Response to When is Black “Black”?

So I read this article posted on Racialicious, but originally posted on The Black Snob. Basically, the article takes issue with the debate surrounding on Soledad O’Brien’s Blackness. Racialicious is heavily moderated. I suppose I kinda look at Racialicious as the Diet Pepsi of racial discussions, so I wasn’t totally surprised when my response to this Danielle Belton’s article was “denied”. I initially considered editing my post to their satisfaction, but I just couldn’t. Well, I have a blog (albeit somewhat neglected). so why not publish my opinion anyway??? Here are my thoughts on the article:

The anxiety that Soledad represents is a valid one IMO. Biracialism is a farce, and as long as we give merit to the idea that a HUMAN comes from two races, we encourage it. It is no more accurate than the concept of race to begin with, and yet in this era of “progress”, now more than ever we embrace archaic ideas of what race truly is. You refer to Soledad as multiethnic. But MOST Americans are of multiethnic origins. If you’re Russian/Irish or Nigerian/Ghanaian, you’re multiethnic. For some reason the word “multi-ethnic” has become synonymous with multiracial. That simplifies the complexity of human genetics to simply Black White or Asian. It’s more complicated than that.

To me, biracialism IS racial opportunism. Race isn’t about biology. It isn’t about genetics. It isn’t about ethnicity. It is to a degree about what you look like. But it’s MAINLY about RESOURCES. From the days in which being black meant free labor, to THESE days where being black means shotty health care, bad schools, and missed taxis. It is simply a way to look at a person and gage their societal value, and what they’re worthy of. That simple.

In the case of Soledad, Black people have a right to view her with a healthy dose of suspicion. We live in a White supremest society that has historically (and continues to) dictate to us the standard by which Blackness should be measured. And now, in this era of multiracialism we see groups of people who claim they want to reverse that, but in actuality (consciously or subconsciously) seek to maintain that racial hierarchy using phrases like “best of both worlds” or “deny my White side”. Why SHOULDN’T you deny your White side? Not your French side. Not your Irish side. Not your European cultural ties (which many biracial people I’ve met don’t truly practice). But the side that represents an unjust system of privilege? By embracing biracialism you basically say “I’ll be damned if I don’t benefit from this system” and simultaneously support the notion that one who cannot, simply shouldn’t. Because after all…it’s not your “genetic” right. Right?

Soledad cannot pass for White. I am not one of those people with “super negrovision”-where I can spot the “Black in you” from 10 miles away. But one look at her hairline tells me that woman ain’t White-and not even a damn good relaxer will change that. I believe Soledad is well aware of that, and IMO that’s where this “movement” stems form. Those who physically cannot embrace whiteness, but certainly will embrace whatever privilege comes from being near it. Someone with this mentality has a conflict of interest when they set out to represent the Black community. Political correctness aside, the Black identity and White identity are fundamentally oppositional. They represent two totally different perspectives. If you call yourself both, in essence you’re a racial mercenary. So when someone is Black at 9AM and Biracial by noon, yeah I’m gonna give them the side eye.

Even conservative Blacks who, at the end of the day often times work in the interest of White supremacy are questioned- and much more harshly/rigorously by the Black community. Clarence Thomas ring a bell? Ward Connerly? So why not question the intentions of someone whos racial label is like a pair of sneaker they can toss on and toss of at their will?

Blackness has always represented inclusion (forced or not), diversity, and compassion-almost to the detriment of that group. The result has been a longstanding intragroup hierarchy that can be witnessed to this day. One that often props up the lightest and the brightest to half-heartedly represent a group characterized by social exclusion due to physical darkness. And sure we’ve had our Malcolms and Hueys, but in this era of “racial choice”, where the door is open to let self described biracials sit and nibble at the kiddie table during this great White feast, shouldn’t Black people start to pay attention and reconsider the position of those who choose to eat?


Published in: on July 30, 2008 at 4:02  Comments (1)  
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One CommentLeave a comment

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