Tragicmulattoes's Blog

November 26, 2009

The Princess and the Frog

https://i2.wp.com/4.bp.blogspot.com/_hTk_Zy9Dc1s/SgEP2ZcLneI/AAAAAAAAAAs/YG1L-k-vEk4/s400/The+Princess+and+the+Frog.jpg

“Tis the night before Disney makes history (damn near 100 years after it’s first animated feature film). I’ve purposely stayed away from reading too much about the movie-I want to go in with a fresh mind and a clean lens. It ain’t easy being a skeptic. I, like your average American girl, was raised under the tutelage of the Disney Princesses. Ariel, Pocahontas, and Jasmine have all contributed to my formative ideas of what it is to be a woman. Dainty, scantily clad, whiny, and reasonably rebellious until my prince finally came and gave me a reason to shut the fuck up and live happily ever after. But I digress…

I’m sure (I hope)  the formation of the Tiana character received much attention and input from African Americans and Louisiana natives. Apparently, (as with all Disney flicks) there are some obvious improbabilities; for instance the flick is set in the early 20th century but no reference to the racial climate of a segregated state is presented in the film. Louisiana was a “peculiar state”, indeed. Despite oppressive racism and segregation (the home of Plessy v. Ferguson)  de facto multiracial communities did exist.

I have to admit, I’m a little disappointed that the prince isn’t Black. It’s not a deal-breaker, but it’s disappointing. Recently it’s been made known that films with Black couples are deemed less digestible for domestic and international audiences (see recent UK photo shop controversy). So the assumption is, if the main character is Black, the spouse should not be Black (think about Will Smith’s career as of late). What’s funny is, there is NO WAY they would have a Black prince getting romantic with a White princess on the big screen. Can you IMAGINE Ariel or Belle pining after Prince Jamal in some tight corset with her bosoms heaving while staring lovingly out the window?? HELL NO. But it’s okay for Pocahontas (yes, I know it’s based on a historical occurrence but let’s not act like they didn’t fuck up the whole story anyway), and Tiana. It sort of harks back to European imperial notions of White female purity. Certainly their bodies can’t be defiled by romantic interactions with non-Whites. But the bodies of women of color are already tainted and therefore need no protection from men of other races, especially not from White men.

https://i0.wp.com/4.bp.blogspot.com/_Kl7yL_h95qc/ScAuKk3DioI/AAAAAAAAOmI/tQ1C1vASdi0/s400/Disney%27s+first+black+princess,+Princess+Tiana+-+and+the+%27white%27+Prince+Naveen.jpg

It’s obvious that Prince Naveen is purposely darker than the average White prince, but if he’s supposed to be biracial, they sure did push it with his appearance. Then again, Prince Naveen’s racial ambiguity is very much a reality in Louisiana historically, so I can’t be too mad about that. Plus, they did a great job with the Princess’ facial features! I wish they would have kept the initial Afroish hair though:

https://i1.wp.com/3.bp.blogspot.com/_HPKQTYuXkvs/SIZujoPYX-I/AAAAAAAAAH8/czlHMTllwWQ/s320/Princess+Tiana+Frog+Princess+Disney.jpg

Anyway, I’ll report back if I actually get a chance to see it this weekend. I heard it’s sold out of some theaters already. I have no intention of fighting my way through crowds cuz I have no qualms getting hype with a 10 year old! LOL.

Introspective: Leona Lewis Faces Racism

https://i0.wp.com/thebosh.com/upload/2008/05/26/leona_lewis_engaged/Leona-Lewis.jpg

This article is a bit dated but when it initially came out I didn’t really feel like reading past the headline. Now that I have time to kill, I’ll quickly go through it:

X Factor winner Leona Lewis was ordered from a shop because of her race.

She was told to leave the unnamed London store along with her Guyana-born father Joe. Bleeding Love star Leona, 24, who was buying photo frames, said: “This woman told us, ‘get out of my store right now’. I asked her ‘are you joking?’

“She said, ‘No, I want both of you to remove yourselves from my store’. I asked why – and pointing at my dad she said, ‘I don’t like the look of him. I want him to go now’.

“I said: “What do you mean? She said, ‘I know why you’re coming in here’. She was implying we were trying to steal stuff.”

The woman shouted at Leona in front of other customers, but despite being in tears the singer refused to leave. “I was so angry my dad had to drag me out of the shop. I’d never experienced anything like that. Being judged by the colour of your skin is horrible.”

Source

I’m under the impression that this happened after she became famous. I could be wrong.

