Ina, identity. One student has a neutral stance

Ina, Sara Naomi, Tess and Marloe’s photo essay has been selected to write the final essay on. The topics of their photo essay are mixed identities. The photos are of mixed race students who are pressured into being labeled as one or the other.  The photo essay has given me a huge impact, as I also do understand the pressures faced by racially ambiguous people. I myself also am to an extent ambiguously ethnic with grandparents whom are of Asian descent but have resided 2 generations in Europe. One of the exasperating features of each photo is how they view the concept of being put in a box. Some students identify with one identity based on their upbringings and are not attached so much with the 2nd identity. One student has a neutral stance on both of her identities, as she has endorsed herself in two identities. One student is heavily reluctant to place herself in a box as she faces the struggles of ethnic identity. This paper will argue specific narratives used in the photo essays and how modern globalization has enhanced marriage across different races. The first body paragraph will give an introduction to the photo essays of mixed identities. The second paragraph will introduce the literature of narratology from the lectures and relate it to the photo essay. The concepts of mise en scène, positioning, angles, background imagery, and colouring will be clearly studied and applied to the photo essay. The third paragraph will discuss my own perspectives and experiences in relation to the topic of the photo essay. The subject of modern globalization’s enhancement of marriage among different races will be discussed with the assistance of a secondary source ‘Global Mixed Race. This source is very relevant to the research because it explores how the role of globalization and the movement of people have increased sexual contact outside the national boundaries. The outcomes from the contact of people have increased intercultural marriages



The photo essay from Ina, Sara, Naomi, Tess, and Marloe portrays multiple identities that are expressed within by the individual. A person might identify with one of their racial identities more than the other. Depending on the context and the moment of the person this might differ. Individuals with many identities experience a variety of stressors from the two groups of difficulties linked to identities that result and outline their day-to-day lives. The initial group emphases on inner and self-perceived personalities concerning the matters related to identity. The second group aims at social perceptions and statuses regarding who is perceived to be. The position of a ‘minority’ tends to be projected in a negative connotation. For example, the question “What are you” is what most mixed-race minorities encounter frequently and does not halt people directly asking them what races they are mixed with. If a parent comes from diverse ethnic groups, they feel as if they have to pick a side (Nettles and Balter, 2012). Being mixed race is not just a biological reality but it is also a construct. There are no connections with one’s skin colour and intellect. Closeness and language tend to have more to do with identifying an ethnic group. When we are born, society forces us to tick a box regarding our race, gender, and ethnicity. These labels are given to us based on the historical and societal context of the society we are born into. The photo essay of mixed identities reflects one’s attachment to their identity where the students show their proximity to their dual identities. Each of the candidates shows their attachment towards their mixed identities through a metaphorical black frame. Each pose of the candidates differs vastly from each other. The first photo of “P” poses very boldly outside the box in where the society expects to put him in. He also slightly identifies his non-white ethnical background where he gained cultural experience in his childhood. He acknowledges that he is not able to influence the perception and lets them have their perception of their own. The candidate “V” grew up in a predominately white neighborhood in Groningen, where she has little to no contact with her non-white background in her father’s side. “V” is standing confidently outside the black box of racial classification with her arm still in the frame. This slight connection with the black frame mirrors the section of her remaining identity of her non-white background where she partially identifies with. “J” poses as if she is carrying the globe on her shoulders, which is a metaphor for carrying the weight of “racial” categorization that society places her into. When she moved to the Netherlands, she faced social pressures from people asking her about her ethnicity. The photo “N” captures a biracial Kenyan and German candidate who embraces societal and racial classifications. She sees herself as a crossway between the two societal categories in which she challenges society’s expectation to select one side.

