I’m talking about this because so many people have different viewpoints about this issue, and these viewpoint can elicit strong emotions. I have many friends that are biracial, but they call themselves black; even if they are brought up in a two parent home, they still identify as being black. They realize, technically they are biracial, but they identify as being black since that is how society views and treats them. Another friend of mine who was raised by her white mother solely, views herself as biracial around her mother to please her mom, but out in society, she views herself as black because “that’s what is accepting.”
Historically in America (and every other country where people of color were placed in the institution of slavery), biracial children have always been accepted in the black community, for we had no choice. Black women who were the sexual subjects of their slave masters had to cope with the fact that their baby was part white, yet due to the conditions of society in those times (and even now), the whites weren’t accepting of that baby…it was still black. That baby may have received better things than the other “full-blooded” black children, such as being a special playmate for Master’s white children, allowed in the house, some food that wasn’t the scraps, maybe a toy or two from Master, but in the end, that child knew its place as a slave because the whites made sure of that. The black woman wasn’t going to abandon her baby, so she handled the situation the best way she could in an environment that was more accepting…around the other black slaves, for they too probably was going through the same thing as this mother and/or knew another woman who did. Due to this embedded cycle, biracial children were seen as black, and the black community has always been there to accept them.
I have an older cousin who was adopted by my aunt. Her mother was a white woman who got pregnant by a black man. To not be seen as an embarrassment to her family and her social circle, she gave the baby (my cousin) up for adoption, hence my aunt adopting her. It’s very obvious my cousin is biracial…she looks like a much lighter version (much, much lighter) of Vanessa Williams with curly black hair. When her hair is straight, she can easily pass for white. My family and I never let that be an issue, and she has embraced her black half as a whole. When I see her, I see her as a black woman, and if someone was to ask me if she is black or white, I would say black, even though technically she is biracial. She hasn’t tried to contact her birth mother, nor does she have a desire because she feels as though she wasn’t accepted then, so she won’t be accepted now. She also says she doesn’t know any other race but black because that was the only race that embraced her.
Now more than ever, America is seeing an increase in biracial children and the identities for these children are no longer seen as simply “black,” for people are embracing their other sides and cultures. I for one think this is a wonderful and beautiful thing, for we should all embrace our heritage no matter how complex it may seem to society. However, I don’t think it’s fair for people to become angry and filled with much opposition when others refer to biracial children as black…so what?! Yes, it is 2011, and we have come a long way with society, but we haven’t traveled far enough. Society, especially white society, still views biracial children as black. Case in point, Barack Obama (yea, I had to bring it up). He is biracial; we know more about his white mother, grandmother, and grandfather than we know about his Kenyan father…yet, he is still seen as black. The black community, once again, has embraced this man as their own, even though he is biracial. On the other hand, the white community views this man as black. All over various media sources (television, print), the headlines read “First Black President,” not “First Biracial President.” This man has the highest position in America, and is seen as a major, pivotal image in America, yet whites as a whole still aren’t claiming his other side…his white side.
…this is much more than just blood mixing…it’s about a mental perception that will never cease.