multiracial family man

I was delighted to be interviewed by comedian Alex Barnett for his Multiracial Family Man podcast. I met Alex and his wife during the Katie Couric debacle of 2014. Not only do I like them because they are cool, funny people, but they remind me of my family of origin. That doesn’t happen all that often.

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I think we had a great conversation about race, interracial relationships, and the ever evolving multiracial experience.

You can CHECK it out here:

http://hwcdn.libsyn.com/p/c/5/3/c53470bfd6efc2e8/MFM_-_Tiffany_Jones_revised.mp3?c_id=8514010&expiration=1425994502&hwt=0a2cd49d00972f9ce2f6ffb01e43f568

or here:

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/multiracial-family-man-ep./id969793342?i=337179665&mt=2

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And if you want more Alex Barnett, here’s a link to his website where you can read his blog posts and enjoy his stand-up: http://www.alexbarnettcomic.com.

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the twins

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The “Black and White” twins are all over everything I’m seeing on the internet. The trending of the story brings the opportunity to gain more awareness of what we think race is, how we allow it to influence our identity, and (hopefully) how it all really just makes no sense.

I can’t figure out what prompted the interest in this particular set of twins this week. I’ve been hoarding articles about black and white twins for years. It bothers me that when they say “Black and White twins”, they mean one of each. Below is the actual title and opening sentence of an actual post about Lucy and Maria:

Biracial Twins: Sisters Belonging to Different Races:

I’ve heard that the odds of having a set of biracial twins belonging to different races is one in a million. One interracial couple somehow beat those odds…

Um, yeah… it is actually impossible to have a set of biological biracial twins who belong to two different races. If we’re playing along with the notion that there is a race other than human to belong to in the first place, these biological fraternal twins are of the same race(s). But, even the twins themselves seem to have adopted the skewed perspective:

Lucy says,

Maria loves telling people at college that she has a white twin. And I’m very proud of having a black twin.

I may be analyzing too literally, but the simple truth is that these sisters look different. They are of different phenotypes, not races. Their skin color (which is real) is different. Their race (which is not real) is the same. Me being me, I read their title of “black and white twins” like: They are “biracial” so they are black AND white. Both of them are both of them. And both of them have mostly white genes if we’re gonna keep on fractionalizing people into halves or whatever.

Let’s see what the way we talk about and consider these pairs can help us break our rigid notions of race and identity.

First, the biology. How does this happen? Something that stood out to me when reading about most of these sets of twins is that in the case where one parent is biracial and the other is white, that is not clearly stated. I think that’s because people are still unclear on how to process us realistically, but they can’t just say “black” because the half white part is a major detail in the equation.

In the case of the Aylmers it is stated that:

The girls’ nearly opposite features can be traced back to their racially different parents. Their mother, Donna, is half-Jamaican while father Vince is white.

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Ok, so Donna is half Jamaican and half white although they don’t make define the other half. Leaving her even more un-whole.  Disappointing to me, but no surprise since most people still think of black and white as mutually exclusive.  Stories like these help us to shift those deeply ingrained tenets in ourselves.  If we’re gonna look at this truthfully, Donna is technically half white and half black.  Vince is white. So how racially different are they? Not very, I would argue.

In most of the other cases the mother is white and the father is black.

There’s one instance where both parents of the twins are biracial with white moms and black dads.

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Twins Kian and Remee with their parents Kylee Hodgson and Remi Horder who both have white mothers and black fathers.

So here’s the scientific explanation:

Million to one odds:

The odds against of a mixed race couple having twins of dramatically different colour are a million to one.
Skin colour is believed to be determined by up to seven different genes working together.
If a woman is of mixed race, her eggs will usually contain a mixture of genes coding for both black and white skin.
Similarly, a man of mixed race will have a variety of different genes in his sperm. When these eggs and sperm come together, they will create a baby of mixed race.
But, very occasionally, the egg or sperm might contain genes coding for one skin colour. If both the egg and sperm contain all white genes, the baby will be white. And if both contain just the versions necessary for black skin, the baby will be black.
For a mixed-race couple, the odds of either of these scenarios is around 100 to one. But both scenarios can occur at the same time if the woman conceives non-identical twins, another 100 to one chance.
This involves two eggs being fertilised by two sperm at the same time, which also has odds of around 100 to one.
If a sperm containing all-white genes fuses with a similar egg and a sperm coding for purely black skin fuses with a similar egg, two babies of dramatically different colours will be born.
The odds of this happening are 100 x 100 x 100 – a million to one.

