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thebloodfiend
12-30-2011, 04:36 AM
I'm not bi-racial. My mom's dad is half choctaw, but we identify as black.

So, what's that like? Specifically, what is it like being half-black/half-white? For those of you who are half-black/half white, do you take offense at being called a mulatto? I know my family throws the term around a lot, as in "the tragic mulatto" in references to Lisa Bonet, Lenny Kravitz, Christine Bailey Rae, etc... I don't because I've had people tell me it's outdated.

And for those of you who are half-white, half-something else, or not even half-white at all, do you feel like outsiders in both groups?

For me, sad to say, I've gone to 95% white schools for most of my life, and I still do. When I went to an all black school in New Orleans, I felt kind uncomfortable, almost out of place because I talked different. Then there was that poverty line thing.

But I digress.

I'm under the impression that Black/White/Jewish is not the best source of information, so I appreciate all answers. I'm currently writing a dual POV story where the male is white and the female is half-white and I'm about to have her hang out with her father, who is white, and half-brother, who is white.

escritora
12-30-2011, 04:54 AM
My friend's daughter is half-white, half-black. One day I took her to a family event. She saw my family members and asked what we were. (Puerto Rican) For many years she identified as Puerto Rican because those were the only people with her skin color. Of course that wasn't (isn't) true. She only had my family as a reference.

She even pretended to speak Spanish. One day, in first grade, she welcomed a new Hispanic boy to the class. He didn't speak English so she turned to her Spanish skills, which was gibberish. The boy got upset because he thought she was making fun of him and he slammed her face on the floor.

It's been pretty difficult for her.

missesdash
12-30-2011, 05:21 AM
I'm black and portuguese but I was only raised by my mother, who is black. So I identify as black. I get a lot of flack for that. People who say "you're not black, you're mixed." And then I say something like "cakes are mixed." Not because I'm insulted by the word, but I am insulted at the suggestion that I should identify my RACE as "mixed." It's so vague, everyone is "mixed."

I've also received the "compliment", "are you mixed? You're too pretty to be just black." I usually chew them out for the implication that how attractive a black woman is depends on how much of her ancestry is non-black. Ugh, why do people say things like that?

Also, my husband is from a French island called Reunion. It has no indigenous people, so everyone there is mixed, but different types of mixed. His father is creole/mulatto from Guadeloupe, his mother is Zarabe, Chinese and Malagasy. That kind of mix is really difficult for American people to conceptualize because after I explain they go, "so then what is he?"

One day we'll have kids and they'll be so mixed that there won't be any point trying to explain it to other people. I'll just call them "brown."

escritora
12-30-2011, 05:28 AM
I'm black and portuguese but I was only raised by my mother, who is black. So I identify as black. I get a lot of flack for that. People who say "you're not black, you're mixed." And then I say something like "cakes are mixed." Not because I'm insulted by the word, but I am insulted at the suggestion that I should identify my RACE as "mixed." It's so vague, everyone is "mixed."


"Cakes are mixed" reminds me that my friend (white) used vanilla cake mix and chocolate cake mix to create a black and white cake while explaining to her daughter that she (the daughter) was half of each and not Puerto Rican. When I went to visit. The girl said, "Do you want Puerto Rican cake?"

jmlee
12-30-2011, 06:26 AM
I'm Chinese/Irish-American and I've identified as white most of my life because I look pretty white (I have a lot of freckles) and growing up I lived with my mom, who is the white one (my parents are divorced).

I went to a school that had a high Hmong population so I was always surrounded by 100% Hmong people and they looked WAY more Asian than me so I always felt all white.

Then eventually I moved to a really white neighborhood and I work in a workplace with only white people and now I feel super Chinese. We all went out to some Chinese place the other day and everyone asked me what to get. When I talk about how my grandmother plays favorites when she hands out hong-bao and gives my brother $600 and me $50 because I'm engaged to a white girl and he's got a Chinese girlfriend, everyone is like WHAT??? Well, that's culture for you.

Another thing about being mixed - I get slack from OTHER "mixed" or bi-racial people who say I'm not really mixed and I don't know what it's like to be bi-racial because my "non-white" half is Asian. For some reason "Asian" (nevermind that my family is from central China, and no, I'm not Japanese also) doesn't seem to count most of the time...

thebloodfiend
12-30-2011, 06:53 AM
My friend's daughter is half-white, half-black. One day I took her to a family event. She saw my family members and asked what we were. (Puerto Rican) For many years she identified as Puerto Rican because those were the only people with her skin color.

...

It's been pretty difficult for her.

Poor kid. Funnily enough, my K-2 experience was almost entirely Puerto Rican. I didn't learn the difference between white and Latino/Chicano until I moved to Alabama.


One day we'll have kids and they'll be so mixed that there won't be any point trying to explain it to other people. I'll just call them "brown."

That is from a KRS-One song. And it's true. Your generation is starting to eliminate racial boundaries. At least, that's what the NYT is saying. (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/30/us/30mixed.html?pagewanted=all)


I'm Chinese/Irish-American and I've identified as white most of my life because I look pretty white (I have a lot of freckles) and growing up I lived with my mom, who is the white one (my parents are divorced).

If that's you in your user pic, I would've guess either or. I'm not one to assume that because your last name is Lee, you're automatically Chinese because my mom's maiden name is Long.


