Thursday, November 16, 2006

What are you mixed with?

Overheard at work today:
(The white girl)
‘I’m Italian, irish, Scottish, Native American , and French….’

(me, the black girl, THINKING)

Really? I’m black, and African American, and colored and Negro.

no, but seriously. as long as i can remember in school, the other black girls would always ask me, "what are you mixed with?" constantly. i couldn't really understand it,but it was always asked. it was always the darker skinned girls, usually. i couldn't understand this because even though i'm light skinned, i don't think i looked biracial. plus, why did it matter?

constantly being asked that influenced me, too. i found myself then and even now when i meet an "ambigously biracial" woman wondering what she is mixed with, or if she's even biracial at all--as if it helps me figure out my place or something. even more importantly, i always feel like i need to know whether or not they consider themselves black. i've met women who look black, nappy hair and all, but after talking with them, i learned that they're panamanian, or columbian, or puerto rican, and truly don't consider themselves black. weird, eh? Probably not as weird to a white person as it is to a black person. and i have to admit, it always disappoints me. i'm not sure exactly why. it's like they're telling me that they could never relate to me, or they that somehow they're exempt from all the ugly stereotypes and racism.

i have this friend, whose mom is creole (mixed french, black, indian-more black than the other two ethnicites), and her dad is black. for as long as i've known her, she will swear up and down that she's not black. i can't remember the exact situation, but a long time ago, we were out together and somehow friends started talking about races, and someone asked her if she was black (she looks black, she IS black, I don't remember why they were asking), and she replied that she was not black, she was Creole. I was so irritated. Like somehow, she is better than all the black people, and doesn't want to be classified as one of them. She's actually proud that she thinks people don't think she's black.

She's also married to a white man. Figures. I can't stand that type of attitude. Yeah, my husband is white too, but not because I'm trying not to be black. And, i dont compromise my blackness to be married to him, either.


Pyo said...

In France we have a whole vocabulary to describe shades of black and not-so-black, and the thing is, why should it matter?
I used to wonder if I were a mulatre, a quarterron or a chabine, but now I think it's all vein. I'm just a French black woman from the west indies. full stop. Black does encompass all the shades, all the backgrounds and all the heirlooms.

I married a white man, maybe because I'm attracted to all the white skin represents, maybe because I was an unsecure young girl not knowing how to deal with her blackness, maybe so. But in the end, I'm married with him because he's a great guy and I love him, and he loves me. Maybe that's also the case for your "creole" friend (by the way, in France creole are white people born and raised in the West indies, you can't be dark skinnes and creole).
Love. Isn't that the only thing that should matter.

Have a nice day :o)


Aly Cat 121 said...

Yeah I'm with Pyo on the Creole thing. Here in the United states, Creoles were NOT black, they were French transplants and you'd be whipped as an African American callin yourself such. But as far as other "cultures" like folks from Panama, one of my best girls is from there. Her ENTIRE family is black and would be identified as such. The CULTURE may be a bit different but she is still black and considers herself as such. I guess it is the negavtivity that is "seemingly" associated with dark skinned and naturally curled hair. I am always saddened when I hear folks deny their rich and wonderful heritage because of how another race made them feel being black and beautiful is somehow the "original sin". *shakin head*

Anonymous said...

