Friday, October 15, 2010

For Blacks: But I'm Mixed not Black

Are You Ashamed of Being Black?

So many online websites now offer you the chance to make your own profile.  They give you the chance to personalize your profile and tell your story.  When it comes to the question of race though, many Black people balk at answering, even regardless of the fact that they have provided a picture.  I don't mean to pick on these people, but I am just observing a small fact.  I belong to probably more social websites than anyone on the face of the planet.  So, when I say I have experience, I truly do mean it.  I have observed this: For the most part Black people will insert "mixed" into their race status, instead of African American.

What is Black?

Due to the history of the country's bout with slavery most Black people feel ashamed of their ancestry, even if they don't even know their ancestry.  They assume they have slavery in their ancestry and therefore somehow they feel dehumanized and ashamed of being Black.  But, what is Black?  Pure Africans were originally shipped over from Africa as slaves during colonial America.  However, the purity of African genes, for the most part was diluted long ago.  Due to rampant rape by white people, most African slaves were "mixed".  There were no more pure Africans after a century of systematic rape.  Today's Black American is no more pure than Neapolitan ice cream.  It is nearly redundant then to say that a "Black" person, in America, is mixed.

Yet many Blacks feel they have to go out of their way to assure everyone that they are not "Black" but instead are "mixed".  I wonder how their "Black" mother or father feels about them being ashamed of being associated with being "Black".  It must be such a smack in the face, that they can't even begin to recover from.

Finally, the truth of the matter is, white people, whom these "mixed" Black people are trying to impress, see all Black people as "Black".  When they stand around the water cooler at work, they assuredly say "this Black guy was ...".  I have yet to hear a white person EVER describe a Black person as mixed.  Trust me, I have known close to half a million white people in my life, from all walks of life, all spectrums of philosophy, and all political outlooks.  None have ever described a Black person as anything other than "Black".  They are so very direct about Black vs white that they have called people that look completely Mexican, Puerto Rican etc ... you know swarthy light skinned people with curly hair, as Black.  A white friend of mine thought a very pale Black guy we saw, looked exactly like a very dark Black guy we had met earlier that evening.  He was convinced they looked the same.  This is a white guy that would give me the shirt off his back, so we're not talking some random racist white guy.

Are All Black Americans Descendants of Slaves?

I would highly encourage every Americanized African to research their own heredity and ancestry.  No, all Black people in America are not descended from slaves.  While there were slaves in America, it didn't take off like gang busters until after Shay's Rebellion, where white farmers, indentured servants, rose up against tyrannical taxes and foreclosure on their farms.  After this rebellion, Black, obvious, slaves were taken to ensure that the white rebellion would never happen again.  The rebellion was not over until nearly 1790.  The 13th Amendment which abolished slavery as we know it, was adopted and implemented nearly in 1866.  So slavery in America was basically only in operation for 70 years.  This fact alone staggers most Americans, because they think that slavery lasted for hundreds of years.

There was a sizable free population of Blacks in America before slavery took hold and while slavery was going on.  In fact, it was these free Blacks that helped shaped early American view points on the ugliness of slavery.  Some of the greatest American leaders back then were Black.  In American history next to Abraham Lincoln in terms of fame, Frederick Douglass is as famous and was of course Black, being an escaped slave.  He was a statesman, orator and author of many books.

Why the Shame to Be Black?

While kids today are mixing more with different races more than ever, they feel all the more ostracized on the issue of race.  They may play with whites and asians, but when it comes to self identity, they are afraid to admit they are Black.  Instead they wish to be "mixed".  While the white American has no problem admitting he's white, and the asian American has no problem admitting he's asian, the Black American seeks to be identified as mixed instead, although his white and asian buddy will see and describe him as "Black".

I personally know a Black guy who not only doesn't claim he's Black, but then turns around and talks about "Black folk".  Everyone of course laughs at him behind his back, but goes along with his racial tirades in front of his face.  He'll die alone.  It's a case of the Tragic Mulatto all over again.  I hope he doesn't commit suicide though.  I wouldn't wish that on anyone.


Be proud that you are Black.  Be just as happy for your asian and white friends.  They don't have a problem being white or asian.  And, as I have shown you, all Black people are pretty much mixed in America.  In fact, other than an African fresh off the boat, it is a rarity to find an Americanized African that is pure blood, going back 6 generations.  I would say it is impossible.  Stranger things have happened, but  I don't think there's a whole bunch of pure blood "Black" people in America.

Claiming to be mixed serves absolutely no purpose.  And, if you're ashamed of being Black, deal with that issue first, because obviously your race is affecting you more than you're admitting.

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Cassandra said...

