Being Mixed in Today’s Racial Climate

So newsflash, if you didn’t already know, I’m mixed. My mom is white and my dad is black. My mom is like white white. She’s Canadian for goodness sake, I’m not sure if it gets much whiter than that. My dad is pretty black. He’s from Eastern North Carolina (and let’s just settle the debate once and for all. The best barbecue. I’m not arguing with you sorry) and while I’m sure it gets more black than that, we can all acknowledge that’s a pretty special kind of black.

I’m aware that I’ve probably made like 10 racially insensitive remarks already. So if you are offended at all by anything I’ve said…you should just stop reading now. I’m not one for political correctness and I’m not a master of this topic. I’m just a random mixed woman writing at 6 am.

One thing I will touch base on before getting to the more important stuff is my choice of the word mixed. There are very small debates in parts of the world as to what is the correct term to use when discussing people who come from more than one racial back ground. And yes, yes I hear you all now “we are all the human race” or technically “every is more than one race.” Ok great. Please sit your all lives matter behind down somewhere and just listen for once. I purposefully use the term mixed because I like it best. Please insert bi-racial, or multi-racial as you please if it bothers you but as for me and my house, we are mixed. Call it what you want, just not mullato because we might fight.

Anywho…

If you are unaware of the stressful racial climate of today’s world…please read a book, open the paper, turn on the news or just kind of pay-a-fucking-ttention the next time you’re out in public, then come back and read this. It’s not good. It’s never been good and part of me fears it never will be. Yes there has been change and in some areas, progress, but there is still a very, very long way to go. And that’s a post that one of my fellow bloggers could definitely write much better than I could.

What I’m here to kind of briefly bring to your attention and then peace out about is, what your mixed friends may be experiencing right now. And if they aren’t experiencing it, I sure as hell am so it’s important for that reason alone.

It’s tough.

And maybe in a way that you wouldn’t expect.

It’s always been tough to be black, and therefore tough to be mixed if you look even the slightest bit black. Definitely not tough in the same way but tough.

And then there is the general struggle that is to be mixed. Research says I will have a identify crisis regarding what I am. And maybe this is it. But up until this point I have been very much aware of what I am. I’m mixed. And that has never confused me. My parents didn’t ram a racial identity down my throat. And I woke up every day to my white mother and black father in the same household loving me and allowing me to live my best mixed life. The question of “what are you” was always answered with “mixed” then later on when I discovered the fine art of petty the response was “human.” But bottom line, I have never questioned what I am racially. I’m mixed. The best and worst of BOTH worlds. Many many other people have not understood it, have tried to put me in a box and demanded “yea but you gotta pick one” or my favorite “well your dad’s black so you’re black” like my entire white mother just doesn’t count. Bye Felicia.

So my current mixed dilemma…

There is this definite culture right now in the black community of hating white people. Now I’m certain this is nothing new. It’s always been there. Black and white people not getting along is as American as apple pie and lynchings. This is most likely just my generations experience of that. But I am experiencing it all the same, and through my mixed filter, constantly keeping in mind my white mother, grandmother, aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandfather when I hear comments like

“White people suck”

“I don’t care what white people think”

“Everyone but white people”

“I hate white people”

“White people are the devil”

I see this and much more, sprawled in my timelines every day, and I have found myself in many a conversation where these statements are made and I just kind of sit there like “ummm hello. Mixed person in the building please don’t count a whole half of me out.”

And I would be lying if I said I hadn’t said some of these things too. It’s hard not too. White people have done some seriously fucked up shit towards black people and continue to do so on a very high, political, systematic basis every day (again another post for another day that I probably won’t write, but think prison system, drug war, legalization of marijuana, gentrification type things). So I totally get where the statements are coming from.

But the reality is, not all white people have done these things or think this way and we get no where by making such broad generalizations and statements. And I know for a fact that many of the people I have heard these things from, do not think this way about all white people, because they have white friends or at the very least absolutely love my mom, but just some pure honesty from a mixed woman…every time I hear those statements I get this sucker punch to the gut of my racial identity and go into immediate fight or flight mode. And I’ll admit, the majority of the time I opt for flight. Like I said. I’ve said these things too.

