In her book Mixed Blessings: Embracing the Fullness of Your Multiethnic Identity, Chandra Crane writes eloquently about the struggles and joys of being a multi-ethnic believer. Born to a Thai birth father and European American mother and raised by an African American adoptive father, Crane knows what it feels like to feel “in-between.”
Weaving her own experiences with stories from dozens of other multi-ethnic believers, Crane creates a multi-colored tapestry which should be required reading for all seeking to understand those whose identities are not mono-ethnic. Though Crane mostly focuses on those who were raised in America with parents from different ethnicities, much of what she says could also be helpful for understanding 2nd generation immigrants who have parents who come from a single culture but who are in a sense also “parented” by their new culture and find themselves neither fully like their parents nor like Americans who have been in America for many generations.
Crane does not try to gloss over the hard aspects of being multi-ethnic–the pages explain various challenges of having a mixed identity and contain lament over lack of belonging. However, the gifts of wise perspective, awareness, empathy, and reconciliation, including other things, are held up as valuable assets that often develop as people live in the “in-between.” Mixed identity truly is a blessing and mixed people are a blessing to the church and the world.
Crane ends with advice that was given to a multi-ethnic friend who was struggling with the fact that she didn’t clearly belong to either group that she came from: “If the hallway is your home, just decorate it! Here you have access to all the rooms; you can come and go. It’s ok if that’s where you are.”
Those who have multi-ethnic identity themselves will be encouraged by this book, and those who have a mono-cultural background will gain valuable insights on the mixed experience.