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

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I don't know if you are being deliberately obtuse, contentious or really just don't understand...

An African, by blood is going to be varying shades of Black. Poles, Italians, English, Germans, by blood, are going to be White. Asians will have epicanthic folds. We are taking ancestry/bloodline, not nationality. Yes, if I were born and raised on Chinese soil, I would be Chinese by nationality, but not by ancestry.

I think this just isn't true, though. There are Africans who have been in Africa for generations - centuries even - who consider themselves African but have mainly European, or Middle Eastern, blood and appearance and would say that their ancestry is African. No, they're not the majority, but they do exist. And there are plenty of Italians who are not white. And there are different types of people in Asia.

If we're going by the "bloodline" argument, then we should assume that Australians and New Zealanders are Black, since that is what their aboriginal people are, and whites are only Australian by nationality.... Americans and Canadians are aboriginal. And Italians were not traditionally considered white and many have significant Arab and African bloodlines. There have been people of colour in Europe for generations. Britain has had Blacks since way back at the beginning of the slave trade. Are they not English enough still after generations and generations? What about Romany people who have been in Europe a long time but trace their ancestry to India? Don't they have Romany people in Poland? What about some of the Sephardic Jews in Europe with Semitic backgrounds? Or those descended from the Moors in Spain?

Also, when people say Black, they don't necessarily mean African. While the way we use it here implies African ancestry, people may use it while thinking primarily of Caribbean or Latin culture, too. And in the UK, Black also included South Asians until recently and still does for some people.

I don't think race is as clear-cut as that.

I think you said earlier your background is Belizean, so to me at least, Belize-Poland or Black-white go together, but Black-Poland don't, and I personally would find that more confusing for a child, but that's just me.

And the use of the term Black in the description of my daughter's ancestry refers to African. We all know that.

I don't get what the question is here?

Oh, and if you ask a White person what they are, they aren't going to say White. They are going to tell you their ancestry... We've had threads here that proved that point. The converse for many Blacks is unfortunately, not always an option. So, we instead point to a whole continent, since many are unable to point to a specific country. These things are general knowledge now, come on.
Originally Posted by CocoaCoily
,
Originally Posted by Amneris
I think you know full well what I mean. And I might lean toward thinking that you are being somewhat contentious.

If using my China example, if I went around telling people I'm Chinese, you don't think people would be asking, "But, no, what are you really? What is your ancestry/bloodline?" Come on.
Originally Posted by CocoaCoily
No, I am being fully serious.

I don't know what you look like. But the book Return to the Middle Kingdom, by Yan-Tsung Chen, is about my great-uncle and his family. They are described as follows below. If you read it, you'd assume they are what people normally expect a Chinese person to look like. But in fact, Eugene's mother was Black and Eugene married a woman who was mostly Black, and pictures of Jack show him with dark skin and kinky hair. But he considered himself Chinese, lived and grew up in China, spoke Chinese fluently, married a Chinese woman, was involved in Chinese politics. He was Chinese and also Black.

People have trouble with many aspects of other peoples' identities or assume people from certain countries look a particular way, but it doesn't make it the truth, and it doesn't make it ridiculous to say who you are if that is who you are. Isn't that the point of this thread - the right to self-identification? Why should my cousin Jack have had to say he was multiracial or Black or whatever if he felt he was Chinese?

In the spirit of the classic Wild Swans comes this epic tale spanning three generations and three separate revolutions. Mixing biography and history into a single ambitious story, Yuan-Tsung Chen views China’s rebirth in modern times from the perspective of her late husband’s family.
Ah Chen, a landless peasant, fought in the Taiping Rebellion against the Manchu court in 1850-64. But when Western powers helped crush the uprising, Chen was forced to flee to Trinidad as an indentured servant. Decades later, his son Eugene rose from poverty to become Trinidad’s first Chinese lawyer before moving to London, where he met Sun Yat-sen and became his close aide. Inspired by Sun, Eugene returned to China and led the 1911 revolution that overthrew its last dynasty.
Finally, Eugene’s son Jack—the author’s late husband—used his artistic and journalistic talents to illustrate and explain the Chinese Marxist Revolution to the outside world. When Jack (whose first language was not Chinese) was seized by the Red Guards during the Cultural Revolution, his wife Yuan-tsung was forced to serve as his translator during interrogations. Ordered to write a confession—“Go back three generations to see what crimes your family has committed against the revolution!”—Jack and Yuan-tsung began to piece together the family’s dramatic history.
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












Last edited by Amneris; 08-07-2009 at 11:00 AM.