Taking all of those maths into account, this family is super duper special:

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Big sisters Hayleigh, left, and Lauren Durrant, right, hold their new siblings Leah, left, and Miya, right. Scientists say the odds of their parents, Dean Durrant and Alison Spooner, having two sets of fraternal twins with strikingly different skin tones and eye colors is ‘one in millions.’

Now on to the sociology. Honestly, I’ve always been a little worried about the darker twin when I contemplate how they experience the world.  Because the world will experience each of them differently and sometimes that must manifest in drastic ways.  As a child I was frequently in all white environments and I know first hand how it feels to be valued less than your fairer complected peers.  Frankly, as an adult I am frequently in mostly white environments and sometimes the same vibes are flowing.  But as an adult I know better than to take that personally.  As a child not so much.  That might sound sad, and sometimes I was, but because of those circumstances I learned to see beauty and value in places generally thought to have none.  That is a gift.

So anyway, I was worried about the “black” twin because I thought they’d be having similar experiences to mine and thinking, “But I’m really just the same.  We’re TWINS for God’s sake.  Why are we exempt from the same regard as all the other twins in the world?  And why am I getting the short end of the stick.  Unfair.”  I was also concerned that it could cause a rift between the twins and rob them of the twin bond which I always thought would be so fun to have.

Turns out I was wrong.  According to the interviews it seems that the lighter twin struggles more and there are no traces of a lasting breach between them.

The Aylmers

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(Of her childhood) Red-haired Lucy said her pale complexion had prompted speculation that she’d been adopted: ‘My classmates used to ask if I was adopted because my siblings are all quite dark.

‘It was pretty hard, it went on in secondary school and it wasn’t very nice.’

The impact this has had may be gleaned from this recent post on her Facebook page:

…thank you so much for all your lovely comments about the way I… look. I’ve never had so much confidence. I’ve gone from spending 3 hours covering up every inch of what I naturally look like before I left the house for as little as 2 minutes. To now wearing next to no make up with my natural red hair…

James and Daniel Kelly

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James (left) and Daniel Kelly, twin brothers

When Daniel and James went to nursery aged three, the twins’ skin colour plunged the family into controversy. “They were at this very politically correct nursery, and the staff told us that when Daniel drew a picture of himself, he had to make himself look black – because he was mixed-race,” says Alyson. “And I said, that’s ridiculous. Why does Daniel have to draw himself as black, when a white face looks back at him in the mirror?  Daniel had one white parent and one black, so why couldn’t he call himself white? Why does a child who is half-white and half-black have to be black? Especially when his skin colour is quite clearly white!”

Primary school passed without colour being an issue: but…everything changed when they went to secondary school… the racism they encountered there had a huge effect on them.

It all started well, says Alyson. “The school was almost all-white, so James was unusual. But it wasn’t a problem for James – it was a problem for Daniel.

“The boys were in different classes, so for a while no one realised they were related. Then someone found out, and the story went round that this white boy, Daniel, was actually black, and the evidence was that he had a black twin brother, James, who was right here in the school. And then Daniel started being picked on and it got really ugly and racist, and there were lots of physical attacks. Daniel was only a little kid, and he was being called names and being beaten up by much older children – it was really horrible. We even called the police.”

“I was really bullied,” cuts in Daniel, his face hardening at the memory. “People couldn’t believe James and I were brothers, and they didn’t like the fact that I looked white, but was – as they saw it – black.”

It is interesting that it was the white twin, Daniel, and not the black twin who was on the receiving end of racism…”Those kids couldn’t stand the fact that, as they saw it, this white kid was actually black. It was as though they wanted to punish him for daring to call himself white,” she says.

“I started to notice how angry Daniel was getting at school, how people were provoking him and how he was getting hurt,” says James. “And when he got pulled in fights, I went in too, to help him. I didn’t want to see my brother being treated like that.” James does not look like a kid who would end up in any fight: but, when his brother was up against it, he weighed in – and, says Alyson, the bruises and cuts they both came home with told their own tale.

