our ethnicity is superior to another. Yet, because of our ethnic mix, some of us are not acknowledged by family members. Some of us have been in the middle of family that cannot stand each other’s presence.

A Conversation Between 8 Mixed Women...⁣
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... Some of us missed quinceaneras because we didn’t feel Mexican enough.⁣
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...Some of us were either withheld from or discouraged to talk to family members on different sides of color lines.⁣
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...Some of us never really knew the cultural traditions running through our veins because of adoption, or parents trying to raise us in their own version of American culture. ⁣
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... And many of us wish our family members had celebrated the cultures represented in our mix. We wish we were taught the languages and had experienced the traditions that could give us more connection points to what it means to be Filipino, Jamaican, Mexican....⁣
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... Many of us felt we had missed out. And in our conversation there was a sense of mourning for pieces of culture and identity that were never in our grasp.⁣
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... But we were also holding on to the pieces of our lives that we DO hold, knowing that those pieces still make a whole mosaic of the women we have become. We are mosaic women. ⁣
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#mixedrace #mixedgirl #mixedpeople #biracial #mymosaicstory #mosaicwoman #imagodei #racialjustice #racialinjustice #mixedinamerica

Many of us felt robbed of participating in cultural traditions, or being able to have meaningful relationships with family members. And there is a sincere mourning and sense of loss that comes with being mixed. However, we have to find other ways to see that our mixed experience provides something “more.”

A Conversation Between 8 Mixed Women...⁣
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.... Our mothers loved us for who we are. Yet, because of their great love beyond color lines, it is difficult for them to imagine the injustices we face. Some of our mothers are white, and can not relate to the issues we experience as women of color. ⁣
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... And some of our family members will express language that is inappropriate or insensitive to the people groups represented by the blood in our veins. And out of relationship and love for our families, we feel compelled to speak up. Some of us choose to be the educators in our family when it comes to racial injustice. ⁣
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#mixedrace #mixedgirl #mixedpeople #biracial #mymosaicstory #mosaicwoman #imagodei #racialjustice #racialinjustice #mixedinamerica

Some of our parents would say unknowingly racist things about other people. They would use offensive terminology. We have had to call out our family members and be brave enough to stand up for others as well as have grace in showing our family how their comments can hurt us as well.

A Conversation Between 8 Mixed Women...⁣
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... From racism, to all the cultures we can claim, to how to do our hair, there are many things our mothers and family members were never equipped to teach us. ⁣
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...For some of us, our families never bothered to teach us about the culture of our roots in an effort to assimilate us into an “American” way. ⁣
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... One way or another, All of us have had to do some self teaching. We have studied our ancestors, our cultures and traditions, our languages, what it means to be Filipino/Mexican/Jamaican..., all in an effort to understand the Mosaic women we are. ⁣
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#mixedrace #mixedgirl #mixedpeople #biracial #mymosaicstory #mosaicwoman #imagodei #racialjustice #racialinjustice #mixedinamerica

For some of us, our family members had no clue how to teach us about our ethnic identity. Some of us came from blended families. So, whether it was hair care, cultural traditions, or social norms, many of us had to learn the intricacies of our ethnic mix on our own.

A Conversation Between 8 Mixed Women...⁣
⁣ .... Growing up mixed, many of us are used to being around people of different colors and cultures all the time, even within our own families. But finding friends who see beyond our own color and own curated Mosaic of cultures can be hard to find. ⁣⁣
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...Because of this, we often place value not in the color but character of others. We choose friendships that make us feel safe.⁣⁣ ⁣⁣
#mixedrace #mixedgirl #mixedpeople #biracial #mymosaicstory #mosaicwoman #imagodei #racialjustice #racialinjustice #mixedinamerica

Growing up mixed, some of us felt that seeing people of many ethnic varieties was normal because it was represented in our families. Skin colors and ethnicities were of little importance to us in relationships. Because of this, we didn’t find connection and friendship based off of skin color, but found more heart connections based on personality, acceptance, and genuine joy within our interactions with people.

All of us felt a struggle to fit in. We didn’t know which kids to sit with at lunch, and often were not “enough” or were “too white/black/hispanic/Asian” to sit with different groups. We could feel uncomfortable differences with any and every friendship group.

A Conversation Between 8 Mixed Women... ... Identity is more complex than “I identify with my white side....” or “my black side...” to the point that sometimes we don’t necessarily identify with either. We’re just “us”, a mosaic of all of it.

#mixedrace #mixedgirl #mixedpeople #biracial #mymosaicstory #mosaicwoman #imagodei #racialjustice #racialinjustice #mixedinamerica

People often pressure us to “identify ourselves.” We are asked to pick sides. “So are you black?” “Oh, well, you’re not really Mexican where it counts…” One of our women said in light of this she felt that she could only really identify as…herself. This happens when never feel wholly one “side” or another, because we’re not. We are mixes of many. Therefore, we often identify with our experiences as mixed women vs. being wholly black, white, or brown.

