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

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I had a very heated discussion in a thread on another site about if black woman should be jealous of biracial, multiracial or non black women. I stated that there is no reason for them to be jealous since we all have unique standpoints to ourselves. After I made my statements some guy from Africa told me, along with a couple of others, that I have no right to speak on this because I am a "mutt". It really bothered me since I consider myself black first and foremost. They also informed me that majority of black people are dark skinned. I agreed with that statement but also tried to make it known that there are other tones when it comes to black people, that dark skinned people are not the only people that make up the black community. They came back to me saying that "those" people have no right to speak since they may be biracial or multiracial. I informed them that "the last time I checked if you had black in you then in you are considered black first an foremost before anything else". I mean there are only like a couple of different classifications of races.( I can't say how many with confidence since the numbers have been disputed for a long time) I do know that they reside in the following:
Asians
Blacks
Whites

I am aware that there are others but I will not speak on what i am not sure of. To make a long story short, the same person who told me that I could not speak for black women (the African guy), well turns out that he isn't even black. It really hit a nerve that somebody else came at me like I was saying something wrong. I swear I try to refrain from snapping on people when it comes to situations like this but they make it so hard for me not to. Especially when it comes to other black people telling me that I'm not "black enough" to speak for the black community. Ugh!!!!
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Last edited by Hela; 08-08-2009 at 10:27 AM. Reason: found out it was about black people in general......oops lol
Race is a social construct, though obviously it has implications for real life in the real world, so I really don't think that anyone can speak with any rigidity or determination as to what a race is. Race changes, too. At one point, Irish, Catholics, Jews, Italians, Portuguese, Greeks, etc. were not considered white in North America - now they usually are for the most part. (How the Irish became white is a GREAT book.)

Also, different countries look at race differently. "Black" is defined very differently from Africa to the US to Latin America to the UK.

And different people have this own ideas. Who knows where that guy is coming from or what he was talking about - I wouldn't let one person define your place in the worldwide Black community.

But my take on it is that in the US Black community, there's traditionally been the "one drop" idea where any amount of African ancestry makes you Black, even if you have a lot of other ancestry as well. Traditionally, despite all the in-fighting and moaning, the Black community has been pretty accepting and welcoming of diversity and of people who are mixed. In other countries, appearance is the determiner so people who have Black blood but look white to others can be white.

As to biracial and multiracial, I think those labels were developed as an alternative to the one-drop rule to more fully describe a person's identity, but my opinion is that they are often used to escape a person having to call themself "Black" and to weaken the Black community. I don't mind the word multiracial since in fact most people are multiracial - I don't believe in the idea that since some people are more visibly "mixed" they alone should carry the label and others are "racially pure" - as I said, race is a myth. 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. But that's my opinion and I know others like the term.

I think when it comes down to it you alone get to determine your own identity and how you wish to describe yourself. Google "multiracial bill of rights" by Maria Root - it really helped me on this issue and I usually post it on these issues but my search engine was wonky or something. However, to me, if you have a significant, known amount of African ancestry from a parent or even a grandparent and you are living in the west, it is my opinion that you are politically aligned with Black people and that is likely how you will be seen and treated. Don't let a few ignorant people change your mind about who you are! Black people come in all shades and sizes and no, not all native Africans are very dark-skinned - seen any Ethiopians or Somalis lately?

Also, the reason that these fights over colour etc. happen in the Black community is that our community is sick - we've been inundated by notions of white supremacy and divide-and-rule for so long that internalized racism gets acted out amongst ourselves and some people are jealous or resentful of those they feel are closer to white and therefore think must have it easier. I can understand that because generally light skin IS privileged in the Black community. That's why I think understanding the history and culture is crucial to bringing the community together, but a lot of us just feel things without knowing why.
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Biracial means you have two races. Multiracial means you have two or more. It doesn't mean black and white only. I don't know why this is so confusing for people.

People can ID as they want, but if you want to follow the slave era one drop rule so be it. But don't force that view on people who don't. I will never follow one droppism.
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Uhura
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Thanks, uhura.

I meant to mention: mixed race IS often considered a race in Latin America or the Caribbean where there are all kinds of sub-classifications such as metis, mestizo/a, creole, criollo/a, mulatto/a, etc. etc. etc.
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











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.
How would you define someone who has one parent who is black and one who is white? I am honestly curious.

I have a problem with pretty much all of the terms, because any way you cut it, there is really no way to accurately describe each individual. You either have to get super specific, or go with a broad generalization. I also think the concept of the "black community" is a myth.
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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.
How would you define someone who has one parent who is black and one who is white? I am honestly curious.
Originally Posted by gemini
Human!

Race is a social construct.

