acknowledging bi-racial women as black is not a threat to other black women

March 23, 2017
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There’s nothing wrong with wanting to marry a black-ass person and have black-ass kids. But pretending that this is the only way to lead an “authentically” black life and have “authentically” black children is a problematic mess.

When we (the black community) talk about light skin privilege, many people want to simplify the conversation about colorism to “we’re all black”, “the police see you as black.” Isn’t this argument more true for non-white passing mixed blacks? When a person’s background and experiences in society are shaped by their blackness, why wouldn’t they “belong” to the black community?

This isn’t to say that anyone should ignore a mixed person’s other racial identities. I would imagine that this makes up a significant part of someone’s perspectives, especially if they’re raised in both cultures. And this isn’t science, but wouldn’t it be fair to say that many to most biracial blacks identify more strongly with the ethnicity projected on them by society? Right or wrong, this shapes how everybody thinks about themselves, to varying degrees. That’s certainly how I, as a young person, came to understand my identity as a black woman.

This doesn’t mean that the answer is to ignore other more complicated aspects of privilege and overrepresentation biracial people experience. Nor does it answer the accompanying fetishism and subsequent representational erasure of monoracial and dark skin black women in media. The problem here isn’t that biracial and multiracial WOC are representing black femme identities in the first place, it’s the perverse reasons why. This is a real problem, too, but biracial people aren’t responsible for it and subsequently shouldn’t be marginalized because of it.

So, honestly, where are biracial people supposed to go? Where do they “belong”? And why not with the people who most share their experiences and perspectives?

There’s more than enough blackness to go around, folks.

By Erin White*, AFROPUNK contributor

*Erin White is an Atlanta-based writer and AFROPUNK’s editorial and social media assistant. You can follow her on Tumblr or friend her on Facebook. Have a pitch or an inquiry? Shoot her an email at erin@afropunk.com.