I really should be doing some other stuff, but I feel the urge to write. Stuff has just been too weird lately not to.
Rachel Dolezal is in the news. In a year’s time, we will have forgotten all about her, but her story reminded me of something that I experienced years ago.
Some time ago, I worked with an older black woman. She was quite the personality: drinker, smoker, raconteur, history teacher and aficionado. (We made some memorable trips to the casino together.) Her ex-husband was also black, but her daughter married a white man, and had two twin daughters.
Shortly after their birth, I asked her daughter “How are you going to identify them? As biracial?”
“No,” she said. “They’re black. The world is going to look at them and see black children. So they’re black. They’re not mixed, they’re not biracial—they’re black.”
Keep in mind that my friend’s daughter was fairly light-skinned, and her twin daughters even more so. Still, she had a point—we live in a world which sees the tiniest little bit of non-white in you and your entire existence is identified with, defined by, and often limited by, that bit of non-white.
I’m biracial, but I can easily pass as white, and I do all the time. (Although at my last job, one of the front end managers—a black woman—asked me straight out “What are you? ‘Cause you’re not white.” Apparently it’s okay to ask about race, as long as you’re not white.) But as soon as people find out about that non-white bit, I go from being just “Ken” to “Ken, the brown guy” or “Ken, our brown guy”. Not brown and white, and certainly not tan. Sometimes this is said with humor, sometimes with affection, but still—it is said.
I don’t mean this as a complaint. I’ve dealt with this a long time, and I’m to the point where it doesn’t bother me, usually. But it does mean that we have a long way to go when it comes to racial understanding.
- I have seen bits and pieces of Maleficent, although I haven’t seen it in its entirety. I’m not generally a fan of anything Disney, but I like what I’ve seen so far. I can’t help but think that if this movie had been made thirty years ago, the special effects would not have been as good, but Anjelica Huston would have rocked out this role.
- If you like photography, check out Timothy Archibald.
- I recently reached over 200 followers and 6000 tweets on Twitter @iswpw.
- I also resurrected my original Twitter account @kjodle. Not entirely sure what I’m going to do with it just yet.
- In the wake of the Charleston shooting, Boing Boing released their white terrorist bingo card.
Also, this is what you get when you google “cute squid”: