Neither of my parents (or their families) required me to be one thing or another, and they let me decide how I would identify.

Posted in Excerpts/Quotes on 2019-02-26 21:08Z by Steven

In my adolescence, I referred to myself (and my brother) as blaxican to honor both parents, even though I did not experience the world through a black self and a Mexican self. Many of the biracial kids I grew up around tried desperately to be in two worlds but struggled with the duality. They never seemed comfortable or satisfied with trying to belong in whatever space they occupied. I could not relate. Neither of my parents (or their families) required me to be one thing or another, and they let me decide how I would identify.

Marguerite Matthews, “A Tale of Two Faces,” The Root, January 31, 2019. https://verysmartbrothas.theroot.com/a-tale-of-two-faces-1832206862.

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A Tale of Two Faces

Posted in Articles, Family/Parenting, Latino Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2019-02-26 01:38Z by Steven

A Tale of Two Faces

America In Black
The Root
2019-01-31

Marguerite Matthews


The writer’s paternal grandparents, left, and her parents.
Photo: Marguerite Matthews

America. In Black. is a weekly essay series that examines the myriad experiences of blackness in the United States.

My mother tells me I look like my grandmother, a brown belle whose features I know only through faded photographs and choppy 8mm film strips. I try to imagine the experience of a woman with whom I seem to share a face, with her growing up under Jim Crow in the 1910s and 1920s as a black girl in Elizabeth City, N.C., and maturing into womanhood in Atlantic City, N.J. I don’t know much about her, but I know she was a badass because she wore pants, traveled the world without her husband, and bore her first child (my father) in her 30s. My grandmother dared to defy the norms of her time, and in that way, I think I look like her, too.

My friends, on the other hand, tell me I look like my mother, a bronze beauty whose eyes I have been swallowed by for more than three decades. As a child, I looked into the sepia-colored face of my mother’s childhood and declared she was me. She was born and raised in California to Spanish-speaking parents from Texas who were desperate to escape their Mexican-ness and assimilate into white American culture. Without any desire to be or pass as white, my mother bathed her skin in the sun even after warnings of getting too dark and risked being disowned for marrying a black man. A true chingona, my mother has lived life on her own terms. And I hope I look like her in that way, too…

Read the entire article here.

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10 Thoughts on Anna Holmes’ New York Times Op-Ed ‘Black With (Some) White Privilege’

Posted in New Media on 2018-02-13 20:38Z by Steven

10 Thoughts on Anna Holmes’ New York Times Op-Ed ‘Black With (Some) White Privilege’

Very Smart Brothas
The Root
2018-02-13

Panama Jackson, Senior Editor


Scott Olson/Getty Images

Anna Holmes, the founder of Jezebel and editorial director at Topic.com, recently wrote an op-ed for the New York Times titled, “Black With (Some) White Privilege.” Full disclosure: I’m part of a currently running, very interesting and insightful documentary series she executive-produced called The Loving Generation, which explores the lives and identities of kids born of one black and one white parent after the Loving v. Virginia Supreme Court decision in 1967 that struck down state laws banning interracial marriage.

Holmes calls the children of interracial marriage born between 1960 and 1985 “the Loving Generation,” though where I’m from, we just call us mixed. Or black. Mostly black. Or “You know you black, right?”

Anyway, I have quite a few qualms about the piece, especially as a mixed person who identifies as black whose picture is included in the actual op-ed—which, petty or not, makes me feel as if I co-signed the opinions and perspective. I did not. All of us who are pictured in the op-ed are also part of a supplement to the documentary series. I can’t speak for anybody else involved, but I took issue with much of the op-ed because our experiences as mixed people are varied in a way that the piece mutes…

Read the entire article here.

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My Mother Is White. I Am Not: On Being Biracial Without Identity Issues

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2017-12-06 02:13Z by Steven

My Mother Is White. I Am Not: On Being Biracial Without Identity Issues

Very Smart Brothas
The Root
2017-12-05

Panama Jackson


Panama Jackson, 1 year old, with his dad (Panama Jackson)

Editor’s note: This piece speaks from the perspective of being biracial with black and white parents. I realize that other biracial ethnic mixes may or may not share any of these experiences.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece called “Black Folks Who, Though Invited, Probably Wouldn’t Come to the Cookout.” On this list I included the following people: Mariah Carey, Meghan Markle, Rashida Jones and Lenny Kravitz. Would they come? We many never know, but sure as shootin’ an early comment on Facebook pointed out, solely, that “Mariah Carey is biracial. I believe Megan Merkel [sic] is biracial as well …”

While I can’t speak for the commenter, my assumption is that their biracialness excludes them from the list with the lead of “Black Folks,” though I’m surprised he didn’t realize that Rashida and Lenny are also biracial in the way that Sean Fury can appreciate. Put a pin in this…

Self-identity is defined as the recognition of one’s potential and qualities as an individual, especially in relation to social context.

