Biracial and Multiracial black people: Are those considered a race?

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I wish people would stop confusing race and/or religion with nationality.

I am Swedish, thus European but I am not caucasian, which is a common mistake made by Americans.
But if one goes back a couple of hundred years I sure that the vast majority of middle and northern Eurpeans were infact caucasian, but at the same time a hundred years before that the vast majority of Americans were American Indians...

I am biracial.
The word biracial bugs me however, as it does when people say they are "half white and half Black." You cannot divide yourself into halves - it makes no sense to me
I am not dividing myself, I am explaining my race.
I will not deny either my mother nor my fathers heritage (and I am probably one of the few that respects Tiger Woods for doing the same).
I pray to God my children, though looking white, would ever deny me or my race(s) either.

As biracial I do feel closer to my black heritage (because of my background in California) but that doesn't take away my white heritage, of which I am very proud of also.

It is up to every individual to define themselves (my sister defines herself as black).

Me, I'm pretty happy with being the wonderful mix of heritage, history and races that I am.
Originally Posted by ninadef
To the bolded- I agree with you (throw in the word cultural background too). In anthropology there are only a few true races: Mongoloid, Negroid and Caucasoid and Australoid (or Asian, Black, White, Native/Aboriginal) not necessarily tied into one's cultural background. Culture and traditions can be learned, true race is based on genetics and physical traits (again, not my rules but basic anthropology).

Now "ethnicity" has a more vague meaning that can take into account one's race, as well as culture/religion and national identity.
Don't let your heart be broken. Let it love.

Last edited by Spider; 08-06-2009 at 03:21 PM.
Oh yes, of course there are people who don't have any Black (or white) roots who call themselves mixed. But the OP was talking about being mixed with Black, so that's what I was addressing. And truly, this is made out as FAR more of an issue in the Black community than elsewhere. And incidentally, I've yet to hear white people discussing whether a person who is "half white" is white or not - it's a given that they're not. This is much more an issue for people of colour and Blacks in particular.

I don't find a discussion of other countries to be hair-splitting, since the OP mentioned discussions with people from Africa and I myself have roots in the Caribbean.

And yeah, we're all speaking for ourselves, which is totally cool...
Originally Posted by Amneris
My daughter is certainly "half white". She has a white mother...she has to be "half white".
Originally Posted by FieryCurls

my SO would respond the exact same way. he'll fight you if you call her black. and we've had some arguments/discussions/conversations on whether or not she should just be called white. his "argument" is that she is half white, she has white skin, and white hair, and that society will not see her as only black, so why not call her white? basically the same argument that people have for calling biracial people only black. it seems totally irrational once the shoe is on the other foot....
I choose to call myself biracial because I refuse to deny either parents contribution to my makeup. It would hurt my father to his core if I simply said I was Black. I've corrected people who have tried to insist I'm either black or white. I'm not black and I'm not white.

I have the hardest time understanding why some people have trouble with this. It's not dividing oneself into 'halves' it's acknowledging all areas of your racial makeup. I'm choosing to give credit where it is due.
THIS. I have to admit it does bother me when people go just by the colour of your skin. Obama, for example, is often called our first black president. Well, yes, technically, he is a president of colour. But what I don't understand is that people automatically deny his white heritage as well. Kudos to President Obama for not playing the race card--those were primarily his voters that made it about race.

It makes me think of Tiger Woods as well. Everyone denominates him as a black man. And yet he is only a quarter black. By all accounts, everyone should consider Fergie a black woman. Or me, for that matter. Anthropolically speaking, I would be considered black, white, and native (or, colloquial, black, white and latin). That said, I do not "look" black to a lot of people. The black genes only spaced themselves out to my booty, my lips and my hair! I do have an olive-skinned complexion and do get dark very, very easily, but the majority of the time, I am relatively fair.

One of my best friends is half white, half black. When her hair was relaxed, everyone thought she was white. Her facial features, her body type--everything about her "looked white". Well, she went natural, and her hair is a 4b. A lot of our black sistas joke around with her, saying that she looks like a white girl with a 'fro, and that her hair is nappier than theirs!

The point is, I believe that denying any part of your heritage, black, white, native, mongoloid--ANYTHING--is simply another form of unacceptance. And hey, isn't that a part of what going natural is about? Acceptance?

Yes. I am a Strong Black Woman. But I am also a Strong White Woman. And a Strong Latin Woman. Still, at the very core of it all, we are all Strong Women. Everything else? It's just semantics.
I absolutely hate these sort of threads.