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 don't think she should be called just white or black because she isn't just white or black. It took 2 of us to make her.
Originally Posted by FieryCurls
he mostly does it to get a rise out of me, not because he truly feels she should just be called one or the other.
white mother, Black father
Black father, white mother
parents happily married
parents divorced
parents divorced and re-married to others of different races
parents divorced and re-married to others of their same race
father was never in the picture to begin with
mother abandoned kids
Black = African, or Caribbean, or African-Canadian or African-American
white = Anglo, or French, or Italian, or Jewish.....
in-laws accepted relationship
in-laws did not accept relationship
one side accepted it and the other didn't
grew up primarily around Blacks
grew up primarily around whites
grew up in multicultural setting

etc. etc. etc.

A lot of these could also apply to Blacks, or whites, or whoever. Not everyone who is "biracial" had a loving white parent or a present Black parent. I think the assumption is also often made that biracial = white mother and Black father. For me, IF you consider me biracial, which I don't, it's the opposite, and my Black maternal family were definitely by far the most dominant, and that sets me automatically apart from the majority of "biracial" people I've known who have white mothers and many who didn't even know or live with their fathers.
Originally Posted by Amneris
I see what you mean. Add to that list:

has siblings that are "all" White

has siblings that are "all" Black

has other biracial siblings but they all look like different races

one parent has issues such a mental illness that turned the person off

person was adopted

person grew up somewhere other than North America

Yeah, interesting. I always thought my family was a typical, normal interracial family...but I guess there is no such thing.
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG

white mother, Black father
Black father, white mother
parents happily married
parents divorced
parents divorced and re-married to others of different races
parents divorced and re-married to others of their same race
father was never in the picture to begin with
mother abandoned kids
Black = African, or Caribbean, or African-Canadian or African-American
white = Anglo, or French, or Italian, or Jewish.....
in-laws accepted relationship
in-laws did not accept relationship
one side accepted it and the other didn't
grew up primarily around Blacks
grew up primarily around whites
grew up in multicultural setting

etc. etc. etc.

A lot of these could also apply to Blacks, or whites, or whoever. Not everyone who is "biracial" had a loving white parent or a present Black parent. I think the assumption is also often made that biracial = white mother and Black father. For me, IF you consider me biracial, which I don't, it's the opposite, and my Black maternal family were definitely by far the most dominant, and that sets me automatically apart from the majority of "biracial" people I've known who have white mothers and many who didn't even know or live with their fathers.
Originally Posted by Amneris
I see what you mean. Add to that list:

has siblings that are "all" White

has siblings that are "all" Black

has other biracial siblings but they all look like different races

one parent has issues such a mental illness that turned the person off

person was adopted

person grew up somewhere other than North America

Yeah, interesting. I always thought my family was a typical, normal interracial family...but I guess there is no such thing.
Originally Posted by spiderlashes5000
Right, I forgot about those ones as well... I know "biracial" adopted people, and whether they were adopted by whites or Blacks or some other mix of family also has an impact. I know one whose Black father murdered their white mother and got life in jail and she was raised by white grandparents. Being raised by grandparents is another issue... and grandparents from which side? And growing up outside North America as I did also has a huge impact. I would say being an only child does also. Having one or both parents speaking a language other than English, or being of different religious beliefs, would be another issue.

And if the "biracial" person is of a mix other than white and Black, add even more factors, so that to me it is really impossible to say that there is a typical "biracial" experience or culture or mindset. I think some people present it as "being rejected equally by whites and Blacks, while also being a chameleon and being more accepted by whites and Blacks and others" (or whatever you are mixed with) but I just didn't live that.

eta: the same could be said of "Black" people since there is also a great diversity of experience, BUT to me, the difference is that there is a long-standing idea of a Black community and Black history. There are cultural traditions going back to slavery that families practise.... there is the legacy of the civil rights movement.... there are long-standing organizations, etc. etc. etc. "Biracial" and "multiracial" people don't have that long-standing history or any common historical ground. There are only people that some in the movement will now pull out of history and out of context, like DuBois, and say were "biracial", but there isn't any existing sense of community - it's something people are now trying to create, and clearly there are people who do feel a sense of community and have established one, but I am not among them.
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












Last edited by Amneris; 08-07-2009 at 12:17 PM.
Oh, yeah, my mother is from another country. So that makes it "different" too! LOL
3b (with 3c tendencies) on modified CG

To answer the OP, no I don't think "biracial" or "multiracial" are their own races.
Right, I forgot about those ones as well... I know "biracial" adopted people, and whether they were adopted by whites or Blacks or some other mix of family also has an impact. I know one whose Black father murdered their white mother and got life in jail and she was raised by white grandparents. Being raised by grandparents is another issue... and grandparents from which side? And growing up outside North America as I did also has a huge impact....And if the "biracial" person is of a mix other than white and Black, add even more factors, so that to me it is really impossible to say that there is a typical "biracial" experience or culture or mindset. I think some people present it as "being rejected equally by whites and Blacks, while also being a chameleon and being more accepted by whites and Blacks and others" (or whatever you are mixed with) but I just didn't live that.