I have a problem with pretty much all of the terms, because any way you cut it, there is really no way to accurately describe each individual. You either have to get super specific, or go with a broad generalization. I also think the concept of the "black community" is a myth.
Interesting....do tell.
Biracial means you have two races. Multiracial means you have two or more. It doesn't mean black and white only. I don't know why this is so confusing for people.

People can ID as they want, but if you want to follow the slave era one drop rule so be it. But don't force that view on people who don't. I will never follow one droppism.
Originally Posted by BekkaPoo
I think that this is problematic for me because most Blacks living in North America have white blood and are therefore "biracial" and probably also have aboriginal blood, therefore "multiracial." Many Mediterranean people have African and Arab blood. Most so-called Hispanics are "multiracial." I think everyone is multiracial and practically no one is simply biracial, but the terms are applied to people whose parents or grandparents look significantly different.

(I agree, if people want to call themselves that, feel free, but to me, one-dropism is still very much a social factor whether we like it or not, and SOME people think by labelling themselves a certain way, they can escape the worst of racism. Barack Obama is still the first Black president - Tiger Woods is still treated as a Black golfer - Malcolm X, Bob Marley, Langston Hughes, W. E. B. duBois, Frederick Douglass etc. were all great Black persons and did not see themselves or were not seen as biracial or multiracial for the most part. Also, I forgot to mention that identity is fluid - people may self-identify one way one time and another way another time. I myself consider myself Black but also recognize I'm multiracial, and don't see the two as mutually exclusive.)
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











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.
How would you define someone who has one parent who is black and one who is white? I am honestly curious.
Originally Posted by gemini
Human!

Race is a social construct.
Thank you, I know that, but I was asking Amneris.

I have a problem with pretty much all of the terms, because any way you cut it, there is really no way to accurately describe each individual. You either have to get super specific, or go with a broad generalization. I also think the concept of the "black community" is a myth.
Interesting....do tell.
Originally Posted by Uhura

I did tell.


My opinion is along the lines of BeckaPoo's.
Biracial means you have two races. Multiracial means you have two or more. It doesn't mean black and white only. I don't know why this is so confusing for people.

People can ID as they want, but if you want to follow the slave era one drop rule so be it. But don't force that view on people who don't. I will never follow one droppism.
Originally Posted by BekkaPoo
I think that this is problematic for me because most Blacks living in North America have white blood and are therefore "biracial" and probably also have aboriginal blood, therefore "multiracial." Many Mediterranean people have African and Arab blood. Most so-called Hispanics are "multiracial." I think everyone is multiracial and practically no one is simply biracial, but the terms are applied to people whose parents or grandparents look significantly different.

(I agree, if people want to call themselves that, feel free, but to me, one-dropism is still very much a social factor whether we like it or not, and SOME people think by labelling themselves a certain way, they can escape the worst of racism. Barack Obama is still the first Black president - Tiger Woods is still treated as a Black golfer - Malcolm X, Bob Marley, Langston Hughes, W. E. B. duBois, Frederick Douglass etc. were all great Black persons and did not see themselves or were not seen as biracial or multiracial for the most part. Also, I forgot to mention that identity is fluid - people may self-identify one way one time and another way another time. I myself consider myself Black but also recognize I'm multiracial, and don't see the two as mutually exclusive.)
Originally Posted by Amneris
I really think it's time to move forward, it's not 1850 anymore. Keeping people in a one-drop box is regressive, and also ignores the fact that there is more to multi-raciality than just black and white races.

There are mixed race people all over the world yet it's the specifically American definitions that people try to make as THE end-all definitions of race and ethnicity. I consider all the folks you mentioned mixed. I do believe Tiger Woods sees himself as mixed (Cablinasian, self definition), even though no one else wants to honor his self-definition.

Edit: to answer the OP's thread question: I'd say no. There is no separate "race" called Biracial/Multiracial. This just describes the fact that a person comes from a multicultural background. Nothing more nothing less.
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Last edited by BekkaPoo; 08-06-2009 at 10:45 AM.
I wish people would stop confusing race and/or religon 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.
Uhura
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How would you define someone who has one parent who is black and one who is white? I am honestly curious.
Originally Posted by gemini
Human!

Race is a social construct.
Thank you, I know that, but I was asking Amneris.

I have a problem with pretty much all of the terms, because any way you cut it, there is really no way to accurately describe each individual. You either have to get super specific, or go with a broad generalization. I also think the concept of the "black community" is a myth.
Interesting....do tell.
Originally Posted by Uhura
I did tell.

My opinion is along the lines of BeckaPoo's.
Originally Posted by gemini
I missed it. Oh well.
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.
How would you define someone who has one parent who is black and one who is white? I am honestly curious.

