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Black and white

One woman’s search for identity

By Jacqueline Peres

Mixed, mulatto, biracial, two-toned, hybrid — Call me any of the above names, but don’t simply call me East Indian or French Canadian. 

You would only be partly correct. Sure, it’s true: I have the facial characteristics and body type of a person from India, but I am also fluent in the written and spoken French language. I was born and raised in Toronto, so if you inquired about my ethnic group, I would declare that I am a proud Canadian. 

Ever since school began, I have seen announcements for clubs around campus based on ethnic origins: The Muslim Students’ Assocation, the Celtic Students’ Association, the Chinese Christian Fellowship, etcetera, and I have often wondered: are there other students out there, who, like m, have no concrete sense of self?

Don’t get me wrong, I am very much in favour of multiracial marriages. I feel unique, different and special but sometimes I wish I had a more recognizable sense of my heritage. Friends and acquaintances have often mentioned how beautiful “mixed” children are. I am not a novelty; I am a person. I want to be appreciated for my qualities and not for my “exotic” appearance.

When I tell others how I perceive my dual background, I am frequently misunderstood. People say to me: “I don’t understand why having a white mother and a brown-skinned father is such a big deal.” The big deal is that my parents never placed much of an emphasis on engaging in culturally-oriented activities. Perhaps this is why I feel somewhat deficient in that area of my upbringing in comparison to my Salsa-dancing Latin American friends and my Karaoke-singing Japanese companions. It is for those reasons I would be interested in forming a bi-racial club.

I believe such an endeavour would bring “rootless” individuals such as myself together and give us the chance to seek answers and discover new things about ourselves in the process. 

Jacqueline Peres is a Ryerson student and is interested in any responses to her idea for a bi-racial club. Send e-mail to her at

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