“Stop Acting So Light-Skinned!” Being Mixed in Modern America

I had a very interesting encounter today. I was sitting in the Malcolm X Lounge, a study room at the University of Texas that’s dedicated to African-American studies, but open to anyone. I was on a couch and had my feet up on a small table. When a girl came and sat down on the couch to my left, I jokingly made a big deal about moving my legs. She responded with, “Stop being so lazy, light-skin.”

I really wasn’t offended by the light-skin reference, but I was totally caught off guard by the way she used the term. See light-skinnededness (no that’s not a real word) has been the target of black humor for a while now, but usually people just say, “Stop being so light-skinned.”

A lot of y’all are probably wondering what that even means so I’ll break it down for you (sorry black people, bear with me here- I know ya’ll already know this stuff). It actually means somewhat different things if it’s being used to describe a guy or a girl, although there are some commonalities.

Guy acting light-skinned means:

  1. Showing and expressing emotions too freely,
  2. Being too “friendly”,
  3. Doing anything that could be seen as gay or feminine,
  4. Acting like Drake and/or listening to too much Drake,
  5. And just generally being “soft”

Girl acting light-skinned means:

  1. Acting boojie- in essence acting like you’re better than others (this also applies to guys somewhat, but not nearly as much as it applies to girls),
  2. …that pretty much covers it for girls actually.

It’s a very complex concept indeed. My lists are just the basics, but if you actually hear it being used on the regular in real-life you quickly realize that you can assign it endless meanings.

While most of the time the light-skinned jokes are in good fun and not really meant as racist shots (in my opinion), they still make me ponder on the origins of the ill will between black people and mulattos (people mixed with both black and white).

I assume some of this stems from the favoritism showed to slaves (especially women) with lighter complexions. They would often be given jobs in the house (hence the term “house negro”) as opposed to having to work the backbreaking “field negro” jobs outside.

Also, there is definitely a lingering “us vs. them” mentality in the black community towards white people. Acting white is a definite insult in the black community, and many black women hate nothing more than seeing a successful black man with a white woman. Could a part of the ill will towards light-skinnededness be related to blacks’ view of white people?

Bad grammar aside, this random collage illustrates a long-standing stigma in the black community

Black people in America, and black men especially, have developed a very stoic demeanor- partially because until fairly recently in our country’s history it wasn’t a good idea for a black man to express himself too much in public situations. Expressing yourself too much as a black man in slave times was potentially life threatening, and even during the height of the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960s, black men who expressed themselves too much often faced a number of dangers. Many people would argue that it’s still not a good idea for a black man to express himself too much, particularly in business situations where his upwards mobility is dependent on white bosses. I would agree with these people.

I think this is where some of the judgment for being too expressive originated. The black man is stoic. Even in casual or social environments, the black man does not go up to men he is unfamiliar with (especially non-black men) and start conversation- that’s being “too friendly”.  That’s exposing too much of yourself to someone from outside of your circle. That’s what the white people do. Don’t be like them. Obviously some of this is hyperbole, but you get the point.

Anyways, because of the way this girl phrased the insult, I replied somewhat jokingly, “That’s racist!”— What really blew my mind was that she then proceeded to say that it wasn’t, citing two reasons:

  1. Light-skinned isn’t a race so it can’t be a racist statement, even if it’s a generalization.
  2. Light-skinned people are black people; therefore it’s not a racist remark since it came from a black person.

mixed in america

I immediately told her that the first reason was bogus: just because being mixed or having light skin isn’t a race in itself doesn’t mean that making a generalization based off skin color isn’t racist.

This is really part of a bigger issue- the conceptualization of race as something that is clear-cut when in reality it’s about as far from clear-cut as possible. It’s based partly on how you look and partly on where you’re from, but more than anything it’s based on how we define ourselves; the government isn’t changing what race or ethnicity you fill out on the census, even if most people wouldn’t define you the same way.

The second reason, while I think it’s bogus as well, is worth examining, if only because it’s a fairly common view. To make her point she asked me what I fill out on tests or forms asking for my race. Bad idea since I either bubble in both African-American and Caucasian or, if that’s not allowed, I choose Other and write in mixed or mulatto.

But still, that perception is definitely very real. Both white and black people seem to view mulattoes as more black than white. This could be a remnant of the “one drop rule” from slave times: if you had any negro blood then you were considered a negro. As the racial climate has grown more tolerant in modern times, however, mulattos are pushing back against that classification, fighting to define themselves as what they truly are: equal parts black and white.

“The 1st Black President”? Barack Obama has just as much white blood as black

Part of this pushback is evidenced in the birth of “acting dark-skinned”, which followed soon after all the light-skinned jokes started. Acting dark-skinned for the most part just means doing things that reinforce stereotypes about black people: being too loud or obnoxious, being impolite, acting ignorant, doing hood-rat stuff with your friends, etc.

If you think I’m overstating the growing disconnect between these two groups, go get on Twitter and search the hashtags #TeamLightSkin and #TeamDarkSkin, or look up light skin vs. dark skin on Youtube (the video below is an example of what you’ll find); I guarantee you will be convinced afterwards.

I think that some of this pushback has also fed the ill will from the black community- it’s perceived as an attempt by mulattos to separate themselves from blackness, which many black people see not only as aloofness but as mulattos trying to be more white.

Despite all this racial tug and pull, most mulattos tend to be accepted by pretty much any group- not only by white and black people but every other race as well. It’s because we embody the American racial struggle. We can relate to both the most privileged and the most oppressed racial groups in the United States. We’re able to see things from the perspectives of both the minority and the majority. We are the bridge between two groups who are still many years away from truly becoming colorblind and reconciling their dark past. So let us define ourselves, please.

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34 thoughts on ““Stop Acting So Light-Skinned!” Being Mixed in Modern America”

  1. Hello I’m Alisa! and I found this particular statement interesting.”Acting white is a definite insult in the black community, and many black women hate nothing more than seeing a successful black man with a white woman” . I think more of the insult of black men dating white women stems from the fact that black men don’t seem to value the strengths and beauty of black women and instead seek white women or date outside their race. And I think it has alot to do with how the media portrays black women as mean and bitter and constantly angry for LIKE NO apparent reason and its just insulting (in my opinion) to see that our own men don’t see the beauty in us. I don’t really have a problem with interracial love as long as its not stemmed from dislike of black women and while we are talking about black men dating outside of their race, how about we talk about the double standard and the doubled edged sword that is used when black women outside of their race. :) I liked your piece, good work.

    1. Very nicely stated — eventually there will be countries full of blended people — race will be replaced by geographic ideals

    2. Thanks for your comment! I agree with a lot of what you said, especially about the media portrayal of the black woman, but I take issue with this statement:

      “I think more of the insult of black men dating white women stems from the fact that black men don’t seem to value the strengths and beauty of black women and instead seek white women or date outside their race”

      I guess I’ve never really understood this. I don’t understand why a black man dating a white woman is perceived as him not valuing the strengths and beauty of black women. Why can’t a black man be with a white woman simply because he really loves her, and not because he has something against black women?
      I’m not saying that there aren’t black men who date outside their race because of the reasons you stated, but I think this is a small minority.