I have a problem with pretty much all of the terms, because any way you cut it, there is really no way to accurately describe each individual. You either have to get super specific, or go with a broad generalization. I also think the concept of the "black community" is a myth.
Originally Posted by gemini

Me, personally? A mixed-race Black individual... if they live in North America. If they live in Latin America, mestizo or some other such term.
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











Biracial means you have two races. Multiracial means you have two or more. It doesn't mean black and white only. I don't know why this is so confusing for people.

People can ID as they want, but if you want to follow the slave era one drop rule so be it. But don't force that view on people who don't. I will never follow one droppism.
Originally Posted by BekkaPoo
I think that this is problematic for me because most Blacks living in North America have white blood and are therefore "biracial" and probably also have aboriginal blood, therefore "multiracial." Many Mediterranean people have African and Arab blood. Most so-called Hispanics are "multiracial." I think everyone is multiracial and practically no one is simply biracial, but the terms are applied to people whose parents or grandparents look significantly different.

(I agree, if people want to call themselves that, feel free, but to me, one-dropism is still very much a social factor whether we like it or not, and SOME people think by labelling themselves a certain way, they can escape the worst of racism. Barack Obama is still the first Black president - Tiger Woods is still treated as a Black golfer - Malcolm X, Bob Marley, Langston Hughes, W. E. B. duBois, Frederick Douglass etc. were all great Black persons and did not see themselves or were not seen as biracial or multiracial for the most part. Also, I forgot to mention that identity is fluid - people may self-identify one way one time and another way another time. I myself consider myself Black but also recognize I'm multiracial, and don't see the two as mutually exclusive.)
Originally Posted by Amneris
I really think it's time to move forward, it's not 1850 anymore. Keeping people in a one-drop box is regressive, and also ignores the fact that there is more to multi-raciality than just black and white races.

There are mixed race people all over the world yet it's the specifically American definitions that people try to make as THE end-all definitions of race and ethnicity. I consider all the folks you mentioned mixed. I do believe Tiger Woods sees himself as mixed (Cablinasian, self definition), even though no one else wants to honor his self-definition.

Edit: to answer the OP's thread question: I'd say no. There is no separate "race" called Biracial/Multiracial. This just describes the fact that a person comes from a multicultural background. Nothing more nothing less.
Originally Posted by BekkaPoo

I agree, but I don't think re-labelling ourselves certain ways ( a privilege only apparently granted to people who can identify where their "mixed races" come from as opposed to those who can't and don;t visibly appear it in a way that is socially recognized) changes the reality of the world we live in. There is still racism and people considered Black are still marginalized... so being able to not call yourself Black only means you escape that, but what about those who can't say they are "biracial?" I don't believe that creating MORE false racial categories does anything - it may take you out of the one drop box but it just puts you in another box, and whites are still coming out ahead.

eta: I want to add that these are MY opinions, as a mixed person.... I am certainly not wanting to tell others how they should or should not identify themselves - I've had this conversation many times on here and IRL and I find it interesting how we all look at the issue so differently and there are no right answers.
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; 08-06-2009 at 11:28 AM.
Whoa.


I'm getting the hell out of this thread.

I think that this is problematic for me because most Blacks living in North America have white blood and are therefore "biracial" and probably also have aboriginal blood, therefore "multiracial." Many Mediterranean people have African and Arab blood. Most so-called Hispanics are "multiracial." I think everyone is multiracial and practically no one is simply biracial, but the terms are applied to people whose parents or grandparents look significantly different.

(I agree, if people want to call themselves that, feel free, but to me, one-dropism is still very much a social factor whether we like it or not, and SOME people think by labelling themselves a certain way, they can escape the worst of racism. Barack Obama is still the first Black president - Tiger Woods is still treated as a Black golfer - Malcolm X, Bob Marley, Langston Hughes, W. E. B. duBois, Frederick Douglass etc. were all great Black persons and did not see themselves or were not seen as biracial or multiracial for the most part. Also, I forgot to mention that identity is fluid - people may self-identify one way one time and another way another time. I myself consider myself Black but also recognize I'm multiracial, and don't see the two as mutually exclusive.)
Originally Posted by Amneris
I really think it's time to move forward, it's not 1850 anymore. Keeping people in a one-drop box is regressive, and also ignores the fact that there is more to multi-raciality than just black and white races.

There are mixed race people all over the world yet it's the specifically American definitions that people try to make as THE end-all definitions of race and ethnicity. I consider all the folks you mentioned mixed. I do believe Tiger Woods sees himself as mixed (Cablinasian, self definition), even though no one else wants to honor his self-definition.

