As a mixed race individual, I am constantly being talked to by white people about "what" I am, "what" I "identify as", this is primarily due to the way I look and what my name is.
I have dark hair, thick hair, and an olive skin tone. People, throughout my life, have decided to point out that I have less typically European physical features than some of my friends. I started modifying my eyebrows when I was in the fourth grade because I was humiliated many times in two different schools for having thick eyebrows. I've been asked if I'm from Persia, Israel, and Iran because of the way I look; "you look Persian" . I have been questioned hundreds of times about my heritage, ethnicity, and race, just because I "don't look white". And then, when I say that I don't identify as white, I'm told "no, you're white, you look white". People feel open to telling me exactly what I can and cannot be, and this has resulted in a state of total confusion on my part.
Then there's my last name, "Rajagopal". I've talked about this before, but until the comments and questioning stop, it's always going to be relevant. Every teacher and piano judge I've ever had has stumbled over my name, asked for the pronunciation multiple times, or just decided to leave out my last name when calling out individual students by their full names in school assemblies. I'm going to quote Uzoamaka Aduba quoting her mother, "If they can learn to say Tchaikovsky and Michelangelo and Dostoyevsky, they can learn to say Uzoamaka." I feel the same way about my name- it's only a few syllables, and it can be embarrassing to constantly hear people stumbling over it, especially in large public assemblies. When they do learn how to say it, I get comments like, "your name sounds like a disease", or "there aren't many names like that here, in America"; newsflash: America doesn't consist of just Smith, Adams, and Jones. When some people learn of my last name, they just have to talk to me about India, the characteristics of Indian surnames, and the like. They seem required to reaffirm their beliefs of where I'm "from".
The questioning and comments have also resulted in slight irritation; the constant questioning of me by white people, listening to people decide what race I am in front of me, having to hear jokes and side comments in class about my choice to identify as "a person", instead of giving them an exact race, as if that's hilariously implausible. And because of this, my racial identity is constantly changing, sometimes not even present, mostly unknown, at least at the moment.