Everyone is multiracial. I think the whole concept of identifying "race" is a load of crock to being with. Let's just be PEOPLE and be done with it.

Gawd.
I'm "TechKnockout" now.

Yes. I am a Strong Black Woman. But I am also a Strong White Woman. And a Strong Latin Woman. Still, at the very core of it all, we are all Strong Women. Everything else? It's just semantics.
Originally Posted by notyouraveragecurl
YES!!!!

+1
I'm "TechKnockout" now.
I absolutely hate these sort of threads.

Everyone is multiracial. I think the whole concept of identifying "race" is a load of crock to being with. Let's just be PEOPLE and be done with it.

Gawd.
Originally Posted by TK*
Yes.... this is where I have issues.

It seems that SOME people who like using the biracial or multiracial label or want their kids to use it say that they are using it to get away from racial thinking or to honour their parentage... but how so? How is it getting away from racial thinking to further break down or analyze who is half this or a quarter that? (and of course those who are considered "full Black", whatever that is, is on the bottom.) I don't like the "half and half" thinking because it implies that the "two halves" were pure to begin with, which they likely were not. And I get the honouring your parents thing.... but I don't think saying saying you are biracial and never saying you are Black is dishonouring them. We all have preferences for how our children identify, based on what we feel is best for them in life or whatever, but ultimately, they are going to make their choice, and they may choose not to say that they are biracial, or not to say they are Black, or whatever. And just because they are taught to identify a certain way doesn't mean they'll be treated that way. You may want your kids to follow your religion or lifestyle or anything else, but if they don't, are they dishonouring you, or just being themselves in the world they live in?

I think the reason people celebrate the "first Black -------" is because we still live in a racist society, and the breaking of barriers is symbolic to other Black people. If a person with identifiable Black heritage who has lived and been treated as Black accomplishes something and can lift up other Blac people, that's a good thing. It doesn't mean they hate or deny their non-Black ancestry, it's just that that isn't relevant at that particular time.

Also, usually when Black people say their child with a white person "looks white," to me at least, they really do - I can always tell what their heritage is and so can most Black people I know. But sometimes if you can tell someone is really invested in thinking their child looks white or that they do themself, you just go along with it rather than start drama.


For the record, in Barack Obama's book "Dreams of my Father," he writes that from his early teens he stopped volunteering the information that his mother was white because he felt that he was trying to claim some kind of privilege or status with it.

Biracial means two races... so Barack Obama's kids could say they're biracial too since they have white and Black blood... even though they have two Black-identified parents. And I think he has aboriginal blood on his mother's side, so he and they could also say they are multiracial. The terms to me become meaningless when they could apply to anyone.

I'm not a huge fan of the term Black either, but it's a recognizable term that has social implications and therefore has some use - but why create more meaningless terms?
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











Oh yes, of course there are people who don't have any Black (or white) roots who call themselves mixed. But the OP was talking about being mixed with Black, so that's what I was addressing. And truly, this is made out as FAR more of an issue in the Black community than elsewhere. And incidentally, I've yet to hear white people discussing whether a person who is "half white" is white or not - it's a given that they're not. This is much more an issue for people of colour and Blacks in particular.

I don't find a discussion of other countries to be hair-splitting, since the OP mentioned discussions with people from Africa and I myself have roots in the Caribbean.

And yeah, we're all speaking for ourselves, which is totally cool...
Originally Posted by Amneris
My daughter is certainly "half white". She has a white mother...she has to be "half white".
Originally Posted by FieryCurls

my SO would respond the exact same way. he'll fight you if you call her black. and we've had some arguments/discussions/conversations on whether or not she should just be called white. his "argument" is that she is half white, she has white skin, and white hair, and that society will not see her as only black, so why not call her white? basically the same argument that people have for calling biracial people only black. it seems totally irrational once the shoe is on the other foot....
Originally Posted by subbrock
I agree with you on everything Subbrock because my children don't look black either,however when you go to enroll her in school,and they tell you that only one box can be checked,and there's no Other box or Biracial box,just the races,White,Black,Hispanic,Asian/Pacific Islander and Native American.Which one will you check,and they see that you are the black mother? The lady told us that the race is determined by the mother,when I've heard that it is determined by the father.I'm just throwing this out here because that's how it is where I live,not trying to be malicious.
3B-3C, alittle past tailbone length,age:41 years
Yes.... this is where I have issues.