I went to a school that had a high Hmong population so I was always surrounded by 100% Hmong people and they looked WAY more Asian than me so I always felt all white.I feel that way whenever I'm around other black kids my own age. BTW, what is Hmong?



When I talk about how my grandmother plays favorites when she hands out hong-bao and gives my brother $600 and me $50 because I'm engaged to a white girl and he's got a Chinese girlfriend, everyone is like WHAT??? Well, that's culture for you.And that sucks. I had a cousin who used to married to a white guy. My family gave her so much shit. And I have another cousin who's dating a white girl. They call "Becky", for whatever reason. Interracial dating, despite how much they say they don't care, is a no go for family reunions.


Another thing about being mixed - I get slack from OTHER "mixed" or bi-racial people who say I'm not really mixed and I don't know what it's like to be bi-racial because my "non-white" half is Asian. For some reason "Asian" (nevermind that my family is from central China, and no, I'm not Japanese also) doesn't seem to count most of the time...That doesn't even make any sense. When I lived in Hawaii, my mom was friends with a Japanese woman. Her kids looked Japanese, except that their hair was brown. I didn't know that their father was white until he came back from a month long business trip. I was... surprised to say the least. For most of my half-Asian friends, I've always been able to tell. And I can typically differentiate between Koreans, Chinese, and Japanese. I wouldn't have guessed that genetics could mix enough to give you freckles.

Alan Yee
12-30-2011, 07:52 AM
Another thing about being mixed - I get slack from OTHER "mixed" or bi-racial people who say I'm not really mixed and I don't know what it's like to be bi-racial because my "non-white" half is Asian. For some reason "Asian" (nevermind that my family is from central China, and no, I'm not Japanese also) doesn't seem to count most of the time...

I can totally relate to this as another Chinese/white American. My father's family is Chinese, although my grandfather was born in North Borneo (now part of Malaysia) and my father was born in Hong Kong while they were both under British rule. As far as I can tell, all four of my Chinese great-grandparents came from southern China, specifically Guangdong Province. My mother's family is of Scottish/English/Irish/German/Welsh/French descent, primarily from ancestors who came to the U.S. in the 1600s and 1700s.

I was once told by a Korean classmate that I wasn't "really" Asian. Despite having grown up listening to my dad, aunt, and grandparents speak Cantonese to each other, I often don't feel like a real Chinese person. And yet I don't feel like a white person either. Many people assumed I was a white person with dark hair until I told them otherwise. My siblings and I have sometimes been mistaken as being Latino/a. And yet there have been people (mainly the intelligent ones) who could tell I was part Chinese or at least that I was biracial.

Because of my light skin, I often feel like I'm not "really" a PoC. I've always described myself as half Chinese and half white American, but it wasn't until my teenage years that I started to think of myself as biracial/multiracial and a PoC.

jmlee
12-30-2011, 07:59 AM
If that's you in your user pic, I would've guess either or. I'm not one to assume that because your last name is Lee, you're automatically Chinese because my mom's maiden name is Long.
I feel that way whenever I'm around other black kids my own age. BTW, what is Hmong?

And that sucks. I had a cousin who used to married to a white guy. My family gave her so much shit. And I have another cousin who's dating a white girl. They call "Becky", for whatever reason. Interracial dating, despite how much they say they don't care, is a no go for family reunions.

That doesn't even make any sense. When I lived in Hawaii, my mom was friends with a Japanese woman. Her kids looked Japanese, except that their hair was brown. I didn't know that their father was white until he came back from a month long business trip. I was... surprised to say the least. For most of my half-Asian friends, I've always been able to tell. And I can typically differentiate between Koreans, Chinese, and Japanese. I wouldn't have guessed that genetics could mix enough to give you freckles.

Most of the Hmong in the Twin Cities are from Laos, though according to Wiki they also come from other central regions of Asia, including China and Thailand. Minnesota has one of the largest Hmong populations in the US. I didn't realize until highschool that other people in the US had no idea who/what Hmong are/were :)

Yeah, and one of my cousins married a Nigerian guy and my grandmother excommunicated her. Awesome. The best/worst part was that that cousin was adopted from China, so she is technically the only grandchild who is full-blooded Chinese. Then she went and married some guy from Africa. What're you gonna do?

Aaand finally, my favorite being-Chinese and Hawaii-related story is... when I worked as a barista I was once commenting that my Chinese grandmother had gone to Hawaii for the winter (she does every year) and the woman responded, "Oh, she must like that there... her people are there."

Yeah... her people... what?

When I was younger most people thought I was Native American. My brother has hardly any freckles, though, so I don't know why I got them. he has super curly hair, though, and I don't.

Then again, I also get called "ma'am" a lot when I go out and I was carded for gasoline when I was 23. I think a lot of people don't know what to make of me for other reasons, too :)

jmlee
12-30-2011, 08:03 AM
I can totally relate to this as another Chinese/white American. My father's family is Chinese, although my grandfather was born in North Borneo (now part of Malaysia) and my father was born in Hong Kong while they were both under British rule. As far as I can tell, all four of my Chinese great-grandparents came from southern China, specifically Guangdong Province. My mother's family is of Scottish/English/Irish/German/Welsh/French descent, primarily from ancestors who came to the U.S. in the 1600s and 1700s.

