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What makes someone black?

Doorsy's picture

My sd, the one who is 16, had some friends this weekend and one of them made a joke about the only black thing about her was her nail polish. The friend was black and sd and her other friend are white. So the black friend told sd that the only black thing about sd was her nail polish. Sd told black friend she was as black as her since her mom was black and her dad white like this girl (white mom, black dad). Sd said she was a black girl trapped in a white body. They played around some more and then left for the movies. I asked dh about it and what he considers sd's race. He said white because she looks white. Sd is actually 25% black. Dad is white and mom is half white/half black. I'm curious as to what sds race actually is. She is white skinned with brown hair and brown eyes. I would say she is white but she says to people she is black and then explains her mom is black. Her mom married a black man and her siblings are black. She lives with us 50%. Bm and dh always check white on forms because there is no white/black spot.


witch.hazel's picture

Most people would probably call that mixed. I don't think she should have to "be" one or the other. There isn't a "mixed" box on forms to check? There should be.

Acratopotes's picture

good grieve... SD is human, skin color does not define who you are, if she says she's black so be it, if you think she's white so be it,
really not something to debate about and to wonder about.

JustAgirl42's picture

'choose to live as a white woman'

just curious what you mean by this? Do people with different shades of skin color 'live' differently?

JustAgirl42's picture

I mean 'live' as in exist in the most basic ways...we all brush our teeth, eat, work, buy clothes...Etc..

Tired_step_mom's picture

Yes it is different. Our hair products are different and much harder to find. Same for hair dressers. They way people talk to you and their preception of your behaviors is different, if your a black woman and get upset in public your just an angry black woman and your feelings are immediately invalid. 

Her choosing to live white is a thing that very light skinned black people have done and still do to get by and treated better.

Disneyfan's picture

I would say she is a black kid who can pass for white.

I would have her read some literature on passing. Cullen, Nella Larsen, Hughes, Hurston's Color Struck....

I wonder what color she will be when it's time to apply for college scholarships. }:)

not your momma's picture

Your comment about scholarships is unbelievably insensitive and racist. As a mixed woman, I am deeply offended.

Disneyfan's picture

I don't care if you're offended. As a black woman, I have encountered plenty of people who raised their mixed kids as white UNTIL it benefited them to be black.

Here in NYC, it is common for these "white kids to suddenly be "black when their parents are trying to get them into independent schools through such programs as A BETTER CHANCE or PREP FOR PREP

Disneyfan's picture

You can call me all the names you like. It doesn't change the fact that there are plenty of people that do just what I stated.

Acratopotes's picture

I am a white person... and Disneyfan is 100% right.... so stop saying she's a racist if you do not know her . Unfortunately color plays a roll in today's life with everything., actually way more then what you want to admit

tonieye11's picture

You SD is black. Independent of how she looks she is firmly black, although she can pass of white. Her father might want to acknowledge this because it will change her viewpoints on certain matters as she gets older.

JustAgirl42's picture

Why is she 'firmly' black if she's 75% 'white'?

It's too bad people feel the need to assign themselves a certain color or race and behave a certain way.

tonieye11's picture

One Drop Rule. Look it up.

As I said before, I don't need to assign myself anything that was done for me the day I was born.

Besides, why should I give up any part of my heritage to appease you or anyone else. It is a part of who I am, my culture is beautiful and I do not apologize for it. A post racial society is not, not acknowledging race, it is not judging a person by it. I many friends from many different cultures and races, I love learning about our differences. I've never had a person offended by that and most are eager to teach. But saying, why acknowledge it, is erasing a part of who they are. I will not cosign that.

JustAgirl42's picture

I won't look up the one drop rule because it sounds ignorant.

I don't believe that you, or anyone, should assign themselves, or need to give up their heritage - sorry if I implied that, but I'm not sure that I did.

Acratopotes's picture

oh dear Lord... thank you for this.....

off to home affairs to change my ethnic group.... they will have a ball and laugh at me, but with your argument SD is black cause she's 25/75 mixed..

if this girl was adopted by pure white people they would've registered her as white and no one would ever know about her 25%, if she grew up with black people she would've been registered accordingly and went through life as a mixed race but black... thus your argument is totally stupid.