...I'm not a huge fan of the term Black either, but it's a recognizable term that has social implications and therefore has some use - but why create more meaningless terms?
Originally Posted by Amneris
Yes you, and many millions of other people have these "issues" which are pushed onto those who are mixed race. What is so threatening about naming the truth of ones' heritage? If everyone else gets to be part of their own "special" group, why can't a mixed race person also acknowledge their particular group/heritage/culture (whatever you want to call it)?
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My daughter is certainly "half white". She has a white mother...she has to be "half white".
Originally Posted by FieryCurls

my SO would respond the exact same way. he'll fight you if you call her black. and we've had some arguments/discussions/conversations on whether or not she should just be called white. his "argument" is that she is half white, she has white skin, and white hair, and that society will not see her as only black, so why not call her white? basically the same argument that people have for calling biracial people only black. it seems totally irrational once the shoe is on the other foot....
Originally Posted by subbrock
I agree with you on everything Subbrock because my children don't look black either,however when you go to enroll her in school,and they tell you that only one box can be checked,and there's no Other box or Biracial box,just the races,White,Black,Hispanic,Asian/Pacific Islander and Native American.Which one will you check,and they see that you are the black mother? The lady told us that the race is determined by the mother,when I've heard that it is determined by the father.I'm just throwing this out here because that's how it is where I live,not trying to be malicious.
Originally Posted by Caleilani

i've heard the mother thing too which then all my stuff woudl be wrong because I'm labeled as black on my school stuff except for my um voting thingy my friend marked white and black on mine lol and when i got my voting card it just said white haha.
It seems that SOME people who like using the biracial or multiracial label or want their kids to use it say that they are using it to get away from racial thinking or to honour their parentage... but how so? for my family, calling my daughter biracial is "honoring her parentage" by acknowledging that i am black and her father is white. i dont think anyone has said its getting away from racial thinking. im not even sure i know what "racial thinking" is!
How is it getting away from racial thinking to further break down or analyze who is half this or a quarter that? (and of course those who are considered "full Black", whatever that is, is on the bottom.)
do you mean racist thinking (instead of racial)? and who is putting "full black" people on the bottom? on the bottom of what?
being blackI don't like the "half and half" thinking because it implies that the "two halves" were pure to begin with, which they likely were not. thats not the implication here. in america, the term black does not mean "100% african." black in america usually refers to people who exists as a result of the african diaspora. thats why there is a debate amongst blacks in america on whether or not they should even be called african americans. i see the whole half and half thing the way most people identify themselves: im half my mother and half my father. you dont usually see women say that theyre only their mother's child just because theyre both girls or only claiming the parent who you most look like. they acknowledge both parents because thats where they came from. And I get the honouring your parents thing.... but I don't think saying saying you are biracial and never saying you are Black is dishonouring them. We all have preferences for how our children identify, based on what we feel is best for them in life or whatever, but ultimately, they are going to make their choice, and they may choose not to say that they are biracial, or not to say they are Black, or whatever. And just because they are taught to identify a certain way doesn't mean they'll be treated that way. You may want your kids to follow your religion or lifestyle or anything else, but if they don't, are they dishonouring you, or just being themselves in the world they live in? this isn't just a hypothetical conversation between mothers who are waiting to see how their children choose to identify themselves. the biracial women who commented on why they call themselves biracial made their choice and explained why.

I think the reason people celebrate the "first Black -------" is because we still live in a racist society, and the breaking of barriers is symbolic to other Black people. If a person with identifiable Black heritage who has lived and been treated as Black accomplishes something and can lift up other Blac people, that's a good thing. It doesn't mean they hate or deny their non-Black ancestry, it's just that that isn't relevant at that particular time.

Also, usually when Black people say their child with a white person "looks white," to me at least, they really do - I can always tell what their heritage is and so can most Black people I know. But sometimes if you can tell someone is really invested in thinking their child looks white or that they do themself, you just go along with it rather than start drama.


For the record, in Barack Obama's book "Dreams of my Father," he writes that from his early teens he stopped volunteering the information that his mother was white because he felt that he was trying to claim some kind of privilege or status with it.

Biracial means two races... so Barack Obama's kids could say they're biracial too since they have white and Black blood... even though they have two Black-identified parents. And I think he has aboriginal blood on his mother's side, so he and they could also say they are multiracial. The terms to me become meaningless when they could apply to anyone. i think that oversimplification of the word is self serving. yes, technically biracial means two races. the same way that bicycle means two wheels. but that doesnt mean a motorcycle and a bicycle are the same thing. and it doesnt mean that one is better or worse than the other. i also cant stand the "everyone is biracial/multiracial..." no theyre not. my SO is a prime example of someone who is 100% white.