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Narratology is a concept that helps us understand narratives of texts, images, cultural artefacts and events. The concept is a methodical set of simplified statements regarding a specific part of reality. Narratology is the concept of a mutual literary language, which functions inside the texts. Narratives are established and linked through a large variety of media including written and oral language (Bal, 2017). The medium used to create the photo essays is through a digital camera. Photoshop was also used in the process to create the complementary squares. The photographs were taken place in the Groninger Museum where the surroundings are minimalistic and plain. The first photo of “P” is a medium-full shot, meaning that the whole body in the picture apart from below the knees. The photos of “V”, “J” and “N” are all full shot, meaning that they are seen from head to foot. “P” is wearing a traditional African Dashiki top and black pants to represent his non-white heritage. Dashiki is a multi-coloured garment wore by men in West Africa. The word Dashiki is originally derived from Hausa and it literally translated to ‘underneath’ (OkayAfrica, 2017). Candidates “V”, “J” and “N” are wearing casual western clothes. “V”, “J” and “N” are all wearing a white top and a black pants. This black and white outfit denotes the clash of their non-white and white identities. The colour scheme of the photos is a minimalistic black-and-white monochrome. The blend of both black and white produces a spectrum of grey shades giving the large meaning of the theme of ‘mixed identities’, and the individual affiliation to societal and racial group. The black square is a metaphor for how the society sees and categorizes mixed-race persons; it is also a symbol of their non-white heritage. “N” is the only student who has a white square in the photo to affiliate with her white (German) side. Both squares are being overlapped in a shape of a diamond and her head is in the gap in-between. The squares are purposely modified inside the photo from using Photoshop. Shadows were added to the squares for realism and depth, creating a 3D effect (Kroon, 2014). The space outside the black square characterizes the students’ personal view on how they identify themselves. It can also be seen as a compass of the white ethnicity, where the ‘other’ or what is ‘non-white’ is inside the box. The angle that is being shot in all photos is at eye level. The shots are very neutral as it puts a uniform stability with the subject being photographed. This sort of eye level shot is less exaggerating, more comfortable, direct to the viewers. They do not overpower or under power the viewers. The subjects are able to look directly into the lens of the camera without lifting their head up or down. The background imagery of the photo is plain white wall. The white colour scheme helps the subjects clearly stand out. In a black and white colour scheme, a white background is ideal for photography. Other colours would not be able to be seen; therefore Black and white are the only reasonable options (Mamer, 2013)


In our globalized world where people movement and settlement of people are increasing, interracial marriage and relationships are inevitable. In the United States, mixed marriage and relationships were banned until 1967. Due to the increase of globalization the patterns of are changing. Currently the migration of people has a racial and cultural length that involves dating and marriage across different racial and ethnic groups. The process of hybridity has increased the social acceptance of mixed identities. The social importance of being biracial is affected more through the movement of racial thoughts around the globe. For instance nowadays men look for women of colour occasionally in the new host country he immigrated to. The numbers of mixed identities are cumulating in popular culture and the relationships of mixed people are notably normalized in today’s media. The approach to racial categorization for mixed-race people recently has been increasingly tolerant. Most western countries certify several procedures of mixed-race identification such as open-ended answers or selecting multiple-choice questions of an arrangement of racial backgrounds. Similarly the squares in the photo-essay reflect exactly the classifications of where society places mixed identities. This identification is related with influence from family and personal relationships. Relationships with parents are the basis of peer and community relationships (King-O’Riain et al., 2014). In the photo essay, only one developed her self-identity from her mother and grandparents. She was raised in a predominantly white area and she identifies herself as equally black and white, which she rejects the society’s view of picking one side. Conversely, the other individuals did not equally identify with both identities, however chose a dominant identity regarding to their upbringings and how society perceives them. My cousin is mixed with Cambodian and Sri Lankan, but she identifies her self as Swiss due to the lack of exposure and education of the culture and language of her inheritance.


The photo essay from Ina, Sara Naomi, Tess, and Marloe reflects one’s attachment to their identity and how society perceives them. Each of the candidates has shown their attachment towards their mixed heritage with a metaphorical black square. Student “P” poses very confidently outside the black square in which his society places him. “V” grew up in a predominately white area, which she identifies herself with the people she grew up with. She has little contact her non-white side; therefore she is almost outside the box. “J” is holding the black box of racial classification on her shoulders to symbolize the society pressuring her to be put in a box. “N” is confidently embracing societal and racial classifications in which she sees herself as an interception between two societal categories. The study of narration has contributed to the mise en scène, positioning, angles and background of the photo essay. To conclude globalization and movement of people have largely contributed to the acceptance of relationships among different cultures and ethnic groups around the world.