race manners

Since I’ve been back on the blog, I have said very little about the so-called biracial experience.  It amazes me that it’s still easier, even for me with all of my good “mixed” intentions, to talk about black and white.  I forgive myself for this because without the black and white there is no mixed.  Without the baggage of white vs. black stuff, there is no need for the mixed discussion.  So, I suppose it’s only natural.  It is little disappointing personally that the middle ground isn’t where the conversation begins for me.  It’s on the ends of the spectrum.  But I also suppose that this is natural.  I suppose this has been the disappointment of my life.  And I suppose that this is how we get to the middle ground.  By exploring the ends and inching toward the middle.

A couple of things in Jenee Harris’ article jumped out at me:

1. “My white mother has developed an acute sensitivity to the subtle ways prejudice and bigotry pop up in daily life.”- 

I wonder if my father would say he has developed the same.  I think so…I think that happened when he entered into a relationship with my (black) mother and grew deeper as he witnessed my experience… but we never talk about it…

82920031

me with my parents:)

2. “Well-intended”– re: “adults loved to tell me that people paid “good money” for hair like mine (think 1980s-era perms on white women)” and “A friend got the biscuit analogy…: God burned black people and undercooked white people, but removed her from the heavenly oven at the perfect moment.”

Well…if the intention of the (white) person who said this is to make the biracial person feel better about the perceived plight of their kind…well…i guess one could count that as a good or harmless intention. But I think that summation signifies complacence.  I, however, have to challenge this notion.  You see, giver of said “compliment,” in your quest to make me feel better about being my invisible, displaced, misunderstood, marginalized and tragic self you put me on the receiving end of your pity, your assumptions and judgements.  I do believe this is usually unconscious.  I also must acknowledge that it is an assumption I’m making. Yet there’s a reason that I assume that this is the intention behind the compliments.  The assumption is based on experience, but even those are dangerous to make. It’s the tone with which these comments are usually, subtly uttered.  If you’ve been the biracial person in this kind of conversation, I think you know what I mean.

When I engage in this kind of innocent interaction I can be left feeling frustrated, upset, and worst of all unseen.  It is depressing.  It is literally a depression of my spirit.  Of my freedom.  A depression of my freedom to just be and simply experience this life without being saddled with the weight of the stigma of a couple hundred years of prejudice, condemnation, fear, greed, inferiority, superiority, discrimination, and antagonism.  My take on it is that some people assuage a fleeting feeling of guilt over the fact that this is the biracial’s lot in life by reminding us (and/or reminding themselves) that I should be happy because I have good hair and tan skin which, I infer from your comments, should make up for the fact that on the whole the society we live in cannot acknowledge or understand how I exist.  I thought there was more to that sentence, but I think that’s it.  Our nation’s identity continues to be wrapped up in race and all the baggage that comes with it.  For that to remain intact, biracial just can’t really be.  I don’t think that needs to remain intact.  I think things are shifting.  So slowly.  But they are shifting and I hope I stay awake enough to the shift to feel when my assumptions based on past experience are truly no longer valid.

On the other hand, I’m fairly certain that most of my response falls into the category of  “Oh, come on, stop being so sensitive.

Or am I just being truthful?  That’s the stuff that this brought up for me.

Biracial Children: Racism Advice for White Parents

Race Manners: Comments about the superior beauty of your biracial child aren’t just weird — they’re troubling.

By Jenée Desmond-Harris

Updated Monday April 8, 2013

The Root —

“I’m a Caucasian woman with a biracial child (her father is black). I live in a predominantly white community. Why is it that whenever people discover that I have a ‘mixed’ child, they always say things like, ‘Oh, he/she must be so cute/gorgeous/adorable, those kids are always the best looking. You are so lucky.’ 

I know they mean well, but it seems off to me, and maybe racist. Do they mean compared to ‘real’ black children? When a German and Italian or an Asian and Jewish person have a child, black people don’t say, ‘Mixed children like yours are always the best looking.’ (Plus, it’s not true — not all black-white biracial kids are the ‘best looking.’)

Am I being overly sensitive by feeling there’s something off about these comments? If not, what’s the best way to respond?”

I chose this question for the first installment of Race Manners, The Root‘s new advice column on racial etiquette and ethics, because it hits close to home. Like your daughter, I’m biracial. Like you, my white mother has developed an acute sensitivity to the subtle ways prejudice and bigotry pop up in daily life. I should know. She calls me to file what I’ve deemed her “racism reports.”

And let’s be clear. Americans of all races say bizarre things to and about mixed people, who can inspire some of the most revealing remarks about our black-white baggage. Just think of the public debates about how MSNBC’s Karen Finney, and even President Obama, should be allowed to identify.

But the comments in your question often come from a good place, and they’re often said with a smile. When I was a child, adults loved to tell me that people paid “good money” for hair like mine (think 1980s-era perms on white women) and for tanning beds (again, it was the ’80s and ’90s) to achieve my skin color. Thus, the grown-up argument went, I should be happy (even if these trends didn’t stop people from petting my curls as if I were an exotic poodle, nor did they give me the straight blond hair I envied, and it’s not as if I was on the receiving end of the beauty-shop payments).

A friend got the biscuit analogy. Wait for it: God burned black people and undercooked white people, but removed her from the heavenly oven at the perfect moment, she was told.

Awkward. Well-intended. Poorly thought-through. A window into our shared cultural stuff about identity. These statements are all these things at once.

That’s another reason I selected your question. When it comes to remarks that are so obviously dead-wrong to some of us, and so clearly innocuous to others, there’s often little energy for or interest in breaking down the explanation that lies between “Ugh, so ignorant!” and “Oh, come on, stop being so sensitive.”

I’ll try it out here.

You’re right to be bothered by the remarks from the Biracial Babies Fan Club. Here’s why: These people aren’t pulling an arbitrary appreciation for almond-colored skin and curls from the ether. Instead — even if they are not aware of this — they’re both reflecting and perpetuating troubling beliefs that are bigger than their individual tastes. Specifically, while “mixed kids are the cutest” is evenhanded on its face, treating both black and white (and all other ethnic groups) as inferior to your daughter, I hear it as anti-black.

As Marcia Dawkins, the author of Clearly Invisible: Racial Passing and the Color of Cultural Identity, told me, “The myth that mixed-race offspring are somehow better than nonmixed offspring is an example of ‘hybrid vigor,’ an evolutionary theory which states that the progeny of diverse varieties within a species tend to exhibit better physical and psychological characteristics than either one or both of the parents.”

mixie girl

And just take a wild guess how this idea has popped up for black people. You got it: In order to demean and oppress African Americans, thought leaders throughout history, including the likes of Thomas Jefferson, have said that black-white mixed offspring are better, more attractive, smarter, etc., than “real” blacks and not as good or attractive or smart as “real” whites, Dawkins explains.

