Tragicmulattoes's Blog

May 9, 2011

Don’t Play the Game With Biracial Women

I haven’t blogged in a very long time, mostly because I haven’t been inspired. I’ve been drawn to other things. Frankly, race talk gets frustrating. But I will leave this blog up as long as I can. I appreciate the comments. I read them. I think through them. I accept them or I don’t.

Recently a commenter chided me for being “hostile” towards Biracial Tiffany and her “jealous blacks” story because, the commenter said, “Black women ARE jealous. It’s just a fact”. You can see her comment and my response here.

After responding, I decided to fish around Tiffany’s blog for the first time in ages. I’m glad I did. I’m glad my comment to the girl was spot on. I’m glad I trusted my own instincts and experiences and responded truthfully rather than diplomatically. And I’m glad I am encouraging everyone, but particularly Black women, to understand what happens when Black women are silent about the dysfunctions and hypocrisies of biracial women, while you allow them to shape the stories that others hear about you. The post in question is here

While participating in racial voyeurism on BlackHairMedia.com, Biracial Tiffany (who admittedly has little connection with Black people in her offline life-which makes her voyeurism that much more interesting…and sad) came across a discussion about Halle Berry in which some poster stated that she does not believe Halle, or other Bircials are Black, nor should they be identified as such. Halle, the poster believes, should NOT be considered the “Most Beautiful Black Woman”. Makes sense, right? This argument has been made before, even by biracial writers. Basically, should half Black women be the dominant images of Black women we see in media? The simple answer is no. But when a Black woman says it, it’s a big problem for tragic mulattos.

No. Black women must be hateful and jealous. Biracial Tiffany decides that her opinion on the matter is so inflammatory that she best not mention it at all.  Her other commenters aren’t as cowardly:

 

jess2248 says:
no one represents me, but me, and i do not represent other black women. as i said before, as soon as this country can get away from this race and color thing, i think we will all be better off. you have blacks and whites telling biracial people how they can or cannot identify. it’s ridiculous. i hate to hear biracial (non-black with black) being hated on by black or white women, but black especially. it always comes off sounding like envy. and that is just another divisive tactic in my opinion. i don’t hear a lot of it in this blog, but on others it gets really nasty.

Now I’m not trying to be funny. Look at the image above. Does this look like a woman who will EVER have to worry about negotiating her racial identity with white women? LOL-would she dare to try if she could? Exactly. She’s talking about being “hated on”. I will stop right here. The commenter I discussed earlier that said I was hostile to Tiffany claimed Black women are jealous of her hair. This commenter has typical African hair (and nose and lips) but still experiences this gut-wrenching jealousy. How can this be??????

Remember what I said about the complex. If it is not excessive adoration, tragic mulattos will believe it is jealousy. 

An even bigger tragedy, Margie said:

And I havete. But I hat the “big” curly kinky hair that black people call “Good hair” and then get mad at me when I repeat them. I’m just discovering the fact that a lot of black women get perms and wigs to try and look like their mulatto counterparts. (ex: Halle Berry. Black Women get weaves to look like Halle Berry and then the media just labels them all black. “This is how to do black women’s hair- no it’s not.

She must not know that Halle wears weaves. And tons of them. She must not know that biracials straighten and relax their hair. Tons of them. Who are they trying to look like??? Take a wild guess. The above comment was said  after she went on about her lack of commonality with “the blacks”. Sigh…

The other ones were too stupid to stay on topic and started talking about how music and money makes them less Black. Typical minority racial hierarchy climbing stuff, talking about being the special darky at expensive White schools (and pretending like they just blended in there and had no racial experiences, lmao). No need to cover that stuff here.

Of course Bethenny was the clueless white mom worried for her future tragedy:

Bethany

Reading that conversation was really annoying to me…which surprised me. I don’t usually take those kinds of comments personally. I’m white and my husband is black…I get so sad when I think about how my children are going to have to hear and deal with conversations like that. Like they’re a science experiment or a food that needs to be labeled. I wish people would get a life. I wish it didn’t have to be a debate. I’m sorry Tiff, I’m just so sad right now for my children. I hope I can raise them to be above all the superficial and negative energy people give out on the topic.

Black women owning their identities and deciding who is “them” and who isn’t, is interpreted by a White woman as “negativity”. Read my post about the origins of the modern biracial movement. It started with women like her.

So to sum up this whole exchange on Tiffany’s blog, if Halle calls herself Black, they’re mad. If Black women say Halle is biracial, they’re mad. if Black women say Halle is Black, they’re mad. Anything a Black woman has to say that is not a loving, uncritical complement…THEY WILL BE MAD.

You may not be allowed to tell other people who they are, but you sure as hell can tell them they ARE NOT LIKE YOU. Everyone has a place in this conversation. Especially if they’re toying with your racial identity.

In this “post racial” climate, Black women can’t win for losing.  Do Not Play Their Game. When it comes to your identity, you’re allowed to set your own rules. Tragic mulattos be darned.

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May 16, 2010

Apparently I’m Not The Only One…

Who can see Biracial Tiffany’s raison d’etre. Like all groups, biracial people are not monolithic. However, the rhetoric that dominates the multiracial movement would have you believe that most are whiny racists. Losangelista blogged about two biracials doing too much-trying too hard-to identify in a way that she found disingenuous. It was refreshing to come across a blogger that seems to have it figured out. Here is an excerpt from her post:

...But unlike Scotty, who felt on his empty gun holster at the mere insinuation that he was anything other than black, Tiffany Jones seems to be bending over backwards in her desire to say “I’m not black.”

This may not have been her intent but while watching Tiffany’s film, underneath her assertions that she’s “not black” or “just black”, I heard someone saying, “I don’t want to be black because blackness is inferior.”

In my own experience as someone with one white parent and one black parent, I’ve met a few other biracial folks who act like they’ve been shortchanged by life because they were given a black mom or dad instead of two white parents. You get the sense that they want to say they’re biracial, not necessarily because they want to acknowledge all aspects of who they are ethnically or racially, but, because they are, deep down, ashamed of their blackness and wish there was some way they could make it go away.

Tiffany’s vibe took me back to the days when I’d hear other biracial girls telling girls with two black parents that they were better than them: better hair, better looking, smarter, less black. It took me back to why folks would meet me and say, “I thought you’d think you’re all that just because you’re mixed.”

Yes, Tiffany can be as proud of her whiteness as she wants to be, but just as Scotty had to say over and over that he was “black”, Tiffany announcing over and over that she’s white lacks authenticity to me. To me, it’s all about intent. Why do you want to be white? And if Tiffany can finally get the world to say, “Yes, honey, you’re white!” will she be happier and more comfortable with herself?

I also think there’s a difference between a healthy pride and an inherent sense of superiority. I am very very proud of being half Irish. If someone asked me to say I’m not part Irish, I’d probably draw a big shamrock on my face right in front of them. However, that pride does not and never will supersede the affection and downright admiration I have for my black ancestry.

I must say, Tiffany gives the impression that her mother wasn’t much of a winner. And if I ever get around to posting about Debra J. Dickerson’s “gift” to her biracial children, you’ll come to find that many Black women in interracial relationships are just as incompetent at dealing with race in their mixed race families as their white counterparts. In fact, this woman might be Tiffany’s mom.

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.

November 26, 2009

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.