Whenever people protest that a child is ‘biracial’, not Black, not only are they denying the impact that being classified as ‘non-white’ has on the life of a child, but they are also teaching that child to embrace ‘whiteness’ as an ideal, writes JuJuBe.
13 February 2011
As a woman who is classified as "white" I have been told time and time again that it is "not my place" to define the racial identity of a non-white person. So, I am going to be stepping on a few toes with this article, but I am not going to apologize for that. I am simply going to state my case as to why I believe that the "biracial" or "mixed" label is detrimental.
A while back, I was made aware of a video entitled "Biracial, not Black, Dammit!" I could not even bring myself to watch the documentary, because I assumed it was a blatant rejection of the Black collective, and was, in fact, a tool of white supremacy. The more white supremacists can convince non-white people to remain divided the stronger the racists become.
The "One Drop Rule" previously was used as a method to keep people who had Black heritage down. Once an individual was identified as having Black heritage, it was easy for white people to dismiss and subjugate them. But, today, in many cases, the "one drop rule" is used instead to convince Black people who have a white parent that they, in fact, are closer to "whiteness" and should therefore reject the notion of struggling to dismantle white supremacy.
This is a dangerous situation to me. While some people claim that the term "biracial" allows them to embrace the fullness of their heritage, I think, unfortunately, that white people often use it to keep Black people, who could otherwise be working together to end racism, stratified. It creates a sort of "buffer" zone between white and Black, which is used to convince people that racism/white supremacy is no longer an issue.
I find it extremely disconcerting when I hear white people who have children with a Black partner insist that their child is not Black, but is, in fact, "biracial". Their insistence upon the use of the term "biracial" indicates to me that they are not at all allies with Black people in the struggle to replace white supremacy with justice for all. The offhanded dismissal of the "Blackness" of their child leads their child to subconsciously identify more strongly with "whiteness", which is, let's face the facts, an easier existence.
The more white people can convince so called "biracial" people that they have a vested interest in being "part white" the more they can convince them to reject the cause of racial justice. It teaches so called "biracial" children that it is of ultimate importance to elevate and embrace "whiteness".
By doing so, it manufactures an existential crisis in that child that prevents him/her from taking up the cause of justice. White people do this in order to convince individuals who classify themselves as "biracial" or "mixed" to reject the notion that "whiteness" is a condition that must be annihilated in order for there to be a more just world.
If the white supremacists can convince a person that he is "biracial" then it is only a short journey to the defense of whiteness. After all, if you are "half white", then you should be invested in preserving the white race, right?
I cringe whenever I hear people protest that a child is "biracial", not Black. Not only are they denying the impact that being classified as "nonwhite" has on the life of a child, but they are also teaching that child to embrace "whiteness" as an ideal. That is not what I want for my children.
When I have children, it is extremely likely that they will be Black. And yes, I said Black, not biracial. Biracial is just an artificial category devised by white supremacists to boost the number of people who are "white identified".
When I hear "embracing both sides of your heritage" pushed as the ultimate goal of using the "biracial" label, I immediately recognize it for what it is... an attempt to negate the evils perpetrated by the white race over so many centuries.
I have seen many individuals who have a white parent fight for the cause of justice, and for the elevation of the Black collective. But I have never once heard any of them refer to themselves as "biracial". That term seems to be reserved for the confused, for those longing to be "white".
JuJuBe blogs at My Name is JuJuBe where this article first appeared.