I’ve even gone so far as to be proud that my moms pretty much “someone’s old granny reincarnated in this white woman’s body.” Yep. I’ve said that. It sounds good. Makes me feel like I didn’t miss out on this black experience of having a black mom. I get excited when I see videos on Facebook about “things black moms say” and I’m like “yea my mom has said 95% of those things too. Yay I didn’t miss out.” But I’ve realized in the last few days, and as I write this blog, that that’s kind of a fucked up way of thinking. My mom’s white. Super white. Blonde hair. Blue eyed. Like I said, she’s freakin Canadian for crying out loud. She’s white! And yea she can throw down in the kitchen with the best of them. And she gets mad and cusses and threatens to never cook for anyone again and she definitely has asked me if I have McDonald’s money more than once. But she’s still white. I still almost cussed this black guy out at Walmart one time in his black lives matter t-shirt for getting an unnecessary attitude with her because she patiently waited for him to move and said excuse me but he didn’t hear it. She’s white. People look at her and assume things based off that and because she’s white she has certain privilege in this world that I as her mixed daughter do not have. But I think she has used it beautifully. She will politely cuss you out for using the n-word in her presence and will hold off on letting you know about her black husband and mixed children just to see if you’re going to say some racist shit first. She is legit rooting for everyone black and will tell you. Shes definitely invited to the cook out. She’s probably made half the food. And her Mac and cheese is quite possibly top 5 that you’ve ever tasted. And even though she meets all those stereotypes about what it means to be black…she’s white.

And I would not change anything about her or my experience being a mixed woman with a white mother.

So anywho, I have said all that to say this. Not all white people are evil. Not all white people are terrible. And just like we do not want all black people to be classified as thugs or gangsters or criminals or dangerous, we get no where and do not further any cause, by speaking in generalized terms in response.

These issues only get solved by open and honest communication with people who don’t look like you. And that can only be done with an open mind and a willingness to learn and understand and not the agenda to change.

So, go befriend a white person today, and if you can’t find one let me know, because my mom is awesome!

Side note: Pastor Furtick with Elevation church recently did an amazing conversation with Charlemagne the God around this topic of difference and conversation. You should check it out.

http://elevationchurch.org/sermons/come-out-of-your-corner/

Application for Diversity

A month ago, my daughter introduced me to a new app as she routinely does. What typically happens is I notice her playing something incessantly and download it to see what it is. I then obsess over it for a few days until I reach some awful level that I can’t beat and I give up. This time, however, has been different.

Sandbox

Quite possibly the best time wasting app I have ever come across. I have yet to figure out how the name relates to the app. It’s a color by number app. That’s it. No levels. No time limits. Only constraint is you have to pay for access to more detailed pictures, which I promptly did to color in order to color this lotus flower.

It also does this awesome time lapse video after you fill it in.

So there are all sorts of pictures you can color. Flowers, cars, cartoons, people, cartoon people in cars holding flowers. Okay maybe not that one but anything is possible.

The other day, however, I noticed something when a picture popped up. I had been coloring in very detailed and beautiful pictures of white women. Pictures like this.

And this

And I just want to throw out this picture of a tiger in here, because it’s awesome

There were also some really cool cartoon white people as well

But after playing for almost a month this was the first person of color that I colored

Do you see the problem?

If you don’t. That’s another post for another time. But for those who already get it let’s proceed. If you don’t, you can still proceed and maybe you’ll catch up.

I really didn’t want to believe this person was black but as I filled her in and the complexion was completed and that awkward butt thing finished I had to acknowledge it. This was their first and only black woman or even person of color all month. Unless you count this guy

And I don’t.

This one came later, but I wasn’t sure if they were black or a seriously tanned version of Gene Simmons

Even these clearly non white characters just looked like white people in costume

This initially started me writing a post in my head about white privilege. White privilege is seeing yourself represented in apps automatically and not having to question why there are no people of color.

But then I decided to try something. I never review apps or leave comments. This time I did. I left a comment for sandbox pointing out the lack of diversity and how it would be nice to see more detailed pictures of people of color and men (white men included). Diversity is an amazing thing.

I honestly didn’t expect much. Maybe a response about how they were working on it. Or no response at all.

But y’all…the most beautiful thing happened.

Every morning I wake up to 5 or 6 new pictures to color. THE VERY NEXT MORNING this is what I saw.

DO Y’ALL SEE THAT?!? Not the astronaut or the gems or the watermelon or that angry knight in the corner. No. Right there. That beautiful, detailed, obviously BLACK woman!!!

I can not describe how full my heart was when I saw that. I immediately got to work coloring her in to see how gorgeous she was. With every shade of brown that I applied my heart grew bigger. I ran to my daughter and her friend and told them what had happened. What I had done.

Yep. I’m taking full responsibility for this one. Maybe they were already working on it. But that’s a huge coincidence. THE NEXT DAY!! I’ve had guys take longer to respond to a text message than it did for this app developer to respond to my suggestion.

