Posted in C-Haze, Children, Memories, News, Politics, Race

Black, White… Whatever

Is Obama Black or Bi-racial?

That’s the headline I recently saw on CNN.

Damn, what a question- I can’t believe it’s something that never even crossed my mind… me, of all people.

I guess I just always thought of him as black…

We all know Obama’s mama is white, and his daddy is black… similarly, my own mother (biological) is white, and my father (again, biologically speaking) is black.

Personally, I consider myself bi-racial (or Native Halfrican American if I’m feeling frisky)… but I think of Obama as black.

I wonder what he considers himself… black? Bi-racial? Halfrican? (my personal favorite, I must say)… but really, does it matter what he considers himself?

The answer is no.

Why?

Because society, myself included (hanging my head in shame) has already labeled him black, regardless of what he himself may think.

In and of itself that’s not a bad thing… but as the CNN article states, even though Obama is as much white as he is black, he’s still considered, well… black.

As Jason Carroll geniusly points out, if elected, Obama will be both the 44th white president and the 1st black president- at the same time.

That’s pretty cool.

It is interesting how anyone with any discernable amount of black blood in their bodies are considered black… at least in society’s eyes.

I realize this practice dates back to slavery… anyone that had traceable amounts of black in them were deemed black, so they could legally be slaves.

What’s sad is that this practice (minus the slave part- duh) still exists today.

So many of those who swear racism no longer exists, who swear color doesn’t matter, still make the effort to label multi and bi-racial people like myself and Senator Obama black. Even people like me, who fight against racism, and truly love people of all colors are guilty of this.

It reminds me of a child who is a genius- very, very smart, but is told his entire life that he’s stupid. After a while, that’s how he identifies himself- regardless of the fact that it isn’t true.

Those of us of mixed heritage have been told by society over and over again for so long that we are black that we begin to personally identify ourselves that way, instead of as the beautiful mixture of both black and white that we truly do represent.

Why? They cannot enslave us any longer, nor can they deny us the right to vote or own property… is there something offensive about the idea that perhaps some of us do not fall into a simple “black” or “white” category?

I remember growing up, getting picked on because I talked “white”… to my peers, I was black… they didn’t like the fact that I wasn’t speaking in a manner that was stereotypical of how they felt black people should speak.

Rather than take the time to understand that I am as white as I am black, and further, was raised by a white family, I was instead labeled as uppity… Someone who because of my light skin tone and “good hair”, thought I was better than those who were darker than me.

Still to this day, if I dare try and openly celebrate my bi-racial heritage among the wrong people, there are negative consequences, people begin to feel threatened, telling me I am denying my heritage- that of a black woman.

If I do mention my bi-racial heritage, I generally must do so in a joking manner- calling myself Halfrican or Caucegro for example.

Otherwise I am being offensive in denying the black race others have labeled me with.

Why can I not be both?

I am both.

Posted in C-Haze, Children, News, Politics, Race

White Folks, Minorities and Adoption

Now here’s an issue I can get excited about!

We’re talking about transracial adoptions. With me being the beautiful halfrican queen that I am, adopted and raised by a fabulous white family… this is right up my alley!

Currently there are more white families that are willing and able to adopt children than there are minority families willing and able to do the same. Statistically speaking, there are way more minority children needing homes than there are white children needing homes, and there simply are not enough minority homes available to place them in.

The question is, can white folks do a good job raising black kids?

Well, duh.

Of course they can… but can they raise their black children the same way they’re raising their white children and expect the same results?

Experts within the foster care system say no, and I agree 125%.

Previously foster and adoptive parents were encouraged to take a “color-blind” approach in raising these children, with the prevailing thought being that race is just a skin color, and that children- regardless of their ethnicity- will all benefit from the exact same upbringing.

Finally it appears that the state-run agencies have awaken from their dream-world and have started to face reality.

People can keep pretending that there is no difference between races, and that kids will be kids- regardless of their race- but the fact is, pretending doesn’t make reality any less real.

In many ways, kids, are definitely the same. Kids of all colors like to wake up early on Saturday mornings and watch cartoons while eating cereal laced with enough sugar to induce a diabetic coma. Kids of all races enjoy sports and other extra-curricular activities. All kids have that knack for breaking things- be it bones or antique lamps- and all kids cost a bizillion dollars by way of holidays, birthdays and trips to the emergency room. In addition, all kids need love, security, discipline, and a place to call home.

Really, there are lots of similarities… and in so many ways, kids will be… well, kids… regardless of their skin color.  

The problem is when people allow themselves to look solely at the similarities, and use that as an excuse to discount some very real- and important- differences.

Non-white kids are not different from white kids simply because of their skin color. What makes them different is our society.

Will that always be the case? Well hell, let’s hope not… but hoping a for future-society that makes no color distinction is one thing… pretending we’re already there is at best unrealistic, at worst reckless and irresponsible.

A white family can adopt a black kid (or hell, a mixed one like me), and have all the best of intentions… but the average middle-class white parents have not experienced the things that the average black kid will experience- be it in school, on the streets, among friends, or anywhere else.

Not saying white vs. black culture is better or worse than the other… just recognizing that based on today’s reality, these cultures are different.

I don’t think that’s a bad thing… I love the fact that we have so many different people and cultures and races hangin around in this country… I’m of the belief that diversity should be embraced. Those that try not to celebrate the differences found in others are cheating themselves.

Besides, who wants color-blind? Personally speaking, I was able to thrive in large part because I was raised by a family who celebrates all people.

I was fully embraced by my white family- with my Halfrican/Khaki-colored-caramel-tinted self.

Yea, I know, I’m gettin’ fancy… It’s fun to mix it up… no pun intended.

My family (thankfully) never tried to make me white like them… nor did they ever allow me to seperate myself from them.

It was more of a, “Yes, we have our differences- so let’s embrace them- but don’t get too carried away, cuz you’re not that different” kind of approach.

My parents actively set out to teach me to love myself… largely because I am different (well that and because I’m sexy-fine…).  

They didn’t know everything, but they knew enough. When I had questions they couldn’t answer, they were courageous enough to tell me they didn’t know… but that we’d find out together. 

Thankfully, they let me grow into me… even when that meant stepping aside and allowing me to figure it out on my own, because they just didn’t have a clue.

Part of that upbringing was helping me embrace the fact that I am a minority… that as a bi-racial woman I will face certain challenges that they never did.

My family aced it… and there was no shame as I was coming into the realization of who I am.

Had they ignored the fact that I am different, and raised me exactly as they raised my brothers and sister, I would have missed out.

How could I possibly be proud of who I am, my heritage, and my race had they pretended it didn’t exist, or swept it under the rug?

The message would have been clear, though subtle, and I believe I would be a very different person today.