      Also, it’s a phenomenon you rarely see in other races, at least here in the United States. I’ve never heard a woman from another race disparaging a marriage between a man who shares their race and a woman who doesn’t. Not saying it doesn’t happen, but it seems to happen waaaay more with black women. Again I think I must point to the “us vs. them” mentality. If a black man is marrying one of “them” it must mean he doesn’t value “us”. I think this viewpoint is very narrow-minded and is damaging to the black community.

      Again, thanks for your comment! I really enjoyed reading it :)

      1. “I guess I’ve never really understood this. I don’t understand why a black man dating a white woman is perceived as him not valuing the strengths and beauty of black women. Why can’t a black man be with a white woman simply because he really loves her, and not because he has something against black women?”
        Let me help you understand. From the time a Black boy is born, he is inundated with images of White women. Society sees her as the standard of beauty. Many women around the world want to be closely associated with her because she’s seen as the purest form of beauty. This ideal is not lost on Black men or women. He sees commercials, music videos and TV/movies depicting WW or any women resembling her as the “prize,” and he wants it.
        Do not get me wrong. I’m not saying all of them, but many of them. Many Black men (especially dark-skinned ones) are very insecure. These “other” women represent the prize or trophy. That’s a fact. She is simply seen as more superior than the women who share their same ethnicity.
        However, there are those who don’t see the race of a woman and fall in love. We aren’t talking about them. We are talking about the color struck Black men who blame Black women for why they date out. There is an all-out WAR against Black women, and we are getting hit left, right, from the top and bottom. Many Black men will publicly demean Black women. I do not recall seeing other races of men doing that. There is something twisted in the minds of many Black men, but they won’t admit it. Many Black men don’t value themselves. I know it sound all romantic to believe it’s all about love. They’ll play the “L” (love) or “preference” cards to justify their mental garbage. Again, I’m not speaking of those who are in love, but those who are in denial.
        I hope that answers your question.
        P.S. Go on youtube and look up videos of the myriad of Black men who spew hatred toward Black women, and you’ll see what I mean.

    3. Why do black women want us so bad? Hurry up and date another race have kids so that America can be like Brazil or Latin America with good looking mixed people everywhere. I’m half Puerto Rican myself my sister is too. She is with a white Rican. I don’t care, but I don’t know American Black women are really stuck on claiming and being with us and I’m tired of the whole why aren’t you with a black girl thing. There is no double edged sword it’s in your head, be with who you want.

  2. Very nice stated — eventually there will be countries full of blended people — race will be replaced by geographic ideals

  3. First I want to thank you for this article because it’s not often I see another mullato saying the things I say and believe, too! Biracial people who want to do for themselves and define themselves are rare, so it’s nice to meet another one. Hi. :)

    But, I have many thoughts on this article. Before we begin, know that I am a 23 year old biracial woman, half black half white, and very lightskinned and fair. My eyes are green, my hair is curly and light brown. I ID as mixed.

    “They would often be given jobs in the house (hence the term “house negro”) as opposed to having to work the backbreaking “field negro” jobs outside.”

    Make no mistake, being a “house negro” was arguably just as hard, albeit in different ways, as being a “field negro”. Most women who were brought into the house were raped on a regular basis and they worked back-breaking domestic duties from before sunrise to well after sunset.

    “Both white and black people seem to view mulattoes as more black than white.”

    This has not been my experience whatsoever. I am so fair that black and white people alike seldom know what I am. Some can tell I’m mixed black/white, others assume I’m Latina, Middle Eastern, or sometimes to the very naive, just plain white. When a black person does find out that I’m mullato, they do not see me as black, they see me as mixed. Which is fine! I see myself as mixed, too. But you can be mixed and still “read” as black, the way my brothers do. It’s for this reason that President Obama is in fact our first black president. Firstly, he identifies as black, so that’s good enough for me. Second, blackness comes in many shades. Just because he’s not dark doesn’t mean he’s not black (this is in response to the “blackwashing” photo and not anything you wrote in the article proper). Third, the world at large treats him as black. He “reads” as black. The racism he’s been subjected to during his terms? It’s not because he’s biracial. It’s because he’s black. You can be mixed black and white and be still be black.

    “however, mulattos are … fighting to define themselves as what they truly are: equal parts black and white.”

    Thank you for this, because I’ve been repeating this for the past few years–I want mullatos to identify as THAT! As mixed, because we don’t have to be forced into one box or the other, worrying if we’re “black enough” or “white enough” when we can so easily just be both. You never have to be “mixed enough” for our club! But again, identifying with a certain label is all fine and dandy, but how you “read” will affect how people and society treat you.

    The above two points lead me to this: “This is really part of a bigger issue- the conceptualization of race as something that is clear-cut when in reality it’s about as far from clear-cut as possible”

    This I include because its absolutely true and plays in to “reading” as a certain race, because at some point it gets very… Seemingly arbitrary. How dark does someone have to be to be “black”. How wide does their nose have to be, how thick their lips, how coiled their hair. I’ve got thicker lips and nose than my brother but he’s got the darker skin–what features in what amount will classify one as “black” in our society, to other black people? These things I think about a lot, as a biracial with passing privilege I wish I did not have.

    Just my two cents, of course. I loved this article and agree with mostly everything you’re saying, and thank you again for writing it, we need more mullato voices out there.

    1. Hey Bea! Thank you so much for your comment!

      I’ll start by saying I didn’t mean to trivialize the jobs of the house slaves- I recognize that their jobs were extremely hard and the psychological torture that especially the women were put through (via sexual violence) is arguably just as bad if not worse than the physical torture of the whip.

      The point I was making, however, is that there was a level of resentment from field slaves towards house slaves. They were typically perceived as being somewhat privileged by the field slaves, regardless at to how far from privileged they actually were.

      Also, you make a good point about our racial ambiguity. You’re right, when most people SEE a mixed person, they often have a LOT of trouble figuring out what we are. I should have worded that better- I was moreso saying that once somebody actually learns that a person is half black half white that they tend to view that person as more black than white. This is my experience personally, and I have seen this constantly with other mixed people too. However, it’s definitely not universal, and may be somewhat related to where you live (I’m in Texas).

      On the topic of Obama, did he ever actually come out and identify himself as black? I don’t ever remember that happening (although I could be wrong). It was definitely a political advantage for him to be seen simply as black, and I think he worried about alienating the black vote by calling attention to his mixed-ness. The image wasn’t supposed to illustrate blackwashing, it was supposed to represent the one-drop rule.