eta: the same could be said of "Black" people since there is also a great diversity of experience, BUT to me, the difference is that there is a long-standing idea of a Black community and Black history. There are cultural traditions going back to slavery that families practise.... there is the legacy of the civil rights movement.... there are long-standing organizations, etc. etc. etc. "Biracial" and "multiracial" people don't have that long-standing history or any common historical ground. There are only people that some in the movement will now pull out of history and out of context, like DuBois, and say were "biracial", but there isn't any existing sense of community - it's something people are now trying to create, and clearly there are people who do feel a sense of community and have established one, but I am not among them.
Originally Posted by Amneris
That's not necessarily true. While the term Biracial is fairly new there have always been several communities and pockets and Mulatto and other Mixed Race communities and peoples everywhere in the world. Creoles are one.
http://www.frenchcreoles.com/ Who are recently reclaiming their rich heritage after a long time of being shamed into believing they could only be Black.

South Africa's Coloreds
http://boards.mulatto.org/post?id=2043222
Melungeons:
http://boards.mulatto.org/post?id=2020451
Boricuas from Borikén
http://boards.mulatto.org/post?id=2243163
The Rehoboth Basters
http://boards.mulatto.org/post?id=2043219
Dominickers
http://boards.mulatto.org/post?id=2020445
The Blue Vein Society, Quadroon Balls, Placage, Creoles of Mauritius, Mulattos of Haiti before the revolution, etc. The list goes on, http://mulatto.org is an excellent resource. Throughout history there have managed to be quite a few pockets of ethnic Black/White Multiracial people who bred within themselves and created a seperate identity and culture from Black and White people around them. And true there were differences, but so it also goes with seperate Black cultures under the overall Black designation of "Black".

And I think to say Black people have a community and collective history more so than most Biracials (certainly first generation) is true to an extent but it doesn't take into account that it's a self fulfilling phrophecy. When you (gy) call Biracial people only Black or enforce only a Black identity on them, then they will begin to think of themselves as Black and intermarry with Black people so of course they aren't going to have time to create a community.

And in general, when talking about first generation Black/White Biracials historical figures, even they often found being Mixed was important to them and I notice it shaped who they were and what they did to some degree. I don't find it to be rewriting history to claim Mulatto figures for what we can now acknowledge they are. Even when there was no acknowledgment of their Biraciality from anyone around them or even themselves. Though that is quite rare, actually. Most Mixed Race historical figures acknowledged their multiple heritages in some way, in their writings, their artwork, their life experiences, etc.

Heidi Durrow of Mixed Chicks Chat decided to make May Mixed Race History Month on her blog and extensively researched Mixed Race (including Mulatto) history, piecing it together and she did a really good job. She stresses it is not to take away from Monoracial accomplishments (if these people were at some point listed as credits to only one of their races) or undermining the person's racial identity if they didn't think of themselves as Mixed Race, but to make the point that yes we have had a history. It's not always cohesive but it's there. I encourage everyone to check it out:
http://lightskinnededgirl.typepad.co.../05/index.html
Mixed Experience History Month: Nicolas Guillen, poet & activist

Nicolas Guillen, an Afro-Cuban born in 1902, became known as Cuba's national poet.
Of African and Spanish descent, Guillen studied law in Havana but abandoned a legal career to pursue journalism.
Guillen founded a literary magazine with his brother and wrote for several Cuban newspapers and magazines. In 1930, he published his ground-breaking collection of poetry, Motivos de Son. Guillen's poems were informed by his multicultural background. In Songoro Cosongo, published in 1931, he emphasized the importance of mulatto culture in Cuban history. Langston Hughes translated Guillen's poetry in a collection called Cuba Libre. Guillen's writing became increasingly political; and in 1937, he joined the Communist party.
Guillen spent much of the 1940s and 1950s in exile but was welcomed back to Cuba by Fidel Castro. Guillen published more than a dozen books in his lifetime. He died in 1989 after a long illness.


Mixed Experience History Month: August Wilson, playwright

August Wilson--born in 1945 Frederick August Kittel, Jr. in Pittsburgh--was the son of a German immigrant baker and an African-American cleaning woman.
Wilson's mother raised August and his siblings as a single parent until marrying in the 1950s when Wilson was a teenager.
The transition which included a move from a mostly black and Jewish neighborhood to a working class white neighborhood and school proved difficult for Wilson.
He eventually dropped out of high school but continued to educate himself reading the great African-American writers at the Carnegie Library.
Wilson joined the military serving for a year before he left. In 1965, he changed his name to honor his mother after his father's death.
In 1968, his first play was produced. He is best known for his Pulitzer-Prize winning plays Fences (1985) and The Piano Lesson (1990), which were both part of the ten-play cycle that secured his legacy as one of America's greatest playwrights.
August Wilson died in 2005 of liver cancer at the age of 60. (I remember watching a documentary on August Wilson and being half German definitely affected him)