So alleging that mixed kids are the best of anything sounds different when you consider that we’ve long put a wholesale premium on all that’s whiter and brighter.

Nowhere is that premium more stubbornly applied today than when it comes to the topic at the center of your question — beauty and attractiveness. In recent memory, we had to re-litigate the harms of colorism when Zoe Saldana was cast to play the lead in a Nina Simone biopic. Tamar Braxton and India.Arie have both been accused of bleaching skin — as if that would be a reasonable thing to do.

A writer lamented in a personal essay for xoJane that she was sick and tired of being complimented for what black men viewed as her “mixed” or “exotic” (read: nonblack) physical features. (As far as I know, “you look a little black” is not a common line of praise among other groups.) Black girls still pick the white dolls in recreated Kenneth Clark experiments. Harlem moms can’t get Barbie birthday decorations in the color of their little princesses. We treated rapper Kendrick Lamar like the department store that featured a wheelchair-bound model in an ad campaign when he cast a dark-skinned woman as a music-video love interest.

Against this backdrop of painful beliefs that people of all colors buy into, yes, “Mixed kids are the cutest” should sound “off.”

As the mom of a mixed kid, you signed up for more than just the task of venturing into the “ethnic” aisle of the drugstore and learning about leave-in conditioner. You took on the work of hearing things like this through the ears of your daughter, and you agreed to have a stake in addressing racism. The fact that these comments bothered you means you’re on the job.

So if it’s at all possible, you should explain everything I’ve said above to people who announce that your daughter is gorgeous based on racial pedigree alone. If you’re shorter on time or familiarity, you could try a reminder that there’s really no such thing as genetic purity in the first place (“Great news, if that’s true, since most of us — including you — are mixed”). As an alternative, the old cocked-head, confused look, combined with “What makes you say that?” always puts the onus back on the speaker to think about what he or she is really saying.

Finally, just a simple, “Thanks, I think she’s beautiful, but I don’t like the implication that it’s because of her ethnic makeup,” could open up an important introductory conversation about why comments about superior biracial beauty aren’t true and aren’t flattering, and why the beliefs they reflect aren’t at all “cute.”

before this hurts too much

Need race-related advice? Send your questions to racemanners@theroot.com.

The Root‘s staff writer, Jenée Desmond-Harris, covers the intersection of race with news, politics and culture. She wants to talk about the complicated ways in which ethnicity, color and identity arise in your personal life — and provide perspective on the ethics and etiquette surrounding race in a changing America.

joneses

Disclaimer: I’m having one of those crazy stressful work weeks which during which i can only steal about five minutes to blog, so things are pretty sparse around here.

Luckily for me people have been finding there way to the blog by searching the web for Rashida Jones and/or Quincy Jones and Peggy Lipton.  I’ve been sitting on this photo for a few days, and figure all signs point to “it’s time to post it” even though I don’t have much to go with it.

I simply love the photograph.

The article below is brief, yet relevant.

The article below that I have posted before, but think the interview is brilliant enough to repost

kenya, rahida, kidada, q

Kenya, Quincy, Rashida, and Kidada Jones

Rashida Jones on Being Biracial: “I Have No Issues With My Identity”

The actress talks about the challenges of finding her place in Hollywood.

By Evelyn Diaz
Posted: 07/10/2012
The actress and screenwriter, whose film Celeste and Jesse Forever is due in theaters next month, opens up to EurWeb.com about being biracial in Hollywood (she’s Black and Jewish).

“It’s more of a challenge for other people than it is for me,” she says. “I have no issues with my identity.”

The daughter of media mogul Quincy Jones and actress Peggy Lipton does admit that her Hollywood handlers had trouble categorizing her at first. “Other people think I should be settling into one thing or another, but I don’t want to be limited,” she says.

“I spent so much time when I was younger being limited,” she goes on. “I wasn’t dark enough for some parts, or I was too light, or I wasn’t quirky enough.”

Now, the 36-year-old Harvard grad is one of the most promising talents in Hollywood, both in front of and behind the camera. After a breakthrough role in I Love You, Man, she landed a part in the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation and created the comic book series Frenemy of the State, which is currently being adapted for the big screen with her as the star.

Jones was also nominated for a 2011 NAACP Image Award for Influential Multiracial Public Figure.

Rashida Jones’ Sister Kidada Agrees “She Passed For White” But Did The Mean Girls At Harvard Scare Her Away From Dating Black Men Forever?

jones-sisters

RASHIDA: I wouldn’t trade my family for anything. My mother shocked her Jewish parents by marrying out of her religion and race. And my father: growing up poor and black, buckling the odds and becoming so successful, having the attitude of “I love this woman! We’re going to have babies and to hell with anyone who doesn’t like it!”

KIDADA: We had a sweet, encapsulated family. We were our own little world. But there’s the warmth of love inside a family, and then there’s the outside world. When I was born in 1974, there were almost no other biracial families–or black families–in our neighborhood. I was brown-skinned with short, curly hair. Mommy would take me out in my stroller and people would say, “What a beautiful baby…whose is it?” Rashida came along in 1976. She had straight hair and lighter skin. My eyes were brown; hers were green. IN preschool, our mother enrolled us in the Buckley School, an exclusive private school. It was almost all white.

RASHIDA: In reaction to all that differentess, Kidada tried hard to define herself as a unique person by becoming a real tomboy.

KIDADA: While Rashida wore girly dresses, I loved my Mr. T dolls and my Jaws T-shirt. But seeing the straight hair like the other girls had, like my sister had…I felt: “It’s not fair! I want that hair!”

PEGGY: I was the besotted mother of two beautiful daughters I’d had with the man I loved–I saw Kidada through those eyes. I thought she had the most gorgeous hair–those curly, curly ringlets. I still think so!

KIDADA: One day a little blond classmate just out and called me “Chocolate bar.” I shot back: “Vanilla!”

QUINCY: I felt deeply for Kidada; I thought racism would be over by the eighties. My role was to put things in perspective for her, project optimism, imply that things were better than they’d been for me growing up on the south side of Chicago in the 1930s.