      Thanks again for your comment! I’m glad you enjoyed the piece! :)

  4. Colorism is a cancer in the Black community that has its roots in the historical practices of whites categorizing and separating Blacks on the basis of phenotype and perceived proximity to whiteness. Your claim that Blacks who identify as mulatto are accepted across racial groups is patently false. The definition of “acceptance” is “the action or process of being received as adequate or suitable, typically to be admitted into a group.”
    Light-skinned Blacks are only acceptable in America to the extent that they represent a palatable form of Blackness (in their physical presentation) that contrasts with the unacceptable dark-skinned person. You see, your “acceptance” as a light-skinned Black person in non-Black social spaces is provisional and has nothing to do with your relationship to the romanticized American racial struggle. Were there not a dark-skinned Black with whom you could be compared to reinforce your perceived closeness to whiteness, the degree to which you would be embraced by the larger society would diminish, as you would become the most identifiable (and least desirable) racial “other.” Moreover, much of the tolerance (that you have mischaracterized as “acceptance”) that you experience as a light-skinned Black person is rooted in the historical practice of exoticizing your kind. It’s not a loving embrace of your light skin. It’s the same sort of fascination that one has with a newly-acquired tiger cub: it’s cute and novel until it becomes threatening in any way. Then, it’s disposable.
    On the point of relating to the dominant white culture, no, you cannot. It is impossible to see things from a perspective that you simply will never be able to occupy. With the exception of Blacks who “pass” as white in the larger society, Black who classify themselves as mulatto are, for the most part, visibly identifiable and therefore subject to discrimination. As long as your body “gives you away” as a person of African descent (or as anything other than white as our society defines it), you are precluded from having a white experience and understanding what it feels like and means to be white. The closest that the light-skinned Black can come to understanding the dominant white perspective is by engaging in speculation based on observation and conversation. You can *imagine* what it might be like to be white, but you can never know. As such, the light-skinned Black is in no better position to have a deeper understanding of whiteness than the dark-skinned Black is. Dark-skinned Blacks can imagine things, too.
    Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the point must be made that IN THE AMERICAS, BEING BLACK HAS *ALWAYS* MEANT BEING MIXED. If you do a genetic analysis of any self-defined Black/mulatto/trigueño/creole/coolie/indio/light-skinned/etc. person in this hemisphere, you will invariably find an admixture of African, Indigenous/Native, and European blood. The only thing that varies is proportion, not content. What irks me the most about this conversation is that we have started posit Blackness as something “pure” when the case has always been that Blacks are defined by our diversity and heterogeneity.
    Being Black is experiential, and it encompasses–and always has encompassed–the experience of having a white (or Native or Asian or…) parent. When one distances him/herself from the construction of Blackness in America by staking out a separate space that appeals to colonial categorization schemes, it may offer temporary relief of psychic anxieties around identity, but ultimately it serves to weaken the larger struggle of people of African descent by fragmenting our loyalties.
    I think that Black people with one parent of another race (or those who are the product of parents who both identify as “mixed”) feel like “Black” is an inadequate label. This is the result of infighting, a breakdown in conversation, and a shift in our understanding of what Black means. Perhaps part of the solution is to move away from colonial labels that Europeans gave us (including Black and mulatto… as impractical as that may be) and moving toward a system of classification that explicitly affirms both our unity and our diversity as people of African descent. What we must do away with in addition, however, is this notion that Black people are not “mixed” and that “mixed” people are not Black.

  5. “You see, your “acceptance” as a light-skinned Black person in non-Black social spaces is provisional and has nothing to do with your relationship to the romanticized American racial struggle.”

    -I never claimed that my acceptance in non-Black circles had anything to do with America’s racial past. I think it has much more to do with the fact that mulatto people (equally half and half) are just as familiar with white culture as Black.

    “The closest that the light-skinned Black can come to understanding the dominant white perspective is by engaging in speculation based on observation and conversation. You can *imagine* what it might be like to be white, but you can never know. As such, the light-skinned Black is in no better position to have a deeper understanding of whiteness than the dark-skinned Black is.”

    -If by “speculation based on observation and conversation” you mean being raised by a white mom and spending the majority of your childhood and life around her and her extended family, then sure. But saying that all of this life experience isn’t enough to understand the white perspective is a bit ridiculous. And if you’re still convinced that I can only *imagine* the white perspective, then I must counter by saying that if that’s the case, I can only *imagine* the black perspective as well. It’s based on the same “speculation” that my understanding of the white perspective is. Also, the fact that you use the term “light-skinned Black” reinforces my point about mulattos being automatically defined. I’m just as much a “dark-skinned white” as I am a “light-skinned black”.

    “Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, the point must be made that IN THE AMERICAS, BEING BLACK HAS *ALWAYS* MEANT BEING MIXED. If you do a genetic analysis of any self-defined Black/mulatto/trigueño/creole/coolie/indio/light-skinned/etc. person in this hemisphere, you will invariably find an admixture of African, Indigenous/Native, and European blood. The only thing that varies is proportion, not content.”

    -This is a great point that I totally agree with. But I must take it a step further to say, in reality, EVERYONE is really mixed to a certain extent. I agree that blackness is not a pure thing. My piece is more about the relationship between children of two “black” parents and children of one “white” and one “black” parent. I used quotation marks in the last section because we could argue forever about the slight genetic differences therein, but for the sake of conversation we must use terms that are already somewhat defined by society. So when I say white or black parent, I mean someone who is predominantly white or black.

    “Being Black is experiential, and it encompasses–and always has encompassed–the experience of having a white (or Native or Asian or…) parent. When one distances him/herself from the construction of Blackness in America by staking out a separate space that appeals to colonial categorization schemes, it may offer temporary relief of psychic anxieties around identity, but ultimately it serves to weaken the larger struggle of people of African descent by fragmenting our loyalties.”

    -I respect your opinion that blackness encompasses the experience of having a non-black parent but again, what gives you the authority to tell me that I must be a part of the “black experience” anymore than I must be part of the “white experience”? You saying that I am distancing myself from blackness is a point that I already made in my original piece. Why does me “staking out a separate space” weaken the black struggle? And to be clear I’m not doing it to “appeal to colonial categorization schemes”, I’m doing it because like I say in my piece, I’m equal parts white and black. I’m not distancing myself from blackness anymore than I am from whiteness. Let’s be clear, I love black people and am very proud of my African heritage. I know the black struggle and do everything I can to promote black advancement. But I also love ALL people. I have no loyalties to any particular race, even though I define myself as mulatto. My loyalty is to the human race.

    Thanks for your comment! Promoting dialogue is what these pieces are all about.