Mixed Experience History Month: Joseph Bologne, the Chevalier de Saint-Georges

Joseph Bologne, the Chevalier de Saint-Georges was born Christmas Day 1745 in the French island of Guadeloupe. Bologne was the mixed-race son of a Senagalese slave and a French plantation owner.
His father, unjustly accused of murder in 1747, fled to France bringing Joseph and his mother along so that they could not be sold. Granted a royal pardon, Joseph's father returned with the family to Guadeloupe when Joseph was eight.
As a young man, he earned a reputation as a great sworsdman (was a an elite musketeer of the King’s Horse Guard), a violin virtuoso, and talented composer.
Joseph wrote dozens of concertos, songs and sonatas in the style of Mozart and Haydn. In 1775, he was considered for the job of artistic director of the Royal Academy of Music. His consideration for the post faced strong opposition. In a letter to the Queen who oversaw the appointment, an opponent wrote begging: "that their honor and the delicacy of their conscience made it impossible for them to be subjected to the orders of a mulatto".
Joseph served in the Army during the French revolution and was appointed the first black colonel in the French army commanding a regiment of free colored soldiers. Though hailed as a hero for his brave service, Joseph was expelled from the army when he was denounced by one of his deputies (writer Alexandre Dumas' father). He spent a year imprisoned due to the accusations.
Joseph continued to work as a composer in the 1790s.
He died in June 1799 of a bladder infection with no known heirs.

And there are a ton more on her blog.


My Fotki

Last edited by KinkyKeeper; 08-07-2009 at 01:26 PM.
KinkyKeeper, I was talking about North America for the most part.

I agree that in other parts of the world it's different - that's my heritage. I have French creole and Spanish criolla blood from Venezuela, Trinidad and Cuba. But concepts of race are so different there, with most people being mixed and acknowledging themselves as mixed, that you also can't impose US labels of biracial and multiracial upon them.
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











A few more of my favorites:

Mixed Experience History Month: Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, composer

Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, born in 1875, was the son of an African doctor and an Englishwoman. He became one of the greatest classical composers of all time.
Coleridge-Taylor's father left his mother before he was born. It is speculated that he didn't know that she was pregnant. Coleridge-Taylor was raised by his mother with the help of her father.
Coleridge-Taylor studied at London's Royal College of Music. He proved his genius early with compositions such as Ballade in A Minor. His cantata, Hiawatha's Wedding Feast, is considered his major work.
In 1904 he traveled to the United States where, according to Wikipedia, he developed an interest in his racial heritage: "He sought to do for African music what Johannes Brahms did for Hungarian music and Antonín Dvořák for Bohemian music." After meeting Paul Laurence Dunbar in London, Coleridge-Taylor set some of his poems to music. Coleridge-Taylor came to be known as the "African Mahler."
He died suddenly in 1912 at the age of 37 of pneumonia having written some 80+ compositions.
In the 1915 biography, Samuel Coleridge-Taylor, Musician: His Life and Letters, his biographer wrote: "although certain of his friends whose opinions I value have counselled avoidance of his racial qualities, Coleridge-Taylor never forgot them, never feared to defend them, and his music is so fraught with their characteristics that to ignore them, had it been possible, would in my opinion have been a deliberate misinterpreting of my subject."

Mixed Experience History Month: George Augustus Polgreen Bridgetower

The 3rd Annual Mixed Experience History Month kicks off with a profile of George Augustus Polgreen Bridgetower, a 17th century biracial musical prodigy who is the subject of award-winning poet Rita Dove's new poetry book Sonata Mulattica.
Bridgetower, born in 1778 or 1780, was an Afro-Polish violinist. He performed throughout Europe as a child and in 1803 performed with Ludwig van Beethoven. Beethoven was impressed with Bridgetower's talent and dedicated a composition to him calling it Sonata per uno mulaticco lunattico. When the two had a falling out later, Beethoven changed the dedication and the piece is now known as the Kreutzer Sonata.
Bridgetower died in 1860 after a long musical career of performing and teaching. He was survived by a wife and daughter.

Ellen Craft: Mixed-Race People History Month

Ellen Craft (c.1826-1897), the daughter of a slave and her white master, became a leading abolitionist after she escaped from slavery. The very light-skinned Craft disguised herself as a white man and escaped with her husband who acted as her man-servant. In 1860, the couple published a book-length account of their experience called Running a Thousand Miles for Freedom.



And we need look no further than modern day Mulatto and other Multiracial celebrities and figures to see for many of them being Biracial/Multiracial has had an affect on their lives and work. Nneka who wrote a song about what it is like to half cast in Africa, Esperanza Spalding, Halle Berry, Tiger Woods, Lenny Kravitz.


My Fotki
KinkyKeeper, I was talking about North America for the most part.

