joys, complicated

Joys should be simple.  Didn’t Pippin teach us that?  Sorry, my musical theatre nerd wanted to speak.  But anyway, joys should be simple not complicated.  While I’ve been away examining my life, living my life, changing my life I’ve noticed that I have a tendency to shy away from things that bring me joy.  I have a sneaking suspicion that it’s the experience of feeling that my joys are complicated that informs my reticence.  But the joys actually are not complicated.  Not to me.  Only from the outside looking in.  Only within the parameters of a paradigm in which black and white are mutually exclusive.  Only when clinging to a dogma that rigidly defines an “us” and a “them” and prescribes clearly definable attributes to each.  I’m gonna be a rebel here and doubt those antiquated notions.  That’s not new for me though.  Actually I’m going to be a rebel here just for myself and let go of my discomfort with the complexity others may still perceive in the things that bring me joy, in the things that are me, and I’m just gonna be and enjoy them.  That is new for me.  That is a challenge. But, hey, why not go ahead

As for this article, I love that Mr. McCollum’s mother mandated that his Irish pride run fierce.  I love that he takes pride in facilitating the paradigm shift.  I love that someone wrote this article.

St. Patrick’s Day holds mixed emotions for some

By Martine Powers

Ryan McCollum knows that on St. Patrick’s Day, he cuts an unusual figure.

All in green, a traditional Irish Claddagh ring on his finger and a houndstooth flat cap on his head, everything about his attire screams “Irish and proud.’’

But McCollum, 33, is also black. His father, a Navy man from Springfield, married an Irish-American girl from Downeast Maine.

He knows his appearance does not fit the bill of a stereotypical Irishman – most assume he’s black, or maybe Latino – but since childhood, his mother mandated that his Irish pride run fierce.

“Growing up, I knew I was Irish,’’ said McCollum, of Springfield, “even if the rest of the world didn’t know I was Irish.’’

As the American population has grown increasingly mixed-race in recent decades, some descendants of Irish immigrants are claiming a multiracial heritage, though they may differ in appearance from their red-haired, freckled ancestors. For them, the joys of embracing Irish roots are complicated by the challenges of being multiracial.

“I always feel this deep kinship with Irish people in Boston,’’ said Kelly Bates, a mixed-race Irish-American who lives in Roslindale. “But I don’t always feel like they have this kinship with me.’’

Between 2000 and 2010, the number of Americans who checked two or more races on the US Census increased from 6.8 million to 9 million.

Paul J. McNamara, president of the 275-year-old Charitable Irish Society, said he does not believe that any of the organization’s 400 current members are multiracial, but the group welcomes membership applications from anyone interested in promoting Irish history and culture.

“Most people in our group want to appreciate and retain their Irish roots,’’ McNamara said. “There is a strong element that you want to participate and preserve aspects of the culture.’’

But for Bates, it’s not quite so simple.

Her mother, a black woman from Harlem, married an Irish-American man from Massachusetts. Bates loves to visit her huge, boisterous Irish-Catholic family in Lynn. She grew up reading Irish poetry with her father. She calls him every March 17 to hear the legend of Saint Patrick and the snakes.

In a ritual that is all too familiar for many mixed-race people, new acquaintances try to guess Bates’s heritage. Usually, they pick Puerto Rican or Colombian. Maybe Middle Eastern or Italian.

But Irish? Never.

17mixedirish3[1].r

Kelly Bates, executive director at Access Strategies Fund, is also part Irish.

“You could look at my cousins and me, and you could see the resemblance,’’ said Bates, executive director of the philanthropic foundation Access Strategies Fund. “But they would be accepted [as Irish] right away, and it would be very different for me.’’

Part of that divide may come from Boston’s racially fraught past, she said.

“I’m aware of the fact that my cultural communities have not always been able to build a bridge toward each other, especially in this city,’’ said Bates.

While Irish and African-American communities worked and lived in close proximity in the decades after America’s founding – both groups were stigmatized by English landowners – they grew antagonistic toward one another at the end of the 19th century, said Marie E. Daly, library director at the New England Historic Genealogical Society. In the last century, the communities have butted heads over labor rights, housing, and public school desegregation.

Bates said she is just as proud to be African-American as she is proud to be Irish. After all, she said, the sound of bagpipes and African drums both give her chills. But she sometimes worries about expressing pride in her Irish roots. As much as Irish is a national origin, she said, it also identifies her as white. She does not want others to think she has distanced herself from her black identity.

“I think my black friends and black colleagues don’t know what to make of it when I talk about my Irish heritage,’’ Bates said.

Mari Tanaka, a junior at Harvard, knows that most people think they immediately have her pegged.

“I guess I look Asian, but I don’t feel comfortable with people just assuming that’s all I am,’’ said Tanaka, 21. “Growing up, being Irish has been such a big part of my life.’’

Most of Tanaka’s ancestors hailed from Japan, but her mother’s father is Irish-American. During her childhood in Hawaii, he ensured that she listened to traditional Irish music, watched “Riverdance,’’ and ate corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day.