    1. “-I never claimed that my acceptance in non-Black circles had anything to do with America’s racial past.”
      Yes, you did: “Despite all this racial tug and pull, most mulattos tend to be accepted by pretty much any group- not only by white and black people but every other race as well. It’s because we embody the American racial struggle.” You literally stated that you embody the historical struggle that Americans have had around race.
      “I think it has much more to do with the fact that mulatto people (equally half and half) are just as familiar with white culture as Black.”
      What is this “white culture” that you’re referring to, and to what information is the mulatto privy that the negro is not? Being Black in this country means possessing that DuBoisian “double consciousness.” That is, the negro must not only understand him/herself and his/her own context; moreover, s/he has to understand what the larger culture makes of him/her. That’s the nature of being a colonized minority. Furthermore, your “equally half and half” idea is hugely problematic. We’ve already established that ALL Black people are mixed. So, what qualifies as an “equal” admixture? If, for example, both of my parents are individuals who self-identify as Black despite each having a white parent, am I a mulatto? Or am I just Black? What if each of my parents had one white grandparent? Am I Black yet? What if my dad is white and my mom is Black (with one white parent)? Am I less Black than a “mulatto?” Is it even worth making the distinction? When and where is is appropriate to draw those lines?
      “But saying that all of this life experience isn’t enough to understand the white perspective is a bit ridiculous.”
      What white experience? All that white people have in common is the collective experience of being privileged. And the nature of privilege is that is goes largely unnoticed by those who possess it. There is no “white culture.” What Black people have in common is also a collective experience. It’s a collective experience of historical trauma and systematic, institutionalized oppression. Granted, some whites–like the Ashkenazi Jews–have histories that include moments of oppression, but that is an experience that makes them *different* from other whites while also unifying them with other Jews. Unfortunately, Black people don’t have the same sense of loyalty. In addition to the shared experience of historical and ongoing racial oppression, most Blacks in this country share a common bloodline. The United States had the only self-sustaining slave population in this hemisphere due to the ban on importing Africans in 1808. The population grew from 1.2 million in 1808 to about 4 million in 1865 when the Civil War culminated. The fact is that we are tied by our blood as much as we are by our experience of oppression. The triumph of our African ancestors bind us together just as much as the atrocities that we face as a group.
      “And if you’re still convinced that I can only *imagine* the white perspective, then I must counter by saying that if that’s the case, I can only *imagine* the black perspective as well. It’s based on the same “speculation” that my understanding of the white perspective is.”
      We need to clearly articulate what it means to be white and what it means to be Black. First of all, to be *anything* is a social experience. You don’t get to be something simply because you decide that it is so personally. It’s frustrating, for sure, but it’s the reality that we inhabit. The only reason that my name means anything is because there’s someone there to call me by it. It’s about how we move in the world, not on what terms we think the system should deal with us. Thus, being white is a social experience that requires that others see you (and therefore treat you) as white. Unless you are 100% passable as a white person and openly identify yourself as a white person, you will never have an experience that we can authentically call a “white” experience. For example, I have a white Arab friend who tells me stories all the time about people using the n*gger word around him because they don’t realize that he identifies as a person of color. Does that ever happen to most light-skinned Blacks? Do white people not recognize them as minorities? Conversely, how often is the light-skinned Black identified by others as being such? When a Black person with a white parent is on the news, do they explain his/her admixture? How is the light-skinned Black treated by whites? As an equal? As a white peer? Really think about it. Your experience, by virtue of the fact that you have a Black phenotype, is a minority experience because people treat you a certain way based on how you look. Therefore, you don’t have to imagine what a Black experience is like. You live one. You live one in a way that you could never live a white once because society won’t permit you to be (treated as) white.
      “My piece is more about the relationship between children of two “black” parents and children of one “white” and one “black” parent. I used quotation marks in the last section because we could argue forever about the slight genetic differences therein, but for the sake of conversation we must use terms that are already somewhat defined by society”
      As society defines it, the offspring of one Black and one white parent is a Black child. We still operate under a one drop mindset.
      “what gives you the authority to tell me that I must be a part of the “black experience” anymore than I must be part of the “white experience”?”
      It’s not about telling you what you have to do; I’m simply being direct and honest about reality. I’m not quibbling about whether or not you have the right to plunge over a cliff; I’m just explaining how gravity works.
      “I’m not doing it to “appeal to colonial categorization schemes”[...] I define myself as mulatto.”
      The word “mulatto” itself derives from a Spanish/Portuguese word: mula. It means “mule”: the sterile offspring of a donkey and a horse. What’s that say about how the colonial master viewed you? And how you view yourself?

      1. I agree with a lot of the points you’re making, but it seems your overarching theme here is that I am defined as black because that’s the way society views me. I’d argue that much of this is because mixed people have never really had an opportunity to define themselves until fairly recently. Yes, much of the institutionalized racism of the past is still very much alive today- I recognize that I am behind the 8-ball to a certain extent in life because of the fact that I’m half black. But does that mean I should just accept it as “the way things are”? I don’t. Mixed people have a very unique experience in this country, and I think we have earned the right to define ourselves however we’d like- even if this isn’t the way we are scene by white society or black society for that matter. Recognizing the past and why things are the way they are is one thing, but I think it’s nihilistic to believe that I must go along with these antiquated definitions, even if they’re still very much present in our society.

        And for clarification, I used the term “mulatto” because it’s defined in the dictionary as a person who is half black and half white. A lot of our racial definitions come from racist pasts; I used that term because it’s the accepted term in our society. Me using that term doesn’t mean I view myself as a “sterile mule”, even if the colonial masters who came up with it generations ago might see me that way.

      2. “Mixed people have a very unique experience in this country,”
        What’s unique about it? You have yet to specify.
        “…and I think we have earned the right to define ourselves however we’d like- even if this isn’t the way we are scene [sic] by white society or black society for that matter.”
        Here’s the crux of my issues with your position: what is the end goal of defining your experience as unique? *Everyone’s* experience is unique to the extent that it is their own and no one else’s. Why do you have such a resistance to identifying with one group (Blacks) and not another (“mixed”)? Your experience is as close to (and as far from) any Black person’s as it is from any “mixed” person’s. If your argument is that you’re so special that you deserve to have your own category, why don’t you have a problem with ALL group labels? Why aren’t you just mbiyimoh g.? Why belong to ANY group?
        Furthermore, suppose, for the sake of argument, that I accept your proposition about the uniqueness of a “mixed” experience and I accept your proposal to use the label. All that means is that all Black people are now “mixed” people. Now what? Do you create yet ANOTHER label to flee from us again?
        If you decide to have children with a white person, will they be mixed? What about if your children reproduce with white people. Are they still mixed? What if your grandchildren reproduce with whites? Are they white yet? What if the same situation occurred except with Blacks? At what point does someone become Black? At what point does someone become white? If we’re all mixed, what’s the point of staking out a separate ground for yourself? You speak ill of these “antiquated” categorization schemes, and yet you subscribe to them yourself. If you didn’t, you wouldn’t feel the need to speak about a mixture between two racial groups that only exist to the extent that we recognize them *socially.*

      3. I believe that the disconnect in our opinion is a result of experience. You see me writing this piece as trying to call attention to my racial uniqueness. You (justifiably) interpret my piece as me trying to lay claim to a separate racial classification for people like myself, which is why you object to a certain extent.

        But to view this piece with proper perspective you have to understand that mixed people, especially those who could pass for a number of different races, are regularly asked to racially define themselves. That’s why I feel there is some of the attempt to accurately define ourselves. When you LOOK easily racially identifiable, people rarely ask you the question, “What are you?”

        This question is a constant refrain in the life of someone who can’t quickly be categorized into the average person’s racial boxes. So while I understand you criticizing me for drawing attention to my racial identity at all, you must understand that all my life I have continually been asked to define myself by others. THIS is the uniqueness of the mixed experience, insofar as this mixed person can easily pass for a number of different races.

        Being constantly asked to define yourself in terms that are in their essence completely arbitrary, especially during childhood and adolescence qualifies as a unique experience in my opinion.

      4. Saying my use of the term mulatto is reflective of my views about myself is like me saying that black people who use the word nigga believe all of its old racist connotations about themselves.

  6. I loved reading this article, my ancestors were slaves in America and were black however when people see me they absolutely cannot comprehend how I can be mixed. I am VERY fair skinned and have blonde hair. In highschool I filled bubbled African American and white and was called into the office and asked
    If I was making a joke… In my family tree I just happen to be descended from lighter skinned ancestors, my cousins are all much darker than i am. I had older relatives who were brothers where the lighter skinned brother would not speak to the darker brother and passed as white and their defendants still don’t talk. I liked what you wrote about people thinking because you are part black you are black however with me it’s different, because people can’t see it they refuse to believe it and even tell me I can’t consider myself mixed when my mother went to a segregated all black high school. It is shocking to me how people respond to me when I tell them I’m mixed and I always have to prepare myself for at least a 10 min explanation (and old family photos are often necessary.) this also makes me think of how we perceive dog breeds (probably because I work in a grooming salon and deal with dogs daily.) I recently took my dog who is half lab and half pit bull to doggy day camp where he was refused because his physical features look like he’s a pit bull. When I tell people he is half lab they become more comfortable with the idea of him but just because of his physical appearance he is discriminated against. I imagine some of his siblings could “pass” as labs and others couldn’t with the same parents. Sometimes I feel like this might be an eaisier way I explain how I’m mixed to people because they don’t seem to get it when I put it in terms of humans!

    1. Thanks for your awesome comment! I’m glad you enjoyed the piece. I smiled a few times reading your comment because of the experiences that we share- particularly the part about the 10-minute explanation of racial/ethnic heritage.

      But it makes me truly sad to hear about your other relative brothers who stopped speaking simply because differences in complexion. I think people in general (not just black people) use differences in color to justify their particular attitudes or insecurities. When you’re a black person struggling to make it, it’s much easier to disparage the “favoritism” shown to a successful light-skinned person than to acknowledge that there are plenty of successful dark-skinned people as well, since that would be a reflection of your own shortcomings, rather than blaming the problem on something outside of your own control.

      Your dog breed analogy was great. I don’t think people realize how wide of a spectrum of skin colors full-blood siblings of mixed background can have. It makes me think of the punnet-squares we learned about in genetics. Parents of a mixed background can have one child who exhibits only the dominant gene and another that exhibits only the recessive gene. Most people are either ignorant of this or can’t extend it into the real world of race relations.

      Thanks again for your comment and I’m glad you enjoyed the piece! Help me share it with others!

  7. It makes no sense for blacks to expect biracials to “not show emotion” or “act black” (whatever that really means), when we are part-white and don’t have a “black experience”. Plus, it’s silly to change our personalities to fit in with anyone. The biracial experience is unique and it would be phony of me to act all standoffish when I haven’t gone through the harsh black experiences that lead to that standoffish attitude.

  8. By calling herself “black,” the author is sending a message to blacks that they own her and can treat her any way they please. Reject hypodescent and the “one drop nonsense. Stop being slaves to blacks and be yourselves. Your whiteness is your freedom. Don’t be afraid or ashamed to claim it. Latinos and Arabs with buckets rather than drops of the dreaded “black blood” claim whiteness and the freedom to define themselves. Why not Anglos and Creoles of mixed ancestry?
    http://melungeon.ning.com/forum/topics/5th-union-presentation-by-a-d-powell
    I strongly believe that the evidence shows that blacks are worried that there is too much racism against blacks but NOT ENOUGH RACISM to keep uppity mixed-bloods on the “black” plantation. Notice that they don’t dare to “one drop” Latinos and Arabs because those groups have too much power. The backlash would be intense if they tried AND their white liberal allies would quickly “put them in their place.” Mixed Anglos and Creoles are vulnerable because we are politically unorganized, culturally divided and geographically dispersed. I also believe that the “blacks come n all colors” crowd have an intense fear that they are not really genetically equal to whites, Asians, etc. and need all the white and other non-black genes they can beg, borrow or steal.

    1. This is an awesome, well thought out comment! Thank you for your input! The waters of racial identity and ethnic background have been muddied by centuries of discrimination and persecution, making it extremely difficult for people living in today’s society to make sense of it all. I feel like discussing these issues with others, however, is the best possible way to get past all of the race-based hang-ups we are all hindered by to varying extents, so I must again thank you for your insightful comment!

      I’m glad you enjoyed the piece and encourage you to share it with others to keep the dialogue going!

    2. Neither Latino nor Arab are racial categories. They are ethic groups (unified by language and other aspects of culture). There are Black Latinos and Black Arabs in addition to White or Asian Arabs and Latinos. I would encourage everyone of African descent to claim that heritage, regardless of their ethnicity.

  9. I thoroughly enjoyed your article on being biracial. As a biracial myself, it’s true that it is indeed a unique experience. Every biracial person has their own background and their own journey. All biracials are different in phenotype. With regard to the “white experience vs. black experience” I felt that I could connect with what you were saying, despite what “Ekundayo” felt the need to badger you about. I don’t know if they themselves are black or what, but I feel it was highly unfair to harshly judge your experiences, just as it would be to do the same for for Liz, who’s experience is from the opposite side of the spectrum, or from mine (I’m also a “Liz”), where I fit in the middle.

    I wasn’t born in America. Me and my family are from the Latin/Caribbean and I am classified as Hispanic in this country. As far as feeling “white” or identifying with the ‘white’ experience, for me, as a Latino, my perspective is different and ‘being white’ or associating with ‘white’ is foreign to me because in my country, there isn’t much ‘white’ that you see. The majority of Latinos in Latin America are mixed and the hues range from very light to black, but in Latin America, you’re not classified by ‘white’, ‘black’ or otherwise. You identify by the country you come from…Me? I’m from Guatemala, with Mayan ancestry (which would be the indigenous Indian or Asian marking in my DNA breakdown), as well as African (Sub-Saharan), and lastly, a large percentage of European (white), even more than my African ancestry–yet I don’t see myself as either.