A Conversation among 8 mixed women...⁣
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...The quote in the image is in response to people who seem disappointed when we answer their questions. ⁣
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... All of us have been asked “What are you?” Some of us have generations of stories to tell that span across continents. And some of us are met with looks of disappointment when our story did not meet expectations. Some of us are simply bi-racial, and to ask about our history is to open up stories of broken relationships. ⁣
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...For some of us, people don’t believe us when we tell them our ethnic makeup. “No, you’re not black and white- you have to be Cuban. I know you are.” People approach us, questioning our identity to prove the details of their own exotic fascinations vs. hear the truth of our stories. ⁣
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... To be clear, We are not sorry that we are not exotic enough, or even “enough” for your imagination. ⁣
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...And “What are we?” We are human. Created in the image of God, which is something your imagination cannot fully capture. ⁣⁣⁣⁣
#mixedrace #mixedgirl #mixedpeople #biracial #mymosaicstory #mosaicwoman #imagodei #racialjustice #racialinjustice #mixedinamerica

We are often called exotic. None of us are amused by this. People always ask us, “What are you?” And sometimes people are disappointed when we tell them the truth because it’s often not what they expected. For the women in our group who don’t have wild a wild geneaology to share, they often are told, “No, you have to have some Cuban/Guatemalan/African/Something Exotic in your mix!” People’s fascinations with our ethnic mix can give us big headaches!

Snippets of A Conversation between Eight Mixed Women... ⁣
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...Hair care among many other signatures of our identity are often things we have to figure out on our own, or family has to seek help elsewhere. ⁣⁣⁣
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....For some of us, we came to the conclusion as adults that we have to be the ones to teach our family about racial injustice, and be open in sharing our experiences with them. Only sometimes when we do share our struggles, we are not always believed, or told our perception is off. We have been told we are wrong or that the offense was justifiable. Even within our own families, it’s hard for people to believe in injustices they have not personally experienced. ⁣⁣⁣
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... In some of our families, not everyone in our family can communicate with each other in a healthy fashion. Not everyone desires to communicate with each other. And we are forced to choose sides, remain in the middle, or exit the scene. ⁣⁣⁣
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... Some of us have made the decision of self-love and protection decision that it is not safe to engage with all sides of our family. ⁣⁣⁣
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... Some of us have been the ones to show our families how to love the aunties on our Cuban side, the uncles on our Puerto Rican side, and the cousins on our White side. We have embraced the differences and in doing so have embraced all of who we are. We have become the one who chooses to love everyone because to deny one part of our family feels synonymous to denying a portion of our Divinely created identity. ⁣⁣⁣
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...We all had much to learn, so we have become the teachers. ⁣⁣⁣
...There is much you can learn from a mixed woman. ⁣⁣⁣
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#mixedrace #mixedgirl #mixedpeople #biracial #mymosaicstory #mosaicwoman #imagodei #racialjustice #racialinjustice #mixedinamerica

For some of us, hair care was an issue. To brush the curls or to let them be? How to hydrate them? Tame them? Tease them? Press them? Who knows? Our mothers didn’t know what to do, so we had to learn what to do.

Our parents were often getting an ethnic education right alongside us, if not after we had to learn on our own.

A couple months ago, I asked some girlfriends if they’d like to be a part of a living “zoom” room chat. Every one of us is considered to be “mixed.” Some of us could identify nations from our veins such as the Philippines, Scotland, Jamaica, Puerto Rico, and Mexico to name a few. Some of us had more simple definitions we have come to know such as “I’m black and white.”⁣
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We had no idea that our meeting would occur in between the death of Ahmaud Arbery and George Floyd. ⁣
You could say that our chat was timely. ⁣
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There was a magic that came with hearing stories that we could all relate to- stories about family dynamics and awkward interactions with others. We laughed and grimaced over our countless attempts to answer the dreaded question, “What are you?”⁣
There was a comfort in finding common ground.⁣
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With their permission, I’ll be sharing some of the quotes from our chat over the next week. For those of you that are mixed, I hope you feel less lonely in your mixed-race experience. ⁣
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And I invite all of you, whether mixed race or not, to contemplate your own story. Read these stories not for consumption, but as a challenge to think of others beyond stereotypes and assumptions.⁣
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May you hear the stories and be surprised as you see a reflection of yourself. ⁣
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A special thanks to all the ladies who were a part of this meetup. Thank you for both sharing your stories as well as creating a safe place for other women to tell their own. And thank you for agreeing to share these brief moments with others. Others will continue to be deeply moved by the unique beauty of your “mosaics.” ❤️ ⁣
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#mixedrace #mixedgirl #mixedpeople #biracial #mymosaicstory #mosaicwoman #imagodei

We ended our meetup with a reading of 2 Cor 5:17 “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: the old is gone and the new is here!” This chapter of scripture talks about a ministry of reconciliation, in which we as mixed women have a great advantage and opportunity!

Every woman in the chat was also a follower of Jesus, so we ultimately find our identity in Christ. However we also believe that God was intentional in how he formed us, ethnicity included. Because of our unique experience as women of different cultures, worlds, ways of thoughts, and gorgeous beauty, who better to help bring reconciliation to a broken world.

So we left challenged to share our mosaic stories- the broken pieces of our identity along with the hope of how God makes it whole, so that others may find confidence in their identities and as relationships with others.

Do you want to be a part of our next Mixed Girl Meetup? Shoot me a message below along with any topics you would like us to discuss.

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