College has offered her an opportunity to further explore her Irish roots. She has connected with Irish-American relatives in Cambridge who show her genealogical charts and tell stories about her ancestors. While she felt pressure to take a class in East Asian Studies, Tanaka, a biology major, instead chose to enroll in a class on Celtic history and culture where she was one of two nonwhite people.

“I felt like, yeah, being Asian, that’s a part of me,’’ Tanaka said. “But there’s another part of me that is much less explored.’’

McCollum, a political consultant, hopes to travel to Ireland, and he knows he will arrive in the land of his ancestors and find that no one looks like him. But that doesn’t bother him.

A history buff, McCollum spends much of his time reading about Irish history and culture, learning about his family’s genealogy, and watching Irish sports.

“For people who are proud of being Irish and knowing their Irish roots, it’s almost like a game – like, ‘How Irish are you? What county are you from? How many times have you been? Is your family still there?’’’ said McCollum, who is board member for the Irish Immigration Center. “If I’m in a room with Irish folks and have to re-prove my Irishness, I can talk to them about facts and history of Ireland.’’

McCollum’s surname adds further confusion: People often assume it represents his Irish side, but it’s a Scottish name probably adopted by his father’s African slave ancestors from their owners.

His African-American heritage is just as important as his Irish roots, he said; his passion for history extends to antislavery politics and the Black Power movement. But because of his skin color, he has no trouble relating to other black people. Being Irish, he said, is a less obvious part of his identity.

“A lot of times, I am that reminder that every Irish person doesn’t look like a stereotypical Irish person,’’ McCollum said. “And I don’t mind being that reminder. Sometimes, I take pride in that.’’

wee bottles of leprechaun gold st. patrick's necklace 8

speaking of halle berry

i tumbled upon this interesting thread today at black hair media.com.  i personally feel that, of course, they “should be able to” call themselves black women.  i am all about self-identifying as one sees fit.  i wonder what kind of run-ins the questioner has had with biracial women with white mothers that would instigate such an inquiry.  in my opinion, many (certainly not all, or even most) biracial women that i know who have white mothers (into which category fall most of the biracial people i know) not only identify themselves as black, but seem more steeped in black culture than… well… than… me.  i have some theories as to why that is… i’m reluctant to share them… i’m going to sleep on it and hopefully grow a pair overnight, then come back and update this post adding my speculations tomorrow or sometime this weekend.

Topic: biracial women with white mothers
Posted: Today at 11:21am
-Do you think that biracial women with white mothers and black fathers should be able to call themselves black women? I get frustrated with this because how can they be a black woman when they didn’t even come from one and really don’t know much about us. I don’t think they should get that title. I hate hearing Halle Berry (who has a white mother) be called “The most beautiful black woman). To me, that just seems unfair. Who else feels this way?
-I don’t think anyone who’s biracial (that is, black and white) regardless of which one of their parents is black or white should be calling themselves black. If the mother’s white and the father’s black, you are mulatto. If the mother’s black and the father’s white you are a mulatto. Case closed.
 -i use to feel this way..but honestly it all about how they are raise..if they want to identify themselves as white or black they have the right to..what would you say if it were you? AlSO, i rather someone tell me their either black or white.. rather than running around screamin “im mixed” all the time.
 -You know what I just realized??…why do people think of mutliracial people like they are slices of pizza???

Genetics dont work like that.
 -I think white people call every bi racial person black just because they are darker.
Ive only see people sometimes calling biracial white in Africa.
Plus, for me its hard to see biracial peeps with white mothers who raised them feeling they are black just because they have white culture. When you have a black mother and live with her, you feel black just because of what your mother taught you.
But some biracial with white moms, who know they are rejected by their white part, take advantage on the black community since they like them. I guess OP thats the Hally berry case.
-um it depends. i think mixed girls with white moms tend to be more whitewashed. i dont view some of them as true black people because they identified with their white mom more so of course they are gonna have that white influence.  vs. a mixed person with a black mom who was the main influence a lot of times u can just tell a difference. plus some of them like hauts said feel better than regular blacks and take advantage of the praise and attention. NOT ALL MIXED PEOPLE, BUT SOME
also if you are half nonblack and half black, you cannot be the prettiest black anything. how that work when half your genes come from a white woman? halle may be the prettiest mixed woman but her beauty cannot represent black women b/c she is not fully black.

speaking of the confederate flag

ok, so, i like kid rock a little bit.  for three reasons: 1. he’s from detroit (well, Michigan anyway) 2. i think his song Amen is brilliant and beautiful 3. he has a biracial son (is that, like, racist of me…or some kind of positive prejudice…or just silly?)

anywho, i do not like his use of the confederate flag.  to be fair, i don’t like anyone’s use of it.  especially if the user has a child of some significant color.  i understand that to some people the flag is simply a symbol of “southern pride.”  i really do believe that said people do not view the flag as a pro-slavery emblem… they don’t go around looking at black people wishing they were allowed to own them.  that’s too easy, too “obvious racist bad-guy.”  but, i think it is from a vantage point of either white privilege or ignorance (or both) that one can insistently be so insensitive as to say (or infer) “i know that this flag is hurtful to many, it reminds them of a time when they were considered less than human and were treated no better than cattle, it may make them feel unsafe…they may get the idea that i think back on those days as the good old days and wish we could revert back to them.”  i’m sorry, but the flag is just  not THAT cool, not worth all of that.  nothing is.  i would like to believe that it would be an easy “sacrifice” to put that flag away (as in not on your car, belt buckle, t-shirt…but whatever you want in your own home…) so as not to bring up all of that hateful, hurtful stuff to the people who are still negatively affected by the history of the flag, the implications of it.  how about a little more love, compassion, sensitivity… amen.

i mean, this is really not that much cooler than this….

not enough to warrant offending people to their core… even if it’s only 14 people, even one… especially if the one might be your kid, Kid.