KIDADA: I had another hurdle as a kid: I was dyslexic. I was held back in second grade. I flunked algebra three times. The hair, the skin, the frustration with schoolwork: It was all part of the shake. I was a strong-willed, quirky child–mischievous.

RASHIDA: Kidada was cool. I was a dork. I had a serious case of worship for my big sister. She was so strong, so popular, so rebellious. Here’s the difference in our charisma: When I was 8 and Kidada was 10, we tried to get invited into the audience of our favorite TV shows. Mine was Not Necessarily the News, a mock news show, and hers was Punky Brewster, about a spunky orphan. I went by the book, writing a fan letter–and I got back a form letter. Kidada called the show, used her charm, wouldn’t take no for an answer. Within a week she was invited to the set!

KIDADA: I was kicked out of Buckley in second grade for behavior problems. I didn’t want my mother to come to my new school. If kids saw her, it would be: “your mom’s white!” I told Mom she couldn’t pick me up; she had to wait down the street in her car. Did Rashida have that problem? No! She passed for white.

RASHIDA: “Passed”?! I had no control over how I looked. This is my natural hair, these are my natural eyes! I’ve never tried to be anything that I’m not. Today I feel guilty, knowing that because of the way our genes tumbled out, Kidada had to go through pain I didn’t have to endure. Loving her so much, I’m sad that I’ll never share that experience with her.

KIDADA: Let me make this clear: My feelings about my looks were never “in comparison to” Rashida. It was the white girls in class that I compared myself to. Racial issues didn’t exist at home. Our parents weren’t black and white; they were Mommy and Daddy.

RASHIDA: But it was different with our grandparents. Our dad’s father died before we were born. We didn’t see our dad’s mother often. I felt comfortable with Mommy’s parents, who’d come to love my dad like a son. Kidada wasn’t so comfortable with them. I felt Jewish; Kidada didn’t.

KIDADA: I knew Mommy’s parents were upset at first when she married a black man, and though they did the best they could, I picked up on what I thought was their subtle disapproval of me. Mommy says they loved me, but I felt estranged from them.

While Rashida stayed and excelled at Buckley, Kidada bumped from school to school; she got expelled from 10 in all because of behavior problems, which turned out to be related to her dyslexia.

KIDADA: We had a nanny, Anna, from El Salvador. I couldn’t get away with stuff with her. Mommy knew Anna could give her the backup she needed in the discipline department because she was my color. Anna was my “ethnic mama.”

PEGGY: Kidada never wanted to be white. She spoke with a little…twist in her language. She had ‘tude. Rashida spoke more primly, and her identity touched all bases. She’d announce, “I’m going to be the first female, black, Jewish president of the U.S.!”

KIDADA: When I was 11, a white girlfriend and I were going to meet up with these boys she knew. I’d told her, because I wanted to be accepted, “Tell them I’m tan.” When we met them, the one she was setting me up with said, “You didn’t tell me she was black.” That’s When I started defining myself as black, period. Why fight it? Everyone wanted to put me in a box. On passports, at doctor’s offices, when I changed schools, there were boxes to check: Caucasian, Black, Hispanic, Asian. I don’t mean any dishonor to my mother–who is the most wonderful mother in the world, and we are so alike–but: I am black. Rashida answers questions about “what” she is differently. She uses all the adjectives: black, white, Jewish.

RASHIDA: Yes, I do. And I get: “But you look so white!” “You’re not black!” I want to say: “Do you know how hurtful that is to somebody who identifies so strongly with half of who she is?” Still, that’s not as bad as when people don’t know. A year ago a taxi driver said to me, That Jennifer Lopez is a beautiful woman. Thank God she left that disgusting black man, Puffy.” I said, “I’m black.” He tried to smooth it over. IF you’re obviously black, white people watch their tongues, but with me they think they can say anything. When people don’t know “what” you are, you get your heart broken daily.

KIDADA: Rashida has it harder than I do: She can feel rejection from both parties.

RASHIDA: When I audition for white roles, I’m told I’m “too exotic.” When I go up for black roles, I’m told I’m “too light.” I’ve lost a lot of jobs, looking the way I do.

PEGGY: As Kidada grew older, it became clear that she wouldn’t be comfortable unless she was around kids who looked more like her. So I searched for a private school that had a good proportion of black students, and when she was 12, I found one.

KIDADA: That changed everything. I’d go to my black girlfriends’ houses and–I wanted their life! I lived in a gated house in a gated neighborhood, where playdates were: “My security will call your security.” Going to my black friends’ houses, I saw a world that was warm and real, where families sat down for dinner together. At our house, Rashida and I often ate dinner on trays, watching TV in Anna’s room, because our dada was composing and performing at night and Mom sat in on his sessions.

RASHIDA: But any family, from any background, can have that coziness too.

KIDADA: I’m sure that’s true, but I experienced all that heart and soul in black families. I started putting pressure on Mommy to let me go to a mostly black public school. I was on her and on her and on her. I wouldn’t let up until she said yes.

PEGGY: So one day when Kidada was 14, we drove to Fairfax High, where I gave a fake address and enrolled her.

KIDADA: All those kids! A deejay in the quad at lunch! Bus passes! All those cute black boys; no offense, but I thought white boys were boring. I fit in right away; the kids had my outgoing vibe. My skin and hair had been inconveniences at my other schools–I could never get those Madonna spiked bangs that all the white girls were wearing–but my girlfriends at Fairfax thought my skin was beautiful, and they loved to put their hands in my hair and braid it. The kids knew who my dad was an my stock went up. I felt secure. I was home.

RASHIDA: Our parents divorced when I was 10; Kidada went to live with Dad in his new house in Bel Air, and I moved with Mom to a house in Brentwood. Mom was very depressed after the divorce, and I made it my business to keep her company.

KIDADA: I wanted to live with Dad not because he was the black parent, but because he traveled. I could get away with more.

RASHIDA: At this time, anyone looking at Kidada and me would have seen two very different girls. I wore my navy blue jumper and crisp white blouse; K wore baggy Adidas sweatsuits and door-knocker earrings. My life was school, school, school. I’m with Bill Cosby: It’s every bit as black as it is white to be a nerd with a book in your hand.

KIDADA: The fact that Rashida was good at school while I was dyslexic intimidated me and pushed me more into my defiant role. I was ditching classes and going to clubs.

RASHIDA: About this time, Kidada was replacing me with younger girls from Fairfax who she could lead and be friends with.

KIDADA: They were my little sisters, as far as I was concerned.

RASHIDA: When I’d go to our dad’s house on weekends, eager to see Kidada, the new “little sisters” would be there. She’d be dressing them up like dolls. It hurt! I was jealous!

