Photographer Joi Pearson shares story of growing up biracial

Joi Pearson, on the right, and her family
Joi Pearson, on the right, and her family

Photographer Joi Peason is an amalgamation of cultures and ethnicities that today gives her an enriched and enviable perspective on life and a unique insight on international affairs that her peer group cannot claim.

However, when she was young, the Hampton, Va., native may have sometimes felt like she was hovering in a cultural “no-fly zone” that other multiracial and biracial children feel in their yearning for acceptance and to be part of a group setting. During the pressurized (and sometime unforgiving) adolescent school years where blacks and whites often force biracial children to choose sides — and also dish out a steady diet of cutting and cruel comments about their appearance that can lacerate the soul — it can often leave biracial and bicultural children confused, hurt, disenchanted and feeling like an outsider.

But Pearson, the daughter of an African American and Native American father and a Filipino mother, wasn’t besieged by the oppressive feelings of isolation that we’ve heard afflicted some multiracial youth, nor was she spurned by blacks and whites. Pearson came of age in an era where interracial relationships and marriages are much more commonplace than in previous generations and, subsequently, her journey into maturation was not marked by as many landmines as perhaps some of her older multiracial counterparts.

Pearson’s life exemplifies the cultural paradigm shift that has taken place where multiculturalism has finally attained a level of normalcy in contemporary America.

Pearson shares part of her story with us. 

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