Kid Rock’s NAACP Award Protested Over Use Of Confederate Flag

via HuffPost Entertainment

Some people don’t think Kid Rock is meeting their great expectations.

The rocker is set to accept the NAACP’s Detroit chapter’s Great Expectations Award at their annual Freedom Fund dinner in May, and some members of the historic black rights organization are so unhappy about it, they’re boycotting the 10,000 person affair.

It’s the singer’s use of the Confederate flag in his stage shows that has them so upset, according to the Detroit News.

“It’s a slap in the face for anyone who fought for civil rights in this country,” Adolph Mongo, head of Detroiters for Progress and a boycotting NAACP member told the paper last week. “It’s a symbol of hatred and bigotry.”

For his part, Rock defended the use of the flag in a 2008 interview with the Guardian. “Why should someone be able to own any image and say what it is?” he said. “Sure, it’s definitely got some scars, but I’ve never had an issue with it. To me it just represents pride in southern rock’n’roll music, plus it just looks cool.”

He also spoke about touring with a famed rapper and how it impacted his audience.

“I’ve got Rev Run [from Run DMC] on tour with me right now – we have fun trying to count the number of black people every night. We’re like, ‘There’s 14 tonight, yeah!'”

Though he was a staunch defender of President George W. Bush, the singer went to back for Barack Obama after his election, in the process defending America against accusations of racism.

“It’s good the U.S. has proved it’s not as racist as it’s sometimes portrayed,” he told Metro UK (via Spin Magazine).

He also spoke about his own experience growing up with black people in the interview, saying, “Black people were kind to me growing up and taught me hip-hop and the blues.”

For more on the NAACP controversy, click over to the Detroit News.

social differences/systematic consequences

I’ve just spent the last two hours transfixed by this website.  Definitely worth perusing!

A few personal asides:

I must say that I’m sure my (white) dad would have gotten on the bus and had some words with folks if that thing had happened to me (you’ll read it)…

biracial people can be as insensitive as everybody else and aren’t always the “victims” of ignorant words…

the “you’re gay be with that gay guy” one reminds me of the times someone has wanted to fix me up with someone they’re sure I’m perfect for and it turns out it’s just the other “black” person they know….

ABOUT THIS PROJECT

this project is a response to “it’s not a big deal” – “it” is a big deal.  ”it” is in the everyday.  ”it” is shoved in your face when you are least expecting it.  ”it” happens when you expect it the most.  ”it” is a reminder of your difference.  ”it” enforces difference.  ”it” can be painful.  ”it” can be laughed off.  ”it” can slide unnoticed by either the speaker, listener or both.  ”it” can silence people.  ”it” reminds us of the ways in which we and people like us continue to be excluded and oppressed.  ”it” matters because these relate to a bigger “it”: a society where social difference has systematic consequences for the “others.”

but “it” can create or force moments of dialogue.

~~~~~~~~~

This blog seeks to provide a visual representation of the everyday of “microaggressions.” Each event, observation and experience posted is not necessarily particularly striking in and of themselves.  Often, they are never meant to hurt – acts done with little conscious awareness of their meanings and effects.  Instead, their slow accumulation during a childhood and over a lifetime is in part what defines a marginalized experience, making explanation and communication with someone who does not share this identity particularly difficult.  Social others are microaggressed hourly, daily, weekly, monthly.

The term “microaggressions” was originally coined to speak particularly to racialized experiences.

“Racial microaggressions are brief and commonplace daily verbal, behavioral, or environmental indignities, whether intentional or unintentional, that communicate hostile, derogatory, or negative racial slights and insults toward people of color.”  – “Racial Microaggressions in Everyday Life”

This blog, however, is a space to extend this concept to different socially constructed identities that embody privilege in different ways – sexuality, class, religion, education level, to name a few – in hopes of making visible the ways in which social difference is produced and policed in everyday lives through comments of people around you.

  • Me, a light-skinned biracial girl at a party last weekend:: Okay, a Jack means categories.
  • White guy:: How about minorities you would sleep with?
  • Me:: As a minority, I find that offensive, like sleeping with us is a sacrifice.
  • He looks at me like he hadn’t realized he was in “mixed” company and back-pedals (“I didn’t mean it THAT way”); kisses my ass for the rest of the night, but never apologizes. Made me feel frustrated and invisible.
  • Teacher :: Black men are naturally more aggressive and strong than white men.
  • Me:: No, it has to depend on the man, surely.
  • Teacher :: Not really, no white man could…
  • Me:: Your husband is 6ft tall well built and my dad is 5’7ft and very lean, your husband could wipe the floor with him.
  • Teacher :: There are odd exceptions but, in general.
  • I was 15, Secondary School, England 2001. Made me feel gobsmacked, worried that I would be graded unfairly.
  • I was at the mall earlier today with a group of friends. Another guy from school joins us.
  • New guy:: So, what are you?
  • Me:: My ethnic background?
  • Him:: Yeah
  • Me:: Well, I’m French, Spanish, Irish, Italian, Black American, Mexican, Puerto Rican, American Indian–
  • Him:: No you’re not
  • Me:: Pardon?
  • Him:: You can’t be American Indian. They’re all extinct.
  • I am a 17 year old girl, at a shopping mall. Made me feel frustrated, invisible, patronized.

    They probably just had a crush on you.”

    -What my white father said when I told him two white students called me the n-word on the bus.

    “I would never, ever hire someone with a “black” name on their resume. I wouldn’t even interview them.

    -An African American co-worker at a team dinner.

    • Girl at country themed bar:: Hey, you’re black…
    • Me, a 23-year old male::
    • Girl:: I’m not racist or anything…but WTF are you doing here? There are Confederate rebel flags and sh*t here.
    • Me:: ….
    • Girl:: Oh, I know. You’re here for the white girls.
    • Me:: -_-
    • Girl:: Buy me a drink.
    • Made me a bit uncomfortable.
    • Customer:: If more black people were like you the world would be a better place.
    • Black me:: Have a nice day.
    • What I wanted to say:: If fewer people were as ignorant as you, people who look like me would have better lives. I was 18. (He was in his 40s or 50s.) when: spring 1998, working at Barnes & Noble in Louisiana. 

    You know, it’s so amazing. I was just looking at your hands and feet- they’re so dark on the top, but then at the palms they look just like ours! Hahaha.”

    -My gymnastics coach in front of my suburban, entirely-white team, in which I am the only black person.

    • Workfriend:: Hey that new guy at work is gay; you should totally be with him.
    • Me:: No I don’t find him attractive.
    • Workfriend:: But… he’s gay! You’re gay, he’s gay, what’s stopping you??
    • Me:: Just because he’s gay doesn’t mean-
    • Workfriend:: Ummmmm, he’s gay. He likes having sex with guys like you. You’re just afraid. Duhhh.

    I was 21, at work. Made me feel annoyed, hurt and trivialized. Gay people don’t have sex with anyone just because they are both gay.

     

     

    He was pretty dark, so he’s probably not paying rent because he’s an illegal and doesn’t know English.”

    -My (white) stepfather regarding one of his renters. Made me ashamed because I’m Hispanic, too.

    I’m a black woman. My black female friend once told me that a white guy once said to her, “You’re really pretty for a black girl.” And her response was, “I know.”

    Made me realize her and my own unrecognized self hate. Made me feel sad and guilty.

    You could pass for Dominican; some of them are really dark and have bad hair like you. Luckily, I got the GOOD hair”.”

    -Said to me by the black Dominican-American boyfriend of my biracial (black/white) friend visiting us during Spring Break. I am a 20 year old black American woman with naturally kinky-curly hair. Made me feel shocked, ugly, unimportant.

    This 1895 charicature is an unkind parody of a woman seeking to smooth out her hair. The comic strip suggests that her hair stood out on end because of a hair-raising novel.
    • My black/white biracial friend looks at the Facebook profile of a black man she’s crushing on.
    • Her:: Ugh, his [mono-racial and black] girlfriend is so ugly. They’d have kids with huge nasty noses. He needs to get with me and my good mixed nose. *giggles*

    I am a black 20 year old American woman. We were studying together at another friend’s apartment. Made me feel insulted, ugly, disfigured, and defective.

    You know why Vermont is so safe, don’t you? There’s hardly any minorities in it!”

    I was in NY yesterday, meeting my future in-laws for the first time when my fiance’s father said this. He is a white man in his 70s. I am a 22 year old biracial black cis woman …who lives in Vermont. It made me feel furious, invisible, helpless, rejected.

    what year is this!?