I was once told by a Korean classmate that I wasn't "really" Asian. Despite having grown up listening to my dad, aunt, and grandparents speak Cantonese to each other, I often don't feel like a real Chinese person. And yet I don't feel like a white person either. Many people assumed I was a white person with dark hair until I told them otherwise. My siblings and I have sometimes been mistaken as being Latino/a. And yet there have been people (mainly the intelligent ones) who could tell I was part Chinese or at least that I was biracial.

Because of my light skin, I often feel like I'm not "really" a PoC. I've always described myself as half Chinese and half white American, but it wasn't until my teenage years that I started to think of myself as biracial/multiracial and a PoC.

Word. I relate.

And! The ONLY person who has ever tried to really bond with me over being half-Chinese was this guy I worked with, and he called me "happa-brother" a lot and then finally called me "chink bro" or something similarly... weird... really loudly while we were working and some lady called our manager and said he had been racially harassing me. Haaa.

Do you ever feel weird checking the "Asian/Pacific Islander" box in demographic surveys? As if all of Asia and the Pacific is one big Japan? :P

(Errr just re-read your post, if your grandfather was born in Malaysia, then maybe you feel less weird? Ha ha now I don't know)

Alan Yee
12-30-2011, 10:16 AM
Do you ever feel weird checking the "Asian/Pacific Islander" box in demographic surveys? As if all of Asia and the Pacific is one big Japan? :P

(Errr just re-read your post, if your grandfather was born in Malaysia, then maybe you feel less weird? Ha ha now I don't know)

I do feel a little weird about checking the Asian/Pacific Islander box, because it *is* a huge region. While mainland Asian ethnicities have their differences, they are more similar to each other than Pacific Islanders such as Filipino, Indonesian, Melanesian (Papua New Guinea, Fiji, etc.), Polynesian, and Micronesian.

As for my grandfather, he was born in Malaysia, but his parents were both ethnic Chinese born in China, so for all intents and purposes he's Chinese and not Malaysian. North Borneo had and to some extent continues to have a large ethnic Chinese population.

maxmordon
12-30-2011, 10:45 AM
You know, from my perspective is really weird seeing how much fuzz is done about being bi-racial since here in Venezuela being bi-racial is the "usual" leaving people who is quite defined as black or white (like me) feeling weird. Heck, I did not notice I was white until I was 17 when an Australian girl pointed it out to me in my class picture that I was the only white person in my classroom.

But at the same time, it seems to me that these ideas of this group or that group seems at the end deeply cultural than anything else. My sister's mother is white and her father is mixed-race (some black, with some aboriginal in it, it's hard to tell here, most people don't know their families beyond two or three generations before) and I suffer a bit when people question that we're siblings, which is kinda hurtful. Also, I know she will never grow having people question her Latino ethnicity has it has happened to me and my father and my grandfather, we are all proud of being Latin Americans and we are all being asked routinely our ethnicity and the all sadly too often "You don't look Venezuelan".

backslashbaby
12-30-2011, 12:40 PM
Y'all know I don't really 'count', because I'm a completely white-looking girl raised in predominantly white neighborhoods as a kid, etc.

But there are enough things my mom, particularly, believed and were normal to us that got laughed at by my friends growing up. It was much worse for my mom, who actually had to go to a preppy white school wearing all sorts of herbal remedies and tonics, lol. I laugh, but she really was mortified.

Mostly it's beliefs. I still believe many things I know mainstream white culture thinks are silly. They aren't silly. But I keep all that quiet, mainly :)

I did have a best friend in TN who was a pale white girl whose live-in grandmother was Cherokee. They were from Louisiana. I could be completely myself with her and her family, including all of the beliefs and stories. Very often Black friends (in the South) have grandparents very much like mine, too. Typically the golfing country club set are the ones who have no clue what I'm talking about -- at all -- and it is funny how cultures can clash that way ;)

I had so many moms fussing at me for filling their kids' heads with strange ideas! It was customary where I grew up to spend Saturday night at a sleepover and go to church with the friends' family in the morning. Some of those moms are rather strict about which exact beliefs are acceptable to discuss in their homes ;) :)

kuwisdelu
12-31-2011, 01:28 AM
And for those of you who are half-white, half-something else, or not even half-white at all, do you feel like outsiders in both groups?

Yes.

Ironically, the most at home I've felt is with my native American student association on campus. We're from different tribes, often a mix or only half-blooded, and all refugees in the middle of nowhere, whiteland Midwest. Culturally, we're as different as any other cultures. But lots of us share the same experience of not quite belonging. Both the ones who grew up on the rez and are now somewhere totally unfamiliar, and those of us who still feel a connection to something back on the rez but can't quite figure out its nature or what it means, and have never quite fit in anywhere.

Back on the rez, I get treated like I belong, but only superficially. There's still the feeling that I'm not really one of them. The land feels more like home than anywhere else I've been, but still, I never grew up there, and the people who are my family can sometimes feel like total strangers.

It's purgatory.

shaldna
01-02-2012, 04:01 AM
And then I say something like "cakes are mixed." Not because I'm insulted by the word, but I am insulted at the suggestion that I should identify my RACE as "mixed." It's so vague, everyone is "mixed."

i think a big part of race is that you can be mixed race without being mixed colour. Maybe you are French Nordic, or maybe you are South African Caribbean, or Inuit Cherokee. As a species we have defined 'race' to be something so specific that even members of the same family can't identify.

