Everything but Black

One of the subjects that I rarely ever write about on this blog is the fact that I am married inter-racially, yes the Spousal Unit is white and I am Black. I think part of the reason is that there are many far more competent bloggers who write on the subject and also that I have been married so long that we are just an old married couple as far as I am concerned. Back when I was young, I sort of got caught up in the whole we are interracial thing and honestly at this point, it just is, sort of like the way I wear my hair naturally specifically I have dreadlocks and its just a part of me. No need to dissect it…it just is.

I also raise my kids so that while they know their Pops is white, the fact is that they will be viewed as Black most likely, back in the summer and fall I wrote at one point about how elder boy who is now 17, refers to himself as an Half-frican. Yeah, that’s what he calls himself and frankly I got no beef with it. He’s old enough to know that white privilege does not extend itself to him just because his Pops is white….sorry, it just doesn’t.

That said and I will admit maybe its because I am suffering from PMS (sorry for revealing that but its my reality and I am old enough that I don’t feel the need to hide it) but it just rubs me the wrong way when I stumble across other Black women many who are partnered to white men who decide to breakdown their racial makeup.

Look, what Black person in America ain’t mixed with something? Shit, we (collective Black Americans) have not been purely Black since we were brought to this country. Otherwise how the fuck do you think we come in so many different shades? Look, we run the gamut from Whoopi Goldberg to Vanessa Williams and everything else.

Yet sometimes I encounter especially online, women of color who many might be called Black, who feel the need to tell you they are 1/4 crawfoot native, 1/8 this, 1/16 that…..look, its cool to know where we come from, in fact I wish I knew more about my own background. But I sometimes think some of these folks do that shit, to deflect from being plain old Black, after all its not exotic enough to just be Black. I know, because when I was a young woman, I did that same shit, claiming native this and that. Yeah, there is some Native American, Cherokee to be specific in my family as well as Mexican but those numbers are so small that really when I thought about it, I realized I was doing it more at that time because I was not proud to be who I am which is a Black America. Thankfully I am over that shit now. Now you ask me what I am, and I am going to tell you, I am Black. Plain and simple.

The other part of this that rubs me wrong is that many of these same folks will marry inter-racially and then have kids and tell you little Jonas is this and that, which may be true but it seems they are trying to avoid calling their kids Black in any way. Yes indeed, I have seen this too. Problem is you see the kid and even though little Jonas may be fair, half the time you can tell little Jonas is not pure white. Nope, you got Mama bringing her color issues to the kid. I’m sorry that is just wrong.

Obviously, I got no beef with interracial pairings, I truly believe love knows no color but at the same time, I think we do our kids and partners a disservice when we lack self love and instead latch onto whiteness because we are uncomfortable with blackness. For too long whiteness was the only standard of what was good and beautiful and times are changing but too many of us have not gotten the memo. Instead we choose to live withoutdated notions instead of changing the standards. I think its one of the reasons so many Black women love Michelle Obama, now that America has a Black first lady and the world stage knows she is a gorgeous we are willing to publicly acknowledge that Black is beautiful, thing is Black has always been beautiful.

16 thoughts on “Everything but Black

  1. You are spitting that real right here.

    I actually thought the post was going to be about white cats who are willing to date outside their race as long as it’s not a black woman. Apparently that’s a big problem on internet dating sites. But, this topic was just as relevant.

    Like you said, they are claiming everything except black. It’s irritating. I’m glad you spoke on this.

  2. When people have rudely asked what I’m “mixed with” I like to reply that my father is black and my mother is African-American. That usually shuts them up pretty quickly. As far as I’m concerned I’m Black and so are my children. Culturally I’ve seen too many people obsess over being anything BUT black. Not to deny or disrespect anything else from my lineage but I’m too proud of my ancestors and how far we’ve come as a people to try to water down that history, period.

  3. Now I want to know which blogs you’re talking about. LOL! I never really spent that much time trying to dig out any other ancestry other than African. I’m pretty sure there are some white folks on my father’s side as he and most of his siblings are cafe au lait in complexion. But does it really matter? When people see me, they see a black woman. Even our president, who is biracial, is seen as a black man.

    I guess those parents who try to emphasize the non-black heritage of their children are trying to protect them from what they perceive to be the stigma of blackness. They would probably do their children better service by preparing them from how the world will actually see them.

  4. Thanks for this one. I lurk all the time here and other blogs like it and I have to say that that really bugs me about my fellow black Americans. Being a black american/african american automatically makes you and your family part something else. So just cut the shit and order your freaking orange juice.

  5. Just read a Q@A with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. who made the point that “race” is a social construction. We go back… however many years (I forget) and everyone comes from Ethiopia. So, I think everyone needs to do what’s right for them. Hopefully the people who seem to try to cling to their non-Blackness will someday learn to like themselves better. Gates had a funny quote about B. Obama, too. He’s actually African-American (duh, you know, African father, American mother). As Gates said, though, we (Black people) will keep claiming him for a long, long time. 🙂

  6. Krystal

    You raised a good point about the stigma issue. That’s what it’s all about. Folks don’t want to have to deal with being “black” so they try to make everyone understand they are something else. It’s a futile battle.

