Newly Minted

Newly Minted
Right after I was hooded

Thursday, December 29, 2011

It really is that simple...

I wrote this over a year and a half ago:

It would appear that the mixed race identity expresses itself in multiplicitous narratives that are articulated from the intersections of more recognizable narratives. That is to suggest that the reason mixed race identity is so easy to suppress, or worse dismiss, is because it is not locateable as a singular voice. Mixed Race does not speak as one identity, rather, mixed race is the voice of multiplicitous identities that are expressed all at once and are expressed in and as a "this and" experience.

I have been working on my dissertation this week. I aim to be done and turn in a final draft on the 18th of January. That said, I have been trying to articulate the characteristics of mixed race along with a frustration around the dislocation of mixed race people in socio-cultural histories. My assertion is that mixed race has, and must have, existed at the inception of race itself. If we understand race to have been a concept or construct that was placed on existing bodies rather than illicited from those bodies and lived experiences, then we must accept that even in the moment when africans were named less than human and raced as black there had to be bodies/people/lived realities that didn't fit within racial categories even then. They weren't supposed to. Race was meant to seperate and thus any socio-racial location that is not distinctly seperate from other socio-racial identities simply don't make sense. Worse, these identities serve to prove the social construct of race incorrect. And THAT is a problem.

Anthropologists have a lot to offer when they locate africans in the Americas and Native Americans in Africa long before the advant of african chattle slavery. Biologists offer us similar DNA in populations who seem to be completedly geographically inaccessible to each other... As populations migrated across the globe, and lived experiences culturally intersected through trade and war, there are children... I have spent six years talking to this century's version of those children and listening to the journey and development of their socio-racial identities.

It troubles me that it seems acceptable to be proud of ethnic mixing "I am italian and irish" and not race mixing. Why can't it be as wonderful to be "Chinese and Irish"? This is a very simple snapshot of what I have been doing for the last six years. But at times, for me, it is just that simple. I am certain I have said it many many times... When my children wake up they have a parent who is brown skinned and a parent who is white skinned. They understand that to be a black parent and a white parent. They also understand that mommy is mixed race because her parents are different colors. They also understand that daddy is irish, german, english, and welsh. Even more interesting is that this all makes perfect sense to children, yet academics call it research and scholarship.

So many times I have been reading history, sociology, anthropoloy articles and found strong articulations of mixed race individuals not just because I understand it as mixed race but because the individuals in their own narratives (pre-critical race theory's exploration of mixed race) understand themselves as mixed race. Also, almost always, they understand that they are not allowed to name themselves mixed race and must then find a way to articulate their socio-racial being. Yet every academic conversation about mixed race acts like it is a new conversation....

Mixed race is not new...really progeny of different people from different cultures is not new...I have really enjoyed exploring why allowing this reality to have a shape of its own is such a threat to who and how socio-racial identity is understood and allowed to be expressed.

More soon...

1 comment:

  1. Dear Mixed Race Professor,
    I am a mixed race doctoral student, writing about a series of interviews I have conducted with three mixed race high school girls related to their attitudes and identity perceptions related to science. I found your wonderful blog while googling "mixed race identity". I absolutely love the quote you begin with in this post. "It would appear. . . " I'd like to be able to use in a paper I'm writing for a class and cite you by name. Can you write me back and let me know if that would be ok. My email is Thanks Corey.