My own family is a pretty huge melting pot of race and religions. I would say that about half of our immediate family is South Indian by descent. My folks are the whitest people you will ever see (seriously, we are Irish so our skin is pretty see though) but how do I identify in terms of my grandparents, or cousins or aunts etc who don't share my parentage,but who are still part of my racial make up.

I think it's a very expansive issue that encompasses so many people.




One day we'll have kids and they'll be so mixed that there won't be any point trying to explain it to other people. I'll just call them "brown."

i figure that eventually we will all be a sort of beige colour.

J. Koyanagi
01-04-2012, 12:21 AM
Another thing about being mixed - I get slack from OTHER "mixed" or bi-racial people who say I'm not really mixed and I don't know what it's like to be bi-racial because my "non-white" half is Asian. For some reason "Asian" (nevermind that my family is from central China, and no, I'm not Japanese also) doesn't seem to count most of the time...

I've actually gotten this quite a bit as well. I'm Japanese and white (a European mutt on that side, but mostly French), but my Japanese ethnicity is often erased by people who are white, PoC, mixed, you name it. Not always, but often.

LJD
01-04-2012, 03:02 AM
Another thing about being mixed - I get slack from OTHER "mixed" or bi-racial people who say I'm not really mixed and I don't know what it's like to be bi-racial because my "non-white" half is Asian. For some reason "Asian" (nevermind that my family is from central China, and no, I'm not Japanese also) doesn't seem to count most of the time...

Looks like many people can relate, but I've never gotten this.

I think it's because where I live, there is a very significant Asian population. And people who are biracial here are most commonly half-Asian, at least in some areas of the city.


My mom was Chinese-Canadian. She was born in Canada, but my grandparents came from southern China in the fifties. My dad's white, and his family has been in Canada for a very long time, originally from England and Ireland.

I definitely feel like an outsider with other Asians. But so did my mom. She grew up in a city with a small Chinese community (at the time, anyways), and assimilation was encouraged much more then than it is now. She barely spoke Chinese (toisan) and it was a different dialect than what is spoken in most of the Chinese community here. So if we were at a Chinese restaurant/mall, people would speak to her in Cantonese or Mandarin (*this is becoming more common, but the dominant language in the Chinese community was Cantonese for the longest time due to the significant number of immigrants from Hong Kong), and she wouldn't be able to answer.

My boyfriend is from a small town. When we go to weddings there, I'm often the only person there who isn't completely white, and I do feel a little...out of place.

kuwisdelu
01-04-2012, 03:41 AM
I've actually gotten this quite a bit as well. I'm Japanese and white (a European mutt on that side, but mostly French), but my Japanese ethnicity is often erased by people who are white, PoC, mixed, you name it. Not always, but often.

There's a trope for that. (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/ButNotTooForeign)

Lhipenwhe
01-05-2012, 08:59 PM
And for those of you who are half-white, half-something else, or not even half-white at all, do you feel like outsiders in both groups?


I'm Ashenazic/Japanese American; both my families have been in America for 100+ years. When I was growing up, I 'felt' more Japanese and Jewish, but I also never really noticed anything that made me feel different from others. Sure, I celebrated Hanukkah, went to services and look fairly Asian, but I really considered myself part of the mainstream community. As I got older, I noticed that I was different from others, namely that I'd be a minority wherever I went. I felt a little self-conscious, and became upset when people 'lectured' me for not speaking Japanese, or because I looked different from other Jews.

As I've gotten older (after my Bar Mitzah) I started to drift away. I never really did anything specifically Japanese besides playing taiko and martial arts; I didn't know the language, history, or culture. I'd gone through some 'heavy' thinking (for a kid) about my religion, and I stopped being religious. At the moment, I consider myself tenuously Asian/Jewish; I don't do much with my heritage except read about Israel/Jewish affairs and doing martial arts. I'm no longer self-conscious about being so 'un-Asian', and people stopped being assholes and lecturing me.

lemonhead
01-06-2012, 10:25 PM
I am not mixed at all-- pretty much 100% German (American, but you know...my family is still pretty tight about marrying people exactly like you. lol)

I married a mixed man however. Which, when I married him, I had no idea what I was in for. He's Scottish/Swedish and Chippewa. Raised off rez, and much of his family would outright deny their mixed background, except his grandpa and his uncle-- who taught him the culture, the stories, their history-- gave him an identiny as Chippewa. My husband feels like it's his responsibility to continue keeping the culture alive. He has the facial markers of that background, but he's got freckles, and depending on what he's doing with his hair he either looks "mixed black" or a "skinhead" <this is what other people say to me>

My father continually gives him a hard time about identifying as native. His mother (my husband's mother) has only recently started identifying herself as such (she used to straight up deny it-- despite her looks, which definitely identify her as such) but she still doesn't get why DH keeps our kids hair long or anything...

And our kids? I don't know. They look white. Maybe my oldest doesn't look as white, but my baby certainly does. But we keep their hair long and they'll be taught the same as my husband was. I feel out of place identifying my sons as NA, but my husband doesn't. Course, he rarely feels out of place anywhere....I'm not sure why.

backslashbaby
01-07-2012, 07:43 AM
Lemonhead, it's a rough situation. My grandfather had strict rules that my mom had to follow (and she agreed with them) that bumped up against my dad's white (German) culture and mainstream culture overall. Then people don't understand how the cultural elements make sense because they always expect Native Americans to be so fully native and look it.

