Writer’s Name: S.F. Hardy
Title: Not Pure
Let’s talk about a topic that affects a small portion of the African-African community directly and the whole indirectly: multi-racial identity and how it affects the way one views him/herself. The Free Dictionary.com defines multi-racial as: “Having ancestors of several or various races.” This matter is relative to our Commander in Chief, President Obama as well as how we view ourselves in the African-American community.
For many Black Americans, it is an insult to precede the American with African. “I’m not African,” you will hear many of us claim. But those same individuals will criticize those of us who can directly point to our mixed heritage of Spanish, European, African and Indigenous ancestry. Boy are we confused and for those of us who have a bit of a clue, we are frowned upon yet and still.
Speaking from my own personal experiences as a bi-racial woman who grew up in the African-American community, I can be frank: I ain’t white enough to be accepted as such by the Caucasian community (not that I have or currently ever wanted to be) and I’m too brown to be accepted as such by the Black community, who has constantly reminded me that I’m Black but must be mixed with something because of my fair skin tone.
In the words of my late maternal grandmother who was from the South and the daughter of a sharecropper: “oh brother.” My mother thought she would do her children a favor and save us from the horrors she experienced as a student in the Catholic School System; by giving birth to children with “light skin,” NOPE! Especially not growing up in Detroit where people are highly isolated by race and ethnicity. Various cultures dwell in the city true indeed but what is obvious is every group lives in their own enclave of the city.
So, while my mother and my experiences such as passing a paper bag test does not exactly parallel (unbelievably) my brother and my experiences, we definitely caught hell from both the Black and White communities. Like my aunt relating challenges of our childhood to being bi-racial. “You know they say bi-racial people have issues.” Yea we do and they start with people perpetuating an ignorant self-hating mentality and biased stereotypes. Society and their lack of understanding and unwillingness to try to understand or even think is “our” problem. Give me a break; none of us are of a pure race. Most of us cannot trace our ancestry to a specific tribe or clan and most of us are for some stupid reason ashamed of the African blood that flows through us. The only difference between myself, Tiger Woods, Jordan Sparks, and President Obama (since some of us like to think we are of an exclusive bloodline) is that we, “bi-racial folk,” are not so far removed from our ancestry that we can deny it and others will go out of their way to remind us of such!
Race, pure or otherwise, has and continues to be used by the puppet masters to drive wedges between people. Hopefully the ignorance will cease and more embracing of peoples mixed heritage will become more of the norm. I remain hopeful, especially when I read reports from media such as Huffington Post who reports “interracial marriage is on the rise,” according to Pew Research Center who “indicates that there has been a major jump in interracial marriage rates from 1980.”
I guess my point here is to drive home the importance of accepting people for who they are and not what is on the surface because as much as we are different we are very similar. We have to embrace ourselves and stop getting caught up in race and heritage to hurt and claim superiority over one another as we all are Gods creations. I really want people to sit and think about what is important in the grand scheme of things; and it ain’t the color of my skin! Only when you feed this type of thinking and behavior does it become a factor.