Monday, May 19, 2008

What Blend Of Mixed-Race Person Are You?

Are there any particular blends of mixed-race people that have it harder than other biracial folks? I'm just wondering because I peeped in tonight on The Study of Racialism forum, and was surprised to discover the intensity of replies to statements posted there. Most of the folks commenting referred to themselves as mulattos. Obviously, they were part black and part white, but not necessarily exactly half of each. A lot of them had a beef with the black community calling them race traitors if they chose to claim their European side. They also had issues with whites whom they accused of "One Drop Ruling" them. That is, calling them black when only one parent was--a la Halle Berry and Barack Obama. One woman, who described herself as "light-skinned", wrote about being immediately classified as black whenever she told any Caucasian that she was mixed.

Anyway, take a look at the site and add your comments to the controversy. I think Obama is a typical example of what happens with biracial children of one black and one white parent. That good ole One Drop Rule rears its head and you're forced to deny your own parent. I mean, he grew up with his white mother. She must've influenced him more than anyone else on earth. Yet, he knew instinctively that Euro-Americans as a group would never accept him as one of theirs so he forged a black male identity on his own. That's enough to make me want to vote for him right there. I mean, do you know how hard it is growing up a black male and without a father to boot?

As for us AfroAsians, the picture is definitely different--but not necessarily easier or better. Back in the day, I found it extremely difficult to relate to the Asian American community. In spite of my mother teaching me Japanese language and culture, I wasn't accepted as being Asian, and I didn't care either. But after I became involved with APA's via my writing for Asian community newspapers, I learned that young folks (and some older ones) didn't have the same prejudices as their parents did. btw, that's me and Naila in the photo above. She's also Japanese and black, and we met in Seattle a few years ago. The last I heard she was at Harvard Law School, but I've lost track. Naila, if you're out there, hollah at your girl!

It's really interesting when you think about it--the lighter-skinned group worldwide somehow is the one that always possesses the status to reject the darker group. There was a time (pre-1980's) when most whites looked down their noses at Asians. And, Asians, in turn, dissed black folks. So who did that leave for black people to put down?

I don't care what you look like, if you tell black folks that you are one of them and you hang around long enough, they will accept you as family. Check out the white valedictorian for Moorehouse's recent graduating class. From what I understand, the man claims he grew up in black communities, had mostly black girlfriends, and feels more comfortable around blacks than his own people. He even turned down Columbia in favor of hangin' with the homeboyz.

By the way, that's one of my favorite films--Hangin' With The Homeboys. My sister turned me on to it quite some time ago, and I highly recommend it. It's the story of four guys--two Latinos, two blacks--who hang out in NYC one night. The film does an excellent job touching on some race issues without being heavy-handed about it. A very young John Leguizamo stars as a lovesick youngster infatuated with a porn star working nights at the supermarket.

Ah, but I digress.

Meanwhile, across the globe, we see the caste system in effect in India where lighter skin and Aryan features are touted in Bollywood flicks yet no tight-haired brown-skinned folks ever star in those movies and we know India is filled with them. So, just when did this dark-skinned thing start, and why? Since when did the abundance, or lack of, melanin become the measuring stick for what is good and desirable, and what isn't, in a human being?

Okay. That's enough. I don't want to make me crazy here so I'll just bid you oyasuminasai.

Your Hip Hapa,

1 comment:

cy said...

this topic is close to heart for me. thanks for sharing! peace/health/radiance