KIDADA: You felt that? I always thought you’d rejected me.

RASHIDA: Still, our love for the same music–Prince, Bobby Brown, Bell Biv DeVoe–would bring us together on weekends.
Read more at http://bossip.com/623483/rashida-jones-sister-kidada-agrees-she-passed-for-white-but-did-the-mean-girls-at-harvard-scare-her-away-from-dating-black-men-forever/#tGvOXe6QHreb2M0W.99

 

love is many things

…but it shouldn’t be a secret.  That really hit home for me.

I wish that this young woman could talk to Nia.  I hope that she at least reads the essay.  Not that Nia touched on the topic of having racist black parents to contend with, but I think that Danielle could be inspired by the way in which Nia boldly and candidly addresses many of the issues facing interracial couples.

Yes, I called Danielle’s parents racist.  They are.  I’ve found that some people are under the impression that black people can’t be classified as racist.  That that is a delineation that we reserve for the “oppressor.”  So not true.

Case in point from U-Mich Race Card Project:

History; NEVER TRUST A WHITE MAN!

Kwende Idrissa Madu
Russellville, AL

I imagine it’s gonna be a tough row to hoe going through life in America completely unwilling and unable to trust a white man.  I also imagine that it could be a large majority of “minorities” who really feel that way.

Back to Danielle though:  I admire her for not letting go of the love of her young life.  For seeing and feeling beyond her parents’ antiquated and limiting fear based belief system.  And for deciding that it’s time to “come out” and love in the open and let the cards fall where they may because that is the only way for her to truly live.

[CONFESSIONS]

“I’m Hiding My Interracial Relationship From My Parents”

A YOUNG WOMAN FEARS THAT HER FAMILY WON’T ACCEPT THE LOVE OF HER LIFE

ByDANIELLE T. POINTDUJOUR

[CONFESSIONS]<br /><br /><br /><br />
�I�m Hiding My Interracial Relationship From My Parents�

I grew up surrounded by love. I have the fondest memories of my parents spontaneously stealing ‘private’ kisses, the grand romantic gestures of my aunts and uncles and watching my grandparents dancing to old records in their living room.  Love was all around me and I spent hours dreaming of the day I’d have one to call my own.  It wasn’t until high school that I started to realize that the love I saw and wanted came with conditions.

Since I wasn’t allowed to date until I was 16, I had a secret boyfriend in the months leading up to that milestone birthday.  Mike was the best beau a teen girl could have—tall, handsome, funny and happy to carry my books and hold my hand.  He reminded me a lot of my father, the way he played with me and did ‘man’ things like pulling out my chair and holding all the doors.  He was great, so naturally I thought nothing of bringing him home for my parents to meet right after I turned 16.  I thought nothing of the fact that he’s White.

I’ll never forget the look on my parents’ faces when Mike walked through the door: confusion mixed with horror.  When he left—after an hour of awkward silence interrupted by short bursts of conversation—the drama began. My parents forbade me from seeing my honey again and told me that boys “like him” are only interested in me for sex and that I should “stick to my own kind.”  They tried to scare me with stories of violent racism and visions of children addicted to drugs because of their struggle with identity.  I tried to explain that his race didn’t matter to me, the way he treated me did.  I wanted him to know that Mike’s love reminded me of the love I grew up with. They weren’t trying to hear it.

For the rest of our high school years we dated in secret and by the time college came, the boy that held my hand became the man who held my heart.  Still, I had to have Black male friends pretend to take me on dates to throw my parents off.  I made up excuses to not come home on breaks so I could spend them with Mike’s family, who welcomed me with open, loving arms and had a hard time understanding my choice to hide our relationship.

I tried a few times to slip the topic of interracial dating into conversations with my parents, telling stories of friends who were happily dating or getting married.  The response was always the same: “Good for them, but you’re going to bring home someone that looks like us.”  My father even hinted that he would cut off my college funds if I went “that way.”

I felt trapped.

After college, Mike and I decided to apply for graduate school in Spain. While his parents were thrilled that we would be living abroad together and sharing an adventure, mine were worried about me going so far away and wondered how I would find the man of my dreams in a country where the majority of the people don’t speak English.  Little did they know the man of my dreams was actually a reality and had been in my life for quite some time.

It has been six months since we moved to Spain together and almost seven years since we started dating, and I couldn’t be happier!  All the fears my parents have for our relationship have yet to materialize, even here in this foreign land. Our love for each other has grown so much that I’ve come to realize that it’s time to tell my parents.  I love this man and I want to shout it from the rooftops. I no longer care what my parents or anyone else thinks about it and I’m tired of lying. Love is many things, but one thing it shouldn’t be is a secret.  Recently, we’ve been talking more about marriage and our future—both things that I want my parents to experience with us.  I hope that they can try to be open-minded enough to share in our love, but if not, that’s okay.  We have plenty of family and friends around that support us unconditionally and they can appreciate just what love is supposed to be: colorblind and limitless.

interracial relationships still viewed as outlandish

I’m excited to share this article, not only because my friend Nia wrote it, but because finally someone has been bold and truthful enough to lay this stuff out for us.  I mean, yes, we all know that these stereotypes exist.  We have all heard, witnessed, or discussed these taboos.  But in bits and pieces.  Nia gave us, like, the entire run down.  From personal experience.  It’s the kind of experience that literally created me, yet it’s also one that I haven’t had exactly.  I have dated white guys certainly.  I have had people say to me, with words or hostile, disappointed, or dismissive glances “you’ve turned your back on your own kind.” But because (despite appearances and societal definition) I’m white too,  I never felt like I was really in an interracial relationship in the same way that a “monoracial” black woman might.  I ponder different things when I imagine my future children.

So, thank you, Nia for boldly going where most wouldn’t.  For candidly and hilariously covering the whole story. I hope your kids don’t get asked “What are you?” I hope that if they do, they’ll know with unshakeable certainty that the answer is “I am a brilliant child of God and Nia and Bill.”  I know they will have a sense of humor about it.  I can’t wait to meet them.

I’M A BLACK WOMAN WHO DATES WHITE GUYS —

 

HOW TO NOT BE A DICK

 

I am not some census-taking dick measurer, OK?
Mar 14, 2013 at 12:00pm
photo_17
The first time I ever kissed a white guy, I swore I would never do it again.