OTOH, Indians will often also make fun of folks who they assume are poseurs. Even if the family is just trying to respect the grandfather, which makes obvious sense if you stop and think a minute. It doesn't help that there really are all sorts of poseurs with that particular kind of combination of blood (or more likely the idea of it).

I don't know. Stay true to your grandparents and tell everyone else to screw off. That's always been my take ;) We were made to respect both sides of the family; that was the compromise. So many things were done in an Indian way even if folks would laugh at us. My dad did support us in respecting elders and doing those things, because his side was still big enough on respect themselves, thank God.

My white grandmother always thought the Indian parts were 'quaint', lol, but she wouldn't dare criticize them, because she got her grandmotherly respect, too :D

chocowrites
01-07-2012, 12:54 PM
And for those of you who are half-white, half-something else, or not even half-white at all, do you feel like outsiders in both groups?

Chinese/ white.

And, yeah, I feel pretty uncomfortable in both groups.

I pass as white I guess, so sometimes I encounter this wall of resistance when I tell people I'm Asian and it'd be easier to not even mention it but I kind of can't.

lemonhead
01-08-2012, 11:14 PM
Lemonhead, it's a rough situation. My grandfather had strict rules that my mom had to follow (and she agreed with them) that bumped up against my dad's white (German) culture and mainstream culture overall. Then people don't understand how the cultural elements make sense because they always expect Native Americans to be so fully native and look it.

OTOH, Indians will often also make fun of folks who they assume are poseurs. Even if the family is just trying to respect the grandfather, which makes obvious sense if you stop and think a minute. It doesn't help that there really are all sorts of poseurs with that particular kind of combination of blood (or more likely the idea of it).

I don't know. Stay true to your grandparents and tell everyone else to screw off. That's always been my take ;) We were made to respect both sides of the family; that was the compromise. So many things were done in an Indian way even if folks would laugh at us. My dad did support us in respecting elders and doing those things, because his side was still big enough on respect themselves, thank God.

My white grandmother always thought the Indian parts were 'quaint', lol, but she wouldn't dare criticize them, because she got her grandmotherly respect, too :D


After I responded to this, I asked my husband if he ever felt non native. He asked me what I meant....I said, do you ever like...walk into a room full of people who look traditionally native and feel like don't belong?
He laughed and said....do you ever walk in a room and feel not-German?
Point taken.
So, apparently he has no issues. Haha.

kuwisdelu
01-08-2012, 11:28 PM
There are definitely times in Zuni when I feel like I don't belong.

But there's nowhere else I feel I belong more.

It's an unpleasant ambivalence.

Mayfield
01-09-2012, 09:50 PM
I'm black/Mexican but was adopted into a white family (Irish mom/Jewish dad)...I guess I feel like I've always known "who I am," but I get a lot of confusion from other people who want/need to classify me according to how they view the world. The question "WHAT are you?" got asked a lot when I was a kid. I also experienced the being "too white" to fit in with the black kids and "not white enough" to fit in the white kids. Like you (OP), I went to a lot of predominantly white schools and one thing about being perceived as "acting white" was that white people ended up being casually racist in front of me, which was an interesting thing to witness. Oh, and also, because I don't look identifiably Hispanic (just "mixed") and because I wasn't raised in a household that has any connection to that heritage, I don't have any Hispanic identity.

Anyway, I don't have any answers, but it's always been interesting to me to try and parse out whether or not ethnic identity comes from internal or external forces. And I don't personally care for the word mulatto (I wouldn't use it to describe myself) but people have called me that before.

And yes, I believe class and gender impact the biracial experience significantly.

totopink
01-15-2012, 11:18 AM
Personally, I hate it. Being half black/half white and being raised in England by my white mother I feel generally more connected/know a lot more about my British roots than my African ones. I also feel like when I talk about being English or if I'm talking about English history and describe it as 'we' (Eg, when we won the war) I will nearly get comments like 'yeah but you're not really English are you, you were just born here' or something along those lines. That really bothers me, because actually my family tree is a lot more English than a lot of my white friends'.
I also don't really like being referred to as 'black' or 'mixed race'. Black I personally don't appreciate because I am closer in skin tone to my white mother than I am to my black father and it would be ludicrous to call me white, so I see it as just as ludicrous to call me black. I don't like mixed race because that refers to any mixing of races, i.e. Me and a Half Asian/Half White person would both be described as 'mixed race' although we would look entirely different so if 'mixed race' is considered to be a race label then it seems an entirely void one.
Personally, I like the term brown, because I am brown, but then again so are most people on the planet. In fact, I'm really anti the terms "black" and "white" because most of the world falls into that 'beigey-browny-various-levels-of-milky-coffee' colour that can't really be described as black or white. In an ideal world I'd much prefer it if people described others not by race but by ethnicity instead. I think we can generally infer what sort of colour someone will be by where they come from in the world so I find these simple colour block labels fairly stupid, and they make my life really difficult because I don't fit into one.
I genuinely think that most of the psychological turmoil I put myself through comes from being biracial and not being one race or the other, as it were.

thebloodfiend
02-02-2012, 03:01 AM
Wow. I completely forgot about this thread. Thanks for all the replies, guys. They're infinitely helpful.

