West Side Story is a 1961 adaptation of the Broadway musical of the same name, which was based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Set in late 1950s Manhattan, the film chronicles the rivalry between a white American gang (the Jets) and a gang of Puerto Rican immigrants (the Sharks), and, of course, a pair of star-crossed lovers caught between.
This 2014 video addresses the everyday experiences of “What It’s Like to be Ambiguously Ethnic.” The video shows a diverse range of people talking about issues such as the misunderstandings and confused comments and interactions they experience, people trying to place identity categories onto them that they do not identify with, people assuming you can speak different languages, and having to decide what to do when they experience racial or ethnic microaggressions, or the everyday, often unintentional, marginalizing interactions racial and ethnic minorities frequently experience in the U.S. For example, one man of Japanese, Mexican, and Filipino background described a substitute teacher who was taking roll at the beginning of class and did not believe that he matched his name because of his physical appearance. Another man of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Hawaiian, and Korean background describes a situation when he was walking down the street in Chicago and a woman who was having problems communicating with her Uber driver saw him and asked, “Excuse me sir, can you take this call? This Uber driver, I think he’s Middle Eastern, Arabic. Can you handle this?”
This 2015 video addresses the everyday experiences of adopted and/or mixed raced individuals who look different from their parents or families. The video shows a diverse range of adopted or mixed race people talking about experiences such as the misunderstandings and confused comments they experience, people trying to place identity categories onto them that they do not fully identify with, issues of belonging, what it is like growing up in families where your parents or other family members either do not look like you or have a different heritage than you, and the ongoing development and negotiation of their identities. For example, one of the women describes what it’s like to grow up as a Black woman with White parents and a White brother, a man describes raising mixed race kids and teaching them about race, ethnicity, and their Central American and Indonesian backgrounds, one woman describes her upbringing with Danish and Indian parents, another describes Mexican and Scottish parents, a man describes being adopted from Peru by White parents, and another man describes his Filipino, half Black, and White siblings, all of whom were adopted by their White parents.