It was high school, it was my friend’s brother and I’m pretty sure I was drunk. I gave him a massive hickey, which I found pretty amusing, and I figured it was just an “experience.” Something I’d write about in my journal, the one with Maya Angelou’s picture on the cover.
I attended a posh mostly Catholic prep school in the suburbs of Atlanta. I knew every Black person in my school. A lot of us took MARTA (the public transportation system) home. Once when it was pouring rain, one of the priests gave a couple of us Black kids a ride to the train station so we didn’t have to get soaked waiting for the bus.
We joked that those rain affected our hair in such a way that it made the priest’s car smell like activator.  We bonded, this small circle of Black kids in a privileged white world.
image
Despite the fact that this was the 90s, it was still the South. So many of my classmates mocked Black culture, defended the Georgia state flag and compared slavery to the potato famine that I didn’t exactly feel like interracial dating was an option. That all changed when I went to college.
I mean, how could I not eventually date a white guy? I went to a liberal arts college in Boston. Along with Sociology, it was practically a required course.
In that blissful 4 years, I hooked up, dated and fell in love without a care in the world. I moved to New York after college and continued to tear through men with abandon. It was a glorious time. I’m proud that I had a lot of not so great relationships with men of varied ethnicities and didn’t become bitter and jaded.
That being said, I still ended up feeling like I was constantly defending and explaining my choices to overly enthused white women, annoyed Black men, judgmental Black women and fetishizing white men. Hopefully, this handy guide will help all of us approach the subject in a more informed and less dickish manner.
DON’T ASK ME IF WHAT THEY SAY ABOUT BLACK GUYS VS. WHITE GUYS IS REALLY TRUE. WINK WINK.
 
Please don’t go there. Let’s just say I’ve been surprised about how UNTRUE it is. Also, I am not some census-taking dick measurer, OK? While we can certainly generalize about the physical attributes of all races, penis size seems to be the most obsessed over. It’s gross and unnecessary.
Also, you don’t need to be all up in my sex life like that. I’m not the kind of chick who needs to go on and on about the size of a man’s penis and those that do get an eyebrow raise from me. I had this one friend and I swear to God, every time she started dating a new guy he had the BIGGEST PENIS SHE HAD EVER SEEN. No, he didn’t. Stop.
Do you really want to know if what they say is true? Sleep with a white guy, then sleep with a black guy. Better yet, invite them both over and do a side-by-side comparison. Take pictures, make a graph, email it to me and we’ll meet for scones and tea to discuss it. Just kidding. Black people don’t eat scones.
DON’T ASK ME IF I’VE GIVEN UP ON BLACK MEN.
There seems to be this pervasive idea that if you date a non-Black man as a Black woman, then you must hate Black men. I’ve had Black women say to me, “Oh, you like WHITE guys!” as if they were unlocking the secret to my personality.
Even a childhood friend remarked very flippantly, “Oh, Nia only dates white guys,” when she knew very well that wasn’t true.
We also seem to be living in a time when the media is very concerned for us poor Black women. You see, apparently there are “no good Black me left” so many of us are single and alone. I refuse to participate in that discussion because I don’t believe that is true. I’ve seen too many awesome Black husbands and fathers (including my father, step-father, grandfather, uncle, etc.) to give into that line of thought. These books and TV shows that continue to perpetuate this lie, are only interested in profiting from our insecurity and we need to call them on their bullshit. It creates more of a divide when we need to keep fighting for unity.
There are certainly some issues involving the personal and professional successes of Black women versus men but to think that I have turned my back on my brothers because of who I am romantically involved with implies that I see them as one and have dismissed them all. Not true. I try to treat everyone as an individual and you should do the same. Yes, I am on my high horse, thank you very much.
DON’T ASK ME WHAT MY FAVORITE KIND OF GUY TO DATE IS.
Here’s a sampling of the various types of men I’ve dated: Black, White (Irish, German, Italian), Jewish, Latino, and various combinations of all of the above. You want to know which were my favorites? The ones who didn’t treat me like shit. The ones who cared about me.
I find that some Black women feel that a White guy will treat them better than a Black guy will. News flash, ladies: All men can be assholes. Douchebaggery isn’t race specific. This need to lump everyone together instead of taking the time to learn things about the individual is so lame and lazy.
Men like to joke about this as well. Black women are difficult. White women only want to please. Asian women are subservient. It seems odd to have to remind people not to give into stereotyping but everyone from the hipster to the executive feels like they’ve done enough cultural studies to know everything about everybody.
DON’T GUSH TO ME ABOUT HOW PRETTY MY BABIES WILL BE
Well, maybe this is a little true. Bi-racial people of all combinations do have a tendency to be beautiful. But still! Don’t put that pressure on me!
Ever since I began dating my White fiancee, people literally gasp when I talk about starting a family. They fall all over themselves envisioning our light-skinned children with their silky hair and light eyes. But what if they don’t look like that? What if they look traditionally Black? Are they not as beautiful? If my daughter’s hair texture is more like mine (kinky) than my fiancee’s (fine), did she lose out somehow? If instead of getting her father’s genes of being tall and skinny, she gets mine of being short and round, has she gotten the raw end of the deal? What if they aren’t what you consider beautiful?
I mean, of course they will be, my fiancee and I are both INCREDIBLY good looking but that is always the first thing people comment on. I’m more interested in what my children will aspire to be, having creative parents. I wonder who will be the fun parent. I wonder how people will see them. I wonder if kids will mockingly ask them, “What ARE you?” I wonder, if they acknowledge both their Black AND White sides, will people insist that they choose just one. I wonder if they can have a sense of humor about it all.
But mostly, I just hope they aren’t dicks.

again i have to ask, what year is this!?

oh, mississippi… you never cease to amaze me!  sure hope to hear about the rest of the results as soon as they’re in.

Poll: 46 percent of Mississippi Republicans want interracial marriage ban

And more of those who oppose interracial marriage have a favorable view of Sarah Palin, a new poll reports

BY JUSTIN ELLIOTT

The Dem-leaning firm Public Policy Polling has a new survey out that’s sure to raise some eyebrows.

When usual Republican primary voters in the state of Mississippi were asked if they think interracial marriage should be legal or illegal, a whopping 46 percent said it should be illegal, compared to 40 percent who think it should be legal. The remaining 14 percent were unsure.

