Hello World Wide Web, Welcome to We Check Other. I tried to find a picture that had as many bi-racial Americans on it as possible. Don’t quote me on each of them, but they look pretty accurate. Each person on the collage above is bi-racial. Taking the focus briefly away from well-known bi-racial Americans to just regular popular culture and media. Visiting a store in America and I’m sure maybe around the globe in some instances, if you pick up a Pampers box, cereal box or just any normal item that a person buys; normally there is a fair-skinned child with large soft looking curls on the front. I visited a beauty supply store recently and while walking down the natural hair aisle with products for “black women”, observing the front of most of the bottles, even perms, I noticed there were fair-skinned young woman with large loose curls that are more parallel to the face of someone who is actually biracial. Just from a preliminary look at what’s popular in music, time after time there are women and men, who are quite popular who are daughters and sons of white mothers and black fathers and even vise versa. What makes the post topic relevant is that MOST if not all of them, proudly proclaim they are ONLY black.
I’m not saying that the people above or even in popular culture are wrong in their affirmations. Most people are aware of something called the One Drop Rule. It’s not a fantasy. It’s real. In most states it was enforced by law at least until the 1980’s or so. A person owning up to 1/32 black heritage was qualified has black only regardless of father or mother race.
The One-Drop Rule is a historical, colloquial term in the US that a person with any trace of sub-Saharan ancestry, however small or invisible, cannot be considered White unless the person has an alternative non-White ancestry they can claim, such as Native American, Asian, Arab, Australian Aboriginal; they must be considered Black.
What a blow! So anyone else can mix with white and even become “white”? The answer in plenty of cases is yes, or at least enjoy white privilege. Of course this law is applicable for claiming “white” as your race but what about Asian, Native American, Middle Eastern with a mixture of black? Are the rules the same rules? Can you no longer solely belong to the parent group now being mixed black? Then there’s the component of ethnic & features; such as Middle Eastern, or Asian. The strength of their exclusive features can exclude them as well. Passing? Depends on how you look? Maybe? If you look too ethnic no, if not; lucky you? Maybe. I’m not sure but I would love someone who knows to chime in.
Bringing it all in, so most of the people above were born before 1980. Their reality was the one drop rule/law. They didn’t have a choice. Of course these ideas are also the baby boomer generation and the ones that follow who have the majority of wealth and control in the US and abroad. This keeps the ideas of what was and how it should be is alive and well. If you’re mixed black, then you’re black. Mixed is a concept that doesn’t exist, of course until the Census threw it into the Algebraic human salad in the year 2000 saying, yes you have a choice.
What about the Y generation and beyond? Which is 1980 births and beyond it I might add. The new census? People being able to at least describe their full heritage, even if they aren’t yet recognized that way by the world. Will generation Y be the trend setters? “Big dreamers!” Most people in this generation aren’t exposed to the realities that once were. If they are it’s because they’re being taught. From a sociological perspective we all learn from our parents and environments. Now with record immigration, and the official striking down of the one drop rule, and Loving vs Virginia, the opportunity for people to love, marry, simply have relationships and even adopt across racial borders are a reality. We see the world changing and becoming more and more diverse before our eyes. As a matter of fact a few of the people listed above have children that no longer even “look” black at all because of who they love and married.
What do we do? Is the solution to continue to pass off bi-racial people as black only? Even after the rules are no longer applicable. I think there’s a universal fear of all bi-racial people being carted off to misfit land and not being able to claim how they feel in their soul. If a person feels black only then by all means they should be allowed to live there. In fact if they were born before the rules changed, lets not go reversing rules. BUT if we are to move forward as a country, then we should start having real discussions about the new rules and the identities of children and adults that now hang in the balance because of them.
Thank you so much for stopping by. Please join the conversation. Every Tuesday night @ wecheckother on Twitter beginning at 9pm EST we will hold a one hour chat discussing topics like this and so many others. Please use hashtag #wecheckother & #letstalkrace to participate and join in.
Until the next,