Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Do We Make Bi-Racial people Deny Their Heritage & is the term Bi-Racial Offensive?


Term: Bi-racial
Of, for, or consisting of members of two races.
Having parents of two different races.

Term: Deny
to declare untrue
to refuse to admit or acknowledge
a : to give a negative answer to b : to refuse to grant c : to restrain from gratification of desires
archaic : decline
to refuse to accept the existence, truth, or validity of

In Paula Patton’s recent interview in Women’s Health Magazine, she stated

"I find [the term biracial] offensive. It’s a way for people to separate themselves from African-Americans….a way of saying ‘I’m better than that’. I’m black because that’s the way the world sees me. People aren’t calling Barack Obama biracial. Most people think there’s a black president."

Paula's recent statement has many people choosing a side as to whether or not she is denying her other heritage, by saying she is specifically one, or is she's considering the word offensive due to the "House Negro, field Negro term." Then there are others who agree with her. This topic and the statement can translate into so many things, being that we don't know her personally to understand where she was coming from. However, this topic is something i have talked to my friends over and over again about. Ive seen this topic explained on talk shows. I have bi-racial friends who are confused or dealing with that very statement. At times it can become a really heated debate. So heated that people tend to over look the obvious and un-obvious and can not agree.

With all that said, I decided i wanted to state my opinion on the issue and you as well you can leave comments to help me understand your side of things. So where do i start?.. i will say i TOTALLY agree with her statement. However i don't think the word Bi-racial is offensive. (I'll explain why later) The reason i say i agree with her statement is because its plan black and white THE WORLD TREATS YOU HOW THEY SEE YOU!. If you look black, they treat you like your black. If you look white, they treat you white. If you look Spanish, Asian, Muslim and so on. They treat you how they meet you. Walking up to someone and asking "Are you mixed so i can treat you different?" Would not only be offensive but it would also be inappropriate. So because that is not okay in many cases, its easier to say she's black, he's white, that's who the are, that's how I'm going to treat them. I'm NOT saying its okay, I'm just saying that..Its is what it is! It hasn't changed in centuries and I'm sure it isn't changing soon. However, the mere fact that the world treats you how they see you is also the reason why a lot of bi-racial people have problems with self identity. I say that because their families teach them to accept the two cultures but the world treats them how they appear. In many cases how they appear could go so many ways. Which in many cases their appearance doesn't translate into their heritage. The only translation is skin color. Which to a child who doesn't want to feel like he/she is denying any part of themselves, its confusing. It gets even more difficult when a person looks blacks but is more culturally white or looks white but is more culturally black and etc. We all know the term "Acting like your whatever whatever," but that term to me has always been ignorant because you can't act out what you culturally do not know. Most bi-racial people and people in general are more culturally comfort in certain environments because most of their experiences consist in that culture. It has nothing with the person denying their other half. Its more about that person finding themselves in many cases accepting who they are, who they not at and who they will never be according to WHITE America. Yes she is black, when people look at her they say she looks like she could be bi-racial however she appears to be black and I'm sure that's how she's treated. That's goes for pretty much all of this country. It goes all the way back to the beginning of time, honestly its easier to separate someone by their skin color especially when you have no clue of their heritage, culture or characteristics. A better word for it would be prejudice! (Who's definition people tent to get mixed up with racist.) Those are very different but that another discussion.

Do i think we make them deny their heritage? I'd say no! Who you are is who you are. Alicia Keys and Halle Berry both have white mothers and black fathers and they consider themselves black. I haven't yet heard either one of them deny who and what their mothers have been to them. Lenny Kravitz and Slash both have black mothers and white or Jewish fathers. I've never heard either of them denounce either of their heritages. I will say that we try, in order to make people be who we want them to be. So that we can be comfortable. But it doesn't work!

The reason i disagree with the term bi-racial being offensive is because i could be considered bi-racial because I'm FOR another race. You don't just have to be OF another race to be bi-racial. The only time i could see the term Bi-racial being offensive is when someone who is bi-racial uses it to make others feel inferior because they are not of two heritages. Or if someone is trying to box another person in by their INTENT of the term. Some may say her statement was offensive, so may say harsher things. But honestly, she's correct to an extent! ~Sorry i wanted to keep it short.

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