I'm not a huge fan of the term Black either, but it's a recognizable term that has social implications and therefore has some use - but why create more meaningless terms? i just find this to be totally offensive...
Originally Posted by Amneris
.
caleilani- hey girl! i know youre not being malicious, so no worries.
when i was pregnant, i asked the nurse if out state decides a child's race for you and she said no but traditionally it goes by the father. so of course i said, well what if the mom is black and the dad is white? she thought about it and then said, i guess theyd be considered white. i guess she thought i was asking for myself because from that day on she changed all of my paperwork to say "other"!

honestly, i wouldnt check anything for school. we've started the application process to enroll her in private school and on those forms there is no question about race. maybe it will come up one day, but i wont choose a race for her. if its that important and they refuse to process her paperwork then they can choose it because i wont.
Yes.... this is where I have issues.


...I'm not a huge fan of the term Black either, but it's a recognizable term that has social implications and therefore has some use - but why create more meaningless terms?
Originally Posted by Amneris
Yes you, and many millions of other people have these "issues" which are pushed onto those who are mixed race. What is so threatening about naming the truth of ones' heritage? If everyone else gets to be part of their own "special" group, why can't a mixed race person also acknowledge their particular group/heritage/culture (whatever you want to call it)?
Originally Posted by BekkaPoo
FYI: I am mixed race, and I name the truth of my heritage.

I don't think there IS a "special group" for mixed race persons. There are all kinds of possible mixes, none of which necessarily have anything in common with the others. All kinds of people are mixed. Being mixed to me is just being human - it's not special at all.

I think if a person WANTS to call themself multiracial or biracial or whatever, they are free to do that - go for it! I just happen to think it is meaningless - but my opinion shouldn't stop you.

I don't think it is threatening. IF a person simply acknowledges "my mother comes from x group and my father from y group and I choose to call myself z,no problem. If the "biracial" person recognizes their connection to the Black community as well, great. But I notice that so often people who are highly attached to the "biracial" label are also highly attached to being Not Black, and will claim they or their kids "look white", which is often untrue, get upset and "correct" people who think they are Black, etc. I don't find that threatening, but I find it sad, and I don't think any of it moves us closer to ending racism or improving the state of affairs for people of colour. But, people have their reasons for doing what they want.
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











Amneris, your position towards biracial/multiracial terms seem to have changed a bit over the last couple of years. I remember having these same discussions with you and wholeheartedly agreeing with you on a lot of issues. To label categories like biracial and multiracial as 'meaningless' is rather dismissive of an identity that is important to some of us. Maybe not yourself, but for me it is
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my SO would respond the exact same way. he'll fight you if you call her black. and we've had some arguments/discussions/conversations on whether or not she should just be called white. his "argument" is that she is half white, she has white skin, and white hair, and that society will not see her as only black, so why not call her white? basically the same argument that people have for calling biracial people only black. it seems totally irrational once the shoe is on the other foot....
Originally Posted by subbrock
I agree with you on everything Subbrock because my children don't look black either,however when you go to enroll her in school,and they tell you that only one box can be checked,and there's no Other box or Biracial box,just the races,White,Black,Hispanic,Asian/Pacific Islander and Native American.Which one will you check,and they see that you are the black mother? The lady told us that the race is determined by the mother,when I've heard that it is determined by the father.I'm just throwing this out here because that's how it is where I live,not trying to be malicious.
Originally Posted by Caleilani

i've heard the mother thing too which then all my stuff woudl be wrong because I'm labeled as black on my school stuff except for my um voting thingy my friend marked white and black on mine lol and when i got my voting card it just said white haha.
Originally Posted by turtles
I think it is ridiculous to have to declare race for school, or for voting. I don't think the solution is to demand a 'mixed' category. The solution is to refuse to fill those forms out at all and demand they stop asking.
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











Amneris, your position towards biracial/multiracial terms seem to have changed a bit over the last couple of years. I remember having these same discussions with you and wholeheartedly agreeing with you on a lot of issues. To label categories like biracial and multiracial as 'meaningless' is rather dismissive of an identity that is important to some of us. Maybe not yourself, but for me it is
Originally Posted by kindredspirit1983
That's fine for you - it is meaningless to me, but if someone else chooses to use it, I don't get a say in that.