They’re a straightforward, outspoken family, the Kellys: all they’ve ever wanted for their children is a fair chance in life. And if their youngest twins have made anyone think twice about their preconceptions about race and colour, they don’t mind that in the least. “It’s good to challenge people on race and sexuality and other issues where there’s prejudice,” says Alyson. “If knowing my boys encourages anyone to think a bit more deeply about how we label people, then that’s just great as far as I’m concerned.”

Amen to that Alyson.  And thank you!

In terms of the impact on the family in general, in every interview both the twins and their parents recount that they had many experiences in which in one way or another (sibling to sibling/parent to child) no one could believe they were related and they had to prove it and other similar nonsense.  I’m a big believer in “a family should be something you can see just by looking at it” because I know how it feels when that is not the case.  I don’t know how to describe the feeling.  It’s jarring I guess.  It disturbs the foundation of a person.  Of a family.  And for what?  By what merit?  At the expense of whom?

I say:  For nothing.  Based on no true merit.  At the expense of all of us.

while i was away

besides hoarding articles, traveling too much for work, and evolving into a more holistic version of myself I had a fantastic time chatting with Heidi and Jennifer on the Mixed Experience podcast while I wasn’t blogging over here.  Y’all know I love me some Heidi Durrow.  She’s not only been a wonderful friend to me, but an inspiration as well! Oh yeah, there’s also that riveting novel she wrote called “The Girl Who Fell From the Sky.” Such an important novel.  Period.  And in terms of the mixed experience it, like Heidi, is a true gem.  Here’s the interview if you’d like to listen.  I’ve been told it’s pretty good.  I also further explain why I had to take a break…again.

heidi and me

The Mixed Experience Podcast

i do not intend to be quiet about it

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

While perusing Facebook the other day, I came upon a post that really excited me.  About Albert Einstein. Yeah…(nerd.)

I really admire the Einstein, thus was a bit shocked by my ignorance of his strong stance on this issue.  It’s like my strong stance.  How did I miss this?  Naturally, I dug through the interweb to see what else I could find to feed my curiosity.  I found a feast! There will be more on this topic tomorrow I believe.

I’m pleased to report that I have since forgiven myself for my ignorance, as it became clear that this hasn’t been common Einstein knowledge.  It was insignificant, irrelevant, and even egregious for the times.  Who would record such nonsense? Of course equality and human dignity were reserved for whites. No questions allowed.  But Einstein spoke anyway.  Imagine, being afraid of speaking in public, yet being courageous enough to speak publicly on a topic so taboo that he could have literally found himself in danger- political, financial, and physical. That is fierce.  That is being action in alignment with cosmic law.  That is something I truly admire.

Here’s the catalytic FB post:

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Einstein, when he arrived in America, was shocked at how Black Americans were treated. “There is separation of colored people from white people in the United States,” he said. “That separation is not a disease of colored people. It is a disease of white people. And, I do not intend to be quiet about it.” And, he wasn’t.

Although he had a fear of speaking in public, he made all the effort he could to spread the word of equality, denouncing racism and segregation and becoming a huge proponent of civil rights even before the term became fashionable. Einstein was a member of several civil rights groups (including the Princeton chapter of the NAACP).

 

There is, however, a somber point in the social outlook of Americans. Their sense of equality and human dignity is mainly limited to men of white skins. Even among these there are prejudices of which I as a Jew am clearly conscious; but they are unimportant in comparison with the attitude of the “Whites” toward their fellow-citizens of darker complexion, particularly toward Negroes. The more I feel an American, the more this situation pains me. I can escape the feeling of complicity in it only by speaking out.

Many a sincere person will answer: “Our attitude towards Negroes is the result of unfavorable experiences which we have had by living side by side with Negroes in this country. They are not our equals in intelligence, sense of responsibility, reliability.”

I am firmly convinced that whoever believes this suffers from a fatal misconception. Your ancestors dragged these black people from their homes by force; and in the white man’s quest for wealth and an easy life they have been ruthlessly suppressed and exploited, degraded into slavery.  The modern prejudice against Negroes is the result of the desire to maintain this unworthy condition.

 —Albert Einstein “The Negro Question”, 1946

 

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Albert Einstein, Civil Rights activist

Little-known aspect of physicist’s life revealed

By Ken Gewertz

Harvard News Office

 

Here’s something you probably don’t know about Albert Einstein.