AKyber36
02-02-2012, 08:33 AM
Yeah, and one of my cousins married a Nigerian guy and my grandmother excommunicated her. Awesome. The best/worst part was that that cousin was adopted from China, so she is technically the only grandchild who is full-blooded Chinese. Then she went and married some guy from Africa. What're you gonna do?

Man, that's awful. I'm not mixed myself but that kind of incident unfortunately doesn't surprise me. Over here, in the Chinese-American communities I mix in, a lot of the old guard still feel that way. Some of them are lenient if you marry a white guy or girl because the Chinese blood isn't that diluted. But always - and I mean always - there seems to be a staunch stand against the intermixing of Chinese and black because they feel that you've effectively canceled out the Chinese side and that if your kid mixes with another black person, the Chinese bloodline keeps getting lost. They also don't think your kids will be that attractive but that's another hairball I don't want to get into.

Racism sucks.

ViolettaVane
02-02-2012, 09:38 PM
I'm multiracial. Japanese and white. But I look more Asian than white—that's just the way the genes turned out—and I've never been identified by other people as white, nor identified myself as white. I wished I was full white all the time when I was a kid so that people would stop messing with me, and I think that's a fairly common experience.

One thing I always remember is that I am not responsible for other people's perceptions of me. I don't need to act more or less Japanese to please other people.

I used to speak Japanese when I was a kid. When I grew up in the 1980s, white kids used to make fun of me for speaking it. And, of course, I got a lot of racist abuse. So I forced myself to forget all of my Japanese. Then, strangely, Japanese got really cool, and people started asking me to speak it on command as if I was some kind of trained monkey so they could squeal KAWAII. Fuck that.

I am not Japanese ethnically, but I am Japanese-American. I am American by nationality and I identify as Asian by race and also multiracial. There are a lot of JA multiracial people and we shouldn't feel bad or confused about what we are. If other people are confused, that's their issue, not ours.

So after a long period of racial identity trauma I can say today that I'm proud of being multiracial.

kaitie
02-06-2012, 02:30 AM
Then, strangely, Japanese got really cool, and people started asking me to speak it on command as if I was some kind of trained monkey so they could squeal KAWAII. Fuck that.


I just have to say as someone who lived in Japan for several years and who is now teaching Japanese to kids who are almost exclusively in it because they like anime, this is one of the hardest things I deal with. They talk about loving Japanese culture, etc., but the fact of the matter is their knowledge is incredibly superficial, stereotyped, and based on manga--in other words they truly know nothing about the culture they profess to love.

This statement just hit me with the superficiality of that, and it really bothers me. It's not racist in the traditional sense because they aren't negative about it (in fact it's almost overwhelmingly positive), but the stereotype and the unwillingness in many cases to see beyond the superficial is racist in it's own way.

As to the OP, I'm just a white girl, but my SO is mixed. It seems to me that the biggest conflicts they have with identity, though, is that the kids consider themselves very American in terms of culture. There's a lot of conflict there with the Pakistani side of the family that wants them to follow more traditional beliefs.

I think it's difficult when you have traditional family values that clash so much with your own. You want to live your life the way you want, but you don't want to lose the family by turning down those traditions, either. One of the cousins was just married in an arranged marriage, and it was definitely a difficult choice for him.

missesdash
02-06-2012, 03:07 AM
I just have to say as someone who lived in Japan for several years and who is now teaching Japanese to kids who are almost exclusively in it because they like anime, this is one of the hardest things I deal with. They talk about loving Japanese culture, etc., but the fact of the matter is their knowledge is incredibly superficial, stereotyped, and based on manga--in other words they truly know nothing about the culture they profess to love.

This statement just hit me with the superficiality of that, and it really bothers me. It's not racist in the traditional sense because they aren't negative about it (in fact it's almost overwhelmingly positive), but the stereotype and the unwillingness in many cases to see beyond the superficial is racist in it's own way.


Arghhh, I tell people this all the time. Reducing someone's culture to stereotypes, even if they are positive ones, isn't a compliment. It's still racism. I've been involved with white guys who are really obsessed with black girls and it's always so obnoxious. It sucks because you initially figure this person is attracted to/interested in you, but then it becomes clear they're really interested in this strange, romanticized and entirely fictional version of your racial identity. It's so fucked up and it happens way too often.

AKyber36
02-06-2012, 03:17 AM
I had that in high school with the white male jocks. There was this whole "Dude, you're a stud if you get an Asian girlfriend" trend going on and this douche hit on me in the hall in between classes. I basically told him to scram if he was looking for a submissive little Asian girl. The look on his face, plus the laughter from his mates, pretty much told me everything.

kuwisdelu
02-11-2012, 09:41 PM
I used to speak Japanese when I was a kid. When I grew up in the 1980s, white kids used to make fun of me for speaking it. And, of course, I got a lot of racist abuse. So I forced myself to forget all of my Japanese. Then, strangely, Japanese got really cool, and people started asking me to speak it on command as if I was some kind of trained monkey so they could squeal KAWAII. Fuck that.



I just have to say as someone who lived in Japan for several years and who is now teaching Japanese to kids who are almost exclusively in it because they like anime, this is one of the hardest things I deal with. They talk about loving Japanese culture, etc., but the fact of the matter is their knowledge is incredibly superficial, stereotyped, and based on manga--in other words they truly know nothing about the culture they profess to love.

