I never really thought about the boxes we all inevitably check at some point in our lives. The ones that ask us to classify ourselves. I never thought about them because I am White and identify in many ways with groups that were represented in the mainstream and media around me.
To be honest, I didn’t think about it much more when I married my Puerto Rican husband, the son of Puerto Rican parents. Although his boxes look a bit different he also identified with groups that he saw around him growing up.
Now, I think about those boxes so much more, in ways I never thought I would. Now that I am a mother of a black/brown child and want her to live her best life as her authentic self I don’t want her to care what boxes she checks. I want her to be proud of who she is without worrying about how she identifies herself. Those boxes mean nothing to me - but they mean everything to politicians, statisticians, and decision-makers who rely on what those numbers are.
We all deserve the right to be who we are freely, especially the children that may not have learned to judge yet. We all deserve to be appreciated and loved for our contributions to this world, despite all those boxes. It’s time to start questioning the assumptions associated with those boxes and start connecting outcomes with reality. It’s time to move forward together because we are so much more than boxes!