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Biracial Blacks seeking identity

by William T. Robinson, Jr
William T. Robinson, Jr.

A talk that has gotten very little attention concerns the growing number of biracial children and how they feel identifying in our society. This is a very broad and layered subject when you consider the complexity of conditions contributing to the mindsets involved in how Black and White biracial children feel, with many not feeling accepted by their peers on both sides.

There are so many factors that may determine how Black biracial children are treated or accepted, especially as it relates to their physical features.  The treatment they receive may be contingent on physical features depicting them as more White or Black, although it is often apparent that they may have a combination of both.

In some cases, the Black biracial child looks White and sees the complexity of being considered a Black in this country; therefore, he or she finds it easier to identify and live as a White person. Like it or not, we still live in a country where Whites are more privileged and entitled.

Growing up in a home where you can identify with two races (your mother’s and your father’s family) can be rewarding or confusing, especially if one side of the family is cold and unaccepting of you. It is understandable that the innocent biracial child will respond to love regardless of the color or race of the family. However, in reality, life can be unkind and family members as well as some of those in the community may make the biracial child feel unwelcome and treated as a pariah.

Imagine feeling you are not accepted by your Black or White peers, with Blacks taunting you that you believe you are White and better than them—and Whites looking down on you as inferior because you don’t appear to be 100% White. Like it or not, this is the reality biracial children encounter growing up in a racist country where, historically, Blacks were denied equality and were perceived as inferior by their White oppressors. The extent of this physical and phycological abuse to Blacks is so overwhelming that we are still fighting today to overcome its pervasive effect.

Our White forefathers were so appalled and bigoted toward Blacks that they mandated a rule called the ‘one drop rule.’ If you had one drop of Black blood, you were considered Black—even if you looked White. Most African Americans in this country are descendants of biracial unions from slave masters and Black female slaves. Although Blacks (in general) were despised by White society as a whole, the children of slave masters and female slaves were often given special privileges over their blacker brothers and sisters. This historically led to many Black biracial children (mulattoes) thinking they were better than other Blacks and looking down upon them.

It can honestly be said that Blacks are more accepting of biracial children, because there are not too many Black children in America that don’t have some White blood in their DNA. It is evident in all the shades and hues found in African Americans in this country. The White slave masters were relentless in their sexual conquest of enslaved Black females.

Sadly, this country has much improving to do concerning race relations which favor Whites, with inherent privileges and benefits tipping the scales in your favor if you appear ‘more White.’ After birth, blatantly and subconsciously, in this country you are fed a Eurocentric agenda. That agenda dilutes and dismisses the historic cultures, traditions and practices of other races or ethnicities.

Since Blacks in general are more accepting of people of color, many biracial children automatically identify with being Black. They find pride and honor in the many accomplishments and achievements people of color bring to the table—even though this country has tried to trivialized or omit the contributions of Blacks.

Look at some of the proud biracial people who unapologetically identify with being Black, e.g., former President Barak Obama; current Vice President Kamala Harris; football activist Colin Kaepernick; activist Benjamin Jealous; actors such as Halle Berry, Jasmine Guy, Jesse Williams, Boris Kodjoe; rappers like Drake and J Cole; singers like Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey, Lenny Kravitz, Faith Evans, Bob Marley, Sade, Jordan Sparks; and ballet dancer Misty Copeland.

Unfortunately, you have some high-profile biracial Blacks who don’t want to be identified as Black at all. Some biracial Blacks don’t try to use their Black card unless they lose grace with the White community and start looking to the Black community for conformation, aid or support. We have all heard the statement ‘get in where you fit in,’ and no one should understand that statement more than Black biracial children.

Being a biracial Black isn’t as easy as some people may assume, but in this changing world it is getting better. Blacks as a whole, would recommend that Black, biracial children make it easier on themselves and accept being Black—where you are more apt to be loved, understood and welcomed.

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