Newly Minted

Newly Minted
Right after I was hooded

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Mixed Race: Still a Thing

For those who continue to doubt mixed race "as a thing", this post is for you. After a decade of this work I am still surprised by the comments I get from those who immediately identify themselves AS mixed race and then suggest that I have forgotten that I am black. One comment suggested that I should stop complaining because "you are not easily recognized as 50% black and 50% white" and suggested I go ahead and get a genealogy update from some website. Perhaps I am lying about being mixed race? Not to mention having not gotten my "recipe" correct. Apache Grandmother, Black/Apache Mother, White Father... Another comment suggested that I had lost touch with the 1/16th rule, the one drop rule, which makes us all African American. I do not identify as African American, I am black mixed race. Someone simply said "haha". If one reads my research, what I am claiming is more than a racial categorization. I am not invoking, nor ignoring, the racist system that negates large parts of individual and familial genealogy. I know my genealogy and I am demanding the right and access to all of it. I won't pretend that it doesn't hurt a little bit more when a fellow mixed race person tries to enforce the vary structures of domination and oppression that keep them, us, hierarchically suppressed. The other interesting piece of these comments is the reflection of intimate identity. Thank you for proving my point. Clearly something in my research and socio-racial identity has triggered something, albeit potentially unexamined, in theirs as well. We are who we are told we are. Not just by a completely racist structural hierarchy which depends on everyone from the African Diaspora remaining "all black" and thus enslaveable. We must be identifiable at a glance and mixed race pushes against that, although; apparently not in my case. We are also identified by those who love us and call us their own. Our ethno-cultural experiences and political beliefs factor into how we identify as well. We must broaden our understanding of the intersections that create identity and embrace the humanity of allowing others to name themselves. I also wonder if the commenters would make the same argument for my daughter who has a very white aesthetic but is also clearly from the African Diaspora. Oh, yeah, we are ALL from the African Diaspora... FYI. But would this person decide she was black or white. The reality, intimate, genealogical, and lived is that she is mixed race. That is also my intimate, genealogical and lived reality. I have never been black enough and as the commenter points out I am also not white. If my daughter have the same genealogical line AND the same lived experiences (like facing these kinds of conversations almost daily) are we both not similarly socio-racially located? We must challenge then how a person decides, especially since we are mother and daughter, to name us other things. Didn’t naming others end with emancipation? We must be mindful of what we are activating in these moments and who’s narrative and history we are really defending. Finally, I want to reiterate that my research and assertion of a mixed race identity, lived experience, and community does at no point suggest that some mixed race people are not part of the African Diaspora (see snarky comment above...). This tension, these comments, the devaluing of differences in the black/brown population only serves the capitalist hierarchy. Stop it. And to the commenter that suggested I get a genealogical reality check... my friend... perhaps you should do this work yourself. And what will you do then, with your whiteness, asianess, and worldness? Will you ignore them as you have asked me to do? Shout out to the students in my keynote address last night who cheered... CHEERED... when I identified as a black mixed race transracial adoptee. They all looked just like me. Mixed Race: Still a Thing. I know who I am. I have done the research. I'm good, but; thank you for weighing in. ...more soon

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