I agree that in other parts of the world it's different - that's my heritage. I have French creole and Spanish criolla blood from Venezuela, Trinidad and Cuba. But concepts of race are so different there, with most people being mixed and acknowledging themselves as mixed, that you also can't impose US labels of biracial and multiracial upon them.
Originally Posted by Amneris
I'm not quite sure I understand what you mean. Quite a few of the multiracial groups I listed above existed in North America. And I think at some point calling someone African and Europeans mixed isn't imposing on their identity. I know that would be impossible with all the differing racial constructs that change fluidly from country to country even. They are still free to choose whatever identity they want but it doesn't change the fact that are in ancestory mixed with African and European. That's all Mulatto means at it's core, being mixed with African and European and when someone lists a historical figure or group as mixed with African and European, people are free to take from that whatever they want.


My Fotki

Last edited by KinkyKeeper; 08-07-2009 at 01:45 PM.
KinkyKeeper, I agree that obviously being biracial or multiracial or mixed race or whatever you want to call it has an effect on a person's life, including my own life. That's self-explanatory, that the way we are raised and who our parents are impacts us. But what I am saying is that that alone does not create a completely separate identity, communal history or bond, which was the OP's question. I think it's an extra strand to a person's identity that interweaves with their other identities. Many of the figures and people you have listed, while they acknowledge their mixed heritage, do not consider themselves a separate "biracial" people. I have never seen anything from Halle Berry to indicate that she has anything but a Black identity. Many of the other people you listed are described as fighting for Black causes, being interested in Black history, etc. Obviously if they had a white parent that parent's culture and so on is going to be a part of their life, but that doesn't mean that they would have requested people call them biracial and not Black, which is what I am talking about. Being biracial or multiracial AND Black makes perfect sense to me.
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











KinkyKeeper, I was talking about North America for the most part.

I agree that in other parts of the world it's different - that's my heritage. I have French creole and Spanish criolla blood from Venezuela, Trinidad and Cuba. But concepts of race are so different there, with most people being mixed and acknowledging themselves as mixed, that you also can't impose US labels of biracial and multiracial upon them.
Originally Posted by Amneris
I'm not quite sure I understand what you mean. Quite a few of the multiracial groups I listed above existed in North America. And I think at some point calling someone African and Europeans mixed isn't imposing on their identity. I know that would be impossible with all the differing racial constructs that change fluidly from country to country even. They are still free to choose whatever identity they want but it doesn't change the fact that are in ancestory mixed with African and European. That's all Mulatto means at it's core, being mixed with African and European and when someone lists a historical figure or group as mixed with African and European, people are free to take from that whatever they want.
Originally Posted by KinkyKeeper
I was referring to the groups or people you listed from outside the US - and even the ones from within the US were very tiny minorities who often intermarried with Blacks or whites and disappeared - not that they don't count, but it's hard to argue that overwhelmingly in the US, the Black community included most people with known African ancestry even if they were "mixed" and that pretty much all A-As were and are mixed from pretty early on.

I agree - being mixed with African and European or whatever else is just a fact, no more and no less. But my point is that, by imposing upon anyone who has that type of mix this "multiracial" revisionist history is no different than imposing the one drop rule upon people. I am mixed but I have no desire to be anyone's multiracial poster child, part of any multiracial history month etc. and if I were famous and someone did that to me, I would find that to be an insult. I also find the word mulatto to be an offensive, slave-era, inaccurate term.

Note... there's a difference in saying X historical figure had a white mother or father and saying X is a multiracial historical figure. If at the time and place X lived there was no such distinction made and X was treated as straight Black (ie. Frederick Douglass - had a slave mother and was a slave and worked to free slaves) then why make one now?
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












Last edited by Amneris; 08-07-2009 at 01:52 PM.
Kinky Keeper, that is a lot of good info.