In 1946, the Nobel Prize-winning physicist traveled to Lincoln University in Pennsylvania, the alma mater of Langston Hughes and Thurgood Marshall and the first school in America to grant college degrees to blacks. At Lincoln, Einstein gave a speech in which he called racism “a disease of white people,” and added, “I do not intend to be quiet about it.” He also received an honorary degree and gave a lecture on relativity to Lincoln students.

The reason Einstein’s visit to Lincoln is not better known is that it was virtually ignored by the mainstream press, which regularly covered Einstein’s speeches and activities. (Only the black press gave extensive coverage to the event.) Nor is there mention of the Lincoln visit in any of the major Einstein biographies or archives.

In fact, many significant details are missing from the numerous studies of Einstein’s life and work, most of them having to do with Einstein’s opposition to racism and his relationships with African Americans.

That these omissions need to be recognized and corrected is the contention of Fred Jerome and Rodger Taylor, authors of “Einstein on Race and Racism” (Rutgers University Press, 2006). Jerome and Taylor spoke April 3 at an event sponsored by the W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research. The event also featured remarks by Sylvester James Gates Jr., the John S. Toll Professor of Physics, University of Maryland.

According to Jerome and Taylor, Einstein’s statements at Lincoln were by no means an isolated case. Einstein, who was Jewish, was sensitized to racism by the years of Nazi-inspired threats and harassment he suffered during his tenure at the University of Berlin. Einstein was in the United States when the Nazis came to power in 1933, and, fearful that a return to Germany would place him in mortal danger, he decided to stay, accepting a position at the recently founded Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, N.J. He became an American citizen in 1940.

But while Einstein may have been grateful to have found a safe haven, his gratitude did not prevent him from criticizing the ethical shortcomings of his new home.

“Einstein realized that African Americans in Princeton were treated like Jews in Germany,” said Taylor. “The town was strictly segregated. There was no high school that blacks could go to until the 1940s.”

Gates, an African-American physicist who has appeared on the PBS show Nova, said that Einstein had been a hero of his since he learned about the theory of relativity as a teenager, but that he was unaware of Einstein’s ideas on civil rights until fairly recently.

Einstein’s approach to problems in physics was to begin by asking very simple, almost childlike questions, such as, “What would the world look like if I could drive along a beam of light?” Gates said.

“He must have developed his ideas about race through a similar process. He was capable of asking the question, ‘What would my life be like if I were black?’”

Gates said that thinking about Einstein’s involvement with civil rights has prompted him to speculate on the value of affirmative action and the goal of diversity it seeks to bring about. There are many instances in which the presence of strength and resilience in a system can be attributed to diversity.

“In the natural world, for example, when a population is under the influence of a stressful environment, diversity ensures its survival,” Gates said.

On a cultural level, the global influence of American popular music might be attributed to the fact that it is an amalgam of musical traditions from Europe and Africa.

These examples have led him to conclude that “diversity actually matters, independent of the moral argument.” Gates said he believes “there is a science of diversity out there waiting for scholars to discover it.”

entire article

—It’s Tiff again.  I just have to comment about that last excerpt from Gates. That “under the influence of a stressful environment, diversity ensures survival” thing.  In this case the stressful environment is racially segregated America.  The mutually exclusive, dangerously juxtaposed, white vs. black America.  To ensure survival, diversity is required.  I’ll go out on a limb here and relate this to being mixed like me (after all, these are the mulatto diaries if I recall correctly.) To ensure the survival of America, we have to exist.  We are everywhere even though we’ve been largely silent and unrecognized in any genuine manner.  Yet things improve, and change happens as we wake up, and adapt, and we are different…and so is America.

The interaction between organism and environment is central in evolution. Extinction ensues when organisms fail to change and adapt to the constantly altering … stressful environmental changes as documented in the fossil record. Extreme environmental stress causes extinction but also leads to evolutionary change and the origination of new species adapted to new environments.”-Eviatar Nevo

Don’t become extinct!

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.

