Thursday, September 27, 2012

More on White Privilege and the Multiracial Community

More on White Privilege and the Multiracial Community

I have taken a little heat since my post about white privilege. After 22 years of multiracial advocacy, this does not surprise me.

It is the policy of Project RACE to let people comment; that is how we maintain a dialogue. However, we reserve the right to not allow comments to be made by people who have blogs that do not allow comments. For the record, Alyssa’s blog takes comments, but she would not post mine. We have other rules for posting, which you can go back and read at Blog Rules and Regulations posted on June 23, 2012.

I have taken a lot of flak over the past 22 years from multiracials because I am the mother of two multiracial children, and I am white. Does race really matter or are racial groups a thing of the past? In a race-neutral society, it would not matter, just as gender does not matter in a leadership role. Take Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). They had a FATHER at the helm for quite awhile. That’s right. Even the NAACP has had multiracial people at the top of their executive boards. You don’t have to BE one to GET IT!

Writing about the NAACP reminded me of a time when I became close friends with one of the board members of the NAACP Cobb County, Georgia, which was one of their largest groups. She invited me to their annual banquet; one reason was because she wanted me to meet and have a chance to speak with the president of the national NAACP, Benjamin Chavis, which I did. I was one of only a handful of white people at the banquet. I was the only person asked to show my ticket at the door and it was obvious from the looks we got, that most people assumed that my black husband was the reason we were seated at the President’s table. Black privilege?

For those of you who have said I wanted my children to identify as “white” under some white privilege rule, I can assure you that has never been the case. Need proof? When I called the Census Bureau upon receiving my 1990 census form, they told me my children were white because “children take the race of the mother.” That one phone call was enough for me to start Project RACE (Reclassify All Children Equally), so my own children and children like them could embrace their ENTIRE heritage, not just one or the other. In other words, if I had wanted my children to be classified as white, I already had that. I would not have worked 22 years to get it; it has always been about them being able to honor both of their races.

Project RACE is a cash poor organization. We used to charge a membership fee, but decided to end that so anyone could join, whether they had the membership fee or not. We made a decision very early neither to apply for, nor accept government grants or funding, because it would be a conflict of interest. In fact, government funding was obtained by groups similar to ours, but only after they agreed to what the government wanted them to do. They don’t even exist anymore.  In our 22 year history, we have never sold out and we never will.

My job is not an easy one. It doesn’t pay and has no perks. I have to deal with people who resent the work we do for many reasons. I have to put up with many politicians and policy makers people who don’t get it and I must do it with dignity and respect. The worst part of the job is hearing that a child has died because a bone marrow donor could not be found in time to save them; it is especially tragic when some people are telling others that because they read in a book that race doesn’t exist, so they don’t have to become donors to save multiracial children’s lives. As far as my reaction to the nay-sayers, I can take it, but you’d better be sure you have your facts right. Lives hang in the balance.

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