The Box Marked “Other”

In college I once found myself on an Internet forum where race relations was being discussed. A biracial commenter was expressing the difficulties she had experienced growing up as a racial blend. Being a Chinese/Creole blend myself, I took interest.

The commenter had fallen in love with someone of African American heritage and had decided for herself that, though she wanted to be a mother, she would never want to bring more biracial children into the world. She had endured such hardships in her life that she could not imagine subjecting anyone else to the unique pain of social isolation.

How incredibly heartbreaking, I thought, that we live in a society so dedicated to boxing people up that someone who doesn’t feel she has a box would deny herself the fulfillment of a dream so sacred as bringing forth new life.

As someone who has had to check the race box marked “other” for my whole adult life, I understand (to some degree, at least) what it feels like to feel outcasted, despised, underestimated, rejected and discriminated against. That’s part of the shadow side of humanity.

But here’s what I know. Conditioning be damned, we are better than that. If we want to begin the healing process on this planet together, we should ALL check the box marked “other,” at least in our beingness.

The paradigm of division never limits itself to race. It calls us to draw divisive distinctions between ourselves all over the place until we’ve retracted to the point of fear-based isolation. Race, religion, politics, education, income bracket, eating strategies, parenting styles, professions, and the list goes on…”us” versus “them.” Can we stop? There is no “them.” Only us.

My heart aches for the chaotic divisiveness that is growing in some parts of the world, for the rage, for the intense fear, and, most of all, for the apathy.

But call me crazy. I still believe that what we see in the media, on our newsfeeds, and even on some streets is not the hopeless end to our story. Love may not be as popular a headline, but it is STILL more pervasive than the hate. And I will not let anyone shape my impressions otherwise. I believe that we still have the power to cast out darkness simply by showing up each day in that power.

I reject the notion that we are an evil, hopeless, or parasitic species as some have decided. We are misguided, deluded, distracted, asleep, yes. But we still have a choice. If we respond to injustices with blind rage or fear-based retraction, we add to the problem instead of being a force for healing it. Deep down we know this, even through our reactivity.

Some espouse that responding in love is weakness and that responding in violence is strength. But is it? If we amplify fear, the end game is total destruction, for all of us. Love is the courageous forward-moving choice. It always has been. Shadows of the heart can not survive its illuminating force. This is still a planet bursting with that energy, and that’s what I choose to amplify.

So today as I watch my beautiful blended babies giggle and play without a care in the world I am reminding myself of this truth. You can blast me with headlines of doom and gloom, but I worship the God of LOVE. This is Love’s planet, and we have a gnarly infection that needs immediate attention. The good news is that each of us has the power to heal the infected spaces when we wake up, join forces, and move…in LOVE. God bless you, friend. 🙏💖

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