SOOOOO you and your dad are racially profiled. Check.  You are angry and distraught-brought to tears by the incident. Check. You NEVER experienced anything like that until AFTER you became globally recognizable by name and face. Check. You are a world famous singer, and you have a global platform with which you can use to publicly shun this woman and her business. Check. You decide to go public with the story, but you DO NOT name the store and you DO NOT identify the racist?????? Did they pay you off???

My conclusion: Classic example of complacency towards White racism.

If the story isn’t a complete fabrication, this might be an attempt at some urban credibility LOL. I sense an R&B album on the horizon. It’s been done before…

Because Black Women MUST Be Jealous of You

Sara Baartman

I am really fascinated by how much of a commodity beauty is in our society. This is doubly true for women, whom are (across the racial board) judged more harshly for their appearance than their male counterparts. When you consider the intersection of race and beauty, we arrive at some very sticky stuff. In case you haven’t guessed, the European aesthetic is the standard by which all women are judged.

Black women are arguably physically the most distinct from the European phenotype. Lips, nose, hair, and typical body shapes are sometimes SO distinct, they become objects of fascination/intrigue rather than simply being body parts. More questions about that? Google the tragic story of “Sartji Baartman”.

Despite what seems to be an ongoing assault on the image and self-esteem of women of predominantly African descent, studies show Black women have equal or higher self-esteem than their White counterparts. Yes, despite the overuse of racially ambiguous women portraying Black women in the media, despite being bombarded with images of White femininity, Black women have managed to emerge (at the very least) no more emotionally scarred than those for whom the beauty standards are set. Society’s response to our confidence? Media images of morbidly obese sassy Black women with bad attitudes and too much self esteem (Norbit). After all, how dare a Black woman (and how DOUBLE DARE a fat woman) deem herself worthy if Whites don’t? I guess we can’t win for losing.

Don’t get me wrong, Black women in the U.S seem to display a mixture of concession and resistance to anti-Black beauty indoctrination. Very few would approve of skin bleaching, but most do not critically question the practice of hair straightening (though this is gradually changing). It’s even harder to challenge the hair-straightening process because in the last century, the process of getting hair done has also provided an actual physical space for Black female discourse (“girl talk”). Be it the kitchen or the salon, the “hair space” can make a person feel “like a ice cube in a oven” if you aren’t a member of that “sorority”. Long wait times, questionable prices, and being unsure of what the hell you’ll look like when you leave can be really stressful. Add to that list the cheeky regulars who believe you’ve forfeited your right to “face” when you enter their space. As a girl who was never allowed to do the bimonthly salon thing, I know exactly how this feels. Plenty of Black women do too. Let’s see how Youtube’s Tiffdjones interprets this phenomenon:

Now, I’m well aware of the issues that exist between lighter and darker skinned Black women. I’m also aware of the ongoing desire for some Black women to achieve Eurocentric hair aesthetics (straight, long, etc). I DO find it interesting that her immediate interpretation  of that experience was that all of those women MUST be jealous of her. Because after all, any Black woman who isn’t absolutely honored to be in the presence of a mulatto and absolutely hell-bent on making her comfortable must be harboring some deep-seeded jealousy. While watching her video I thought back to the times I’ve been laughed at while getting my hair done, the time I was charged extra for the “extra time” because she “didn’t realize how much was there”, and the time I was flat out DENIED service by the infamous Dominicans (funny how they don’t even need names, lol) after I went natural a few years ago. I think about those experiences, sometimes hurtful, sometimes too funny and stupid to be hurtful, and I wonder since I’m not biracial, what’s my excuse?

Another thing I thought about, was the privilege Blacks often give biracials in Black (and sometimes White) contexts. This is more often communicated to biracial women by Black men, so it’s no surprise that a biracial woman in a Black female context was treated (at worse) with a little hazing, or (at best) like any other random girl. Growing up, it was pretty common knowledge that the default pretty girl would always be mixed (this would later be replaced by mixed and/or had an amazing body). However, when I went to a nearly entirely White high school I found that this simply didn’t happen in White environments. In fact, for a particular biracial girl, the combination of red hair, a slightly tighter than average curl pattern, and an affinity for Bob Marley shirts made me realize that it could be downright hard. I finally decided to ask a male student what was so funny about her. His reply was, “you don’t see Bozo’s sister?”

