Thursday, February 7, 2013

On Being "Biracial Black"

On Being “Biracial Black”

“I don’t seem able to get it straight in my mind….”
― Ken Kesey, One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

There is a term I have been hearing lately and it just does not make a great deal of sense to me. The term is “biracial black.” It’s usually used in stories and articles when the result is—big surprise—the biracial or multiracial person finally decides to self-identify as only black.

I don’t see “biracial Asian” or “multiethnic Hispanic,” and I certainly don’t see “multiracial white.” Ohhhhhh now I think I get it. It’s back to the one-drop rule, but with a more modern touch. If someone is biracial or multiracial and they add “black” to it, it’s invoking the old one-drop of black blood trumps everything else. It’s being brought to us—no surprise—by the same quasi-academics who blame the “privileged whites” for everything racially bad that has ever happened, is happening, or might happen.

I heard one of those academics on a radio show yesterday say “white privilege” eight times in an interview. By the way, this particular multiracial academic has done pretty well for himself despite the terrible white folks. Poor thing.

The name of the radio show was “Multiracial Identity=A Denial of Blackness.” I guess that says it all—at least that’s how the show host, misguided guest, handlers and promoters wanted to slant the discussion. It’s a dangerous trend that is being perpetrated by some academics and their librarians in dealing with the multiracial community. I’m not sure that two of them are not the ("a.k.a.") same person, since they spout off the same rhetoric against the evil white people of privilege.

As for that particular academic, he has changed his tune every time the racial winds blow in a different direction. The only thing he hasn't changed in 20 years is his picture.

That some of these people know better and others don’t is a given, but let me make it perfectly clear:

ü  Not all white people are privileged.
ü  Not all people who make equality strides for the multiracial population are multiracial themselves.
ü  Not all people who make racial progress for the black population are black.
ü  Not all people who help the Asian population are Asian. You get the drift here.
ü  Privilege is not something all white people have.
ü Domination and power are apparently other ways of saying “white privilege.”
ü  Some of the people who don’t want to be lumped into one classification have no problem labeling all white people the same.
ü  Accusing us of being white mothers of multiracial kids is not an accusation at all; we are advocates, public policy changers, politicians, business women, doctors, lawyers, and writers. We have fought for racial equality for our children for over 25 years and we’re not stopping just because you might not like the color of our skin.

There is a very odd notation on regarding the book the assistant professor wrote: From the Publisher: Dismantling the edifice of white supremacy. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. Perhaps that was the working title. It figures. Be careful about what you read and the truth. -Susan Graham


  1. Susan, I couldn’t have said it better myself. IMHO, racism appears to some as a one-sided phenomenon—white toward black or any other non-white people for that matter. Any person can be racist, or bigoted, biased, or prejudiced. You don’t have to be white to be a racist. Whites do not hold a corner on the racism market.

  2. Both the academic and the librarian are just mouthpieces for Ranier Spencer. Racism is a learned behavior and they learned racism toward white people from him.

  3. Anonymous, the only way any one person can have so much negative influence on other people is that they allow it. I will venture to say that the seeds of racism were sown way before Ranier Spencer spewed his poison on the academic and the librarian. What do you bet they got their roots of hatred, bigotry, prejudice, and racism from their families of origin. This BS only flourishes in an atmosphere of ignorance, hostility, and hatred.

  4. I agree that not all white people are privileged in the sense that they could be women, or poor, or disabled. but when talking exclusively about race and ignoring all other identities, I think it would be hard to argue that White is not the privileged race in US society.

    i would say if the people you're trying to advocate for are critical of your work, maybe you should listen to what they have to say.

  5. It is not the members of Project RACE who are critical of our work; it is clearly the people who want to hold on to the old one-drop rule. We think multiracial people should be able to CHOOSE, if they so desire, to embrace all of their heritage. Yes, even if part of that is white.

  6. I agree with Susan, IzumiBayani. If our members were critical of our work, we would be more than ready and willing to listen and take appropriate action. Ninety-nine and nine/tenths percent of our members who do contact us give positive feedback, thank us for our hard work as advocates, ask us to teach them how best to advocate for their children, and suggest new ways we can help in various situations. In short, they are positive, helpful, and encouraging. Project RACE's agenda is advocating for multiracial people. What's yours?

  7. I think I understand what IzumiBayani is saying. As an example, reading this blog, we see several references to racial health disparities where the white race is clearly "privileged". The problem comes, not when someone observes that white people are more likely to be privileged or to have access to certain privileges in our society. There is certainly no shortage of data supporting that. The problem comes when stereotypical generalizations are made that ALL whites are privileged and/or that the privilege they are presumed to have is the result of their personal evil, or renders them ineffective to do good for any other race. I believe that it is most meaningful when people are willing to help people that are in some way different than themselves. There is a beauty in helping others that surpasses that of taking action that is self-serving. We are all people and we should care about ALL people.