“OH, so you’re a ‘windian’!” A new friend recently told me. “A what?” I sputtered. “A ‘windian’! Like a white Indian!” she explained.
Wow. I could think of a million things that I identify as — a hardworking student, a sushi-lover, a curious traveler, an artist, a writer, a cat-lady and, yes, ethnically half-French and half-Indian — but at no point in my life had I resigned myself to the single story of a “white Indian.” Both words apply differently to parts of my multicultural heritage, but none of them capture my experiences, or how I appear to others.
Such is the confusion that many mixed-race or mixed-ethnic individuals feel in attempting to develop their identities, especially throughout their childhood and adolescence. It’s one of the reasons that it is so important for us to be able to see other mixed-race and mixed-ethnic people in positions of positive authority or influence. We are thus given role models whom we can admire, as well as inspiration to create or follow paths like theirs.
It’s another reason that I find the implications of Meghan Markle’s recently-announced pregnancy important. Don’t get me wrong—I’m not obsessed with the royals’ celebrity status or paparazzi-stalked life. I’m not attempting to create salacious predictions surrounding the future royal baby’s gender, race or publicized role in representing the United Kingdom. To be honest, I didn’t even watch Duchess Meghan and Prince Harry’s globally-broadcasted wedding this past May.
I do think, however, that their expected child, its mother being, as she defines herself, “half-black and half-white," and its father Caucasian, has the potential to expand society’s perspective of those entitled to royal status and other leadership roles.