    oh my jesus… yes, i had to go there.  i keep searching for an indication that this piece was written forty years ago, and only recently re-published just for… fun… or something.  i do think that there are, like, two valid, worthwhile points contained herein… but… um… oriental!?!?  that, of course, is not my main concern here, but it does point to the antiquated lens through which our dear (he does look kind of sweet and it says he volunteers a lot) mr. raiford views the world around him.  i don’t mean to come down on him.  i thank him for the unique opportunity to analyze the old “what about the children?” plea which i rarely see argued under the guise of modern day quandry.

    maybe you should take a moment to skip down to the article and then come back to my stuff…  i’m never sure if it’s best for me to put my thoughts at the beginning or not… you’ve been warned… here they come…

    first off, i’d wager to say that parents of mixed race children have long questioned the validity of discrete racial categories that require a child to choose.  i’d also wager to say that the white parents have probably had more questions than the black or ‘minority’ ones.  if this article was indeed written in the 21st century, i think it would be more accurate to say that (some fraction of) the rest of the country is finally beginning to question the validity of discrete racial categories.

    most off… i cannot even believe that this man, who uses the term oriental multiple times, has the nerve to caution human beings who love each other and dream of starting a family to grow through life with… not to do so because race “matters” and (in his opinion) the children will be confused and unsupported outside of said family.  how about cautioning the rest of the country, those who haven’t caught up with the times, not to be so rigid in their notions of “us” in opposition to “them,” or who belongs with whom and why?  how about saying something to move us toward the idea that we are all fundamentally the same?  we are people.  who seek love and joy and connection.  and any time people are lucky enough to stumble upon those things we should encourage them to leap right in and build something beautiful from there.  which will encourage the rest of us to do the same. which will cause this society in which race matters more than who a person really is to change because the lines are blurred, have been crossed, eventually forgotten.  there you have a solution for the problem of the 6 year old that mr. raiford proposes will be confused and hurt by not belonging to any group outside of the immediate family.

    and another thing… hasn’t the recent census informed us that there actually is a viable mixed-race reference group?  the only satisfaction that brings me personally is that it appears to be a necessary step toward the ultimate realization of the human-race reference group.  only one box to check.

    to be fair… parts i liked… which really means agree with:

    • When a black and white couple produces a child, the child, by logical extension of definition, is black and white…
    • Race in the United States is a very discrete category. It is not based on any kind of scientific definition. It is based on a draconian sociological one and a divisive political one.
    • The United States has carefully and systematically created a society where race is a tremendously more important determinant of who we are than ethnicity, religion, national origin or personal achievements.

    again, i do not mean to bring down a reign of fury on mr. raiford.  i’m truly grateful for the opportunity to blast these notions.  he seems like a nice guy with misguided concerns.  actually with misguided solutions to concerns that are unfortunately still mildly valid as we seem to be in an in between (united)state(s).  in between where we were and where we’re going.

    awesome photo unrelated, source/subject unknown

    HARD TIMES FOR MIXED-RACE CHILDREN

    Written by GILBERT L. RAIFORD

    In the pursuit of accuracy and personal pride, interracial parents are beginning to question the validity of discrete racial categories that require their children to designate single-race identification.

    On the surface, this is a laudable pursuit and certainly a legitimate one. After all, we do define people as black or white. So, when a black and white couple produces a child, the child, by logical extension of definition, is black and white or neither black nor white. However, this satisfies only the biological, and perhaps anthropological, approach to understanding race.

    There is a more compelling reality: Race in the United States is a very discrete category. It is not based on any kind of scientific definition. It is based on a draconian sociological one and a divisive political one. People here are defined as black or white or Oriental. This takes precedence over being defined as Jewish, Jamaican, Cuban, Haitian, Russian, Chinese, French, Catholic, Protestant, etc. The United States has carefully and systematically created a society where race is a tremendously more important determinant of who we are than ethnicity, religion, national origin or personal achievements. Witness the confusion of black Cubans or black Puerto Ricans or the Eurasians.

    In the United States, an African-American parent, no matter how fair-skinned, cannot procreate a “white” child. The system does not make exceptions for an African American whose child is the product of interracial coupling. Of course, the reverse is not true for Anglo-Americans. They can have any race of child they want – black, white or oriental. That is the reality of this society.

    I write this not at all to chide or even inform interracial parents. They are adults who most likely know a great deal about the race issues and are intellectually and emotionally strong enough to ignore the stupidity that is generated out of personal and institutionalized racism. Their lives together attest to this fact.

    But what about the children?

    It is not easy growing up black in this society. It becomes considerably more difficult for one who does not know that he or she is black, but is confronted by this sociological fact everyday and in so many ways, some of them hurtful and insidious. No amount of parental love can shield a 6-year-old from the confusion and hurt of not belonging to any group outside of the immediate family. Adolescents are particularly fragile, having to live with this confusion at the very crossroads of their lives when they are struggling to overcome self-doubt and needing to feel good about themselves, needing self-validation – things that one gets from people other than the immediate family, from a reference group. Presently, there is no viable mixed-race reference group. One is forced to choose. Mental health directs one towards choosing a reference group which minimizes our degree of race-mixing and provides us with full membership.

