24 Apr 2013

Biracial Not Black or White

Last Friday at the swimming pool a little girl, about four, came to me and asked

“Why is she different colour from you?” I didn’t understand the question initially because I was trying to comfort AOI who was crying.

“What did you say?”

“Why is she different colour from you?” she asked referring to my skin tone and my daughter’s.

“Oh, because her daddy is white, just like you?” I wasn’t prepared, I thought she was asking me why are you cuddling her? so I never thought about a better answer. She looked at her skin and said

“Is he yellow like me?” she was confused, because she was not white. Black or White is the most simplistic classification us adults make when referring to a skin tone, children see the colours as they are.

“Yes, her daddy is yellow just like you.” I smiled “He is like you.” I said but not referring to her skin tone anymore but more in relation to her blue eyes and blond hair.

Just last week my daughter, who turned 17month few weeks ago, showed me that she knows I look different from her daddy, because we were at the library when she approached a lady sitting at the computer and looking straight at her {I was standing right beside her} said mummy? As if to say “You look like my mummy.”

feetinwater1I wonder how my daughter will choose to see herself in this society of clear Black or White skin tone stratification. If we live in a society where the minority is looked upon, a child from two different culture background might favour one over the other. I hope she will love her rich heritage.

I was browsing the net when this film caught my eyes.

{click the image to view the clip}
Is a documentary about mixed race children – some old, some still young – and the issues they face in their daily lives. Although our society is 'more tolerant' towards different culture, mixed race children tend to be classified as White by Black communities and Black by White communities. But the people interviewed in this clip prefer to be known as both and being recognised for who they are transcending their race. But if one what to define them by their race then they should be known as Biracial or mixed race.
 
I believe is quite right because they have bit of both races in them and, contrary to another school of thought, they are not trying to hide their Black heritage.
 
Question: What is your thought on the Biracial Not Black or White debate?

 

26 comments:

  1. I like the term "biracial." I think when people call themselves "black" or "white" or whatever when they're really a beautiful mixture of both, they're discounting the other half in a way.

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    1. "discounting the other half..." kudos to this

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  2. I don't think that calling someone "black" or 'White" sounds good. All are just human. Like me, I am biracial , my ancestors were different and I am different.

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    1. I agree with you friend, we humans and colour shouldn't used to call each other

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  3. Love this discussion! I don't see why there has to be an association of black or white, I like the term biracial. I hope to instill in my daughter that she should feel comfortable with who she is, and not have to choose. I was reading an excerpt of Soledad O'Brien's book and I like how she explains that she is comfortable with who she is.

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  4. I truly feel its up to the person who has to live the life what they classify themselves as. I know a lot of mixed people who just call themselves black. I think they mostly do that because white society doesn't always accept them and black society usually does. I think people should always do whatever makes them feel most comfortable.

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    1. interesting point. but i agree that people should do what makes them feel comfortable

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  5. My son is biracial and we'll teach him that he's biracial and hopefully he will grow up without any racial issue.

    I must disagree with you though, mixed race (when biracial black/white) people are generally thought of as black, by white people, and black, by black people LOL.

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    1. Hello Dani, I didn't know that... good to know. Sometimes they way people define others is a little bit different in Europe

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  6. I'm not UNKNOWN!!! It's me, Dani!!! wtf is goin on w/ my computer?

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  7. When filling out forms on behalf of my son I leave that section blank. If I had to I would call it a mixed race... I'm not even sure biracial is sufficient because of the tons of "mixing" of races that has happened so far back it may be discounted. I will allow him to identify himself the way he sees fit. I hope that he will embrace the many different parts of his make up but if he identifies more with one race over the other I won't discourage it.

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    1. "When filling out forms on behalf of my son I leave that section blank", i like that, In Britain they had biracial option, but I don't know here in Canada

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  8. That's pretty cute. Dominic and I were at a park and a little Caucasian girl asked me why me and my son were different "colors". I told her, because his father was black. She looked at me quizzingly for a minute and said "oh! my dad & I are the same color". LOL Than she asked me why a black dad and a white mom would make a light brown baby, to which I responded "Ask your mother" haha, I didn't feel it appropriate to give the birds and the bees talk to someone elses child, nor did I feel like explaining genetics.

    When Dominic was A's age he would call EVERY black guy that was skinny and tall "Daddy" :) He grew out of it thankfully, because he said it to a 14 year old one time (you should've seen the look on that kids face). HA!

    As far as Dominic growing up, I hope he sees himself as both, and I hope he has black, white, and mixed race friends (as well as other races/cultures). On boxes that ask for his race I mark both the white box and black box-- because that's who he is.

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    1. that's so sweet. I really hope A will have many friends with different cultures and races.

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  9. Great post! I believe it's biracial. When you're mixed you can't be one of the other...just both. I hope my son doesn't have to make a choice and rather just be who he is as an individual. :)

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    1. I so agree with you, because a child with both cultures or races has both in her and to paraphrase Erica one cannot discount the other. i really hope our children grown to love their rich identity

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  10. And that lil girl referring to her skin as "yellow" is so adorable!!

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  11. I have had several kids and adults ask me about my daughter, who is biracial. Most often I get asked "Is she yours?" I am Caucasian and my husband is Haitian.. my daughter is the perfect mix of both of us.

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  12. Great post. Our nanny asked us how we refer to our little girl. I said "she is bi-racial". She is middle eastern so I know she was just curious. I haven't thought of how our little girl will choose to be seen but she will be taught to share the same views as hubby and I. Which is that she is bi-racial and the best parts of both of us.

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  13. I prefer biracial. A lot of ethnicities and heritages make us up and I don't think we should just be identified as one or the other. Especially since we want them to obe proud of ALL that makes them (our children) up.
    I don't know when to teach my kids about black and white. But I do refer to skin in colors. So they know that their skin is brown and their daddy's is yellow. I think that's cute. I like the idea of teaching them before they are caught off guard by something another kid says but I haven't started that 'teaching' yet.

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  14. I've really haven't thought too much about it and it's probably because I don't have children yet. I'm hoping that my future children will accept all that they are and not just allow themselves or anyone for that matter to classify them as black or white. I want them to know they are so much more than that. That they are blessed to be more than just one.

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  15. This is one of those discussion that is as old as the world is :). Ultimately, you have to do what's right for you and your family. Race is a social construct after all.

    I think that black people come in a lot of shades and colors and calling my kids black is really not farfetched. They have more of the black features. I am teaching my kids that they are black with a white father because frankly I know a lot of black people (both parents are black) that look like my kids.

    Also someone who is White and Asian, White and Indian, Indian and Asian, is also biracial but they have no similarities to my kid. I feel biracial is one of those catch all that really doesn't describe much. I would be good with I am half black and half white or simply I am black.

    Color is one of those things that so fluctuating and changing so I choose to focus more on the cultural aspect. My kids are Cameroonian and English.

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  16. I worry about this with my kids are well, being half black and Chinese, I don't know what they will decide later on. All i know is that they will understand both cultures and pray that the day will come where they don't have to feel like they must choose.

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  17. Definitely an important topic and hopefully your little one will come to find her way and be comfortable with self because that's the most important thing...the world will attempt to define her in one way or another!! As long as she knows where she came from....awesome topic!!

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  18. I've thought about this, though since we don't have kids yet I haven't put that much thought into it. I hope our kids love us and themselves for who they are and like Faith said, grow up knowing that they will be lucky to have such a rich and diverse heritage.

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