In reflecting on the many times I’ve observed biracials in Black and White contexts, I come to the same conclusions; overly regarded in one environment, nearly invisible in another. This is mainly applicable to the heterosexual contexts I’ve observed. This leads me to another hypothetical conclusion about Tiffdjones’ video:

If the women making her uncomfortable were White, she wouldn’t have the gall or the audacity to assume they were jealous of her. I would put my life on it. I’ve witnessed it before, Biracial women in White female groups often resign themselves to “supporting actress” roles, even if they are attractive enough to be the center of attention. They don’t conceptualize themselves as threats to the social value of White women (certainly not in the eyes of White men), so any tension that arises between a biracial woman and a White woman is likely interpreted as an individual act of meanness rather than some racially loaded act of biracial envy. The blogger has mentioned that her mother (who is Black) discouraged her from trusting Black women with he hair, and this may very well be an example of how the minority parents of biracial identified children often impart their racial insecurities on their children, and these insecurities become a part of their racial identity (as with all racial identities). I will discuss this in more detail later. It pokes a critical whole in the “best of both worlds” argument, or the argument that Biracialism is a fundamental representation of racial progressiveness. Racial progress encourages you to stereotype the very group to which your mother belongs…and your mother encourages this as well???

I guess what I’m asking is…is it really their inferiority complex or your superiority complex??? I think someone who has been raised to be distrustful/wary of a certain group will likely interpret anything they do with that predisposed expectation.

November 25, 2009

Hello world! FAQs

Filed under: Uncategorized — tragicmulattos @ 7:12 pm
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

http://gook9559.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/biracial1.jpg

Welcome to TragicMulattos. As noted in the “About Me” section, this blog is a critique of the modern multiracial movement. I say modern because, contrary to popular belief, mulattos have historically made attempts to organize around a multiracial identity. The MYTH that the One Drop Rule is THE defining aspect of the history of Black/White intermarriage in America is untrue. In fact, the One Drop Rule was a relatively minor aspect of our racial history, and AT NO TIME was it applied in every state, nor in every community. It is important to challenge the idea that ANY time a person of mixed ancestry identifies themselves by one race (be it White or Black), it MUST be due to the One Drop Rule.

The modern multiracial movement (which I will call MMM) has emerged in the last 30 years. Before the late 1970’s the majority of Black/White intermarriages that took place were between Black women and White men. With integration and the dismantling of segregation law, there was a huge shift in the gender makeup of Black White IR relationships, in which White women were now emerging as the mothers of non-White children. Although gains were main during the post civil rights era, Blacks were still systemically and institutionally discriminated against-from employment to education. Yes, this institutionalized racism included the mistreatment of Black children in desegregated schools. Outraged by society’s treatment of their children (not all non-white children), White women sought to secure a social and political space for their children in which they knew their children could not be White, but would not have to be Black. It is natural for someone to want to protect their children, but where does this take our social understanding of race? Dr. David Harris from the University of Michigan’s department of Sociology says that the multiracial movement is:

driven by outraged white women, and I think that’s good. Society is more responsive to the movement because so many of the women driving it are white.”

Basically, the MMM started as 1. An exercise in White female privilege and 2. The attempt to transfer this privilege to their disenfranchised children. In a way it seeks to strengthen our outdated views about race because it demands that our antiquated racial identities be transferred to our children, rather than demanding that our social structures not recognize race at all.

This was NEVER about “accuracy” and  “progress”. If you wanted “accuracy”, shouldn’t you be fighting for all people to be labeled human, which is our ONLY true scientific race? If it is about progress, isn’t it more progressive to move away from racial labels instead of creating new ones?

jazmine_dubois_boondocks.jpg image by NuGenius

Some FAQs you may want to know about this blog

1. Do you oppose the biracial or multiracial identity?

ABSOLUTELY NOT. I oppose much of the rhetoric surrounding the MMM, and that’s what this blog is about. If we do not change and challenge our outdated understanding of race, and APPLY that knowledge, we will simply repeat the past using new jargon. Don’t tell me you’re biracial because of genetics or  biology, then say you oppose the One Drop Rule. Both use pseudo-science to justify your existence. BOTH ARE WRONG. However, I see biracialism as a lived social experience. An experience that NOT ALL PEOPLE with one Black parent and one White parent will have.

2. Why create a blog about this?

I created this blog because many blogs and websites are antagonistic towards any sort of criticism or opposition. I found it best to just create my own space and allow those who seek to find.

3. Why is your blog named TragicMulattos?

It brought you here, didn’t it? LOL. But seriously, the tragic mulatto archetype is prevalent in US literature. One of the main oppositions to the tragic mulatto archetype is that society (particularly Whites) are only encouraged to shun the racial status quo when the face of racial mistreatment is White or nearly White.

4. What are some of the issues you have with the MMM?

*No strong criticisms of the structure of race in America aside from their desire for a MR label

*The MMM often positions Whites as innocent/ignorant racist and Blacks as antagonistic/malicious “crabs in the barrel” racist.

*Tons of loaded racial subtext. In much of the discourse, even when the intention is to be race-neutral, the implicated meanings are often times anti-Black and racist.

I’m sure there are more that I will write as time goes on.

If you have any pertinent questions, feel free to drop them in the comment section.