    I will agree that color-ism exists in Latin America, as it does in just about every country around the world, Asia, India, etc., so it’s not exclusive to Latin America. So with that, in Latin America, one is also identified by the color of their skin, in my case, I’m of a light, beige complexion, commonly described as olive, which is a very common complexion, even among whites in this country. Being in the middle for me is where I feel most comfortable, because my desire is not to identify as “white,” nor is it to be exclusively “black.” I too have had the same experience as “Ekundayo’s” Arab friend where other non-blacks have spoken to me about blacks in an unflattering manner, not realizing to them, that I was indeed part black as well….Does that constitute as a “white experience” in the eyes of your friend there “Ekundayo”??? Either way, he or she can’t speak for me or anyone else, unless they have walked in our shoes. Which is why it is very important that biracial or mixed people should feel free to express their identity as they see fit and should be accepted in that right. I am identified as Latin or Hispanic to most people and I find that when I reveal that I am partly black to a black person in this country, I will occasionally receive that type of retort that your friend “Ekundayo” will relay. Or it will be something like “I knew you were black”…or “I could tell!” or every once in a while I’ll get “Are you black, cause you look like it!”, as though it’s obvious to everyone–except it isn’t, but yet, it’s like trying to compare apples with oranges when you attempt to engage in a debate with one of them…like your friend “Ekundayo” again! If I reveal my racial identity to any other person of non-black persuasion, they accept my answer and move on, without the need to grill me about my “blackness”, etc.

    Not only am I a product of interracial love, as with many of my family members, but my son is as well. I dated, married and conceived a ‘quadroon’ child, with my ex-husband of European (white) descent, whom I was married to for nearly 12 years, until we grew apart, as does many young relationships that dissolve among couples, regardless of race. In fact, race was never an issue in our relationship, nor were we subjected to adverse stares or disgust from the general public, as my “blackness” was not visible to everyone who encountered us. I never endured such questions or stares of whether my child was indeed mine, as my child looked just like me, a Latin person. In fact, people always knew who was my son in a crowd, because I was often told that he looked just like me. In fact, many people would say that he looked like both his father and I, as I’m sure many kids experienced as well. My ex-husband, although white, never viewed me as black, despite knowing my racial mix. In fact, he would often say, when we were visiting my family members; “I forgot you’re part black”. Why do you suppose it was easy for him to forget? …Just another example that not all white people view mixed race people (of black & white mix), as only black. I lived that truth and I continue to each day in my life of both “white & black experience”. When I’ve been asked out on dates by men, the majority have always been white, even though my preference has always been a fellow Latino.

    Coming from the Latin/Caribbean to this country, it always baffled me about this “one drop rule” nonsense that I never subscribed to. I knew it was idiotic from the start and to learn that it was created by racist whites, it continues to baffle me now that the majority of proponents of this nonsense, which is no longer valid, lives on in the minds of African Americans, because it means that anyone with one drop of black blood is tainted. Why do African Americans embrace such terrible terms used to degrade themselves with, such as “the one drop rule” and the worst word of all: “nigger”??? This is something I’ve never understood and I don’t think I ever will, but I am relieved that I don’t have to use them myself, nor were they ever used on me (unless it came from one of them), nor will I ever! I don’t doubt that racist whites use these terms as well, but from my experience so far, that appears to be a dying breed–literally, since most of those kinds have one foot in the grave! Soon when that old generation dies off, maybe things will get better regarding race.

    Lately, to me, it seems that there are more racist blacks, at least that’s MY perception, I can’t speak for everyone else here. But as a Latino, I’ve had my fair share of racist or cultural insults from both white & blacks alike as well; with such terms as “wet back”, “Spic” and “Mexican” (not that there isn’t anything wrong with that, but if you’re going to label me, use the right type of Latino, because not every Latino is Mexican for goodness sakes! lol)

    1. i am really glad you liked my piece and i thoroughly enjoyed reading your comment! being multi-racial is a very singular experience, and much of that experience is shaped by your environment. while i tend to disagree with people like Ekundayo i do understand why they think the way they do and i cannot condemn them for it. race, especially in the united states is like a giant onion: you have to peel back layer after stinky layer to understand the extremely complex system of race relations we have here today (it also often bring people to tears like an onion as well lol). i found your viewpoints particularly interesting because i am not as familiar with the ways in which race are handled in the latino community. the lasting legacy of slavery has really tainted any clear examination of race in this country, so i like learning about how race and colorism factor into other people’s cultures.

      if you’re ever interested in writing a guest piece for our website about your particular experiences coming from such a diverse background and your views on race and colorism in the US and/or in latin america, we would be honored!

  10. mbiyimoh g. Thank you for the kudos. That is very nice of you to appreciate what I wrote. I just feel that I was expressing what was in my heart. It just frustrates me sometimes, when as a mixed race person, I’m expected to fall in line with a common way of thinking in this country. It just angers me that I can’t be who I am, without any excuses.

    And although pop culture is slowy coming around, I feel that we’ve been here forever, and what is taking them so long to get with the program as far as showing what mixed race really looks like on TV and in movies, instead of always using us as the representative of what typical African Americans look like. It’s not fair to them, and it’s certainly not fair to us, because we are being deprived of being who we really are, as unique as we want to be and not feel the pressure to be lumped into just one group of people, when we all have different backgrounds and come from vastly different walks of life.

    I was raised in a Latin Caribbean culture, so I don’t know anything about Kwanza or Negro Spirituals, no more than your average African American would know anything about my culture of Quicenieras, plantains and midnight mass.

    But I guess it’s typical isn’t it? I mean, to your average American, they automatically call a person of Latin heritage “Mexican” or someone of Asian ancestry “Chinese”. It’s just laziness on their part not to see more than what the most convenient label there is for them to jump to. They also fail to recognize that it’s insulting to someone who is proud of who they are and where they come from.

    I’m not sure what more I can bring to this topic, but I will say that when something affects me at that moment in time, there are times when I want to purge myself of the hurt feelings that plague me in that moment. It’s almost like a cleansing. Once I release that thought out into the air, I feel a little bit lighter. It beats having to build up those negative feelings so that they fester into something unhealthy.

  11. .
    ” It often comes as a surprise
    for people to discover that …
    `There is No Such Thing as a
    “Light Skinned Black” person’.

    The actual term of “Light Skinned Black”
    is nothing more that a racist oxymoron
    that was coined by racial supremacists
    — in an effort to try to forcibly deny the
    many `Mixed-Race’ people who were / are
    of a Multi-Generational Multiracially-Mixed
    (MGM-Mixed) Ancestral Lineage the right
    TO both embrace (and also receive public
    support in openly acknowledging) the
    physically visible (and obvious)
    FACT of their FULL-ancestry.

