My Mixed Experience by Noemi Solano

Filling out demographic information has always been an annoyance. I've never fully understood how sometimes I'm allowed to fully share my two identities (Asian and Hispanic), and other times I'm only allowed to choose "Hispanic/Latino," only to be rushed into the next section of questions. It's especially odd because I was not raised within my Hispanic culture; all that was three time zones and thousands of miles away. Instead, I was raised by the Asian side of my family. The fact that I don't strongly favor either side physically is the cherry on top. Whether it be grocery stores, my place of work, or my local election site, people have always inquired what exactly I am.
I enjoy asserting both sides of my mixed heritage, but one place that doesn't welcome that is the DMV. I specifically remember the last time I renewed my license, since it's one of the instances where I'm reduced to one or the other. This was around the time where many people of Hispanic heritage were being racially profiled and unjustly pulled over while driving, and in some cases getting deported. I recall being terrified to drive anywhere, even to the DMV to get this done, just in case an officer decided that my other-ness looked just suspicious enough. I foolishly decided that anything separating me from that situation would be best, so I decided to choose "Asian," erasing one half of myself in the eyes of the DMV and hoping that anyone who ran my license plate numbers would see that and let me be on my way.

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