    Superimposed on race is ethnicity.  Ethnicity is a reference group. For African Americans, it provides for a very sustaining sense of identity. It is no wonder that people like Lena Horne, Cab Calloway, W.E.B. DuBois, Walter White and Adam Clayton Power, even though white-looking, affirmed their blackness. It was not race that they were affirming, it was ethnicity, the sustaining sentiment which makes being non-white in America palpable and even enjoyable.

    Hopefully, the day will arrive when we are no longer a racial society, a society where race does not matter. That day has not yet come. In the meanwhile, I caution interracial parents to consider the consequences of making their child a cause célèbre in search of a miscegenation reference group. Of course, it is important that a child knows the reality of his or her family genealogy and to even embrace it. It is at least equally important that a child is prepared to negotiate life based on the social context of society. Sadly, race matters.

    Gilbert L. Raiford is semi-retired after a career in teaching and working for the U.S. Department of State. He lives in Miami where he volunteers at homeless facilities, the Opera House in Miami and after-care school programs as a fund-raiser. He may be reached at graiford@hotmail.com

    beauty-full

    so, while i was “away” one of the big community newsflashes was that mixed-race is the new standard of beauty.  um…ok, cool…i guess…or, whatever!…i’m not really sure where i stand on this one, because, just like race, a standard of beauty really has no basis in reality.  that’s merely an opinion.  however, the fact 64% of the people polled in the Allure magazine survey that delivered us this “good” news are of the opinion that they generally find mixed-race women to be the epitome of beauty, leads me to ponder a couple of things:

    1. we’re not so invisible anymore.  they didn’t choose light-skinned black people with “good hair,” or asians who may also be perceived as a little hispanic too as the exemplification of beauty.  they chose mixed-race.  it was on list.  that’s progress, no?

    2. i firmly believe that there is no such thing as race, not in terms of the universal reality which i perceive to be very different from the mainstream worldly reality.  yet within the confines of the discussion of the topic at hand (funny (and frustrating) how this ‘non-existent’ thing is so confining) i would say that we are all mixed race.  so who amongst us is not full of beauty?

    3. i also think about all the previous generations of mixed people who may have felt invisible and/or less than and/or all that jazz… i think about me… i wish i could have told this girl that if she could just wait 10-20 years or so, some of the things she felt uncomfortable with and perhaps even unloveable because of would come to be perceived as beautiful… so she should just rest assured in herself and wait for the world to catch up…

    wow! these pictures make me so uncomfortable. just like i was back then.

    now…not that i’m all caught up in thinking of myself as some biracial beauty…but…i gotta say…progress, no?

    if i had to identify something beautiful about this picture, i would say it’s that i seem unapologetically present and, dare i say, confident even. i’d like to see phrases like that enter the equation when calculating the standard of beauty… confident, present, compassionate, passionate, gracious, generous… how ’bout those undisputably beautiful things?

     

    mulattoes captured

    Not like this:

    But like this:

    1850 portrait of a mulatto woman

    J.P. Ball quarter plate daguerreotype of mulattoes

    Sixth Plate Daguerreotype Portrait of A Young Mulatto WomanA fine daguerreotype portrait of a young, well-dressed mulatto woman, with the letters W and MB etched on plate’s verse

    Quarter Plate Daguerreotype of Two White Children & Their Mulatto Servants,

    *Quarter Plate Daguerreotype of Two White Children & Their Mulatto Servants*

    Cased Ninth Plate Daguerreotype of a Mulatto, fine half-length portrait of a 20-something young, mixed race gentleman, Negroid and Caucasian, in typical merchant sailors outfit of the period.

    The Daguerreotype was the first successful photographic process, the discovery being announced on 7 January 1839. The process consisted of

    • exposing copper plates to iodine, the fumes forming light-sensitive silver iodide. The plate would have to be used within an hour.
    • exposing to light – between 10 and 20 minutes, depending upon the light available.
    • developing the plate over mercury heated to 75 degrees Centigrade. This caused the mercury to amalgamate with the silver.
    • fixing the image in a warm solution of common salt (later sodium sulphite was used.)
    • rinsing the plate in hot distilled water.

    I absolutely love these!  I fully intend to collect them one day when I can afford it.  There seems to me to be so much more to a daguerreotype than a photograph.  They seem haunted to me.  Like the image and the moment was so thoroughly captured that I’m really looking at something/someone frozen in time.  Haunted.

    On another note, I get some sort of satisfaction from looking at these and reading the descriptions.  Proof that “we” exist and were once recognized.

    *or brothers….(re: white children & their mulatto servants above)*


    recently on the interweb

    I’ve come across some interesting stories, commentary, and subsequent comments all dealing with… Biracialness! Big shocker, right?  I love reading the comments.  So many different opinions, which simply reinforce my will to stay with my self and stand confident in my personal ideology.

    The Seattle Times

    Via

    Rant and Rave Rant to the women on the bus who, when asked to quell their use of expletives around my young children, disparaged me for having a biracial family and insulted my daughters’ hair. Rave to the man who told them my request concerning their language was valid and that they had no reason to insult me and my family. Thank you, sir.

    Answer.com

    JUST ASK AND LET THE OTHER TO ANSWER IT FOR YOU

    Via

    Pregnancy & Parenting

    How do I tell my mum I’m having a mixed race baby?

    the baby is going to be half black but i don’t think my mum or my family would be too happy about it.. I want my family to accept the baby but what can do I to make them accept my unborn baby…