PPP also breaks down how these voters view the GOP presidential field, with some interesting results. Here’s how those respondents would vote:

As PPP’s Tom Jensen notes, there are some interesting differences between the candidates’ favorability ratings when broken down according to respondents’ views of interracial marriage:

Palin’s net favorability with folks who think interracial marriage should be illegal (+55 at 74/19) is 17 points higher than it is with folks who think interracial marriage should be legal (+38 at 64/26.) Meanwhile Romney’s favorability numbers see the opposite trend. He’s at +23 (53/30) with voters who think interracial marriage should be legal but 19 points worse at +4 (44/40) with those who think it should be illegal

Dustin Ingalls, assistant to the director at PPP, tells me that the firm also asked non-Republican voters the interracial marriage question, and he expects those results will be released sometime in the future. He added that PPP also asked whether respondents believe the right side won the Civil War. Those results should also prove interesting.

 

no h8

This is so right on!  Thank you, Karen Finney.  I’m so glad my (white)grandparents allowed me in to their lives.  And so are they! It’s the “little” things…

On another note, this sentence, “the very existence of antimiscegenation laws had been enacted for the purpose of perpetuating the idea of white supremacy,” speaks to the very reason I fell down this rabbit hole I’ll now call the mulatto trail.  I realized one day that anti-miscegenation and the one-drop rule perpetuate the idea of white supremacy, and that by subscribing to that antiquated rule I was upholding that ridiculous notion.  The anti-miscegenation thing has legally been eradicated, but ask any interracial couple who has walked down a street together, and I’m sure they’ll tell you that on more than one occasion they’ve been given the evil-eye or gawked as if they were freaks of nature.  Or both.  And as for the one-drop rule, head on over to my youtube channel, scroll through the comments, and you’ll see that it looms large in the consciousness.  And many people don’t seem to be willing to let it go.

California Prop 8 Gay Marriage Ruling a Win For American Values

By KAREN FINNEY

SOURCE

Yesterday’s ruling that California’s Proposition 8 is unconstitutional reaffirms a long-held American value that no matter how you try to spin it, separate is not equal. While some may not agree with same-sex marriage, history should remind us that our Constitution calls us to recognize that the laws in it apply equally, not to be picked apart to support a political agenda or bias. The arguments being used against same sex marriage are frighteningly similar and equally offensive as those once used against interracial marriage. While a Gallup poll in 1967 found that 74 percent of Americans disapproved of interracial marriage, it’s almost hard to remember just how far we’ve come.

I was 16 years old before I was allowed in my grandfather’s home in Greensboro, North Carolina. That’s how long it took for him to even begin to re-think his shame over having a mixed-race granddaughter. He believed, as did many at the time, miscegenation was wrong on moral and legal grounds. Thankfully for me, my parents disagreed. They were married in New York City and had me despite the fact that it was illegal in their home states of Virginia and North Carolina to do so. Thankfully for our country, in the case of Loving v. Virginia, the Supreme Court saw beyond the fear and bigotry of the moment and ruled that antimiscegenation laws violated fundamental American values of Due Process and Equal Protection Under the Law as guaranteed to every American by our constitution.

Just as some used to say that marriage is only valid between a white man and white woman, some now argue that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. Arguments have also been made that same-sex marriage dilutes the institution of marriage, just as similar arguments suggested that interracial marriage diluted the white race. My personal favorite absurd justification says that (despite the idea that we are all God’s children and loved equally) gay marriage is against the laws of God and nature. That argument was used by Leon M. Bazile, the judge in the initial case against the Lovings, who said:

Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.

The Supreme Court’s ruling in the Loving case also recognized that the very existence of antimiscegenation laws had been enacted for the purpose of perpetuating the idea of white supremacy:

There is patently no legitimate overriding purpose independent of invidious racial discrimination which justifies this classification. The fact that Virginia prohibits only interracial marriages involving white persons demonstrates that the racial classifications must stand on their own justification, as measures designed to maintain White Supremacy.

Similarly, as Judge Vaughn Walker today affirmed, denying gay couples the right to marry, not only denies basic civil rights, liberty, and freedom, but also codifies bigotry.

Karen FinneyKaren Finney is a political analyst for MSNBC and an independent consultant working with political and corporate clients in the areas of political and communications strategy. She brings over 16 years of experience in national politics and campaigns ranging from the Clinton administration to New York State to the Democratic National Committee.

mary ellen pleasant

As I was searching the internets last week for photos of black women with white children, I stumbled upon a historical figure who, once again, I am shocked and dismayed to never before have heard mention of:  Mary Ellen (“Mammy”) Pleasant.  I want to know so much more!  Or at least the truth.  I highly doubt that Mary Ellen needed to conjure the dark forces to leverage social change, however I’m sure that that tale eased the minds of the opposition and provided ammunition for attacking Pleasant’s ideals.  I found quite a few intriguing articles on her life and chose the following two to share.  Honestly, when someone next asks me who (dead or alive) I would most like to have dinner with, Mary Ellen Pleasant will be on the short list.

hdr_index

“American civil rights began in the 1850’s with Mary Ellen Pleasant.”  Racism surprised African Americans like Pleasant who came to the Bay Area because they believed in a better life in San Francisco… The Bay Area, where Pleasant lived, became a “hotbed of civil rights activity” in the 19th century and the activists’ rallying cry was “eradicating slavery.”- Dr. Albert Broussard

Mary Ellen Pleasant (1814? – 1904)

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VIA

Mary Ellen Pleasant is perhaps better known as “Mammy Pleasant”, but it was a name she detested. She was born a slave in Georgia some time between 1814 and 1817, the illegitimate daughter of an enslaved Vodou priestess from Haiti and a Virginia governor’s son, John Pleasants. She was bought out of slavery by a planter and indentured for nine years as a store clerk with abolitionist Quakers in Massachusetts.

Around 1841 she married a wealthy mulatto merchant/contractor from Ohio and Philadelphia named James Smith, who was also a slave rescuer on the Underground Railroad. The two worked to help slaves flee to safety in Canada and safe states. Smith died in 1844, leaving her a $45,000 fortune and a plantation run by freedmen near Harper’s Ferry, Virginia.

Because of slaver reaction to her own ongoing Underground Railroad activities, she was forced to flee to New Orleans in 1850 where she met the Vodou queen Marie Laveau who trained her in how to “pressure the powerful to help the powerless” —blacks and poor women—gain rights and jobs. She then went to San Francisco, arriving in April 1852. Because she had no “freedom papers” she passed herself off as white, while she worked as a steward and cook in a white boardinghouse and invested in real estate and various business activities.

Pleasant’s training with Marie Laveau proved beneficial. Pleasant became so successful at leveraging social change that many called her San Francisco’s “Black City Hall”. Her activities and her money helped ex-slaves avoid extradition, start businesses and find employment in hotels, homes and on the steamships and railroads of California.