And then I got to thinking. Why isn’t it always that easy. That’s all it took. Correcting the issue. They didn’t have to respond. They didn’t have to apologize. All they had to do was correct the issue. No questioning. No trying to convince me I was making things up. No defending why they hadn’t had a diverse selection of skin tones up until this point. No blaming. No finger pointing. No all coloring lives matter crap. Just correction of the problem. Why can’t it always be this easy?

Maybe one day the rest of the world will learn from the Sandbox app and quickly acknowledge and correct racism when it is pointed out. Until then I will keep admiring this beautiful lady I colored in and count this as one itty bitty teeny tiny step to equality.

Here she is!

Here’s her video

And just a few days later I got to color in this possible Cardi B image that I love too

(Or is that Miley?!?)

Ps. My daughter says that if you want some good entertainment read the other reviews to the app.

The Oppressor can not be Oppressed…

This is the same as reverse racism. Sure, if defined in text, can be explained simply.  But this is simply NOT a simple issue.

Now, let me preface by saying this; You all know, I’m not the best writer, and I don’t speak much on social things because I’m just not that good at expressing my thoughts and how I feel completely.  I tend to have incomplete thoughts and also tend to not get my point across properly at times.  BUT! Know this. I know what side I stand on. And this here thing…I’m not standing with.

Look at the following image.  This image comes from some training material about workplace harassment. Note: This training was not generated from my company, but sourced out from another training resource.

reverseOpression

Now…

Being an African-American male, living in America, working in Corporate America.  My first response is exactly what the “contestants” in the image show.  TRUE TRUE TRUE MOTHERF**KING TRUE!

Why?

Because the oppressor cannot be oppressed.

What does this mean? Someone who benefits from racism cannot suffer from racism.

Now, being that this is a training resource, to be politically correct and whatnot about this, the answer to this question is False, by definition.

BY. DEFINITION.

But that’s just the problem with this image.  You cannot just simply paint a black and white picture for this.  In most cases, a non-minority would not face any type of racial harassment, due to the fact that he/she is white.  Putting it in perspective on a high level (we’ll get to a lower level, deeper conversation a little further down in this post), a non-minority person would never have an issue with this. I can never in my life recall any time any of my white friends suffered from ANY type of racial harassment, and I have a LOT of white friends.

Who in the HELL thought this was a good question to put in training information in the first place?

The company I work for, at the corporate level, is probably around 75% White.  Keep in mind that this is just an estimation, so I know I’m wrong on the actual percentage, but I’m probably close enough.  If you look at only my office within the company, and go deeper to my specific department, that percentage is even higher. With my team undoubtedly being >85% white, as I can count the total number of African-Americans on one hand. If I include other minorities, I think I may get up to 10 total, but not much higher.

So this image here, in all it’s glory assumes that white people are subjected to suffer from workplace racial harassment.  Which, sure they can, at a definition level.  But how? Tell me when this would most likely happen? This picture screams to me that “white people have it just as bad as black people when it comes to racism”, which that could not be any more wrong. As mentioned in a wonderfully created movie “Dear White People“, there was a line stated that Black people can’t be racist.  Why? Because black people can’t benefit from it.  White people, on the other hand has benefited from racism for CENTURIES.  Black people and other minorities are at a disadvantage EVEN BEFORE THEY ARE BORN, because of the color of their skin. Yet, I’m sitting here looking at a video of an African-American man, asking a question about if it’s True or False that a non-minority in the workplace can be a victim of racism.

Excuse me sir…Let’s not…

Even the white “contestants” has more sense than that.

And I can already hear the moans and groans of white people all over America right now because they speak words of how everyone is equal and racism isn’t a thing anymore and we won’t “let it go”.  I implore you to read my blog post from a while back about Growing up an “Oreo” in America.  This is a minority’s reality.

Resources like this perpetuate the idea that racism can be played on both sides, but that’s just not true.  And for this to be in training material for a pretty big corporation that hires thousands of people, It makes me sick.  Then I think about how many companies are using the same training resource.  This is just a form of institutionalized oppression, spreading the idea that you can be racist toward white people, and that’s just not true.

For years, black people have had to have shows like “Black-ish” and networks like “BET” and celebrate holidays such as “Black History Month” or “Juneteenth” to show our greatness. Why? Because of racism.  Because we needed somewhere to go to celebrate our culture, our greatness of who we are, because white people kept us from showing how great we were.   White people don’t have these things, because they already control all of it.  Their culture bleeds throughout every facet of life.

So I ask you to read the question again and if you think that someone can be racist towards white people.  I urge you to think outside of the black and white box.  Stand back, take a look at your life, and ask yourself, if you’ve ever suffered from or was ever at a disadvantage because of racism.