Self-identity.

Here is where I point out some facts about myself. I am mixed. I’m the product of a Caucasian woman from France and a black man from Alabama. I will tell you, without hesitation, that I am biracial.

What I will also tell you, without hesitation and with pride, is that I’m black. I identify as black. I was raised that way. I was raised in a household by my black father and black stepmother and my black sisters. My upbringing was full of blackness, not even intentionally but by virtue of who my parents are. My white mother obviously had a hand in raising me—we spent summers with her in Michigan—but largely, my foundation, self-esteem, pride and identity were crafted by my black parents….

Read the entire article here.

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Everything You Need to Know About Meghan Markle’s ‘Level of Blackness,’ Explained

Posted in Articles, Arts, Media Archive, United States on 2017-11-29 01:38Z by Steven

Everything You Need to Know About Meghan Markle’s ‘Level of Blackness,’ Explained

Very Smart Brothas
The Root
2017-11-27

Damon Young


Prince Harry and Meghan Markle (Chris Jackson/Getty Images)

Who is Meghan Markle?

She’s my second-favorite alum of USA Network’s Suits, the possessor of an alliterative name that kinda, sorta sounds like the name of a women’s hosiery brand sold only at Macy’s and the new fiancee of Prince Harry.

Your second-favorite alum of Suits? Who would be first?

Gina Torres, of course. I sincerely believe they actually called the show Suits because of a pitch meeting years ago where USA asked the pitch guy for the premise of the show, and the pitch guy was like, “Five words. Gina Torres in power suits.” And the USA people were like, “Sold! Let’s do it.” And then they built that whole lawyer-drama mess around that premise…

There’s also been a conversation about whether Meghan Markle even deserves this type of specifically black-ass attention because she might not identify as black. Basically, she’s not black enough to get any love from black people.

Yeah, I know. And that’s fucking dumb. Meghan Markle was born black and is gonna die black. Her mom is from freakin’ Crenshaw, Calif., for Chrissake. If your mom is from the exact-same place where “I hate the back of Forest Whitaker’s neck” was said, any offspring she has will be blacker than a bottle of S-curl activator. It’s science…

Read the entire article here.

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Jordan Peele Says Tiger Woods Is ‘In The Sunken Place’

Posted in Articles, Media Archive, United States on 2017-11-27 02:39Z by Steven

Jordan Peele Says Tiger Woods Is ‘In The Sunken Place’

The Grapevine
The Root
2017-11-25

Angela Helm


Donald Trump greets Tiger Woods after the final round of the World Golf Championships-Cadillac Championship as Eric Trump looks on at the Trump Doral Golf Resort & Spa on March 10, 2013, in Doral, Florida. (Warren Little/Getty Images)

My question is – has Tiger Woods ever not been in the sunken place?

This is the man who was so non-black identified that he made up his own race (including giving Caucasian and American Indian equal footing to black and Asian with an African-American father and mother from Thailand.) Then he turned out to be just nasty with his prolific dick slanging in his now defunct marriage to a nanny. And now, the 41-year-old who has a mug shot floating around with a face and hairline that makes him look like a baby boomer, is going to play golf with Donald Trump, the president who loves to smear black athletes…

Read the entire article here.

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You Got a Little Soul in You, I See

Posted in Articles, Autobiography, Media Archive, United States on 2017-11-10 02:29Z by Steven

You Got a Little Soul in You, I See

The Root
2017-11-04

Nabil Ayers


Nabil Ayers with his mother (courtesy of Nabil Ayers)

I am often asked about my name. “Nabil. It’s an Arabic name,” I’ll say. “It means noble, learned and generous,” which usually demands further interest.

“Where are you from?” They’ve likely narrowed down their guess to somewhere in the Middle East, hoping for a story as interesting as the name itself.