I understand what you mean about your friend claiming she's Creole and non-African American. Even though she may look like the origional ethnicity of an African America, and so her family, we have to remeber we can not control her beliefs. Yes, maybe she is ashamed, or maybe she just wants to be different. Usually when people see or understand that you're not just aike sometimes they accept you better. Growing up it used to bug me when people did that, or when people claimed they were mixed but had absolutaly no profe as of their features, family, etc. I've never had that problem, I've always looked Biracial even though I'm more of a Multiracial. My parents have so many things mixed in them both that my family grew tired of that question "Are you mixed?" Hearing it everwhere. Sometimes I would enjoy it, I liked looking different, but it had it's downfalls. I was accepted with any race, but sometimes the people would say "You're fake" because you're not whole. I wasn't all white, nor black, nor Native, nor Itallian, etc. But still today I resemble spanish. I don't know why, I don't even know if I have it in me, but I get that a lot. So race has never been a problem for me, people usually don't have a clue what I am so they keep their mouths shut. Sometimes I wish I was full, so filling out that Ethnicity box for tests, jobs, etc would be a LOT easier! Sometimes I mark other and put "What you see is what you get." It drives them crazy, but it's so true. I can act anyway from a prep to a ghetto diva to a rocker. I don't know why people tend to deny or hate their heritage, I believe all skin is beautiful. I believe all hair is beautiful. People should just accept what they are, and not care about it. I know people can be idiotic and say stupid things at stupid times about people unknowing of their opinion/feelings but overall they're saying something because they haven't had people say things about them in such a way. This usually happenes in a room full of their race, with a few or one person with a different race. Plain and simple, people will think they're better, people will get jealous, only because people are ignorant and childish. That's life. Well I'm talking a lot, and you probably are mixed with something, I believe everyone is. (Atleast one)

Anonymous said...

Why can't we all just be CREOLE and proud?

Anonymous said...

That's crazy because I am exactly the opposite of your creole friend. My parents were born and raised in the Dominican Republic which shares 2/3 of the island of Hispaniola with Haiti. Dominicans are Taino (natives), Spanish (colonizers) and African (slaves). Though my ancestry is far more complicated, with that of Chinese farmers that migrated and other Europeans as well as Middle Eastern folks. However, you must understand that racism in Latin America is not as institutionalized as it is here in the U.S. Nationalism is far more emphasized in Latin America, rather than actual race. For instance, in my country black Dominicans and white Dominicans feel the exact same pride in being Dominican and there is little difference in cultural norms like food, music, art etc. Same goes for a lot of other Latin American countries. Hence the "i'm not black, i'm panamanian' you dig?

Now, living in portland, Oregon has seriously made me question my identity as far as race goes having grown up in the bronx, NYC. However, eight years ago while in high school, I came to realize that Dominicans are black as well. Well, how did I come to this realization? Duh, we are part of the African Diaspora, as well as a plethora of Latin American countries, also built on the backs of slaves. The biggest clue though, was my hair! Sure I have an olive complexion damn near considered white in the eyes of Dominicans and even further, African Americans. Once I decided to explore my real texture, I became black. I grew that relaxer out at age sixteen and my mother hated it. This is a brown woman we are talking about here! She said "you are not black" and "that doesn't look presentable" I said "mami, this is the way my hair is naturally, and yes mami, I am black and so are you" She didn't get it.

We are multi-racial (mostly black) people who speak spanish and have spanish last names. When asked to mark off a race on a form it clearly states:

[ ] Non-Hispanic Black
[ ] Non-Hispanic White
[ ] Hispanic/Latino
[ ] White
[ ] Asian/Pacific Islander

Which goes to show, Hispanics come in many shades! Of course they are going to deny being "black" because "black" in the U.S. means African American. Ask them now if they have African ancestry and I highly doubt they would deny that.

That's the problem with the U.S. everything is so Black & White, one or the other. You can't be a Hispanic of mixed African decent and still be just that? One has to conform to Black & White lines? That would mean denying your rich culture back home, you dig sista?

Anonymous said...

i should smack all of u because i am a mixed person mom= black papi= dominican-puerto rican and i don't identify with my black side as much and as far we all black is concerned that is not true for example i have a friend puerto rican/black and she don't she just black so can't you except the fact that we're all different. to the person that said creole and dominican is black its not creoles native french andd dominican is taino,spanish,asian.itailian,and black so atually they aint considerd african americans dummy

D said...

