Sunday, September 18, 2011

"Black people can instantly tell if someone is mixed. White people are often uncertain." -Christina Simon

This is completely unrelated to hair, but very much related to life. Just wanted to share this picture of my daughter and my niece, sharing a secret and a laugh. To me, this picture represents all that is good with the, love, laughter, acceptance, youth, innocence, beauty, (et cetera, et cetera, et cetera).

I may be reaching a little bit...maybe it is just a picture. Maybe because I love these children so much, I am making a big something out of nothing. But if we were all this loving, accepting, and HAPPY, wouldn't the world be a better place?

This brings me back to the title of this post.

"Black people can instantly tell if someone is mixed. White people are often uncertain." -Christina Simon, author of Where did he get those Blue Eyes?

This article  was shared by a friend of mine on Facebook, Mulatto Empowerment, and it really spoke to me. I am of mixed heritage, but more importantly, so are my children. I won't get into talking about all of the troubles we 'mixed' kids have fitting in, or learning to accept our hair, skin, eyes, etc; you all have heard (or experienced) most of it a thousand times over. I just wanted to share with you my reaction to this article.

The title statement, at least in my experience, is not entirely true. I have been mistaken for Hispanic, Brazilian, Italian, Indian, ...and others. Very rarely does someone look at me and guess that I am mixed. I think that's one of the many things that makes our 'race' great! Our hair is deceptive, our eyes are surprising, and our skin is universal. At once, we can look like every other...and no other race in the world. I think parents of mixed children can relate to this, your children probably get mistaken as being other races all the time. My Ally  is as 'mixed' as mixed can be….her father’s family is African American, Mexican, and European. My mother is white (maternal grandmother Spanish, maternal grandfather Irish and German.) and my father is mixed (paternal grandfather Portuguese, paternal grandmother African American and Native American). Ally  got so tired of trying to explain her ‘race’ to everyone that would ask, that her answer to “What race are you?” became “American.” And isn’t that actually kindof accurate? I think that we ‘mixed kids’ are making up the new “American” race. Food for thought on that one. There is a rant for another day.

I understand Ms Simon's personal tug-of-war with the idea of discussing race with her mixed children. Are my children growing up  with not enough culture because they don't fit in anywhere, or are they more worldly and accepting because they fit in everywhere? If you ask me, I will tell you that my family is black. Though I am not quite sure why I identify myself as black. Maybe it is because I grew up in an African American neighborhood, so that is who I relate to most. Maybe it is because in my dad's time, I would not have been able to drink out of the same water fountain as 'white folks'. Who knows where the idea, and identity, of race comes from? And what if the 'identity' of race were not as big of a deal as we make it? What if, instead of trying to identify ourselves as a certain race, we focused more on acceptance and love?  The Princess argues with me that I am not black, I am beige. Ally refuses to identify herself as any race at all. By identifying with one race, she feels like she is denouncing all others. She is a very smart girl.

"Black people can instantly tell if someone is mixed. White people are often uncertain."
From your personal experiences, do you find this statement to be true?
What race do you identify yourself as, and how are you teaching your children to identify themselves?

"Black people can instantly tell if someone is mixed. White people are often uncertain."
What if "mixed" is becoming the new American race?
What if my Li'l bit and her cousin never see color? What if the secrets and laughter they share always manage to transcend across racial lines?

"Black people can instantly tell if someone is mixed. White people are often uncertain."
What if no one cared?


  1. I don't think that statement is entirely true, while most cases you can tell, there are plenty where you can't tell at all! People think and thought I was mixed my whole life but I'm not unless you call being Creole mixed. My dad is creole and my mom is black but to me I'm black when people ask me I tell them I'm black :)

  2. i think that statement is 100% inaccurate. like you i've been mistaken for a million other things OTHER than being mixed. lol.

    i like your last question on what if no one cared.. i mean really, why DO people care? it doesn't change the person you are!

  3. I totally love this. I can related I am half white and half Hispanic (Puerto Rican). And sometimes people will say oh I didn't know you were Spanish or others will automatically start talking to me in Spanish and I end up giving them that lost puppy look because I don't know a lick of Spanish expect for basics. But to answer the question I don't care..It doesn't matter what you are. Black, White, Spanish, Mixed,whatever...What matters is the person you are!

  4. I so relate to your daughter when trying to explain what "race" she is, sometimes there so many different components in can be exhaustive trying to explain it... I stopped trying to explain it to people long ago, i feel like I'm recounting my life story in explaining my heritage whereas others can give a 1-word answer. I used to tell my kids (my oldest) that we were black. My son would say "No mommy, I'm brown." Me- "but you have black blood," that really screwed it up. I got this- "No, mommy, my blood is red!" If we say we're "mixed" people's next question is "which of your parents is white?" Neither. It goes way back to grandparents, great-grandparents... There's just not a one-word answer, so "American" works for me!

  5. well in my case, its not 100perscent, but its high up there, its something about the color of the skins/hair that gives it away


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