What Happens When a Mixed-Race Person Gets Her Car Stolen
Last Monday my car wasn’t where I parked it. My first thought was “towed” but there was no record of it in the system, so I called the police to report it stolen. Two officers showed up at my front door and filled out a report, which had a section to check off a race box for me.
“Hispanic?” asked the Hispanic cop.
“Nope. Mixed race. Black and white. Err… African-American and Caucasian. Whatever.”
“Well, I can only check one. Are you more black or white?”
“Fifty-fifty, actually. Or you could say, 23/23, too!” I said, attempting a lame biology joke about chromosomes which neither of them understood.
They puzzled for a minute, figuring out what to do.
“Oh, I know,” said the other officer, “what parent is the black one?”
“Um… how does that help?” I responded. Yes it was a sassy answer, but it was so steeped in ignorance that I felt answering it for real would have been too dignified a response. (I still don’t know which parent being what would have made me what.)
“Ok, well, which do you identify with more?” This might have been the closest they got to a valid question.
Every mixed person gets asked this, and everyone has their own answer. Mine is, has always been, and will always be that I don’t. It virtually never comes up and I don’t think about it, or have friendships where it’s a consideration. The guys I’ve dated have been all colors, and no one’s mother has ever met me and raised an eyebrow. Even where I’ve chosen to live is an educated neighborhood that doesn’t glace twice at two people of different colors (or even the same gender) holding hands while walking down the street. The only time my race comes up is when I’m shopping hair care products, or, I guess, the victim of a crime.
Anyway, the cops said the computer could only process one, so I shrugged and told them to check off what they needed to.
Honestly, why is this still a thing?
If you’re wondering: the thieves ended up parking my car in a No Standing Zone a day later. It got towed, and I was able to go collect it. The car was totally fine, although my hula girl got broken. The indignity.