The following post is not really book-related, more race related so if you hate those kind of discussions, stop reading after my next sentence. There will be a return to bookish posts tomorrow. Stop reading. Still here? Yay! Be warned this post is full of abstract thoughts, ramblings and BUTs.
It would seem the universe is trying to tell me something. First I read the Latte Rebellion (I definitely recommend you read it!) which is all about mixed race kids, bicultural kids, multiracial, whatever you want to call us 'mutts' (which I say out of complete love). Then I'm in school working on an online college profile. My counselor wrote my ethnicity down as Latino. Which is a first because once people see me they automatically assume I'm Black (unless they themselves are Black and then they usually ask me what I'm 'mixed with'. I used to wonder how they knew and when I was in 8th grade or so someone explained to me it was because of my hair...), but if they just hear my last name they automatically assume I'm Latino. But then again, I'm not so sure my counselor had ever seen me before...Regardless I wanted to change the profile to reflect my bicultural status, especially since this was profile was used to find scholarship matches. But I couldn't. The application would not allow me to list more than one ethnicity, so I ended up picking 'multiracial'. But here's the thing I'm not multiracial. To me being multiracial is different from being bicultural. Multiracial=many races. For ex: someone like the main character in The Latte Rebellion who is half Indian, and a quarter Spanish and Irish. However her best friend Carey is half Chinese, half European/Caucasian/white. To me Carey would not be multiracial, she would be bi cultural. BUT she's also multicultural because I'm sure her European side is made up of every single European country (ok I'm slightly exaggerating but you know what I mean). Bicultural is what I am, made up of two cultures. Black and Latina. A Blatina. I asked my college counselor why I couldn't put two ethnic groups down and she said multiracial was the same thing. But it's not. And perhaps this is the dilemma multiracial kids face because by checking such a broad term, we do not get to acknowledge each side of our cultural heritages. I want the world to know that I'm Black and Panamanian because I'm still trying to reconcile both cultures and being able to show them both would make me happy. What's worse is that no multiracial scholarships popped up! So I'm going to have to change my ethnicity to Latino, write down all the scholarships listed and then switch to Black and write down all those scholarships.
THEN after the college incident, I was directed to the New York Times article, More Young Americans Identify as Mixed Race. This article gave me some good food for thought but this and a conversation on Twitter have left me thoroughly confused. Thus I wrote this blog post to try and write out my thoughts AND to get feedback. I'm even using bulletpoints to make it easier for myself (and others). Any thoughts you could give me/personal anecdotes would be greatly appreciated.
- Is Asian a race? I used to always think multiracial would be Asian, Black and white. But now I think multiracial could also mean Asian, Latino and Black. But Latino is not a race, it's an umbrella term for a culture. Hence the reason as to why I'm not BIRACIAL, I'm BICULTURAL. BUT biracial (I thought) only applies to half-Black, half-white? Someone who is half Asian, half white is usually not referred to as biracial, right? See how confusing it gets?
- Why don't people understand that multicultural does not just mean people of color? Multicultural means someone who has more than two cultural heritages. So you can be Irish, English and German and call yourself multicultural. Seriously I wouldn't care and other people shouldn't either.
- By that same token though, don't be one of those people who on cultural heritage days lists: "10% Irish, 2% Scottish, 50% German, 1% Cherokee, 10% Greek" etc. I HATE that. When you are less than 10% just stop. Unless you actively celebrate that culture.
- Why are people so quick to try and say that they are 3% Black and 5% Native American? Unless you've faced prejudice because of that, I really don't wanna hear it. One time one of my white friends came up to me all excited because she found out she was one eighth Black and Native American (I forgot the tribe). I just looked at her. She was never going to face prejudice because of that fact so I found it hard to get excited with her. BUT there's the 'one drop' rule too. See what a mess this is?
- Not to be stereotypical but anyone ever notice how Southern Black people always claim to be Native American (usually Cherokee)? I say this out of love because my mom is from the Sot uh (but she's never seriously made that claim, only as a joke).
- Am I one of the only people who see myself as bicultural? I've never really heard anyone else you that term but that's what my parents always say :)
Some days, I feel more Black than Latina (which is most of the time but I'm working on that). Other days it's the reverse (when I'm listening to Spanish music, salsa dancing, etc). Any bicultural/mixed race people feel the same way? (Awesome T-shirt from whatRugear, I WANT)
- I would be furious if President Obama called himself a white president because he is biracial. I wouldn't mind if he said he was the first biracial president but he is also the first Black president so everyone who got upset that he checked Black on the census needs to CALM DOWN. Again, it's the one drop rule, he looks Black, faces prejudice because he's Black so obviously he's going to acknowledge his Black heritage first. again, I wouldn't have minded thought if he checked biracial (is that even a census option?) but he is not multiracial.
Don't try and make us mixies and biculturals choose sides. It's annoying
- I don't understand the fuss about joining ethnic clubs? I'm a member of my high school Latino club and my high school African American club. That's what I didn't get about The Latte Rebellion, why couldn't Asha have joined the Latino and Asian clubs? Don't get me wrong, I love the idea behind the Latte Rebellion but still.
- All of you people who want 'Caucasian' clubs and a 'Caucasian history month' (yes more than one person has said that to me)..I don't even know what to say. NO
- O.M.G. stop complaining when someone from a different race/culture dates someone outside their race/culture. It's the 21st century, deal with it
- Most importantly: I'm tired of hearing that race and ethnicity does not matter. I want it to matter. Being Blatina does not DEFINE me, but it's part of what makes me who I am today. I don't want a color blind society, I want a society that embraces ALL colors, without question.
Whew. I'm sure I left out some important questions and facts so fill me in. What do you agree or disagree with?