Regardless of what other people think, multiracial people are now setting their own terms for who they/we are and not accepting the status quo/single check box anymore. I guess other people will eventually catch up but it will take time for them to accept and acknowledge it.
"The challenge is to be yourself in a world that is trying to make you like everybody else."
"...rationality is not necessary to sell things.."
My staples: Mane n Tail (cowash), Garnier Fructis Sleek n Shine (leave in condish), Grapeseed oil or shea butter (sealing), Organic Root Stimulator Elasticitea (leave-in condish & light hold)
KinkyKeeper, I agree that obviously being biracial or multiracial or mixed race or whatever you want to call it has an effect on a person's life, including my own life. That's self-explanatory, that the way we are raised and who our parents are impacts us. But what I am saying is that that alone does not create a completely separate identity, communal history or bond, which was the OP's question. I think it's an extra strand to a person's identity that interweaves with their other identities. Many of the figures and people you have listed, while they acknowledge their mixed heritage, do not consider themselves a separate "biracial" people. I have never seen anything from Halle Berry to indicate that she has anything but a Black identity. Many of the other people you listed are described as fighting for Black causes, being interested in Black history, etc. Obviously if they had a white parent that parent's culture and so on is going to be a part of their life, but that doesn't mean that they would have requested people call them biracial and not Black, which is what I am talking about. Being biracial or multiracial AND Black makes perfect sense to me.
Originally Posted by Amneris
I was not at all trying to say they did consider themselves Biracial. In citing individual historical figures and how being mixed affected them, that they were Biracial even if there was no community, even if they didn't acknowledge it themselves. I was more responding to your statement
There are only people that some in the movement will now pull out of history and out of context, like DuBois, and say were "biracial", but there isn't any existing sense of community
My point was that these people were biracial, even when there was no acknowledgement of it being so, and it affected them which was in reply to things that have previously been said like biracial identity has no social implications. And it seems we have a different definition for what biracial has to mean. I don't think being a race, being what you are, has to entail any sort of community. I think there are cohesive mixed histories and communities that has been obscured and many people don't know about but even if there weren't being Biracial still has legitimacy. If you were all by yourself Amneris on a deserted island I imagine you would still call yourself Black. Hope that analogy made sense.


My Fotki
KinkyKeeper, I agree that obviously being biracial or multiracial or mixed race or whatever you want to call it has an effect on a person's life, including my own life. That's self-explanatory, that the way we are raised and who our parents are impacts us. But what I am saying is that that alone does not create a completely separate identity, communal history or bond, which was the OP's question. I think it's an extra strand to a person's identity that interweaves with their other identities. Many of the figures and people you have listed, while they acknowledge their mixed heritage, do not consider themselves a separate "biracial" people. I have never seen anything from Halle Berry to indicate that she has anything but a Black identity. Many of the other people you listed are described as fighting for Black causes, being interested in Black history, etc. Obviously if they had a white parent that parent's culture and so on is going to be a part of their life, but that doesn't mean that they would have requested people call them biracial and not Black, which is what I am talking about. Being biracial or multiracial AND Black makes perfect sense to me.
Originally Posted by Amneris
I was not at all trying to say they did consider themselves Biracial. In citing individual historical figures and how being mixed affected them, that they were Biracial even if there was no community, even if they didn't acknowledge it themselves. I was more responding to your statement
There are only people that some in the movement will now pull out of history and out of context, like DuBois, and say were "biracial", but there isn't any existing sense of community
My point was that these people were biracial, even when there was no acknowledgement of it being so, and it affected them which was in reply to things that have previously been said like biracial identity has no social implications. And it seems we have a different definition for what biracial has to mean. I don't think being a race, being what you are, has to entail any sort of community. I think there are cohesive mixed histories and communities that has been obscured and many people don't know about but even if there weren't being Biracial still has legitimacy. If you were all by yourself Amneris on a deserted island I imagine you would still call yourself Black. Hope that analogy made sense.
Originally Posted by KinkyKeeper
Well, yeah, if your point is that we have always had people of mixed race, of course, that has always existed throughout humanity.... hence my remark that no one is really racially pure. Of course there have always been people with parents of different races, and sometimes those people lived together in communities and some nations are made up mostly of those people.

I am saying that if you want to impose a modern term on Frederick Douglass, you can say that he was biracial. But if you read about his life and work, the major part of it is not going to be about how Blacks and whites alike did not accept him or he didn't know where he fit in or he got upset if people called him a Negro or whatever. Yes, he had some questions about his slave-owner father but he never questioned his place amongst Black people or his commitment to better the lives of Black people. To me, people now labelling him as biracial and making it a separate thing takes away from what he did in the Black community. Why not just see him as an important Black historical figure who had a white slave-owning father (who I'm sure did not pick him up from school or tuck him into bed every night?)

What I'm saying is that there IS no definition for biracial - it just means two races, and I think very few people really have just two and even if people want to define themselves as having two there are so many varieties and possibilities.... it's like saying someone is "American" and expecting it to mean a specific thing. As soon as people start to quantify a definition, you get into one-dropping or defining other people.

And as I said... if a biracial white/Black person gets together with a Black or a white person... are the kids biracial?
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 find this dynamic very unpleasant. Mostly, I opt out of it.
Originally Posted by love yourself first
What do you mean? You opt out of dealing with dark-skinned women... or Black men... or Black people in general? Or you opt out mentally?

I find the dynamics of racism very unpleasant, but I still interact with white people... I don't have much choice about it, plus I want to.
Originally Posted by Amneris
I opt out of being some black man's trophy, and having black women judge me over my choices in life.
Originally Posted by love yourself first
Well, I would think most women don't want to be a man's trophy or pay attention to other people judging them.

BUT... I am married to a Black man and I don't believe I am his trophy. I believe we love and respect each other. And I don't find that Black women judge me any more or any less than anyone else does.