This girl is a American, over and done with, she's not defined as black, white, pink or green... she's simply a citizen

justkeepstepping's picture

We've been through this with DS and skids.

DS's father was only 1/4 Mexican. DS is only 1/8. BD's skin was white. You couldn't tell he was even mixed. The only thing Mexican about him was his last name (Which was actually Spanish, as in Spain). He would get really offended if anyone referred to him as a white person. He clung to that little 25% with everything he had and would say and do things to try to make people believe he was Mexican. The only actual Mexican people within 100 miles he was related to were his Grandfather (full) and mother. The whole rest of the family is white as can be and blonde headed. Lol

DS identifies as white. Other than his name, you'd never think anything of the sort.

Skids mother is 1/2 Mexican. SS is 1/4 Mexican and SD is 1/2 Mexican. They both look Mexican and identify as such. They took on a lot of the physical traits associated with Mexicans. You'd never think SS had a white dad.

Different nationalities/races live differently when it comes to traditions and such. That's why DS's BD wanted to identify as Mexican so much. He wanted that culture, but it wasn't there in his family. Skids were raised around a traditional Spanish speaking great-grandparents house.

You never know how someone will react when you mention something like that. DS has a friend that is black. He was playing with DS one day and came crying to me (6-7 years old then) because a kid called him black. I was speechless. I didn't know that to do. Turned out his mother thought being called black was racist and had raised him to identify as African American.

Dovina's picture

And then there is Rachel Dolezel. Quite interesting.
I think your daughter will be whatever she identifies most closely with. Hopefully one day she will embrace her entire background. I don't even see this as an issue. Surprising though that school forms are so literally black and white, especially in todays age.

WTF...REALLY's picture

I live in a melting pot of cultures and absolutely love it. One thing I like about the melting pot, people identify themselves as mixed nationalities by stating the origin of the country they’re from. So someone might be Chinese, Portuguese, Irish, Japanese and Hawaiian.

I personally have never understood the black race in the white race thing. Everybody comes from somewhere. If you’re black you could come from different countries in Africa or you could be coming from Jamaica and on and on. If your white, you could be coming from Sweden or Ireland and on and on and on. I don’t think there such a thing as black-and-white. I believe their origins from your ancestors that came from countries.

And where I live, the feeling is the more mixed you are the better. Some of the most gorgeous people in the world come from mixed heritages. Smile

tonieye11's picture

Cliff notes explanation: Black's and Caribbean's (many) are descendants of slaves, therefore they (mostly Black) have do not have a connection to their African home or a Country that truly accepts us. As that information was stolen from us, we identify as black as a signifier of slave ancestry. It is reclaiming a pseudo-culture that stolen and acknowledging a underline experience.

But, you are right that being white is not a culture or ethnic origin.

"And where I live, the feeling is the more mixed you are the better." - Where do you live where this is true?

WTF...REALLY's picture

Thank you for the cliff notes. Definitely interesting to read. I never until now understood that the identifier of black is from of the origins of slavery. That makes a lot of sense.

I know on mainland America the racial divide is big and a lot of hate crimes continue to happen. I’m always heartbroken want to see this on the news.

I’m from Hawaii and Micronesia. We definitely have a different outlook on the race than on the mainland. I lived in Florida for a few years and was shocked by what I saw.

WTF...REALLY's picture

Looks like I need to do a little bit of history reading. In Hawaii, (in the 80’s) American history lessons are not really taught in depth. We actually studied more about the history what happened to Hawaii.

I didn’t even know there was such thing as a slave trade until sixth grade. Shook me to my core when I learned about that.

zerostepdrama's picture

I have 2 adopted sisters who are black. They live with my SM and dad in a rural farm town that is majority white. Someone at school asked one of my sisters "What is it like to be black?" She responded: "I don't know... I'm raised by old white people." LOL Interesting perspective on that.

DH is white. His 5 1/2 siblings are all mixed. Always assumed that they were white/black. One of his sisters recently did one of those DNA testings and found out she doesn't have ANY African American in her. It's been hard for her because she has always identified as black.