Multiracial Movement Suicide? Part 3
“Conclusion: The place you reach when you’re tired of
thinking.” –Martin Fischer
Now we can get to the convoluted conclusion the “’Founding Mothers:’ White Mothers of Biracial Children in the Multiracial Movement (1970-2000) by Alicia Doo Castagno. We would normally begin with the title, but I am not going to bother with “CONCLUSION; THE THWARTED UTOPIAN POTENTIAL OF MULTIRACIAL POLITICS” just because it’s so out in left field.
In her conclusion, Alicia pronounces that, “Unwittingly, their [white mothers] white racial identity informed the ways in which they chose to advocate for multiracial rights.” Elsewhere in her diatribe, Alicia surmises that we white women really wanted our kids not to be black, so I’m going to take a stab at what little Alicia means. Apparently, I really have to go over this one more time: when I called the Census Bureau after receiving my 1990 Census form, I called and was told that “the children take the race of their mother.” I’m white, so my children were white by Census Bureau definition. If THAT was what I wanted, why have I worked for 23 years to get the privilege for multiracial people to embrace their entire heritage on US Census forms?! Do you get it now?
We white mothers were not advocating for passing, we were hoping the federal government could include ALL the races of any person. Again, we were not trying to make our kids only white, black, or any other color. We hoped their various rainbow of colors would finally be validated and recognized.
Alicia Doo Castagno goes on to say that “the Multiracial Movement’s participants did not advocate for radical change outside of expanding racial data tabulation. She is right—we had our hands full. She is also wrong—tabulation is extremely important and is something the wannabe academics have never understood. So be it—remain uninformed about the real specifics of this issue and take those dollars doled out to finance your error ridden “thesis papers,” if it makes you happy.
Then comes this: “Other academic criticism of interracial family organizations similarly castigates the white women in leadership roles for failing or refusing to engage with racial issues.” Huh? What do you think we were doing?!
We white mothers of the multiracial movement never promised to make America a racial utopia, but we are constantly accused of not succeeding with that small feat. This land is not just your land, but being critical of us for not correcting hundreds of years of racial strife is just plain ridiculous. We just set out to make things more accurate for our multiracial children.
The really funny thing about this is that it was the academics who warned me in 1990 that I would “never change the way the government counted race—never.” They didn’t think we should even try. Then they blamed us when we did and it didn’t go the way they wanted.
Everyone who has read the thesis in question and my reply, at my request, has also commented that staff at Wesleyan University should never have let this piece of drivel through. Some of my readers are academics themselves. So shame on Wesleyan.
Rocket scientist Alicia Doo Castagno, goes on to say the following:
“Interracial family groups’ white female leaders had already set the course for multiracial advocacy by the time that mixed heritage adults took over leadership in organizations founded by white women.”
The real story is the ship was sinking and the white female leaders were the only ones willing to set any course. Carlos Fernandez was still scratching his head over how to get non-profit status, and Ramona Douglass—R.I.P.—was mostly whining about her roommate, or hoping to score points with the NAACP and go on to be a national hero because that’s what they promised her in return for her vote in making multiracial kids black.
The author of this thesis, in addition to not being able to write a simple, declarative sentence, also says that “we” excluded non-white multiracials. Perhaps Alicia needs a drug test. Funny, I don’t recall any of her questions to me along those lines, but I can tell you with all certainty that we would have been happy to offer membership to her own mother if she only had asked.
The entire mess of a paper is concluded this way:
Based on my primary and secondary research, however, the racial identity of these “founding mothers” did influence the ways in which they chose to engage in multiracial politics.
Their inability to fully break free of their white privilege ultimately grounded founding mothers’ multiracial politics in privileged notions of racial safety, separate spheres ideology, and— in Graham’s case in particular—racially unreflexive [sic] forms of advocacy.
I’m still amazed that the word “paradigm” wasn’t anywhere in that paragraph. Much of Castagno’s argument throughout referred to white mothers and their white privilege. I call that the “typical academic fallback.” They go there when their dreamed up lies and stories don’t work, which is pretty much all of the time.
Being a white woman no more equals “white privilege” than multiracial equals black. Think about it.
-Susan Graham, who is very proud to be one of the founding mothers of Project RACE and the multiracial movement.