  7. Does that include people who call themselves Creole, Cajun, or whatever?

    Why are black people so eager to dictate “blackness”? I mean really, who cares? I don’t see any problem with people being honest about their background. If they desire the “mixed” label, so be it.

    Online it’s hard to verify anyone’s particular truth; take the statements with a truckload of salt.

    Every “black” person I’ve known, in the “real” world, who claimed Native American ancestry was able to prove it.

  8. Betty,
    How do you “prove” Native american lineage? Does the person pull out papers and if so who in their right mind will go around doing that? Someone who is desperate not to be labeled black that’s who.

    “Why are black people so eager to dictate “blackness”?” You mean how whites dictate whiteness and native americans dictate who can lawfully declare themselves native american?

    If blacks don’t dictate blackness than who should???

  9. Your post is on point. I love the title. I’ve gotten into the habit (most times after someone gets done breaking down their ancestry) of saying, “well, I’m just plain ole’ fashioned Black.” At the end of the day, Black is a beautiful, wonderful, mysterious, exotic, complicated, intricate mix of cultures.

    And Betty, I don’t think that this post is about verifying anyone’s truth or proving whether anyone online or in the real world is from mixed heritage. The point is . . . who isn’t? We’re claiming everything else in the book, why not claim Black too?

  10. It would be funny as hell, if the day ever came when they gave Black people whose ancestors came from African slaves money.The more Black you have in you, the more money, you would get.
    How many would be naming a fraction this and that?Hell, I would rack up. We have Gullah blood. We look distinctly African and the elders can still tallk in a language that Africans on the continent can recognize. Not as much mixing and raping. Too many fools have looked at the nape of my neck( i have locs) and told me I was mixed with something. The worse was when a UK lady from Zimbabwe told me I was not all Black. She told me her daughter was biracial and was a seperate race. Uh, naw, my grandaddy Gullah. We come from the last of the Africans standing from slavery. I am proud to be Black.

  11. Hey there!

    Someone came to my blog last year and posted a comment about “what will Halle Berry call her daughter since her father is white and she’s biracial?” I responded, “why do black people CARE how Halle chooses to identify her own daughter?”

    This is the problem. Those who have self-identity issues are ALL wrapped up in how others identify themselves. I could care less that Tiger calls himself “Cablanasian”. His self-definition does not impact my existence at all. Black folks were ridiculing him and criticizing him and their opinion did NOTHING to diminish his fame at all…

    I suppose that is why it never mattered to me. If he doesn’t feel he’s black because he has other ancestry in this bloodline, that is on him. His mother is Thai and I am sure she raised him to feel that he is JUST as Thai as he is black…as well she should.

    I would do that if I were married to an Indian or a white man. I would tell my child that he/she is JUST as black as he/she is white but that society will want them to choose one identity and that they don’t HAVE to unless they want to.

    Thanks for this post!

    Peace, blessings and godliness,
    Lisa

  12. Just like people are proud that they are black, they can be proud that they are mixed with something else too, because without that mixture they wouldn’t exist. I don’t mind black folk saying all the different mixtures they are. White folks do it all the time. They even love throwing in some native American in there, even latino or black. It makes us all unique.

  13. I agree with Betty and with Keya.

    You make some very good points, BGIM…but why does it bother you if other people talk about their non-African blood?

    Not everyone who does this is trying to distance themselves from blackness. They’re simply giving a nod to their other ancestors or parents who are not black.

    I’m proud of my blackness, but I know that I’m a biracial woman too. My skin is pale…that came from my White mother and from the white ancestry on both sides of my family. This doesn’t mean that I’m ashamed of my African heritage, but it is not ALL of who I am. Feel me?

    My “black” side is Jamaican. My father was also biracial. There is lots of admixture in the Caribbean, although some people falsely believe that it is only limited to Black Americans.

    I love certain aspects of Black American culture, like the Harlem Renaissance and the dance compositions of the late Alvin Ailey. I love my Jamaican culture. There are some positive aspects to white culture as well, if you’re open-minded about it.

    My point is…it is important to let people be who they are, without judging them because they identify differently than you do. Everyone has different experiences in life.

    Sure, I’ve encountered a few white racists who were quick to say dumb shit…but I’ve also encountered black folks who weren’t thrilled at the fact that I’m light-skinned because they believe that stereotype about light-skinned women being “uppity”.

    Tiger Woods might be ashamed of his blackness. I don’t know if he does because I don’t know him. But even if he is, how does that affect every other black person out there?

    Please don’t be offended…I enjoy your blog and I love the way you express yourself. I’m just not sure that it is good to judge people without understanding who they are and where they’re coming from.

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