What are your parent’s ethnic backgrounds?
My dad is African American and my mom is Ukrainian (Russian).
Did you have any struggles growing up mixed race, such as any internal or external issues?
When I was growing up, especially in middle school, I struggled internally with fitting into a specific group of friends. I was always accepted, but I always felt that I didn’t quite fit in. I probably felt this way because I wasn’t honest with myself at the time about my identity. It wasn’t until later in high school where I felt more comfortable and confident with my background.
Do you identify as mixed race or by one race?
I consider myself mixed in terms of my skin color, but when it comes to my identity, I consider myself Russian.
Do you feel like you’re part of one ethnic group more than the other?
Yes, on my Russian side. I learned to speak the language at a very young age through my mother and grandparents, I continued to learn how to read and write it in college, and I know the history and stuff. But, I don’t really know much about my African American side.
Do you feel, or have you felt, like you didn’t belong to either one of your ethnic groups?
Yes, at times I felt that I can’t identify with either group. For instance, when I go to Brooklyn, specifically Brighton beach where nearly everyone is Russian, they often talk about me and are even rude to me. They make me feel like I don’t belong and in the past I had let that bother me. Now what I do is say something politely back to them in Russian and totally catch them off guard. I have never quite felt like I fit in the African American community completely because I’m always told, to this day, I’m “too white” or that I “talk like a white girl” and I’m still trying to figure out what that means.