The Author of a `Bill of Rights' for Multiracial Americans Says It's Time to Recognize the Struggle of Those Born of Two Cultures.

By Jon Marmor

For most of her young life, Maria Root couldn't escape a certain question. Teachers, friends, their parents, and strangers asked the same thing.

"Where are you from?"

She gladly rattled off her street, city, or some landmark near her home. Some of the time, though, that didn't seem to sate the inquirer's curiosity. So she would mention her birth country, the Philippines, a place she couldn't remember. That usually did the trick. Then other questions would follow: "Is your dad in the military?" or "Are your parents married?"

Root couldn't help feeling put on the spot because of her "physical ambiguity" of being the offspring of a Filippina mom and a Caucasian dad. "That stings," she says. "It was always being pointed out that I was different and didn't fit in anywhere."

With millions of Americans coming from mixed racial backgrounds, those feelings resonate throughout the land. Long a country that has perceived itself as white, the U.S. is facing a change of stunning magnitude as the number of interracial marriages and children multiplies exponentially.

"Who are we as a people?" Root asks. "The face of America has changed forever."

Catching Up to the Fact of Biracial America
You Don't Fit Neatly Into a Box
Hope in Hawaii: A True Multiracial Culture
A Bill of Rights for Multiracial Americans

Links to Multiracial Sites

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