Heh, all of this is why I'm always so hesitant to bring up anime or manga when I'm talking to a Japanese person. I don't want them to think I have those kinds of assumptions. And strangely, when I think about it, pretty much everything I know comes filtered through the lens of Murakami novels, anime, or interviews with anime directors, yet I can barely relate to the superficial knowledge certain other fans seem to have gleaned. I don't claim to have much of any knowledge myself, but there's a lot about the culture that feels and reminds me very much of my own, that I can relate to in a way that I can't always relate to Western culture. And I wonder if maybe I see a lot of things differently even when its filtered through the same biased media because I'm looking at it as a PoC, so different things stand out to me.

ETA: Come to think of it, I hang out with that kind of anime/manga fan so rarely, I have no idea what stereotypes and knowledge they think they have, anyway. Do they think all the boys fight in giant mecha and all the girls are just like the ones on K-On! or something?

Esopha
02-26-2012, 12:02 AM
I'm biracial. Half Korean, half Canadian (a big mix of French/English/German/Scottish on that side). I identify as half. I always have, and I make a point of explaining that I'm neither Asian* nor white, which invariably gets feathers ruffled. I've been accused of white-washing myself (for identifying as half? i can't even), or denying my mother's culture (that happened on AW! that was fun), or whatever. What I've learned is, if you're half, people will try to define your racial identification for you. I generally find it hilarious.

I love being biracial, actually. I love that it's a conversation starter. I love that when people ask me if it was weird growing up in a house of mixed race, I can tell them no, that I had a childhood basically like everyone else's in my neighborhood, since it was fairly multicultural anyway. I love being a child of diaspora. It's given me a unique position of being outside and inside cultures at the same time, which has really honed my observational abilities, and helped me open dialogues with all kinds of people about race.

I've embraced all my cultural background, I'd like to think. I can cook Korean food, French food, Canadian and American foods. I speak French. I'm going to Korea after I graduate college to teach English and learn as much Korean as I can while I'm there. I'm probably going to take Korean in my last year of college. I do Lent every year. I bow to my halmoni and haraboji at New Years.

The OP asks if I feel like an outsider in either/both white and Korean company. Not really. Not unless they're trying to make me feel like an outsider. Like, speaking all Korean, which I won't understand, or treating me differently because of the color of my skin. I move pretty seamlessly between the two groups. In high school, I had primarily Asian (not necessarily Korean... ime East Asian kids group together and don't really care about national lines, necessarily) friends (the alternative/artsy/anime kids), and now in college I have primarily white friends (the alternative/artsy kids, but not anime because anime got mainstream and I'm friends with lots of hipsters I guess). Although my roommates are both Asian, and I hang out with plenty of Asians regularly. I've been to the Korean student org meetings, felt perfectly welcome even when I revealed my white heritage, but decided to stop going because they were a little boring.

When I did experience racism as a kid, it was usually from Asians who didn't want to associate with me after they found out I was half white. So I don't think I've been systematically oppressed, and because I have a VERY white name, I know I have a degree of white privilege, too. At least on paper. And actually, the comments really died off during high school and into college. Usually now whenever someone makes a questionable remark, everyone I'm around jumps on them before I even have to defend myself.

My situation is rare, I think. I know there are places I could live where I could answer the question "What are you?" with "I'm half" and get, "No, but what are you really?" But that hasn't been my experience since I've been like 10 years old. And I'm excited because of that. I think the future is going to hold really awesome things for those of us of mixed race.

*leaks unabashed optimism all over thread*

*East Asian, sorry. I wrote the whole post before I realized my mistake.

eta: I guess I should also mention that I'm aware that Asian/white biracial kids are (I think?) the most common (at least in the US) of the multiracial babies. So that might be part of the reason why I've had a generally good time with it.

lauralam
04-29-2012, 10:48 PM
Also, my husband is from a French island called Reunion. It has no indigenous people, so everyone there is mixed, but different types of mixed. His father is creole/mulatto from Guadeloupe, his mother is Zarabe, Chinese and Malagasy. That kind of mix is really difficult for American people to conceptualize because after I explain they go, "so then what is he?"


My husband is half-Chinese-Mauritian and half-Scottish, and people are really confused when I say my father in law speaks French Creole. Mauritius is the same as Reunion in that is has no indigenous people.

I just asked him what he identified as and he shrugged and said "Scottish, I guess" as that's where he was born and raised.

friendlyhobo
04-29-2012, 11:15 PM
My girlfriend grew up with experience of being half Filipina and half white in a very small town (8 by 10 square blocks) where her and her brother were the only non-white people in the entire school. I'm going to tell her to get her booty over here, the rotten lurker.

Sunflowerrei
09-11-2012, 11:30 PM
I'm biracial. Half Korean, half Canadian (a big mix of French/English/German/Scottish on that side). I identify as half.

Me, too. I'm half Japanese and half Irish. I am both. At the same time. That's a hard concept for some people to grasp.

I look more Japanese, I guess, except that I have freckles and pale skin. I'm closer to my mother's (the Japanese side) family and I was brought up speaking Japanese and eating Japanese food. But I know more about Irish history, I enjoy alcohol and have no problem deciphering Irish accents.

I've been told that I am "Russian", though. Or French (I guess that means I look white...?)