I think that you are missing an important aspect as to why people are stating that they are 'mixed'. Which by the way the word 'mixed' in my opinion is a derogatory word which is often used to describe dogs who are not of purebred. I prefer the word multiracial.
It does not mean in anyway that the person is ashamed to be black. I myself am multiracial. It is fair to claim one side of my race over the other? Am I not a product of both?
Maybe a little understanding and clarification of history will add to the confusion. It was once proclaimed, to the benefit of the slave owner, that the child of a multiracial couple would bear the race (or status if freedom) of the
mother. Yet previously it had been common to follow the
fathers's racial lineage.
Then we come to rhe one drop rule. Which curiously only applies to the black race. How is this fair? I've never heard of a person of Asian and caucasian descent being critized for claiming both of their races... Yet maybe there should be a one drop ruled applied to other races. These practices of 'one drop' or 1/8 black is another form of racism. They were establishe to keep racism abd discrimination alive.
There is absolutely nothing wrong with anyone who decides to acknowledge all of their races and it does not mean that they are ashamed of their race. Instead, it
shows their pride in their uniqueness and beauty.

Theronsr said...

I really love this article however , I'm aware of this type identity struggle in black , an other other races to fit in with people of color such as the whites that tell people they have Early American Native or Hispanic ancestry, I assume this is true of about 75% of white's born in America this article displays beautifully how this took place ; with all said ,black persons still view them as white. I am a multiracial black man an know this due to the very words of my parents , both multiracial blacks , and other elder family members , family photos, on an on. I understand also the peer pressure of trying to fit in as a person of color I through this myself , my one of my children is currently living this for having been raised in a predominately over sheltered Anglo surrounding. I'v met persons shame to be every other race but in this country but Asian so far. I don't view this as a just a black issue, more like a human problem of ignorance combined with fear , the primary recipe of racism . This is powerful an should be viewed by all , mainly persons of the religious institutions. Thank you. Peace !

Anonymous said...

I'm curious how you view people like Wentworth Miller, Mariah Carey, Jessica Szohr, Hailee Steinfeld and Rashida Jones? These are people with one full white parent and one mixed or black parent, so they are only of partial black descent. And as for your point that 'looking black' makes you black to others...well these people do NOT look fully black. They look exactly like what they are, that is mixed, multiracial!

I do agree that it may be a bit more difficult for people who have white ancestry but 'look fully black,' as they may self-identify as mixed but will often be seen as black by others (e.g. Halle Berry, Obama). But at the end of the day identity is always the prerogative of the person who does the self-identifying...if you see yourself as mixed, then you are! Screw what other people think, only you know your full family history.

I think America has to move beyond the black/white binary, especial Black Americans who seem to be most attached to the one drop rule. Why else would they try to get angry when multiracial people like Tiger Woods identify with all their ethnicities rather than just black? This enthusiastic embrace of the one-drop rule, the tool of the oppressor, by African Americans is quite curious. Perhaps a more fluid approach to race in the USA is more suitable in this post-racial USA, where many people date and marry interracially and raise multiracial children? I think the Brazilian approach to race would be more suitable for the USA's melting pot- where people identify with any and all parts of their heritage, e.g. white, asian, black, native, mixed, mulatto, pardo, arab etc.

Shakaama said...

I understand your comments. The problem is that, when you have such a SMALL group, as African Americans are, and people trying to jump ship and deny any and all ties to the group, although the dominant group does not see it the same, i.e. white's think Black is Black, the group feels put upon. "We're not good enough to belong to".

These half-breeds, to quote a dog term, if given the chance to finally put a stamp on it, would say they are "white". And, completely deny any and all Black heritage.

That's the sad point of the article. Not that we shouldn't embrace all heritage and race, but that people of mixed race, OVERWHELMINGLY, try to side with being "white".

What is truly amazing is when the person is very dark complected, they go out of their way to assure everyone they are "mixed", and not Black. NOT BLACK!

I say, there is nothing wrong with being Black. I love Black people. I think we are the most authentic people on the planet. I always feel a complete familiarity in the company of any and all Black people, even if I just met them.

I might not do any of the same activities as the next Black guy, and may even share dozens of similarities with the next white guy, but I will feel a complete connection, with the Black guy and not the white guy.

Anonymous said...

are you even black? do you even know what your taking about? I am mixed half and half why do you want me to tell people I'm just black I have no shame in being black but I'm also just as white as I am black and I'm proud of that. that I'm both not just one thing because that's the way you choose to see me. you have no idea what is like to be mixed so why don't you just piss off.

Anonymous said...

I'm and i'm not a ashamed or trying to fit in I'm simply stating a fact when I saw I am both black and white EQUALLY. I hate this so much nobody says anything if a mixed person says there black, but it's a big freaking deal to call yourself. It's not far that I have to put up with this because of other people ignorance. Also the way people act has nothing to do with race it has to do with environment. So it's seems pretty stupid to me that you favor black people over white people, it doesn't make any sense. don't favor groups of race, favor people individually for there personalities.

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