I think that that is always the way I have felt. I support peoples' right to self-identification and I agree with you on that.
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











It makes me think of Tiger Woods as well. Everyone denominates him as a black man. And yet he is only a quarter black. By all accounts, everyone should consider Fergie a black woman. Or me, for that matter. Anthropolically speaking, I would be considered black, white, and native (or, colloquial, black, white and latin). That said, I do not "look" black to a lot of people. The black genes only spaced themselves out to my booty, my lips and my hair! I do have an olive-skinned complexion and do get dark very, very easily, but the majority of the time, I am relatively fair.
Originally Posted by notyouraveragecurl
Why Fergie? Her wiki doesn't mention it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fergie_(singer)
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I think it is ridiculous to have to declare race for school, or for voting. I don't think the solution is to demand a 'mixed' category. The solution is to refuse to fill those forms out at all and demand they stop asking.
Originally Posted by Amneris

I like this idea.
It makes me think of Tiger Woods as well. Everyone denominates him as a black man. And yet he is only a quarter black. By all accounts, everyone should consider Fergie a black woman. Or me, for that matter. Anthropolically speaking, I would be considered black, white, and native (or, colloquial, black, white and latin). That said, I do not "look" black to a lot of people. The black genes only spaced themselves out to my booty, my lips and my hair! I do have an olive-skinned complexion and do get dark very, very easily, but the majority of the time, I am relatively fair.
Originally Posted by notyouraveragecurl
Why Fergie? Her wiki doesn't mention it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fergie_(singer)
Originally Posted by Phoenix
I don't think Fergie has known or recent African ancestry... but she is of a mixed background.
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali












I think it is ridiculous to have to declare race for school, or for voting. I don't think the solution is to demand a 'mixed' category. The solution is to refuse to fill those forms out at all and demand they stop asking.
Originally Posted by Amneris

I like this idea.
Originally Posted by turtles
Me, too. I don't think any of us owe anyone else any explanations or justifications as to who we are or how we identify. We don't choose our parents so to me there's no point in being "proud" of their "races." I think there is a difference in celebrating the culture and heritage of all parts of your family and labelling yourself one way or another. If a person has a healthy sense of self, recognizes who they are etc. they can call themself whatever they want. My only issue is that labels come with certain baggage and assumptions, and this is why people don't need to have access to that information for situations like school or voting, and creating more labels only creates more baggage and assumptions.
Get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me. -Muhammad Ali











It seems that SOME people who like using the biracial or multiracial label or want their kids to use it say that they are using it to get away from racial thinking or to honour their parentage... but how so? How is it getting away from racial thinking to further break down or analyze who is half this or a quarter that? (and of course those who are considered "full Black", whatever that is, is on the bottom.) I don't like the "half and half" thinking because it implies that the "two halves" were pure to begin with, which they likely were not.
Originally Posted by Amneris
I don't know if you are referring to me, but since I am a parent who wishes her child to identify as what she is (biracial/African Polish-American/Black and Polish), rather than what someone wants her to be (Black or by some slim chance, White), you may be referring to me. In which case...

I've stated that I do not mind race in and of itself. It's is very obvious that there are is something different about me and my husband, besides our genders. It's when people place some value on it, as you seem to be doing, that causes the problem. I certainly do not put myself at the bottom of the race totem pole. But then, I do not think of it as a totem pole. To me, it's more of a rainbow or a spectrum. (And that's not meant to sound all kumbaya.) There is no better or worse, as they are all on the same plane, as far as I'm concerned.

Regarding purity, and this is not meant to be taken as a sign of some sort of superiority... As far as I know, the three to four generations above me are all Black. My husband's are all Polish. That makes us pretty close to "pure," and I'm sure there are lots of other folks who can claim the same, and maybe trace further. That doesn't make us any better or worse than my daughter, you, Tiger Woods, Barack Obama, or any other person. I'm sorry, but if I have a great great great great grand parent who is white, I'm not claiming biracial. That is just a bit too far removed.

I don't really buy into this idea that everyone is multiracial. It seems almost as bad as those who hold tight and fast to their purity as though it is some sort of badge of honor. Not only does it buy into the one drop rule, it sounds to me like a desperate attempt to make us all the "same," and simultaneously make some "not different." But, I am one of those people who celebrates our diversity. I love that there are different types of people in this world. I do not want a world where everyone is the same!

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