    The eugenicists and other racial-supremacists
    created a non-scientific, spurious and racist concept
    called the `One-Drop Rule’ (ODR) in an effort
    to falsely label any Black bloodlines found in a
    Mixed-Race individual’s ancestral lineage as being
    both an “inferior” and a “contaminated” “taint”
    that was so “filthy” and “vile” that even a mere
    `drop’ of it had quite literally managed (and would
    eternally continue) to destroy the actual existence of
    all of the other blood-lineages found in their ancestry.

    [NOTE: More information on the racist,
    reeking, odious ODR is found below.]

    Again, the so-called “Light Skinned Black” people
    are simply `Multi-Generational Multiracially-Mixed’
    (MGM-Mixed) / `Mixed-Race’ people who happened
    to have been from families that BOTH BECAME
    (AND CONTINUALLY-REMAINED) Mixed-Race
    THROUGHOUT their multiple generations.

    [PLEASE NOTE that THIS IS NOT stating or implying
    that having a LIGHT-Complexioned SKIN tone
    IS THE `ONLY’ (OR even a `REQUIRED’) PROOF
    of any person being OF MIXED-RACE LINEAGE.

    It’s simply stating that the person’s Light-complexioned
    skin coloring and tone is quite clearly an UNDENIABLE
    physical PROOF of the FACT that their family’s Ancestral
    Lineage has been `CONTINUALLY’ racially Admixed
    `THROUGHOUT’ the GENERATIONS (from the very first
    occurrence of “racial” admixing up to their very present
    generation of such – ex. Griffe marries Metis, etc.).

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    THE KEY to actually being a `Multi-Generational
    Multiracially-Mixed’ (MGM-Mixed) Mixed-Race
    individual IS ONE’S LINEAGE-CONTINUITY!!

    In order to be of the Mixed-Race ‘type’ that is
    known as `Multi-Generational Multiracially-Mixed’
    or `MGM-Mixed’ — one’s ancestry MUST have
    BOTH BECOME & REMAINED (at least 25%)
    racially-admixed THROUGHOUT all of their
    family generations — starting with the
    very first occurrence of admixture
    up unto their present generation!

    [Simply having 1 or 2 "ancient-ancestors"
    who are said to have been of some
    "other race" and that are allegedly
    found "somewhere-down-the-line"
    (ex. a great-grand whatever of another
    "race") -- DOES NOT -- make anyone
    MGM-Mixed^ (or else nearly everyone
    found on the planet could then (falsely)
    claim that they are MGM-Mixed ^).
    (^Multi-Generational Multiracially-Mixed)]

    Being `Multi-Generational Multiracially-Mixed’
    or ‘MGM-Mixed’ REQUIRES that a person’s
    lineage has a “CONTINUITY-of-Admixture”.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    A NOTE ON …. The Racist
    `One-Drop’ Rule (ODR):

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    The ‘One-Drop’ Rule (ODR) — [which is the false
    teaching that 'any amount' (even one, tiny, minute
    `drop') of Black ancestral lineage would make any
    a person who is of a Mixed-Race lineage "full Black"]
    — is quite simply nothing more than racism.

    The racist, reeking, odious ODR was created during
    the antebellum / chattel-slavery era of the continental
    U.S. by racial-supremacists in order to get people to
    believe the false racist myth that the so-called White
    “race” was “pure” … and to also falsely look upon
    the Black “racial” admixture (even the slightest
    amount – down to one mere `drop’) that was found
    within a Mixed-Race person’s ancestral lineage —
    as being a vile “taint” that was so very `filthy’
    and `contaminated’ that it literally “destroyed”
    every single `drop’ of non-Black blood that
    was found in the persons’ ancestral lineage.

    To embrace the ‘One-Drop Rule’ … is the
    equivalent of BOTH embracing “racism”
    and also embracing the false and racist
    teaching that a Mixed-Race person’s
    Black ancestral lineage is “tainted”.

    My advice is that a non-Racist should *not*
    embrace the concept of the ‘One-Drop Rule’
    — as “Black blood” is *not* “tainted” — and
    should never be perceived or embraced
    as being so (not even in the name
    of so-called “pride” and “unity”).

    The racist ‘One Drop Rule’ (ODR) is an offense to
    the pride of people who are of a full-Black lineage
    and to people who of a Mixed-Race lineage that
    includes a part-Black ancestry as well — and this
    FACT is also why it is not a ‘unifying’ force at all
    — but rather, it is a racist attack on their heritages.

    In addition, legally-speaking – any attempted
    forcible application of the racist ‘One-Drop Rule’
    (ODR) — against any individual or group — was
    ruled as UN-constitutional (i.e. made `illegal’)
    by the United States Supreme Court in 1967
    via the case of ‘Loving vs. The State of Virginia’.

    [Through the 'Loving vs. Virginia' case, the U.S.
    Supreme Court, ruled against both all of the laws
    banning Interracial marriage -- and -- also ruled
    that any so-called law which forcibly applied the
    'One Drop Rule' -- was racist, discriminatory,
    illegal, unconstitutional, and non-enforcible.

    That decision (`The "Loving" Decision' or `The "Loving"
    Case) struck down the racist `VA Racial Integrity Act'
    (VRIA) and every `Anti-Miscegenation Law' (AML) found
    in the U.S. — AS WELL AS the racist, `One-Drop Rule'
    (ODR) on which both the VRIA & the AMLs were based!]

    So … essentially … there has been no legal
    application of the racist “ONE-DROP RULE’
    (ODR) found within the U.S. SINCE 1967.

    [i.e. The stench of the reeking, racist, odious ODR
    (which openly-mocked, cruelly-degraded and also
    falsely-accused one's black-bloodlines of being a
    `contaminated taint' that destroyed the existence
    of any and all of one's other / non-black bloodlines)
    -- along with it's biased application and racist
    terminologies -- has legally been `cleared from
    the air' of the U.S. since way back in 1967.]

    Thus, again, there is NO SUCH THING as
    a “Light-Skinned Black” person (as these
    individuals are quite simply `Multi-Generational
    Multiracially-Mixed (MGM-Mixed)’ Mixed-Race
    people who are from families that have
    been CONTINUALLY racially-admixed
    THROUGHOUT their generations).

    For more information on this topic,
    please feel to contact me via email
    and / or to visit the websites below.

    — APGifts, Founder / Moderator
    (Generation-Mixed; MGM-Mixed
    and FGM-Mixed `Yahoo!Groups’)
    © All Rights Reserved
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/generation-mixed
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/mgm-mixed
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/fgm-mixed
    email: soaptalk AT hotmail DOT com
    allpeoplegifts AT gmail DOT com
    .
    Related links:
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/1399
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/1602
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/1691
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/1745
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/3331
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4160
    .
    https://www.youtube.com/user/apgifts/about
    .

  12. Wow everyone was pretty cool here except for the person who was psychotic within their opinions aiuhand basically really pessimistic toward author, re identities. i identify however u want kids its ur life your bod ur experience! :) screw what anyone thinks and stand up for yourself (in a most positive light possible ;) )

  13. I think ekunduyo was plain nasty and bitter. very bad vibes there!! :s
    none the less thank u learned alot from that outburst!

