Newly Minted

Newly Minted
Right after I was hooded

Friday, January 3, 2014


Happy New Year. 2014 promises to be a busy year. Twitter is alive with race discourse. My dissertation gets defended. I continue to work on how to help people see their own socio-racial location as well as how that location might intersect with others. I think my big goal, broadly, is to really work on helping people understand their impact. I was part of a pretty aggressive and highly contested twitter trend #WhatIsBlackPrivilege which led to other trends like #solidarityisforwhitewomen and #reclaimintersectionalityin2014. I am excited to suggest that social media is the new frontier for race discourse. I am disappointed to report that mixed race is not a part of that discourse in a real and substantive way. Again. During the #WhatIsBlackPrivilege trend, black folks started to share with the world what they experience as black folks in the US. The trend was in direct response to far right-wingers who claim that black people are the benefactors of black privilege. Black folks felt strongly that this was a misrepresentation of their actual lived experiences. As all good black discourse is want to do, in short order, folks started to call out each other on skin tone and hair texture. And of course, "people who can't come to terms with being black", followed closely behind. Are there people who cannot cope with being black? I am certain there are. If you follow the #WhatIsBlackPrivilege trend you could come up with some truly traumatic reasons why being black is really hard. But this is a symptom of race and racism. Mixed race is not a symptom of race, it is an intimate reality. In 2014 children born to interracial couples will have access to up to three generations of familial experience. Those experiences will be diverse and representative of at least two different racialized realities. Those children will be loved by those familial relations as family, children, nieces, nephews, sons, daughters, and not as confused symptoms of racism. To say that a child whose mother is black and father is white is something other than mixed race is to perpetuate the worst of inheritances of slavery and Jim Crow. The mixed race community must call out these instances of ugly accusation and misrepresentation from all communities. We are not confused. We are owning our intimate others and our intimate realities. Does claiming mixed race keep me from understanding and experiencing the world as black? Nope. It does, however, recognize me as the daughter of my black Apache mother and my white father. It also allows me to be the mother of my mixed race Irish daughter rather than her babysitter. It has nothing to do with not wanting to black. It has everything to do with being a piece of this biracial family and the multiracial landscape that is my intimate life. #WhatIsBlackPrivilege? Deciding who is black? Deciding what is black? Deciding who is black enough? It is time for mixed race people and families to stand up and let folks know that #mixedraceisathing Happy New Year... more soon

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