I recently had a discussion in class that left me thinking. For context, we were discussing race that week in class. There was one reading that just left me feeling seen but also more confused than ever. It was about biracial attitudes in America. Being biracial my damn self, it gave me a lot to think about.
But it also got me thinking on how my sister and I grew up in the South with a white mother and a black father. Here’s a little disclaimer before i get into the meat of this article, I’m very aware of colorism and how even if i’m not white-passing I am lighter skinned and am very aware of the privileges that I get compared to darker skinned individuals. Anyhoo, growing up mixed race in the South is a very strange thing.
At some point it almost felt like it was years ago when a white woman and a black man were barred from being together and having a child. Sometimes people stared (and still do) and I’m unsure if that’s because they’re wondering what two young brown girls are doing with a white woman. As if biracial children aren’t a common occurrence. Maybe it’s because the south is still so ass backward in so many respects that some people really are appalled by biracial kiddos.
Growing up, I was never super aware that there weren’t a lot of mixed kiddos until I got to the fifth grade. I realized that I didn’t really fit in with anyone. There’s that classic phrase, too white for the black kids and too black for the white kids. Because it was true. We grew up with a white mother, but to the white kids we were still too different. This was likely a result of not being around anyone besides white people. Which is more their parents fault than anything, but then you have to remember that we are in the south. People still get angry with their kids for dating outside of their race.
Then there were black kids who didn’t particularly care for us either. I remember being called bougie a lot and I still am called that often, mostly by men who don’t meet my standards. But i was called bougie for talking different or for wearing my hair straight or for whatever dumb reason. I realize now that they were just kids.
As a biracial adult, I don't feel out of place anymore. I know who i am and have for some time and i don’t give a fuck what anyone has to say one way or another. I know in light of police brutality in the last decade or so being captured on film more and more, a lot of biracial individuals feel more lost than ever. There are white-passing people who completely exclude themselves from the black community and feel like police brutality is something that can never happen to them and don’t stand in support of their community.
Then there are people like me who can spot an injustice and be unafraid to speak up about it. I know some biracial people may feel like they were never accepted by the black community so they won’t defend them, but I think they were just looking for acceptance in the wrong people. We’ve all been there. Denying my roots is something I won't do and I won't stand idly by while people are killed for nothing. While it was a lonely road getting to where I am today, I don’t feel out of place in these movements, not anymore.