Tragicmulattoes's Blog

April 8, 2010

The Multiracial Utopia Myth

I am consistently confused by the persisting idea that a multiracial identity is a progressive racial concept, especially since there is innumerable historical evidence to the contrary. Person-for-person, I would have to say that the multiracial people are no more or less likely to harbor racial prejudice than everyone else. This isn’t a good or bad thing. It is simply indicative of our common reality-we all function under the same racial system and ideologies, and even when you attempt to move within it, you are STILL WITHIN IT. So while taking my daily blog stroll, I happened upon Tiffdjones post, and I figured I will discuss this on my blog. Here are some of her musings on multiracialism and the census:

I thought I was over the Census, but my interest keeps getting piqued despite my best efforts to ignore the chatter.  What I’m most intrigued by at this moment is the notion that in the next decade or two, if we keep changing our attitudes and understandings for the better, a majority of Americans could come to view themselves as mixed race.  And by that I mean Americans who today consider themselves to be exclusively white or black despite the abstract knowledge that we are all mixed up to some extent.

Anyone who has read this blog knows that I don’t think attitudes have changed for the better. If you need a refresher on that, just scroll down. But what makes me chuckle is the idea that “the majority of Americans will come to view themselves as mixed race”. This statement implies a few things:

1. That people don’t recognize the social and economic value of Whiteness, and have no interest in maintaining it. I’m not just talking about the Klan. I’m talking about well-meaning White folks. And the vast majority of them. Despite the current trend in labeling Black people as interracial haters, White people are still the least likely of ANY group to marry inter-racially or approve of such pairings. Perhaps if your world consists entirely of mixed race discourse, you may forget that the rest of America doesn’t operate from that perspective and have little interest in doing so. “The next decade or two?” Please don’t hold your breath.

2. If by some crazy chance the majority of Americans DO come identify themselves as mixed race, it would contradict many of the core ideological ideas that the multiracial movement is founded upon. The crux of the mulatto identity is the concept of difference. An *essential* difference in experience. A genetic, predetermined, inescapable truth about their existence that cannot be experienced by those are not of that label. What would this new all-ecompassing mixed race identity do to the “real mixed race” identity…if everyone jumps in the pot? Often during these discussions, when a Black commenter mentions “everyone is mixed”, multiracials interpret this to be a strategy to obscure their distinction from Blackness. Now the obscuration of difference is something we should look forward to? I don’t get it.

The post goes on to say:

And if that paradigm shift happens there won’t be much use in classifying ourselves in terms of “race” because we will see ourselves as generally more similar than different regardless of color/phenotype.

Yes, because this has been the case in countries with large multiracially identified populations…le sigh. I’m looking at you Brazil & The Dominican Republic.

This is why I do what I do. People have known for nearly a hundred years that we are scientifically the same regardless of phenotype (mind you the multiracial identity also relies on scientific/genetic racial concepts-hypocrisy  much??). Yet race and racism persists. Despite over a century of terms like octaroon, quadroon, mulatto, wheatish, half-caste, pardo, coloured, morena, WHATEVER…race and racism persist. And it’s even more vicious in some of the most mixed race societies. Perhaps the REAL problem in all of this is not about the name we give it, but the PURPOSE it serves (and continues to serve). A rose by any other name…. I know I’m not the only one who has thought this through. Why do people in the multiracial movement think this is the first time people have tried to sort this race stuff out, and they’re on the verge of something new? I just don’t get it. This is a repackaging of the color-blind society rhetoric. Color-blindness is a cheap way for some people to ignore the root of the problem by refusing to NAME the problem. It’s like a band-aid on a bullet wound. You can call Jamal and Matt “mixed race” all you want. But as long as Jamal finds it harder to land a job, a cab, or a loan, he will KNOW that he is something that Matt is not, and he will create a word to identify that. Tiff’s post doesn’t touch the foundation of difference. It simply focuses on hoping we won’t have a name for the problem in the future.

And finally the real reason behind the post:

Although I respect Obama’s right (and that of every individual) to self-identify any way he chooses,

Sure you do, lol:

I feel that the checking of just one box is holding us back from reaching that “promised land” where we aren’t so entrenched in these antiquated notions of race and color, but perhaps more interested in heart, spirit, intellect …. Once again I’m a bit speechless because I’m not sure what the world will look like when instinctively and instantly we take people for what the truly are instead of what they truly look like.

I’m nauseous from the thinly veiled “hateration” and  shallow idealism. And this is coming from an idealist. With the stroke of his pen, Obama is holding America back from actualizing our collective mixed race identity (and  developing automatic super powers that allow us to transcend stereotyping and prejudice). Mind you, I am CERTAIN Tiff has never been concerned about the racial identities of any other president or monoracial political figure, nor has she been critical about what their actions have done to polarize Americans along racial lines. Obama checked a box that represented who he truly is in the world he lives in. The census is not a wishing well. It is not a dream keeper. It is not a magic genie that will fix  *behaviors* that centuries have created. I find it funny that many white supremacist take the same stance, and use the same logic when discussing Obama’s identity as those in the MRM. Read any conservative teabagging blog, and there are accusations of dishonesty. I don’t believe this to be coincidental.

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1 Comment »

  1. Speak woman SPEAK! From your keyboard to my soul. I hate this idea that we’re in a post-racial society. We are not. Race is as important as ever and the legacy of colonialism and slavery is as alive as ever. I am the product of a black woman and latino/asian man. I don’t buy into this specialized mixed race classification. It seems in many cases as a way to seperate oneself from being black.

    Comment by Sara — April 11, 2014 @ 3:38 am | Reply


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