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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.

john, how could you?

it’s stories like this that lead to comments (taken from various youtube videos i’ve made) like this :

-mixed people r racist and would love 2 blacks extinct and wiped of the planet!
-Bi racial  my ass,these people are black when they get through talking.Stop running from your blackness and them white folks that you are trying lick up under are calling you nigger behind your backs.More videos we see on youtube or myspace,will thousands of video blogs from these coons hating they’re blackness and fronting like they’re special because the have one parent that is white and the other black,that bull shit and these coons know it.
-Bi-racials almost ALWAYS lean toward their white side.
Look at the pics behind you> the top two are white people!
everyone esle is insignificant. I see why Blacks are attacking all you racists
for the harm you’v done!

all i can say/speculate is “sign of the times,” and “survival of the fittest,” and his karma sure did catch up to him in the end… 

i wonder if his children were mulatto by virtue of carruthers’ mulatto-ness alone, or was kitty also a mulatto.  doesn’t matter.  just curious.  i also wonder who owned him.  it doesn’t seem to be his father or the neighbors whom he apprenticed… maybe it was the father though.  i’ve read this four times and just haven’t a clue.  ah, history…

John Carruthers Stanly: From Slave to Slave Owner

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The story of John Carruthers Stanly, a former slave who gained his freedom, only to become the largest slaveholder in Craven County, North Carolina.

John Carruthers Stanly
1774-1846
Black Slaveholder

Stanly, born a slave in 1774, was the son of an African Ibo woman and the white prominent merchant-shipper John Wright Stanly. He was apprenticed to Alexander and Lydia Stewart, close friends and neighbors of his father.  They saw to it that John received an education and learned the trade of barbering.  At an early age, they helped him establish his own barbershop in New Bern.  Many of the town’s farmers and planters frequented his barbershop for a shave or a trim. As a result, Stanly developed a successful business.  By the time he reached the age of twenty-one, literate and economically able to provide for himself, his owners petitioned the Craven County court in 1795 for his emancipation. However, he was not completely satisfied with the ruling of the court and in 1798, through a special act, the state legislature confirmed the emancipation of John Carruthers Stanly, which entitled him to all rights and privileges of a free person.

Between 1800 and 1801, Stanly purchased his slave wife, Kitty, and two mulatto slave children. By March 1805, they were emancipated by the Craven County Superior Court. A few days later, Kitty and Stanly were legally married in New Bern and posted a legal marriage bond in Raleigh. Stanly’s wife was the daughter of Richard and Mary Green and the paternal granddaughter of Amelia Green. Two years later, in 1807, Stanly was successful in getting the court to emancipate his wife’s brother.

Some politically correct Court Historians end the story here, if they acknowledge the existence of black slaveholders at all.  What a noble thing, to purchase and emancipate one’s own family!  But there is much more to the story.

After securing his own and his family’s freedom, Stanly began to focus more on business matters. He obtained other slaves to work for him.  Two of them, Boston and Brister, were taught the barbering trade. Once they became skillful barbers, Stanly let them run the operation while he used the money they helped him earn to invest in additional town property, farmland, and more slaves.

Through his business acumen, Stanley eventually became a very wealthy plantation owner and the largest slaveholder in all of Craven County. He profited from investments in real estate, rental properties, the slave operated barbershop, and plantations from which he sold commodities such as cotton and turpentine.

Stanly’s plantations and rental properties were operated by skilled slaves along with help from some hired free blacks. To improve his rental properties in New Bern, he used skilled slaves and free blacks to build cabins and other residences and to repair and renovate these properties. During the depression of the early 1820s it was slave labor that kept Stanly economically stable.

The 1830 census reveals that Stanly owned, 163 slaves. He has been described as a harsh, profit-minded task master whose treatment of his slaves was no different than the treatment slaves received from white owners. Stanly’s goal, shared by white southern planters, was on expanding his operations and increasing his profits.

During the early 1820s, Stanly’s wife, Kitty, was taken seriously ill.  She became bedridden and, despite careful attention by two slave nurses, she died around 1824. It was at this same time that Stanly began to face a series of financial difficulties.  His fortune began to plummet when the Bank of New Bern, due to the national bank tightening controls of some state and local banks, was forced to collect all outstanding debts. Unfortunately, Stanly had countersigned a security note for John Stanly, his white half-brother, in the amount of $14,962. Stanly was forced to assume the debt. This, along with his own debts forced him to refinance his mortgages and sell large pieces of property, including slaves. When these options did not resolve his economic woes, he resorted to mortgaging his turpentine, cotton, and corn crops, as well as selling his barbershop, which had been operating continuously for forty years. Without a steady flow of income, his fortunes continued to decline.  In 1843, his last 160 acres of land were sold at public auction. Three years later, at the age of 74,  John Carruthers Stanly died.  At the time of his death he still owned seven slaves.

