“What’s up with u and all this biracial stuff?”


Dear Reader,

It’s been almost a month since I posted. Even now this feels contrived. I want to close this screen and return to my studies. My studies of myself.

If we are Facebook friends you may have noticed a recent change in my status postings. I often share articles about biracial/multiracial experiences. One of my favorite cousins asked in response to one of these articles “What’s up with u and all this biracial stuff?” I often ask myself what is up with this ‘stuff’?

Where did this stuff come from? Where has this stuff been the last 32 years? How did I not know about this stuff? Why didn’t I know that being biracial was a definition, a description and that I didn’t have to be black or white, that I could be black and white? Why did I think I had to pick? Wait. I didn’t have a choice at all. My birth certificate reads ‘black’. 

My mother admits that she didn’t know I could have been both and I understand. I can’t imagine being a black woman married to a black man and saying “My daughter is biracial.” That would mean one of two things: somebody cheated or somebody lied. I remember the stares she would receive when she announced quite proudly that I belong to her while in the grocery store. I recall whispers from onlookers when I tugged at her coat tail and called her “Mommy.”

I don’t believe my birth mother knew I could choose to be both either. She probably thought I would have to black in a nation where the one drop rule was the only rule and in a state where diversity was based on the color of your hair more than your skin, I’m sure she was terrified at the thought of my life with her. I imagine those same winces and whispers in the grocery store at her being called “Mommy” by a mudblood.

My imagination runs wild these days fueled by the pages Senna, Larsen and Cross. In every character I bear witness to who I was, who I am, who I am becoming. With each description, emotion, question of identity I see myself through the eyes of writers who I have never met yet they tell my story. The manicurist’s solutions enrage paper cuts, reminders of scenes too good to turn slowly. I have found myself in a new world and yet an old one, my old one.

I am amused in remembering that for many years, I believed that tracing my biological roots would give me the answers to my identity but now I understand that I looked at those answers every day.

Shannon

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4 thoughts on ““What’s up with u and all this biracial stuff?”

  1. Thank you for being so candid. It’s so humbling (and usually funny) when the answers to questions that we spend time searching for have always been right in front of us.

    With the history of race and black-white racial integration in America, it’s not any wonder that your mom couldn’t envision the idea that you didn’t have to choose. We do what we think is best based on the circumstances that we’re presented with. Living in a racially hostile environment (mudblood, classy) doesn’t exactly encourage hope.

  2. You are a true woman with style and grace and most of all you are my beloved daughter and noone else has that right to claim you, I might share but I am a proud dad.
    LOL,

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