In 1858 she returned to the East, bought land to house escaped slaves, and aided abolitionist John Brown both with money and by riding in advance of his famous raid at Harper’s Ferry encouraging slaves to join him.

She went back to San Francisco where her investments with an influential business partner helped her amass a joint fortune estimated at $30 million. She later led the Franchise League movement in San Francisco that earned blacks the right to testify in court, and to ride the trolleys. Her lawsuit in 1868 in San Francisco against the North Beach and Mission RailRoad was used as a precedent in 1982 to achieve contemporary civil rights. Mary Ellen Pleasant died in San Francisco in 1904. Her body was taken by friends to Napa and buried in Tulocay Cemetery. On her tombstone is inscribed “the mother of civil rights in California.”

For more information, incuding a book on Mary Ellen Pleasant by Susheel Bibbs, see http://hometown.aol.com/mepleasant.

VIA

“Mammy Pleasant: Angel or Arch Fiend in the House of Mystery?”

By p. joseph potocki

Mary Ellen “Mammy” Pleasant’s legacy is an enigma rolled up inside layers of legend, gossip, greed, fantasy, racism and conjecture.

This week’s column title first headlined Sunday’s edition of the San Francisco Call—back on May 7, 1899. That 19th century investigative hit piece featured three unflattering John Clawson illustrations portraying “Mammy Pleasant” as a bonneted evil-eyed crone. The story gobbled up the entire front page of that day’s paper. Its “Angel or Arch Fiend” dualism embodies endless confusion and contradictory assertions surrounding the life of this incredible woman—confusion and contradictions lingering on to this very day.

The “Mammy” tag, clearly meant to be a slam, fits neatly within a cluster of Black stereotypes. While Pleasant’s tall, thin frame, her finely honed features and regal bearing contrast sharply with the rotund happy-to-be-a-slave mammy of plantation lore, the name itself attempts to place her on par with a Samba, an Uncle Tom, Step and Fetchit, or to a licentious Jezebel. The mythology of these “halcyon days” of slavery is what social historian Eric Lott calls “the dialectic flickering of racial insult and racial envy.”

Mary Ellen “Mammy” Pleasant’s legacy is an enigma rolled up inside layers of legend, gossip, greed, fantasy, racism and conjecture. She’s been called “San Francisco’s Powerful And Sinister Ruler”, “The Black City Hall”, but also a “one woman social agency” and “the Mother of Civil Rights in California.” That covers one heck of a lot of reputational territory.

Some claim that Mary Ellen Pleasant was a mixed blood Voodoo Queen who aimed “the black arts” against her enemies, that she sold babies, murdered as many as 49 people, ran brothels, committed fraud, spied through walls on victims she would later blackmail, and that she held unholy powers over a vast network of underlings and protégés. One rival charged that Pleasant murdered the rival’s husband, and having accomplished the dastardly deed Pleasant then “put her fingers in the hole in the top of his head and pulled out the protruding brains.”

Others tout Mary Ellen Pleasant’s work as a philanthropist, her many devoted friends, both black and white, her financial wizardry, undying devotion to women’s and civil rights, and, before that—her commitment to the abolition of slavery. In fact, Mary Ellen Pleasant’s Napa gravestone reads—“SHE WAS A FRIEND OF JOHN BROWN.”

Indeed, upon Brown’s capture following his ill-fated attack on Harper’s Ferry he carried with him a promissory note signed MEP. Had not the authorities misread the letter M for a W its certain Mary Ellen Pleasant’s neck would have been stretched as did John Brown’s.

Everything about Pleasant’s formative years is subject to debate. She was born a slave in Virginia, or Georgia, or perhaps it was Louisiana. She claims to have been born free in Philadelphia on August 19, 1814. Others say she was born in 1817, give or take a year—or two. She was convent educated, or else was entirely self-taught. Her mother may have been a West Indies Voodoo Queen, or not. Her father was a wealthy white slave owner. Then again, perhaps he was a slave. Nobody knows for sure.

What we do know is that sometime between 1848 and 1852 Mary Ellen Pleasant arrived in San Francisco. She may have been accompanied by her second husband, a former slave named James Pleasant, or Pleasants, or perhaps it was Pleasance. Whatever his surname it’s clear that the shrewd, focused and ambitious Mary Ellen was a power unto herself.

James, who died in 1877, seems hardly to have factored into Mary Ellen’s life. His one notable contribution was in the co-creation of Mary Ellen’s one and only child, Elizabeth, whom she called Lizzy. However, Mary Ellen gave their daughter her first husband’s family name, which was Smith. It was only fair, since James Henry Smith had left seed money to Mary Ellen upon his death some years before. Mary Ellen built her financial empire with the help of these funds.

Once in San Francisco, Pleasant set about purchasing boardinghouses, real estate, laundries, restaurants and stock shares in mines, railroads and other business ventures. This was no small accomplishment in an era of near unfettered legal bias against both racial minorities and women. Monies from these investments built her the 30-room mansion dubbed “the House of Mystery,” atop Cathedral Hill in San Francisco.

In her later years Pleasant purchased a large tract of land set against the Mayacamas Mountains. She named it Beltane, either after Thomas Bell, or, as some critics claim, in honor of the ancient pagan celebration of the same name. Beltane lies outside Glen Ellen, in the heart of the Sonoma Valley. The stately New Orleans-style Victorian house she built there (now a B&B) is set amidst an immense flowering garden and hundreds of shady oaks. One fanciful claim is that Pleasant cast Voodoo spells from a cave somewhere on the property.

But with all her accrued wealth, Mary Ellen Pleasant seems always to have performed, or dressed as if she performed, domestic labor. It’s said that she would ride to the markets in her own custom built carriage, accompanied by a driver and a footman, each garbed in impeccable livery. Though always attired in a servant’s black dress and large white apron, she “walked like a duchess.”

Sometime in the mid 1860s Mary Ellen Pleasant hooked up with a stockbroker named Thomas Bell. The “canny Scot” was money savvy, but lacked imagination. Pleasant took him under her wing. Together they created one of the largest financial partnerships in that era of San Francisco. Pleasant and Bell may (or may not) have been lovers.

It’s said that Mary Ellen arranged Thomas’s marriage to the future Teresa Bell, having first instructed Teresa in the “genteel arts” necessary to flourish in elite society. Others say Thomas Bell discovered the beautiful Teresa on a visit to a house of ill repute. No matter which story is true it seems the marriage provided adequate cover from charges of miscegenation, which might otherwise have been leveled at the cohabitation of the white Thomas Bell with the octoroon (or perhaps quadroon) “Mammy” Pleasant.