    5 Responses to “How do I tell my mum im having a mixed race baby?”

    blessed says:

    all you can really do is explain to them as much as you can to get them to understand, but even at that it might not change their minds, but if it doesn’t then just say it’s my baby and no matter what it is going to be family and they’ll just have to get over it.

    Charles J says:

    You don’t. I would recommend getting an abortion. No one likes a half-breed.

    VincentL says:

    just tell them straight up…they probably be very mad at first but sooner or later they will adjust to i

    Due 12.3.10 says:

    just tell her its ur child..

    R.I.P Michael Jackson says:

    u don’t have to they will c it when u have it………….

    Run, Racists, Run! Biracials Are Everywhere!

    By Sam Watson

    Via

    Gone are the days where the majority of people will shout racist remarks at those of color on the streets. It still happens, but nowhere near as much as in the past. Racists are kind of afraid to spew their hatred in public, and I feel us biracials are to blame. We represent an abomination to racists. An old, white guy- a complete stranger- once saw my mom (white, Ukrainian) with my sister and I, when we were very young children, and he shouted, “Slut!” at her. We’re mixed – half white and half black. We represent an absolute breakdown of a racist’s hateful beliefs.

    …Racists don’t know whether or not the “white” person next to them is either mixed or married to someone of a different race. Racists better up their paranoia levels, and warn the town sheriff in Bigotville.  During the World Cup, I turned to my seemingly white co-worker, and started ragging on the Mexican team. She instantly scowled at me in return. I forgot! She’s half white and half Mexican! Even I- a biracial- was fooled! We’re everywhere, now, and this is a racist’s worst nightmare.

    Comments

    -You are right. When it comes to black people, they now hate themselves much more. All of us are mixed up with something. We are one human race. Our race is different from that of the animals, not each other.
    -A study I heard cited recently encouraged parents to discuss race and racism with their kids. Several families dropped out because they were so uncomfortable with this requirement of the study.

    The study discovered that racism is not discussed at all in many progressive, liberal households. The idea is that if we’re all supposed to be colorblind, discussing race, or any difference for that matter, is taboo. Of course, that’s the best way to make it a dark, secretive thing- precisely the problem. People who desperately want their kids to be not just tolerant, but accepting, are practically guaranteeing their kids get no exposure to the subject by pretending it’s not there.

    Racism and bigotry is a vampire- it can’t stand the light. If we want it to die out, we have to do the uncomfortable, inconvenient thing and talk about it even when it’s not a major in-your-face problem.

    -I am half German (white) and Puerto Rican (brown) and I always baffle people. I think it’s interesting that we assume that racism is disappearing when I feel like it is only growing. In an all colorful nation I still feel like I need to watch what I say when I am naming a race ~ whether it’s politically “correct” or not because I never know who is going to be offended.

    -You better believe we are everywhere. Though I know I’m not the only unique biracial person out there, I do admit that people are surprise when they hear that my mom is from Dominican Republic and my father is from Afghanistan. Talk about fusing two totally different cultures.

    I also understand when you talk about racism being a private thing. My step mother is racist, even though she’s married to my father. It makes me mad when she makes stupid comments regaurding race. She also tries to inplant her ideas on my half brother. I try my best to counter these thoughts though… my diverse background has raised me to be open to new ideas, cultures, and people. The more people who are biracial, the more tolerance we have of one another.

    -Racism is still alive but it’s a endangered species. I say this because the current generation doesn’t hold race as important as the previous ones. Most of my friends (I, myself included) have bi-racial children. At times I wonder when these kids grow up will that look at their peers and ask in shock “You’re not mixed?” I think it’s a great thing, however as parents we still need to pour our cultures into the children, letting them know they have and even more extended set of roots and the beauty contained within both.

    -Racism is part of human nature. Embrace it!

    -I’m old enough to have seen overt racism, as well as the more prevalent covert racism. Sometimes I feel that the only hope we have to eradicate racism is the gradual blending of all races into an “everyman.”

    -I was recently showing off pictures of my friends in New York to some people here. They nodded politely at all of them, but paused at a picture of two my best friends.

    “What race are they?” I was asked.

    I couldn’t believe it mattered. A lot of my previous pictures had been of people who were black or Asian or of some non-white race, but these two mixed-race girls came into question?

    “Er, she’s Romanian and Jamaican, and she’s Indian, Portuguese and Italian.”

    “Oh, okay.” The guy replied. “I just couldn’t figure it out.”

    Why should you have to?

    exception

    …to the “race doesn’t matter” mantra.  It seems to be relevant when physical health is the issue.  Actually, mental health as well, but that’s a different story.  Anywho, I’m happy to read of this research and find it interesting that supremacists are happy to hear of it too.

    Genetic screening may redefine medical treatments

    by Carolyn Johnson

    SOURCE

    SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) — New research out of UCSF shows that tracking a patient’s genetic ancestry can improve the diagnosis of asthma and other lung diseases. The results could have broader implications for other diseases that also rely on standard benchmarks such as race, gender and age.

    Doctor’s office visits are the norm for 9-year-old Shamatay Hayes. She was diagnosed with asthma at age 2, something she and her mom have struggled to keep under control.

    “It is challenging,” her mother says.

    At San Francisco General Hospital and at asthma clinic across the country, Shamatay’s lung function is tracked using standard benchmarks such as age, gender and race. But, researchers say there is now a better way.