New York. My mother found the name in a book she liked.” I rarely take the time to explain that I’m named after Nabíl-i-A`zam, the author of The Dawn-Breakers: Nabil’s Narrative, which chronicles the Babi and Baha’i faiths’ beginnings in the mid-19th century.

It’s not unusual for people to then grow more curious, as if I’m withholding something remarkable. Their eyes look more closely at mine, or my nose, or my beard, searching to latch onto a distinguishable feature. I know that they’re trying to determine my race.

“My father is black and my mother is white,” I tell people…

Read the entire article here.

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Wait, NBC Sports Announcer Mike Tirico Isn’t Black?

Posted in Articles, Communications/Media Studies, Media Archive, United States on 2017-07-18 20:46Z by Steven

Wait, NBC Sports Announcer Mike Tirico Isn’t Black?

The Root
2017-07-17

Stephen A. Crockett Jr., Senior Editor


Getty Images Staff/Getty Images

Wait … hol’ up. Normally when we wade into these blackness waters, it’s because some fair-skinned pop star is refusing to accept that the back of her hair—you know, the area above the neck; the area that old folks call the “kitchen”; the area that used to make my sisters cry when my mom really dug in with the hairbrush and Posner Light Touch hair grease … that area—is a little thicker than the rest.

But this news here is mind-boggling. Longtime ESPN broadcaster-turned-NBC Sports announcer Mike Tirico doesn’t believe himself to be black. To hear him tell it, he’s just an Italian kid who grew up in Queens, N.Y., who people keep insisting is black.

In a recent interview with the New York Times titled, “Mike Tirico Would Like to Talk About Anything but Mike Tirico,” the sportscaster had this to say about race:…

Read the entire article here.

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Fighting for Black Lives in Colombia: ‘The People Do Not Give Up, Damn It’

Posted in Articles, Caribbean/Latin America, History, Media Archive, Slavery, Social Justice on 2017-07-05 22:21Z by Steven

Fighting for Black Lives in Colombia: ‘The People Do Not Give Up, Damn It’

The Root
2017-07-01

Lori S. Robinson


iStock

Editor’s note: This story is the first in a three-part series looking at the fight for rights of black people in Colombia. This first piece explores the history of Afro-Colombians and the impact of the recently ended war with the FARC. Subsequent stories will examine the current political environment. 

Black activism started in Colombia when Africans arrived in chains.

Spaniards were early kingpins in the trans-Atlantic slave trade, first importing kidnapped Africans into what was then New Granada in the 1520s—a century before the British brought this epic crime against humanity to North America.

Concentrated along the country’s Pacific coast, enslaved people were forced to do agricultural labor and, primarily, to mine gold. This region became majority black during colonial times. It still is…

…Colombia never had legal segregation after slavery, like the United States. The national narrative of Colombia, like most of Latin America, has been that inequality is economic, not racial, and that significant racial mixing throughout the country’s history proves that racism doesn’t exist. According to Perea, Colombians have gone so far as to say that “racism was solely an expression of North American culture.”

Meanwhile, the largest numbers of black Colombians have been isolated, abandoned by their own government, without educational or employment opportunities, living in poverty…

Read the entire article here.

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The Blackwashing of President Obama’s Legacy

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, United States on 2016-12-29 01:45Z by Steven

The Blackwashing of President Obama’s Legacy

The Root
2016-12-27

Daniel Johnson

There is a deeply embedded danger in the collective black American consciousness to defend the cultural and political blackness of President Barack Obama.

On the surface, his very presence  in the Oval Office is an act of political revolution, an unprecedented response to this nation’s inherent anti-blackness. But when his destructive neoliberal politics prioritize white Americans, and his personal politics seem to pathologize blackness, what then, is revolution?

This black family in the White House, while certainly a switch from the lily-white inhabitants of the past years, is only a cosmetic kind of revolution; they just look different from the Clintons and the Bushes and the Kennedys. They exist in a space that both challenges white power and solidifies it.

In Ta-Nehisi Coates’ recent piece for The Atlantic, he does an excellent job of positioning the racial nuance of President Obama’s past with his centering of whiteness. Obama himself acknowledges that his working assumption of white benevolence is different from first lady Michelle Obama’s baseline, and that has been evident these past eight years in his willingness to openly castigate or patronize black people—the demographic that has remained the most supportive of him despite being neglected and ignored by “our black president.”…

Read the entire article here.

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