What’s undeniably true is that Mary Ellen Pleasant was actively involved in the Underground Railroad, and that she placed both former slaves and geographically displaced freemen as domestics in many of San Francisco’s “better” households. She also clearly advocated for and personally rescued unprotected and often attractive young white women, who Mary Ellen then trained to become the wives and mistresses of wealthy men in The City.

These actions led to many of the questionable charges against her, since persons beholden to Pleasant for their livelihoods provided her their eyes and ears within San Francisco’s most prominent households.

Mary Ellen was well into her 80’s when her finances began to unravel. She’d both overextended her business dealings, and had incurred the wrath of her former protege, Teresa Bell. Mary Ellen had exposed Teresa’s young lover to embezzlement charges, landing him a stint in San Quentin prison. As payback, the mentally unhinged Teresa became Pleasant’s eternal foe. She set to pummeling Pleasant’s good name—even long after seeing Mary Ellen to her grave. The sensitive nature of Thomas Bell’s and Mary Ellen Pleasant’s financial partnership allowed Teresa to gain control of their mutual resources following Thomas’ death. As a result Mary Ellen Pleasant was stripped of her wealth and forced into bankruptcy.

Pleasant’s diaries were stolen and lost to posterity, while many of Teresa’s hallucinatory rants made their way into newsprint following Pleasant’s death. Consequently, Teresa Bell’s accounts fundamentally shifted the Mary Ellen Pleasant mythos into the realm of evil phantasma. Fortunately, contemporary scholars have begun setting Mary Ellen Pleasant’s record as straight as a story with such twists, squiggles and gaping holes can be set. As confusing and contradictory as her life story may be, Mary Ellen Pleasant optimistically forecast her own legacy when she wrote:

“… You can’t explain away the truth.”

Mary Ellen Pleasant

SOURCE


black mother, white children

I accidentally happened upon a fascinating thread discussing the photograph below.  It’s definitely worth checking out if you’re interested in this sort of thing.  Apparently, Mary categorized herself as “white” on the 1880 Census.  I wonder how that was possible.  Whatever the case, the point that there are approximately 3000 descendants of this family who, I have little doubt, consider themselves to be exclusively white brings me back to the novel idea that we are all mixed, we are simply American, and the veil of otherness is a detrimental illusion from which we desperately need to wake up. K?

James William Evans (1814-1883), his wife Mary Eliza Hoggard, and their children William, John and Mary Evans. Mary Eliza Hoggard was a descendant of the free African American Cobb and Bazemore families of  Bertie County, North Carolina. James William Evans was from Dorchester County, Maryland.

JAMES W. EVANS,

Mr. Evans married Mary Eliza Hoggard, of North Carolina, February 8, 1844. They have three children: Mary Frances, (who married Mr. Frank Collins, a son of J. W. Collins, Register of Clay County, Missouri, and they live with Mr. Evans on the farm);  John Henry, (was married August n, 1877, at Hainesville);  and William James, (who was born August 29, 1848, and married Caroline Gow, a daughter of Arthur Gow, of Clay County, in November, 1875).

We learn… that the North Carolina counties involved are Clinton County and Clay Counties Missouri. The children grew-up, married and lived in these two counties. The daughter married a Collins.

Apparently, James Evans brought (not bought!) Mary Hoggard from North Carolina and married her in Missouri where they raised their family. This makes sense, since this part of Missouri would have been “Free.”

This indicates to me that whites named Evans and Collins living in these two counties today, have a good chance of being a descendant of the black woman in the photo.

This photo speaks volumes of the kind of dilemma a black mother married to a white man found herself in during the 19th century.  This couple were married in Clinton County, Missouri, went by the surname Evans, and would have approximately 3000 descendants today.

  • The children are mulatto but 100% passable. The time, right around the Civil War. The choice the children had was really no choice. Quite simply, either they turned their backs on the mother and leave the state or be classified as Negro and endure Jim Crow for the rest of the lives.

    The mother is clearly not thrilled with the photograph. I think she was forced to sit for it by her husband. She appears to be thinking it’s not a very good idea, that the photo could prove an embarrassment  to her children. Indeed, it could prove an embarrassment to all her descendants 200 years into the future.

    I think this is what she was thinking.

    Let’s say the tall young man in the rear passed for white, married a white woman and had a family. This photo would not be considered a precious family heirloom but instead an indictment of Negro heritage.

    Does this explains why the mother is not smiling…?

  • The husband was born in 1818. The photo — judging by the clothing — was taken a few years before the Civil War. Location Virginia, a slave state. Things were starting to heat up. All around them slave owners were getting pissed a the North, Lincoln, and most especially those sympathetic to Negroes. You think interracial dating is tough today, imagine how hard it was then.

    All kinds of scary things were going on in the Slave states. People were stock-piling weapons. People were talking about succession. The young man standing was  about military age. Free blacks were being snatched-up and sold back into slavery. If the woman had local relatives she had surely cut herself off from them. No way should could afford to have her kin be part of her new family.

    At school the children were probably catching hell because of their black mother. If the mother wasn’t on the verge of a nervous breakdown she would be around the time her eldest started talking about joining a local regiment to fight the yankees and preserve slavery.

    Her husband’s family surely would have disowned him by then and no white family would have anything to do with them. Of course if they lived on a farm their contact would be minimal, but if they lived on a farm they had slaves and that must  have made her a mess too.

    But the main thing is sitting for the portrait must have seemed insane to her. Her kids look white. Each one could easily pass. Why do something that would doom them forever to second-class citizenship? She had to be thinking that. The sit had to be the last thing she wanted for her children — proof they were black.

    Had the kids looked like mulattoes, it would have been a different story. But these kids look completely white. They could pass with no problem at all — so why do something that could get them lynched?

    And that photo would do that had her eldest married a local white girl.

    That’s my theory why the mother doesn’t look happy.

  • So, Mary Hoggard Evans (the black woman in the photo) has three children who pass for white. They each get married around 1875.

    That’s six generations. Let’s figure each of her descendants in each of these generations had three children who went on to have three children up until today.

    1875 3 times 3 = 9

    1900 3 times 9 = 36

    1925                   108

    1950                   324

    1975                   974

    2000                   2916

    That’s almost 3000 “whites” descended from black Mary Hoggard.

    See how nonsensical this white-black thing is?