Mixed race- Passing for white, and the imposition of ‘half’


The above link is a must read article, and goes some way towards laying bare the various supposed neuroses involved in being mixed race…wishing you were lighter or darker depending on your values, being judged for your mixture, being lumped together with others, stereotyped or ignored…being too white to be black or too black to be white…on a personal level, this article made me cry- no idea why…and I don’t cry easily.

Although the article is American, it is still relevant to the UK. I never realised the extent of the phenomenon of ‘passing’ in the US and how even a drop of black blood marked you out for a life of hardship…the fact that people could despise a race so much that even a trace of it in someones DNA marred them in some way…I will never understand racism.

I have little to back this up with, but I feel that in the US mixed race is seen more as black, whereas in the UK it is increasingly recognized as a standalone race. Somehow it angers me when people call Barack Obama black, because he technically isn’t, he is half of each colour. But I guess for some people the strength and breadth of black history, the struggles, the culture and the kinship, overrides ties with the white side of you. I see myself as mixed race, although my mum would always tell me that technically I was black when I was younger. I didn’t want to be black or white back then, I just wanted to be ‘half caste’ (a term we used to use but no one uses anymore). I now see that that imposition of ‘half’…something being half done, not a whole…well, that’s what made that term so wrong. And that’s what makes so many mixed race people so confused.

This is a link to a poem that my little sister and I used to have on our bedroom wall, and we used to quote bits of it to each other without really thinking about what it meant, but it means a lot more to me now.



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