John Wright Stanly House, New Bern, North Carolina

more on the civil war

I’ve been sucked into the Civil War on the great interweb today.  Haven’t even watched Glory yet.  I’m so fascinated by this history.  Most of the photos and information in this post were found on one of Life Magazine’s photo galleries dedicated to the Civil War.  I must say that I would bet money that the man in the photo entitled Ready to Fight is a mulatto.  To call him biracial for the sake of political correctness would not be historically accurate, and sounds as preposterous to me as do all of the captions claiming that “African Americans” are depicted in the photos.  White folks of the day had a difficult enough time even agreeing that they were human beings… 3/5ths of a person… That’s one of the reasons that I currently hate to use that terminology.  We don’t go around being so specific with Irish Americans, or Italian Americans, or German Americans.  Still seems like some 3/5ths mentality to me.  That is just my opinion though.  I am also of the opinion that the difference between what was going on in the Union Camp in the photo entitled At Your Service and the goings on in the Confederate camp photo titled Off the Clock is… absolutely nothing.  Contrary to popular youtube belief, I am not one of those Yankees who thinks that the Union and President Lincoln were perfect and had nothing but the best of intentions for black people.  Nor am I under the impression that if I dug back far enough in my family tree, I would find abolitionists and/or soldiers fighting for the North.  Quite the contrary, I’m almost positive.  That’s why my existence is a miracle!  Of course everyone’s is, I’m just sayin’… today… in light of this complex history… how did I even happen?

[Nick+Biddle.jpg]

First Blood

Even before blacks were officially recognized as federal soldiers, many slaves — including the man in this portrait, known as Nick Biddle — escaped and joined Union lines. In 1861, Biddle was the orderly of a white Pennsylvania militia officer and, wearing a uniform, traveled with his employee’s company to Baltimore to help protect Washington, D.C., after the surrender of Fort Sumter. Once there, he was set upon by a pro-Confederate mob, attacked with slurs and a brick that hit him in the head so severely it exposed his skull. Some consider him the first man wounded in the Civil War.

VIA

The Grave of Nick Biddle:
By Chaplain James M. Guthrie

The grave of Nick Biddle a Mecca should be
To Pilgrims, who seek in this land of the free
The tombs of the lowly as well as the great
Who struggled for freedom in war of debate;
For there lies a brave man distinguished from all
In that his veins furnished the first blood to fall
In War for the Union, when traitors assailed
Its brave “First Defenders,” whose hearts never quailed.

The eighteenth of April, eighteen-sixty-one,
Was the day Nick Biddle his great honor won
In Baltimore City, where riot ran high,
He stood by our banner to do or to die;
And onward, responsive to liberty’s call
The capital city to reach ere its fall,
Brave Biddle, with others as true and as brave,
Marched through with wildest tempest, the Nation to save.

Their pathway is fearful, surrounded by foes,
Who strive in fierce Madness their course to oppose;
Who hurl threats and curses, defiant of law,
And think by such methods they might overawe
The gallant defenders, who, nevertheless,
Hold back their resentment as forward they press,
And conscious of noble endeavor, despise
The flashing of weapons and traitorous eyes

Behold now the crisis—the mob thirsts for blood:-
It strikes down Nick Biddle and opens the flood—
The torrents of crimson from hearts that are true—
That shall deepen and widen, shall cleanse and renew
The land of our fathers by slavery cursed;
The blood of Nick Biddle, yes, it is the first,
The spatter of blood-drops presaging the storm
That will rage and destroy till Nation reform.

How strange, too, it seems, that the Capitol floor,
Where slaveholders sat in the Congress of yore,
And forged for his kindred chains heavy to bear
To bind down the black man in endless despair,
Should be stained with his blood and thus sanctified;
Made sacred to freedom; through time to abide
A temple of justice, with every right
For all the nation, black, redman, and white

The grave of Nick Biddle, though humble it be,
Is nobler by far in the sight of the free
Than tombs of those chieftains, whose sinful crusade
Brought long years of mourning and countless graves made
In striving to fetter their black fellowmen,
And make of the Southland a vast prison pen;
Their cause was unholy but Biddle’s was just,
And hosts of pure spirits watch over his dust.