    “So, what we can now do with modern techniques is estimate what a person’s ancestry is or what their heritage is using a series of genetic markers,” says UCSF researcher Dr. Melinda Aldrich.

    The genetic markers more accurately determine lung function rather than a patient’s self-identification as simply white, black or Hispanic.

    “With increasing African ancestry, we saw a decrement in lung function,” says UCSF associate professor Dr. Esteban Burchar.

    Burchard is director of UCSF’s Center for Genes, Environment and Health, and senior author of a paper just published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

    “We said forget what you think you are, what people think you are, and we looked at your genetic ancestry. We were able to reclassify patients more accurately than just using self-identified criteria,” explains.

    That is increasingly important because race is used to establish normal reference values for everything from diagnosing disease to establishing disability payments. For instance, a mixed-race firefighter who suffers smoke inhalation might not meet the standards for disability of what is considered normal lung function since that is based on just three racial categories right now.

    “What we showed is when you use these race-based standards, you could have as much as a 10 percent error rate depending upon what your true ancestry,” Burchard says.

    Burchard believes this research brings us closer to truly-personalized medicine, but he is also aware of the potential controversy.

    “We’ve had people contact us who were supremacists that said you know what you’re doing is validating what we believe,” he says.

    But, the research actually tells a different story.

    “Most of us, all of us in fact, are racially mixed,” he says. “We have a very rich heritage and what we’re doing is acknowledging that mixture and incorporating it into our clinical assessments.”

    Scientists believe their results on lung function are just the beginning.

    Aldrich says, “Wherever potentially we use race now for making medical decisions, it may have an impact with other diseases.”

    This would ultimately make medicine more effective for everyone. The genetic tests used by researchers at UCSF cost about $10 per patient. Scientists see it as a small price to pay for a more accurate assessment of disease, which could lead to more effective treatments for patients.

    (Copyright ©2010 KGO-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

    conspicuously negroid features

    Really, Frontline?  Really!?  Negroid?  Whatever, PBS.  Not sure why that caused me intense irritation, but it did.  Moving on…  This strikes me as something that should be common knowledge.

    Was This Britain’s First Black Queen?

    by Mario de Valdes y Cocom

    “The suggestion that Queen Charlotte was black implies that her granddaughter (Queen Victoria) and her great-great-great-great-granddaughter (Queen Elizabeth II) had African forebears. Perhaps, instead of just being a boring bunch of semi-inbred white stiffs, our royal family becomes much more interesting.” (The Guardian, March 12, 2009)

    With features as conspicuously Negroid as they were reputed to be by her contemporaries, it is no wonder that the black community, both in the U.S. and throughout the British Commonwealth, have rallied around pictures of Queen Charlotte for generations. They have pointed out the physiological traits that so obviously identify the ethnic strain of the young woman who, at first glance, looks almost anomalous, portrayed as she usually is, in the sumptuous splendour of her coronation robes.

    Queen Charlotte, wife of the English King George III (1738-1820), was directly descended from Margarita de Castro y Sousa, a black branch of the Portuguese Royal House…  Six different lines can be traced from English Queen Charlotte back to Margarita de Castro y Sousa, in a gene pool which because of royal inbreeding was already minuscule, thus explaining the Queen’s unmistakable African appearance.

    Queen Charlotte’s Portrait:
    The Royal FamilyThe Negroid characteristics of the Queen’s portraits certainly had political significance since artists of that period were expected to play down, soften or even obliterate undesirable features in a subjects’s face. Sir Allan Ramsay was the artist responsible for the majority of the paintings of the Queen and his representations of her were the most decidedly African of all her portraits. Ramsey was an anti-slavery intellectual of his day. He also married the niece of Lord Mansfield, the English judge whose 1772 decision was the first in a series of rulings that finally ended slavery in the British Empire. It should be noted too that by the time Sir Ramsay was commissioned to do his first portrait of the Queen, he was already , by marriage, uncle to Dido Elizabeth Lindsay, the black grand niece of Lord Mansfield.

    Thus, from just a cursory look at the social awareness and political activism at that level of English society, it would be surprising if the Queen’s negroid physiogomy was of no significance to the Abolitionist movement.

    Ramsay painted this one, with her two children, in 1765

    Mulatto Queen: Black Grandmother of Queen Victoria

    by Gary Lloyd

    History reveals two curious details about Queen Charlotte Consort to George III: First, her official coronation portrait shows a woman with distinct mulatto features. Second, the Royal Physician to her granddaughter, Queen Victoria, wrote about her in his memoir: “She had a true mulatto face.”

    But if Queen Charlotte was a mulatto, who was the black man who fathered her? And if Queen Victoria became the “Grandmother of Europe” would not her black African great-grandfather be the great-grandfather of virtually every Royal house in Europe?

    Mulatto Queen unravels this mystery. Along the way we meet Voltaire, Samuel Johnson, Czar Peter the Great, Liebniz, and finally, the black African rumored to be Queen Charlotte’s biological father.

    No stodgy historical drama, Mulatto Queen is a hypnotic, farcical romp through King George III’s England. Think: The Da Vinci Code meets Roots …

    The characters are heroic, cowardly, desperately funny, disturbingly neurotic. What with their wedding-cake high wigs, court gowns, rampant alcoholism, bloodlust for public executions, addiction to snuff, penchant for gluttony, the appearance of a 17-year old mulatto girl and King George’s instant attraction to her caused a scandal and a cover-up that persists to this day.

    Buy the book HERE