I hope this isn't meant the way it reads
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'm not quite sure I understand what you mean. Quite a few of the multiracial groups I listed above existed in North America. And I think at some point calling someone African and Europeans mixed isn't imposing on their identity. I know that would be impossible with all the differing racial constructs that change fluidly from country to country even. They are still free to choose whatever identity they want but it doesn't change the fact that are in ancestory mixed with African and European. That's all Mulatto means at it's core, being mixed with African and European and when someone lists a historical figure or group as mixed with African and European, people are free to take from that whatever they want.

I was referring to the groups or people you listed from outside the US - and even the ones from within the US were very tiny minorities who often intermarried with Blacks or whites and disappeared - not that they don't count, but it's hard to argue that overwhelmingly in the US, the Black community included most people with known African ancestry even if they were "mixed" and that pretty much all A-As were and are mixed from pretty early on.

We will have to agree to disagree on how tiny they were, several of them were around for quite some time and still are to some extent. But the point is that Multiracial communities exist(ed) which was not what was originally said.

I agree - being mixed with African and European or whatever else is just a fact, no more and no less. But my point is that, by imposing upon anyone who has that type of mix this "multiracial" revisionist history is no different than imposing the one drop rule upon people. I am mixed but I have no desire to be anyone's multiracial poster child, part of any multiracial history month etc. and if I were famous and someone did that to me, I would find that to be an insult. I also find the word mulatto to be an offensive, slave-era, inaccurate term.

There have been several debates of this in the mixed community, and yes if Mixed Identity imposition goes too far it could become like One Dropping everyone with any degree of African heritage as Black and we become no better than them. I wouldn't personally find it an insult to become a future poster child for some hypothetical group that found a newer and better way to define race for them in the future. And I happen to fit in this new racial category. If they wish to claim me, I wouldn't find this offensive if it directly pertained to my factual heritages. European/African, Italian/African American. And my original racial identity was on record. AND the original racial group can still claim me. Walter White considered himself a "negro" (despite having substantially more White grandparents than Black grandparents and having a completely White phenotype to the degree that he used it to sneak into Klan meetings to find out what they had planned). We will have to agree to disagree that it is an offensive to him to call him what he was- a Mixed Race icon today while still acknowledging he is a Black icon and his original identity. Also how do we know Walter White wouldn't be offended by someone calling him Black instead of Negro as he thought of himself? Words are so often tricky. To me calling someone multiracial still hasn't crossed the line where it can't be directly linked back to a person's specific heritage, it's just convenient.

We will also have to agree to disagree that Mulatto is an offensive term. I co-sign this blog on it:
http://mulattodiaries.wordpress.com/...3/31/biracial/
This brings me back to my defense of my use of the word “mulatto.” Most of my childhood was spent in the 1980’s when people were still referred to as mulatto and “things” as biracial. But “mulatto” was a bad word not to be spoken, so I was either nothing, “other”, or black. Everyone like me was. As I see it, this validated and perpetuated the one-drop rule. And threw shadows of shame onto my true identity. It gave me no chance and no choice to form an identity from a foundation of wholeness. I think this word “mulatto” is a larger piece of this race puzzle than most people think.
I mean, I definitely don’t want to be associated with that and if that’s what people think of as “mulatto” I’d rather deny my whole self and be black which is exactly what “they” wanted when “they” created the system because the system will crash if too many people come to know that there is no great divide between the two races and that a person can actually be both black and white simultaneously.
The system is crashing.

Note... there's a difference in saying X historical figure had a white mother or father and saying X is a multiracial historical figure. If at the time and place X lived there was no such distinction made and X was treated as straight Black (ie. Frederick Douglass - had a slave mother and was a slave and worked to free slaves) then why make one now?

But I do hear what you are saying with this. Why make the distinction? Certainly not to diminish their life experience as a Black person. I can't really explain it, it feels right to give those who didn't have the choice to identity with both sides if they so wanted, recognition today of both their sides while still acknowledging who they were in that past was proudly monoracial.
Originally Posted by Kinkykeeper
Kinky Keeper, that is a lot of good info.

Regardless of what other people think, multiracial people are now setting their own terms for who they/we are and not accepting the status quo/single check box anymore. I guess other people will eventually catch up but it will take time for them to accept and acknowledge it.
Originally Posted by BekkaPoo
I'm glad you found the info interesting BekkaPoo. And yes I agree, some people will have to eventually catch up.

I was not at all trying to say they did consider themselves Biracial. In citing individual historical figures and how being mixed affected them, that they were Biracial even if there was no community, even if they didn't acknowledge it themselves. I was more responding to your statement
There are only people that some in the movement will now pull out of history and out of context, like DuBois, and say were "biracial", but there isn't any existing sense of community
My point was that these people were biracial, even when there was no acknowledgement of it being so, and it affected them which was in reply to things that have previously been said like biracial identity has no social implications. And it seems we have a different definition for what biracial has to mean. I don't think being a race, being what you are, has to entail any sort of community. I think there are cohesive mixed histories and communities that has been obscured and many people don't know about but even if there weren't being Biracial still has legitimacy. If you were all by yourself Amneris on a deserted island I imagine you would still call yourself Black. Hope that analogy made sense.

