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The Daily Tar Heel

Letter to the editor: What place do biracial students have in activism?

The past seven months of activism on UNC's campus surrounding race and equality has finally hit me in a way I always hoped it would: personally. It has pushed me to consider my own racial and ethnic identities. 

I am the son of a Peruvian immigrant and a fourth-generation Irish New Yorker, an example of the American Dream and the mixed majority to come. Yet, despite this meshing of two cultures, I am left confused about who I am supposed to be. I am Hispanic enough that my successes have been belittled to simple cases of "affirmative action" and special "minority consideration.” At the same time, I am white enough to have been questioned about my presence at minority programs as an incoming student and accused of lacking a full understanding of the struggles Latinx people face in the United States. 

There seems to be hypocrisy in advocating for multiculturalism, but restricting full privileges of identity to those who come from a “pure” background. Mixed students are not simply allies or advocates of minority causes. They are, by virtue of their background, parts of them. Diversity is an ideal that the students of the University hold dear. I urge them to recognize this cohort of diverse students that have been neglected. Until then, mixed students will be left with more questions than answers. What have we gained? What have we lost? 

Liam Bendezu

UNC 2021

Philosophy and economics major

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