Lots of things pass along culture and identity to us as individuals. Our parents, television, our friends, our circumstances. There is national culture, ethnic culture, urban culture, hip-hop culture, poverty culture, wealthy culture, etc. etc. etc.

Second of all, we get to choose which of these things we identify with. We have a "culture buffet" to choose from, and WE get to choose which one (or ones) we identify with. If one of our parents is Creole and the other is black... we may identify with the cultures of both... or... it's possible that one parent ties themselves a lot stronger to their culture and believes in passing it along, and the other parent doesn't place many of their eggs in that basket.

YOU don't get to choose the culture this girl identifies with, SHE DOES. Sure, maybe genetically she is at least partly African... but she considers herself Creole.

Culture strongly follows language and traditions, and there is a Creole language, and a specific region where this "came from". Creole is a "valid" cultural identity.

So what do I consider myself? I consider myself an American. I consider myself a human. I consider myself a student of ideas from all over the world and from many traditions and backgrounds. I am a cultural prostitute. This really doesn't match my "race". I am white. I suppose there's a "culture" to being white, but I culturally, I don't really "do this" because I'm white, or "don't do that" because I'm white.

That DOES NOT mean I'm conflicted about my race. I am not "proud" of my race, but neither am I "ashamed" of it. It just is. I am white genetically, and it's just obvious, but I don't draw anything "cultural" from that that I can think of. My culture is more tied to my ideas from many, many sources.

You're subscribing to the "one drop of blood" rule. But it's a crock, in my opinion. Let other people choose their own identity. What does it matter if it's accurate or not, anyway? The only reason it would need to be accurate was if we were making decisions or assumptions based on it, and we shouldn't be.

And besides, guys like "Malibu's Most Wanted" are entertaining. Posers? Sure. But who cares? It doesn't hurt anybody.

If I were your friend, I would say "I'm Creole and black". But it's HER choice to make. Not yours.

Anonymous said...

Anon, mostly right but there are the exceptions...Peter Norton for example.

Anonymous said...

sorry wrong post^^^

Anonymous said...

You don't have to be American to be "Black" The term "Black" as it applies to race simply means a person who is predominantley of AFRICAN DESCENT.This is still true regardless of what country you come from or what culture you are part of. Especially in the U.S. as well as ALL OF LATIN AMERICA, and the Carribean as well as Canada.These countries all participated in the Atlantic slave trade where the English, British, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Dutch forced African people to leave their West African nations and made them along with the indigenous people of each country that they were dropped off in slaves.Unfortunately, the African women were raped by the White (European) slave owners, and through Africans who married and voluntarily mixed with Indigenous people (and present day's voluntary relationship between black and white people) resulted in today's black people, including African Americans. No African American is 100% African, so why do black people of Latin America or even America's own "Creole" people act as though being mixed somehow only applies to them? Our societies including that of Latin America,the Carribean and yes the U.S., even over seas has taught us all that African was somehow bad,commom, ignorant, clandestine,ugly and all around the worst thing you could be. THIS IS NOT TRUE!! European Slave masters from any European country, hated Africans sooooo much that they taught us to hate ourselves............IT WORKED! Now the descendent of the earths original people are walking around ashamed of who we are and even disassociating ourselves with each other for fear of being seen as bad! This has become such an undertone of the entire world that we don't even realize it anymore. A person should be able to celebrate all of their racial and cultural background, but when you purposely deny your African lineage (especially when everyone can see you are black) you become a truley enslaved, sick person. Our ancestors are rolling over in their graves to see us try to pass for something other than what God made us. Slavery is always wrong, but if the Africans had enslaved the Europeans and took over the world, everyone would want to be and look like the Blackest Africans! We have to realize that their is a difference between nationallity, culture and race. I am the descendent of Afro-Latino's from the Dominican republic and African Americans. My race is African, my culture is Spanish and American and my nationallity is Dominican and American. IT IS TO BE ASSUMED THAT I, LIKE ALL DESCENDENTS OF THE SLAVE TRADE TO ANY COUNTRY (INCLUDING AMERICA),AM MIXED. ALL BLACK PEOPLE, REGARDLESS OF WHAT COUNTRY WE COME FROM OR WHAT LANGUAGE WE SPEAK OR HOW LIGHT OR DARK WE ARE OR WHAT HAIR TEXTURE WE HAVE,................ARE MIXED! Let's educate ourselves and feel proud of our African origin. We can surely do this without discriminating against other people. When we have pride in our African heritage, people will stop disasociating themselves with us and eventually all people will see each other as people. The racism taught by slave owners will no longer be enternalized by black people of any country or tolerated by any groups of people. Hopefully then, people will just be people. Remeber, NO ONE CAN MAKE YOU FEEL INFERIOR UNLESS YOU ALLOW THEM TO. Peace!