Edit: to answer the OP's thread question: I'd say no. There is no separate "race" called Biracial/Multiracial. This just describes the fact that a person comes from a multicultural background. Nothing more nothing less.
Originally Posted by BekkaPoo

I agree, but I don't think re-labelling ourselves certain ways ( a privilege only apparently granted to people who can identify where their "mixed races" come from as opposed to those who can't and don;t visibly appear it in a way that is socially recognized) changes the reality of the world we live in. There is still racism and people considered Black are still marginalized... so being able to not call yourself Black only means you escape that, but what about those who can't say they are "biracial?" I don't believe that creating MORE false racial categories does anything - it may take you out of the one drop box but it just puts you in another box, and whites are still coming out ahead.
Originally Posted by Amneris
http://www.mixedchickschat.com/

There's an interview there with a dark-skinned mixed race woman. It's a good listen.

I speak for myself, not for every mixed person. Like I said, mixed is any combination of races, not just black + X, not just white + x, not just black and white.

That's really all I can say. I'm not getting into hair splitting about who calls whom what in whichever countries. I'm not saying I escape the effects of racism either, but if there is one thing I can do it's to be honest about my heritage. Why should I lie?
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Last edited by BekkaPoo; 08-06-2009 at 11:43 AM.
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...
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











[quote=Amneris;1054337
I agree, but I don't think re-labelling ourselves certain ways ( a privilege only apparently granted to people who can identify where their "mixed races" come from as opposed to those who can't and don;t visibly appear it in a way that is socially recognized) changes the reality of the world we live in. There is still racism and people considered Black are still marginalized... so being able to not call yourself Black only means you escape that, but what about those who can't say they are "biracial?" I don't believe that creating MORE false racial categories does anything - it may take you out of the one drop box but it just puts you in another box, and whites are still coming out ahead.

eta: I want to add that these are MY opinions, as a mixed person.... I am certainly not wanting to tell others how they should or should not identify themselves - I've had this conversation many times on here and IRL and I find it interesting how we all look at the issue so differently and there are no right answers.[/quote]

So you mean by being biracial one is letting down the black race and adding to the white?

I understand that some Americans see it like that, hence the sell-out comments I've encountered when dating white or hanging out with a white friend, but I see it differently, I'm still just me and my racial makeup is what it is. I have yet to escape rasim because of it though. But being biracial I get it from both black and white, so where is my benefit there?

This one drop rule is a ridiculous restraint the white people of the 1800's created, why continue to honor it?

Yes, rasism is alive and well, BUT it is, slowly but surely becoming less.

It's up to us to raise our children to make sure it continues to decline.

Me denying a part of my heritage is not going to help any which way.

This is my opinon and I agree with you, it is so interesting to see how others with my racial makeup look at it. I never stop learning.
[quote=ninadef;1054391]

So you mean by being biracial one is letting down the black race and adding to the white?

No, because white people still aren't going to see a "biracial" person as white. It's just creating further divisions within people of colour and more hair-splitting over peoples' ancestry, is all.

I understand that some Americans see it like that,

I am not American

hence the sell-out comments I've encountered when dating white or hanging out with a white friend, but I see it differently, I'm still just me and my racial makeup is what it is. I have yet to escape rasim because of it though. But being biracial I get it from both black and white, so where is my benefit there?

That may be your experience but I am also mixed and I have never received racism from Blacks, only from whites. I find the Black community to be accepting and embracing of me, praise the Lord.

This one drop rule is a ridiculous restraint the white people of the 1800's created, why continue to honor it?

I don't think it's a matter of honouring it, but the fact is, it is there. White is an exclusive and privileged identity and persons with known and recognizable and recent identity from people not considered white will not be considered white in today's world. I think acknowledging that is just being honest, and builds solidarity amongst marginalized people rather than having us bicker about who is mixed with what.

Yes, rasism is alive and well, BUT it is, slowly but surely becoming less.

It's up to us to raise our children to make sure it continues to decline.

Me denying a part of my heritage is not going to help any which way.

I don't see identifying primarily as Black on social and political terms as denying my heritage. On a personal level, I know who my ancestors and my parents are - no one can take that from me.

This is my opinon and I agree with you, it is so interesting to see how others with my racial makeup look at it. I never stop learning.
Originally Posted by Amneris;1054337
I agree, but I don't think re-labelling ourselves certain ways ( a privilege only apparently granted to people who can identify where their "mixed races" come from as opposed to those who can't and don;t visibly appear it in a way that is socially recognized) changes the reality of the world we live in. There is still racism and people considered Black are still marginalized... so being able to not call yourself Black only means you escape that, but what about those who can't say they are "biracial?" I don't believe that creating MORE false racial categories does anything - it may take you out of the one drop box but it just puts you in another box, and whites are still coming out ahead.

eta: I want to add that these are MY opinions, as a mixed person.... I am certainly not wanting to tell others how they should or should not identify themselves - I've had this conversation many times on here and IRL and I find it interesting how we all look at the issue so differently and there are no right answers.[/quote
yes....
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 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.
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