A black male friend of mine once conceded, that going forth, he would only date white women. The proclamation was not in defense to the frequently uttered “black women are too much work, etc….” statements. It was instead a rational and conscious decision, to as he described, “eradicate race.” In his own way he would propel the unpopular notions that one day, in the not too distant future, we will all be too mixed up to belong to any one race. Chances are it was complete bullocks, but none-the-less it generated some compelling conversation.
In Joel Kotkin’s The Next Hundred Million: America in 2050, he described a very different American demographic. A 2050 America, where because of the present and rapidly increasing number of racially and/ or culturally intertwined couples, the next generation of young persons are far less likely to be a part of a Caucasian majority. Far less likely to be any one thing for that matter. Many publications confirm that mixed racial coupling is more popular than ever. In fact, 1 in 10 relationships now crosses racial boundaries. Kotkins is also of the impression that Americans presently don’t “see the concern for racial classifications we once had some decades ago.” And while I care to agree, comments to a recent post have proven that many believe this to be otherwise.
It’s believed that mixed race individuals are often plagued with issues surrounding identity crisis. They are the epitome of how important racial classification is to this country. The need to pick an ethnicity on every form. A possibility of defamation if one were to be so bold as to classify themselves as white. The not so complete acceptance when they associate themselves as black. So what does it mean to be the child of a black mother and a white father? It may mean that those whom you’ve chosen to affiliate yourself with may have some underlying resentment. To some, light-skinned, wavy hair, hazel eyed individuals have the best of both worlds. You have the “good hair.” You’re more racially relatable, so life will go smoother for you. Being biracial also means you have to make an almost daily choice on a subject that shouldn’t matter in the first place. An answer to the perpetual question, “So what are you?” In a comment to another popular post, a reader offered that when asked this question she responds, “I’m pink.” A few months ago, in an interview with The Village Voice, Drake (as have many biracial public figures) was questioned about his racial identity. He amply responded, “I’m mixed…. I get a lot of love everywhere in the world for just being diverse, instead of just being straight out [one thing]. I’m all mixed up and people embrace that.”
For some who choose to affiliate themselves as African-American, there’s an underlying compulsion to prove their blackness. It’s such an unnecessary burden placed by a nation obsessed with maintaining separation. A nation compelled by classification and a need to belong to a group. A need to define what’s normal. A need to uphold a “one-drop rule.” A Christian nation that plucks out parts of the bible for social comforts. In an effort to justify slavery and later acts of inequality we perpetually quoted Leviticus and Deuteronomy. To justify the “wrongness” of homosexuality we preach on the Lord’s disdain of sodomites. For a people all made in the image of One we are incessantly great at highlighting our differences. Just last year, Keyshia Cole opted out of BET’s Black Girls Rock for fear of not quite being black enough for the popular show. There are several other celebrities who have come under much scrutiny for their refusal to identify themselves as black.
It is in the nature of progressives (like myself) to perpetually look forward. At its core, the goal of progressivism is to improve the human condition and to propel a nation forward in the intellectual, social and economic sense. That said, it would be nonsensical to adapt some form of Utopian ideal, especially as it relates to race. Both the past and the present has shown that humans will always find a means of divide. A means of separating a deemed lesser from the greater. Even, if one day, racism were to become a non issue in this country; we would instinctively find another characteristic to scurry up divergence and hate. Sometimes I wonder, why the effort to perpetrate change, when history has taught us that it is a near impossible feat.
So who is the child born of mixed race in America?
An American. A well-adjusted American in fact. Previous studies (1968-1984) showed that children born of biracial parents were grave suffers of race affiliation and a lack of racial identity. Today (2010-2014) studies are finding that mixed race individuals are actually more adjusted. They are given the opportunity to be nurtured in a colorlessly defined environment. An environment that teaches them they are the same as their mom (a white woman) and their dad (a black man) and that above all, love transcends. An environment where the last thing that matters is color. They have the direct opportunity to see themselves reflected in both a black and a white person and realize they are the same. I can think of nothing more beautiful. As adults they are less inclined to accept a “one-drop rule” because it means denying a parent. It means denying half of who they are.
There are so many pressures to affiliate with one group, even for those who are not born of mixed race. An underlying pressure to play your “role” as an African-American or Caucasian. Pressures to do “black” things for sake of not being considered an Oreo. In the past, reports suggested that biracial teens succumbed to these pressures. However, recent reports indicate that multiracial children are creating their own definitions for fitting in and carrying out better adjusted lives. Perhaps the way in which to polarize racial tensions does lie in the advent of the modern family.
So, maybe my friend isn’t so crazy. Maybe his conscious decision isn’t too radical and may have, even the smallest impact on a continually changing world. While I don’t subscribe to choosing a race to love, I don’t subscribe to sticking to one’s kind. At the least, love should remain one of the purest forms of expression, especially in its most unadulterated sense. It should be allowed to happen whenever and with whomever the connection sparks.
But what if we were all pink? What if we could accept the notion that we are all in one way or another of African decent? What if we could see each other in ourselves? Then we would see that no one is any better, any different or less deserving of any civil liberty. What if we were all pink? Perhaps the question should be, what if we could all come to see we already are?
Cover Image Courtesy of Intermarriage.com