Brilliance Comes from the Heart said...

Wow, this was just a very interesting line of comments. I don't even know where to begin. I guess first to the person saying they don't consider themselves black because they are half this and that, honey, you're still black. Doesn't matter how much half of what is where. I'm Palestinian, Black and Blackfoot. I'm light skin. But I'm still black and when white folks in Mississippi called me a house nigger when I was 5, I was still black. I've encountered a ton of "full black" folks who try to "disown" me from the community. So tell my dark skin, full hipped, full lipped mother that I'm not her child then. She's the one who raised me. Or folks who swear up and down that I'm not related to my siblings because they are darker... look at our features. We came from the same place. And as for claiming native blood, I've had a few folks tell me I couldn't claim that either because I don't have a registered number with the country. Ok. So tell my great grandmother who taught me all about the Blackfoot tribe and all our beliefs that I'm not her blood. And hell, my hair is too kinky and curly for some Palestinians too. So what? So what? Mixed folks are black. I'm black. And if anyone wants to pull out a 60 or whatever percent measurement thing on us they can go back to the 50's and sit at their designated color table and stay there. More so, learn to accept yourself. One of my great aunts on my mom's side could pass for white, but black folks knew. And she never walked around saying, I'm half this and that. Of course a slave owner helped make her complexion that way. But like some folks said on here. No one is "pure" anything. We're all African, all native,with a bit of white and Spaniard mixed in, in the black community. Just read some honest history books. Like Puerto Rico and Dominican Republic, we have a vast and layered culture and racial back round. And hell, if you want to break it down even more, you've got African tribes and such from where we came from. We're not all even the same kind of Africans. Just be you. It's bad enough that still, in this world racism, classism, poverty still continue to tear apart communities of color while gentrifiers, corporations and politicians play like they're on our side when they're not. Why do we have to tear each other down as well? Isn't community important anymore? Does it matter how many drops I have or you have as long as we have each others back? Of course I could go on and on. It's a topic that hit a chord in me.

Anonymous said...

So what did we learn today? That the African race is a dominant race.

Anonymous said...

I'm 15. My dad is creo, his entire family is and they are all very very very high yellow. my moms mom is creo and her dad is black. I'm much lighter than my siblings and I look more like my dad. since I can remember I've always been asked "are you mixed?" even though I do think mixed kids are pretty and my mother swears I think I'm white which I totally disagree, and I have a french last name, I tell them no I'm black. Theyre response is always shocked like" naw youre lyin" and I dont even mention that I'm part french and indian unless we really got into it. They also always tell me I have "good hair" or "the good black peoples hair" and I actually get offended because I think whats wrong with black peoples hair? I don't understand why people can't just get over that people have different type of hair white peoples isnt good and black peoples isnt bad, its just hair. its just different. but I can totally relate to you I honestly would go off on that girl who claims she isnt black Im less black than her and I consider myself black! poeple call me white and they say I act white and talk white and look white and I still consider myself black because that's who I am and it infuriates me that she would walk around like that. she may think shes white but when everyone else in the world looks at her allk they see is a black girl no matter how light she is and one day someones gonna treat her like shes black and shes gonna get her feelings hurt.