Well, yeah, if your point is that we have always had people of mixed race, of course, that has always existed throughout humanity.... hence my remark that no one is really racially pure. Of course there have always been people with parents of different races, and sometimes those people lived together in communities and some nations are made up mostly of those people.

I am saying that if you want to impose a modern term on Frederick Douglass, you can say that he was biracial. But if you read about his life and work, the major part of it is not going to be about how Blacks and whites alike did not accept him or he didn't know where he fit in or he got upset if people called him a Negro or whatever. Yes, he had some questions about his slave-owner father but he never questioned his place amongst Black people or his commitment to better the lives of Black people. To me, people now labelling him as biracial and making it a separate thing takes away from what he did in the Black community. Why not just see him as an important Black historical figure who had a white slave-owning father (who I'm sure did not pick him up from school or tuck him into bed every night?)

What I'm saying is that there IS no definition for biracial - it just means two races, and I think very few people really have just two and even if people want to define themselves as having two there are so many varieties and possibilities.... it's like saying someone is "American" and expecting it to mean a specific thing. As soon as people start to quantify a definition, you get into one-dropping or defining other people.
Originally Posted by Amneris
And as I said... if a biracial white/Black person gets together with a Black or a white person... are the kids biracial?[/quote]

Well there will always be outliers or plenty of Mixed Race people who it didn't have much affect on, though I have often found an interesting psychological process of Biracial people is to fight ever harder for Black people, to be Blacker than Black in an attempt to overcompensate. Not saying that was Douglass' mental process, just saying there is no way to determine fighting for Black cuases isn't an affect of being Biracial. Well I think the being of two races is definition enough to support the existence of a Biracial identity. I don't remember anyone saying Biracial has to necessarily entail experiences and certainly not universal experiences, I did say it does for many IME.

I guess I didn't answer the question becuase I don't understand how it's pertinent, especially with all the definitions of biracial floating around. You believe it means two different race, not necessarily in equal proportions so by that definition yes, a child of a Black/White Biracial would be Biracial as well.


My Fotki

Last edited by KinkyKeeper; 08-07-2009 at 02:58 PM.
Well, what I'm saying is that if a biracial and a Black person have a child and it is biracial... then almost all African Disapora people are biracial. And for those who insist that there's a difference if one parent is one and one is the other, then you are insisting upon notions of racial purity which don't exist, since if you are looking at facts, a FACT is that most African-Americans are an average of 5/8ths African and 3/8ths white or aboriginal or whatever else.... and the FACT is that a white great-great-grandmother still existed, so how can you brush that away to claim a person is pure Black? Especially when race is a myth anyway?

And if there are all these different kinds of biracial and multiracial and different generation mixes and mulattos and quadroons etc.... how is there any sense of unity between these people, which I thought was the goal?

And... somehow I doubt that duBois, Douglass etc. were all that concerned about whether "society allowed them to identify as multiracial." I'd say it was pretty far down their list of concerns.
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












Last edited by Amneris; 08-07-2009 at 03:10 PM.
Well, what I'm saying is that if a biracial and a Black person have a child and it is biracial... then almost all African Disapora people are biracial.
Originally Posted by Amneris
True, but then we are right back where we started with the implication that becuase of confusing terminology and the fact that race doesn't even exists, there is no difference and should be no difference allowed between pretty much 50/50 first generation Biracial/recent mixture and people with distant or unclaimed admixture. Which I can not agree to.

Basically what you are doing Amneris to Multiracial people by repeatedly reiterating their life experience should not warrant a seperate category becuase some other people happen to be Multiracial (in a different way further back) who don't claim it is akin to this:

White person walking up to you Amneris (who seem to feel strongly about the Black identity and it's necessity becuase of personal experiences you have gone through) and telling you- "the Black identity has no social implications like being White does, and it should have no seperate racial category and should even be lumped in with the White category becuase we all came from Africa at some point. So why should Black people get the right to define themselves as different than White people when White people came from Africa too at some point?

And that doesn't even take into account how many White people in America there must be who have Black admixture who don't claim it. Shouldn't Black people consider themselves White becuase if White people don't claim their Black admixture why should Black people?"

I hope you can see that this is how it feels to those passionate about a Biracial identity.


My Fotki
Ugh, not this topic again.

I agree with Amneris. People claiming biracial or multiracial act as though we are not living in a caste system. The labeling system is problematic for so many reasons. I don't know why people like to pretend that dividing the racial labeling MORE helps us in some way.

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