Biracial woman with red hair inspires conversation on identity and 'otherness'

Biracial woman with red hair stirs moving conversation about identity. (Photo: Facebook/Humans of New York)
A biracial woman with red hair starts a conversation about identity. (Photo: Facebook/Humans of New York)

One young woman has opened up about her struggle with identity in a new video for Humans of New York: The Series.

“My mom is black, and my dad is white, so I’ve always kind of had issues with my identity,” she says. “I don’t really look like anybody. A lot of people say that’s a good thing, but I don’t really see it like that.”

She shares the challenges of moving through life with a unique look in the video entitled I Don’t Look Like Anybody. “I’ve had people touch my hair on the street before, like ‘Oh, this is different!'” she says.

I Don't Look Like Anybody

Full Episodes @ Humans of New York: The Series

Posted by Humans of New York on Wednesday, November 15, 2017

It’s not always OK to reach out and grab someone’s hair. Even when the remarks are compliments, they serve as a constant reminder of otherness.

Many of us try to seek out a unique look to express our individuality and style. But this young woman has been told to embrace her differences one too many times. “There’s a societal precedent that says ‘Everyone’s a special snowflake, and we should all celebrate our uniqueness and our differences,’ but there are times when I don’t celebrate my differences, and I would just like to be the same as everyone else,” she says. The video is a reminder of the richness of everyone’s interior lives — she may look like a supermodel to us, but this young woman has had to face a set of challenges as individualized as her look.

She doesn’t have role models in the media or beauty tutorials that speak directly to her identity. “If you look different from everybody else, there’s no like base point to compare yourself to,” she says.

Still, people are writing in to let her know that she is not alone. “Omg you could be my little sister!” writes Ayanna Frederick Wacasey. “Girl you are black and white with red hair and freckles you are a unicorn.”

“As just a ginger, raising biracial children, I love your identity as an Afro Ginger!” writes Kerri Griffin Chen. “I think that you brilliantly articulated the ‘otherness’ of being biracial,” says Mariah Kae.

With any luck, the video will help this young woman feel a little more beautiful, and a whole lot less alone.

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