The Asian girls in high school didn't consider me Asian. And on St. Patrick's Day, I deck myself out in green and it's the only day of the year that people won't question me on my Irish heritage.

tamara
09-12-2012, 01:13 AM
In fact, I'm really anti the terms "black" and "white" because most of the world falls into that 'beigey-browny-various-levels-of-milky-coffee' colour that can't really be described as black or white.

Thank you for sharing this. During my graduate work, I spent a lot of time studying the history of free people of color during the American Civil War, and was really struck by how fluid race is.

In New Orleans, they had it down to a science. A person was labelled a mulatto if she was half black/half white, a quadroon if she was 3/4 white and 1/4 black, and an octoroon if she was 7/8 white and 1/8 black. Ridiculous. There were "quadroon balls" where quadroon and octoroon women would entertain white men. Lovely.

It's all so artificial. I've never been thrilled with the labels anyway, but that really drove it home for me. We're all various shades of brown, so let's just be done with it already.

crunchyblanket
09-16-2012, 02:33 PM
There's a gentleman in the small Irish village my family comes from who is half-Irish, half-Jamaican. Both his parents have passed away, and his mother left him her childhood home in Co. Roscommon - he jokes that he's the 'only black in the village', but there aren't many PoC's in the county, let alone the village itself. Anyway, people tend to treat him as a pleasant curiosity - they're fascinated by his 'other-ness'. He's a well-liked man but I do notice people refer to him principally by race ("that black fella", "yer black man",) - I do wonder how they'd have reacted if his dad had lived there, as he was full-blooded Jamaican.

(He calls himself the West Irish Phil Lynott. Unfortunately, he can't play guitar.)

I mean, it's wonderful that he's not ostracised for his race, but I do wonder if the village's collective treatment of him verges uncomfortably on exoticism, and whether that's a great deal better than the alternative.

backslashbaby
09-16-2012, 10:03 PM
There's a gentleman in the small Irish village my family comes from who is half-Irish, half-Jamaican. Both his parents have passed away, and his mother left him her childhood home in Co. Roscommon - he jokes that he's the 'only black in the village', but there aren't many PoC's in the county, let alone the village itself. Anyway, people tend to treat him as a pleasant curiosity - they're fascinated by his 'other-ness'. He's a well-liked man but I do notice people refer to him principally by race ("that black fella", "yer black man",) - I do wonder how they'd have reacted if his dad had lived there, as he was full-blooded Jamaican.

(He calls himself the West Irish Phil Lynott. Unfortunately, he can't play guitar.)

I mean, it's wonderful that he's not ostracised for his race, but I do wonder if the village's collective treatment of him verges uncomfortably on exoticism, and whether that's a great deal better than the alternative.

My Irish friends found it so funny that Obama has Irish roots and visited the town his folks came from, etc. I think it was ridiculous-funny, not the pleasant kind, though. I couldn't (and can't) see what's not to get or even expect about Obama's heritage. He's quite White, too, and that's no secret. That side had to come from somewhere.

The town reacted great about it :) They are very proud to have another Irish-American president, even if the Irish lineage is a bit far back by now.

kuwisdelu
09-16-2012, 10:08 PM
They are very proud to have another Irish-American president, even if the Irish lineage is a bit far back by now.

Ahh, so he's Irish. That explains the racist comments I've heard.

maxmordon
09-16-2012, 10:39 PM
ETA: Come to think of it, I hang out with that kind of anime/manga fan so rarely, I have no idea what stereotypes and knowledge they think they have, anyway. Do they think all the boys fight in giant mecha and all the girls are just like the ones on K-On! or something?

I have hung out with the Otaku crowd and their most radical skewered view more or less sum up as "All girls are genki, obsessed with cosplay and dress it up on daily basis, all the boys are carefree techies, everyone reads manga and watch animé, all the Japanese are androgynous, all sexual orientation and fetishes are something freely accepted in all levels of society and all culture is plastic, only existing from the last 50 years or so on unless it's something very awesome like ninjas, samurais or geishas."


Ahh, so he's Irish. That explains the racist comments I've heard.

The name was a clue: Barry O'Bama :D

backslashbaby
09-16-2012, 10:40 PM
Ahh, so he's Irish. That explains the racist comments I've heard.

Well he is Irish-American, and they are proud of that in that town. He is too, or so he told them. He's mixed, so there are a bunch more hyphens in reality :) And he self-identifies as Black, so I shouldn't be giving him hyphens anyway ;) But he and the Irish town didn't shy away at all from representing his Irishness. Which is cool, I think. His choice, obviously!

J.S.F.
09-17-2012, 02:14 AM
I'm white on both sides of my family. Can I still play?

Seriously, being white and living in Japan (I've been here over twenty years) I've been exposed to the racism thing more times than I'd care to count. Most of it is benign, but some of it was pretty hateful and downright bigoted but hey, people don't change their minds quickly and I learned to put up with it.

My wife is Japanese and our children look more 'Western' than they do Japanese. There's always someone who has to comment and wonder if they speak Japanese like everyone else or use chopsticks the same way, or if they speak English like their father does. (For the record, my older boy speaks English when he wants to and my younger son isn't interested. Go figure).

As for typing oneself as this race or that, I see nothing wrong with it. It's when a person types others as being this or that then problems arise.