 

Ready for a Fight

A black soldier poses with his revolver in 1865. Many military leaders didn’t believe African Americans were capable of fighting effectively at first, but battles including the one at Port Hudson…proved them wrong.

 

Mulatto Confederate Soldier Daniel Jenkins and his wife. Jenkins was with the Confederate 9th Kentucky Infantry and was killed at Shiloh on 4/6/62.-VIA

 

Off the Clock

Confederate soldiers at their campsite play poker, while drinking and smoking between battles, with two slaves serving them.

At Your Service

Four white Union soldiers sit outside their tents at Warrenten, Va., as an African American soldier hands a bottle and a plate of food to one of them, in 1862.
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Women in the War: Mary Walker, American Hero

Caption: Mary Edwards Walker (1832-1919), US Civil War doctor, wearing her Medal of Honor in 1866. Walker was awarded the medal in November 1865 for her service in the US Civil War (1861-1865). She served in the Union Army in several battles, first as a nurse and later as the first-ever female US Army Surgeon. She was captured in April 1864 by Confederate forces and accused of spying, though she was later released. After the ordeal, the government awarded Walker the Medal of Honor for her bravery, the only woman to ever given such an honor.  After the war, she was involved in the temperance movement and the women’s rights movement. She would often wear men’s clothes, and campaigned for dress reform for women. This photograph is from the Matthew Brady Collection, a collection of photographs from during and after the US Civil War.

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Caption: Mary Edwards Walker (1832-1919), US surgeon. Walker received her medical degree from Syracuse Medical College in 1855. During the US Civil War (1861-1865) she served as the first female surgeon in the US Army. She was awarded the Medal of Honour for her wartime service, an award revoked in 1917 and restored in 1977. Walker also campaigned on women’s rights and suffrage, and was well-known for wearing male dress, including a top hat. This photograph dates from between 1911 and 1917. It is from the Harris and Ewing Collection, which mostly consists of photographs taken in Washington DC, USA.

 

 

War Orphans Used in Propaganda

An African American brother and sister, both former slaves, pose for a photograph after being freed by Union soldiers in Virginia in 1864. The children’s mother was beaten, branded, and sold at auction because she had been kind to Union soldiers.

Free Children

The same brother and sister are photographed after having been sent to an orphanage in Philadelphia.

Jumping Ship

In some cases, having blacks in their ranks worked against the South, as with Robert Smalls, a slave forced to serve in the Confederate Navy (which permitted slaves to serve with their masters’ consent — technically so long as African Americans made up no more than 5 percent of the crew). Smalls took over his CSA ship and delivered it to Union forces, became a ship pilot in the U.S. Navy, and rose to the rank of captain. Smalls…later became a member of the South Carolina State House of Representatives.

 

Advertisements for slaves, such as the one by William F. Talbott of Lexington, Ky., were commonplace while Lincoln was growing up.Photo: © PoodlesRock/Corbis

Slavery Lasted Longer in the Union Than in the Confederacy

Slavery technically existed in the North longer than it did in the South, as the 1863 Emancipation Proclamation only applied to the states that had seceded. The Union slave states of West Virginia, Maryland, and Missouri abolished slavery during the war. Kentucky and Delaware, however, continued allowing slavery until the Thirteenth Amendment abolished slavery throughout the United States in December 1865.
The riots in New York : the mob lynching a negro in Clarkson-Street.

New York City Considered Seceding From the Union

Though New York is viewed by much of America as the emblematic Northern city, it was actually a hotbed of pro-South and anti-war sentiment before and during the Civil War, not least because the city thrived on trade with cotton plantations. In January 1961, Mayor Fernando Wood even tried to convince the City Council to officially secede from the Union and declare itself a neutral city-state. Anti-war feelings crested with the bloody Draft Riots in July 1863, when working-class New Yorkers went on a rampage to protest new laws Congress passed to institute a draft.

The Great Emancipator Rejected Emancipation at First

Though he’s now lauded as the man who freed the slaves, President Abraham Lincoln was routinely lambasted by the abolitionists of his time for not moving fast enough or far enough in ridding the country of the institution of slavery. When the Emancipation Proclamation finally was issued, it exempted the Union border states, Tennessee, seven counties of Virginia, New Orleans, and 13 Louisiana parishes. It also implicitly offered Southern secessionist states a chance to keep their slaves if they rejoined the Union by Jan. 1, 1863.