Anonymous said...

Look, I am and most likely always will be considered black, regardless for what I am mixed with the only thing that matters to others is that I have some, even a little black(African) in me, as if it were some kind of poison. Really ive walked down a sidewalk and seen women of other races hold on to their purses as if i were just going to burst out say "give me everything you got valeuable". That shit hurts. It hurts bad. Just because I have even a little bit of color in my skin, people around the world would act like I am tainted or something, like im dirty or smothered in garbage or like im less than human, like im a damn monster. And honestly ive come close to tears thinking how much harder my life and other peoples lives are because its like we are being blamed for something we have no control over and we shouldnt be blamed in the first place. It doesnt matter if you are mixed, because you always have that "but" hanging over your head because you arnt as pale as a glass of milk on a paper plate in a snowstorm. And what makes it so wrong is that, stereotypes of black people are fed by a fucked up culture which scores of black people flock to. The music, the fashion, the dos and donts are horrible. The culture basicly says dont do anything productive that will earn you a place in the world and do everything that will dig you an early grave, mentally or physicaly. It is as if the 'black race' is just turning into decay because it follows whatever the culture tells it to do. The culture glorifies being 'hard' and making dirty money and all kind of things that lead to nothing but destruction. Youve got rappers who dont even do the crazy shit they talk about, that appear to be living the greatest life, influencing kids whether they feel responsible or not. These kids see them as succecfull and try to imitate that success by getting into gangs to be hard, and getting into drugs because its what made the rapper 'succecful'. And these 'goals' are non existent because they are made to kill you off in body or mind and cast you in jail until yore body dies. Point is 'blackness' is determined by a wrongful culture, not entirely the race or the color, because if black people all studied hard and were productive doctors, scientist, artist, architects anything productive, i know we wouldnt be on this brink of death. Other races would look up to us and marvel at our perseverance and talent, yeah lifes delt us a crapload of lemons but we have the right to make lemonade, we have choices. I for one will not die out because i wanted to get high or act hard because liars shout b.s. through a radio. I know there is more to life than that and i refuse to let it slide by me. By all technical means I am creole on both sides of my family, but to me I am black because of my skin color, yellow, and because i was raised around black people, I talk like black people, i hurt when im insulted racially but I will not give up everything my life could be because of a bastard culture that doesnt care for me anyway. I cant deny that i like some rappers and singers but I can't lie and say it controls me and what i do. Think about it.

Anonymous said...

Lmao at all this!! I used to be so passionate about all this back in my school days, learning about William Lynch, oh but now( ssmh)...
People its all about classism now! I guess when the majority is impoverished we need something to disassociate ourselves so we feel we belong to a seperate class huh??? I hate it and im even embarrassed for the black women that ask me what im mixed with especially when they do it in front of white ppl.. Dummy we all just a bunch of n....s to them bc theyre ppl raped our ppl and we want them to accept us!?! Really!!??!! If u were kidnapped brutally raped beaten and made a mockery of TODAY would you beg and plead for your offender to love and accept u? Oh please Mr Rapist can i hang out with u??? Idiots!!!!

Anonymous said...

I'm hispanic (mexican) but people always ask me if i'm mixed (black and white). I have caramel Colored skin, light brown eyes and naturally curly hair. I like being it when people confuse me with mixed people because i think they're beautiful. I Used to tell them i'm hispanic But I decided to have a little fun and confuse them. So now whenever asks me what i am i tell them i'm asian and leave their heads spinning lol. Anyway, maybe She doesnt consider herself black because she thinks shes better than blacks but just because she is proud of all of the races that make her up. I always end up telling people i'm hispanic because i want to be known for what i am. Even though i think mixed people are beautiful. Just my opinion though :) (sorry if this doesnt make sense)

Ro Os said...

So true.