    1. people’s opinions are built by a lifetime of experiences. i’ve had the good fortune of not having to confront some of the nastier racism that my parents’ generation grew up with, so i try not to judge anybody who has been left jaded by it. i appreciated that he was willing to give detailed explanations as to why he feels the way he does.

      we can’t always agree but if we try to understand each other, our disagreements don’t have to cause conflict :)

  14. All of you mulattoes above are American slaves. Us Africans want nothing to do with slave minded people like you. The whole point that you think black people only have one look shows how ignorant many of you are. Also latina and arab are not races. The native arabs are black. After, the Turkish invaded Arabia that is how the turkish mulattoes and quadroons came about. Also,All races come from the sans people of Africa. Light skin does not come from being mixed with white because white people descend from us horn African. Their are over 500 Ethnic groups in Africa. It is very offensive but not surprising to read the comments of you ignorant slave minded mulatto americans. In Africa we have every hair type, skin tones, facial features (without being mixed). Ethiopians, Somalians, Eritreans, Sudanes, Fulani West Africans (etc) are all black people but just because they have smaller features does that mean they are mixed ? No American blacks come from a small region in west and central africa. They do not represent how ALL black people look.
    Black Native Arab Women
    https://encrypted-tbn3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcQw0YhghfUQ6oGIX_Y7WIDm5VG2AAi1M_dXobRyRi0JdVd5RG-eNA
    http://31.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_ln3jonS0ZT1qkhamuo1_400.png
    http://i851.photobucket.com/albums/ab74/sabaaa/i.png
    http://i851.photobucket.com/albums/ab74/sabaaa/untitled.jpg
    http://www.thestate.ae/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/bedour-alagraa.jpg
    http://www.thestate.ae/bedour-alagraa-afro-arab-black-arabness/
    http://dalje.com/slike/slike_3/r1/g2011/m04/ox281264770236421037.jpg
    http://3.bp.blogspot.com/-lOzYEBeQouE/UUn7VsQ-ZZI/AAAAAAACh2k/RcnCd7PIXUI/s640/Women+Portraits+of+North+Africa+(5).jpg
    http://rulajebreal.net/wp-content/uploads/Miral_Doha_0031.jpg
    http://www.biyokulule.com/sawiro/sawirada_waaweyn/Afro-Arabs3.jpg
    http://www.middle-east-online.com/meopictures/big/_11964_saudi-pilot-23-11-2004.jpg

    Horn African Women
    Sabrina a fellow Horn African lets it be known that we are not “mixed” with any other race. We are black Africans
    http://s1.zetaboards.com/anthroscape/topic/5145047/1/

    Taureg north africans
    https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/-22LQ0tMgbI8/U2rJP90uXEI/AAAAAAAAAQU/gM31D_9Sz5U/w433-h288/Taureg +2.jpg
    https://lh5.googleusercontent.com/-LauL3JzAN9M/U2rKj8DjpNI/AAAAAAAAARs/2ZJM5Ug2EqI/w433-h289/Taureg+women.jpg

    http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/80/41/90/8041905a4e2e44e1b737c842e0460ed7.jpg

    https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcR-j0Yla3lTgCZbfM7zCFojawxmPUa7lnEsOUoAC68CfmVHE2eI

    http://29.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lvhu43IQbS1r5lbqdo1_500.jpg
    http://37.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_mbfykqnhna1rx8i7eo1_1280.jpg
    http://i1.trekearth.com/photos/19775/essouk.jpg
    https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcT3AgdsoljlIKPKV2KcuI4fw8L4KEXk6nREfdRleFvpxLxXYDvA
    http://37.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_m85l1dvjt61rx8i7eo1_1280.jpg
    http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/e1/3f/34/e13f34e6441cd00f2ac2675af0eba84c.jpg
    https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRS14RvwunNat8kiyVJGwuXLV0_wL3BY1srLvTOe3KTIiro4cws
    https://encrypted-tbn1.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRon6Ky0jEZj96bKPlDtd_BOhkodAea47kU9PELM4RUmLxa3ses
    https://encrypted-tbn0.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:ANd9GcRhQjt2izH6DNUJ4ZcAuY6JCnP1CEzQSH6GYkp_4SmRFnblf4Qj5Q

    Straight hair West African Tribes
    http://31.media.tumblr.com/1405e23c8449c8d10ee6218a64409d39/tumblr_mukwl0TV8S1r5lbqdo1_400.png
    http://againstinternetattacks.files.wordpress.com/2013/03/fulani.jpg
    http://media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/8c/9b/c2/8c9bc29fc96d8d741471c20a091a323f.jpg
    http://www.africanark.org/images/Fulani%20tattooed%20man.jpg
    http://farm4.static.flickr.com/3437/3873485674_9367e8514a.jpg
    http://pro.corbis.com/images/BD001486.jpg?size=67&uid=%7B74ed8406-1b6b-4559-92ba-afcdbb8325d9%7D
    http://i46.tinypic.com/sgqpfs.jpg
    http://www.sjb.org/galleries/niger/images/IMG_6484.jpg
    http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1396/982751712_6604db1ac9.jpg
    http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4095/4771211119_6c7e89c05e.jpg
    http://www.africaresource.com/rasta/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/blakk-egyptians12.jpg

    and this is just a little of African diversity. The features of mulattoes or any other race is nothing new or special to us black Africans. Because as scientist already proves all races come from Africa. We do not need to be mixed to look the way we do.

    1. i agree we all came from Africa at some point, so you could argue that everyone in the world is really african. but for the sake of this discussion, it’s necessary to work within the racial framework that people understand. i never said black people have only one look- i said there is a stereotype as to what a black person should look like and act like. this whole piece is about how i don’t want to define myself racially at all because race is a social construct, not something genetic or absolute. the pressure to define myself racially comes much more from my black acquaintances than from my white acquaintances. that is why i wrote this piece- racial lines divide people unnecessarily, and we in the black community should stop letting them dominate how we view the world. the fact that you called me a, “ignorant slave minded mulatto american” because i refuse to define myself as either black or white proves my point. and i never said any of my features were new or special. i don’t think i’m any better or more important because i’m mixed. what you have to understand is that having one black parent and one white parent in a country where those two races have such a bitter history with one another (yes, I know they all came from Africa originally, but i’m using our societal definitions of race here) gives you a very singular viewpoint that someone who has two white parents or two black parents simply cannot understand.

      if you want to attack my ideas, attack my ideas. but don’t call me and those who identify with my experience “ignorant slave minded mulattos”. ignorance is attacking the character of a person you know nothing about instead of attacking his words.

      i don’t want to define myself racially because of all of the bitter racial history that leads to comments like yours. why does it anger and/or threaten you so much that mulattos don’t want to work under the constraints of racial categorization?

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