Sunday, June 24, 2012

The Multiracial Advocacy Blog: What's in a NAME?

The Multiracial Advocacy Blog: What’s in a Name?

Today was Gay Pride Day in California, well at least in San Francisco where a Gay Pride Parade was held, as it is every year. I was listening to the radio after I read my Sunday San Francisco Chronicle and I was surprised at the two different take-away points each had from the same event.

The Chronicle gave me information. I learned that over 15,000 gay people were targeted during the Holocaust and made to wear pink triangles on their shirts. I had no idea. Many of them met the same fate as Jewish people during that terrible time. I learned that former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown has worked for gay rights. The Chronicle coverage was unbiased, informational, educational, and positive.

The KGO radio show host tried to be unbiased by repeatedly referring to gay pride like black pride and, of course, multiracial pride. I’m not sure that’s helpful to anyone and my feelings were echoed by several callers.  

I’m tired of people comparing the gay movement with the multiracial movement. The reason they are so often compared because both seek legitimacy and equality. They are two definitely different movements. But why are they so often compared?

I remember when I was at my son’s elementary school in the early 1990’s and was standing in the hallway waiting for school to get out for the day. His class happened to walk by and we waved at each other. A woman standing next to me said, “Is that your child?!” I said, “Yes,” and her reply was, “It must be so hard to be the mother of a son who likes other boys.” Huh?! Ohhhhhhhhh, I finally got it. She had confused “biracial” and “bisexual.” Oh boy.

But I keep hearing it and it makes me downright mad every time. I’m hardly homophobic, but I’m also not seeing the connection. Is it that both groups have been opposed? Are biracial and bisexual closer in language than in reality? Am I supposed to ask biracial kids if they are also bisexual? Of course not, and yet the comparison continues.

I am Jewish. The connection between being Jewish and the history of the Holocaust is obvious—in your face—obvious. But I had never heard the gay/Holocaust history before. I doubt many people have. They are intrinsically different, but still let’s never forget either one.

I also hear multicultural interchanged with multiracial. Nope. Culture and race are different things: multicultural is more about “how we do things around here” while multiracial is “the DNA I was born with.”

It’s all very different and should not be all that confusing if only we could all just get along.

Susan Graham

1 comment:

  1. I understand what you are trying to say. Multiracial is being confused with just about everything that comes down the pike and it isn't like anything else out there so stop comparing. Right? In some ways we are seen as just another voice in the wilderness crying out that we have been mistreated, our people are dying, and we need help. That's what so many other groups or "movements" are saying of themselves. And, you're right - this would not be such a big problem for any of us if we'd stop thinking of "me first" and "to hell" with the other guy. Unfortunately, unless or until human nature changes, this is a problem we will face until the end of time. That, of course, doesn't mean we cannot continue or should not continue making as much noise as we can. Maybe, one day, someone will take notice.