January 28th, 2021: Throwback Thursday Post - Racial Imposter Syndrome:

Written by Chloe Forrester


Imposter syndrome is a psychological pattern in which someone feels like a fraud of their accomplishments, skills, or talents. Although anyone can experience imposter syndrome, Racial Imposter Syndrome (RIS) is a lesser-known issue faced by mixed race individuals who feel as if they cannot claim a race. Many individuals tend to identify with their race, but for those who are multiracial and feel like a racial impostor, this creates a problem, as they do not know which race to identify with. But for multiracial people, this feeling goes deeper than their desire to feel like they are not a racial imposter. Their cultural and ethnic identity can be affected by it. When you don't feel like you're belonging to a group of people, your past experiences and identity can be doubted, especially when your identity is often rooted in the way others view you. The cause of RIS can be connected to colorism, exclusion, lack of representation, and the privilege of being white-passing. Although cultural focus on racial consciousness sheds light on past systems of discrimination and calls for justice, the pressure on individuals to figure out their own labels and racial identity adds another layer of difficulty to the personal discovery process.


In a research study conducted by Pew Research Center, 61% of Americans with a background that includes more than one race, said that they do not consider themselves as multiracial. Furthermore, when asked why they don’t identify as multiracial, individuals said it was either because they look one race, were raised as one race, they only identify as one race, or they didn’t know they were multiracial. In the end, the story is different for everybody, and we're all learning how to communicate about identities that fall outside of our traditional understandings of race.


What You Can Do

  1. Find a community to connect, share, and express yourself.

  2. Read the Bill of Rights for People of Mixed Heritage

  3. Remember you are valid, no matter what race you identify as.

Sources:

https://www.mhanational.org/blog/why-imposter-syndrome-goes-deep-multiracial-people

https://www.pewsocialtrends.org/2015/06/11/chapter-3-the-multiracial-identity-gap/

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