Monday, August 11, 2008

Does Dating Interracially Make Someone A Race Traitor?

I have been thinking a great deal about the following commentary by one of my regular readers.

Then it shouldn't matter if a person chooses to dye their hair a colour that isn't attached to people of European decent, or if they want to have a slimmer nose, or if they want to have lighter skin. Why is that self hatred and not having children who will come out looking less black with all these features that will be altered by changing the genetic makeup of someone's offspring not considered the same thing. It is the same thing regardless of why someone got into the relationship in the first place.

As many of you know I have been happily unmarried to the same man for over 18 years now. I am a WOC, and he is white.  We have two boys, "Mayhem" who is two and a half, and "Destruction" who is seven.  According to the comment that I posted, that would make me a person who suffers from self hatred. 

At issue is what constitutes blackness; is it the body that I inhabit, the behaviours that I perform or the relationships that I am in? Who gets to decide what is and isn't authentically black?  These questions are problematic on their very basis as there is no such thing as a black identity beyond a shared darker pigmentation, and even that is often contested with a debate regarding hueism. The you're not black enough charge, or the you're acting white is a way of socially disciplining behaviour.   It is a threat of ostracism very similar to the shunning used in Amish communities.

When we consider that the concept of race was designed to justify the exploitation of bodies of colour, is it possible to claim that someone is being disloyal to a social construct?  The black identity that is being claimed is one that was enforced by our oppressors to create a difference where none exists.  To Claim solidarity with my ancestors struggle it  is necessary to recognize the pain of their journey, and  the lasting effects of racism. To uphold the false dichotomy of racial difference reifies the black/white binary wherein one body is of value and the other existing as insignificant.

To say that one covets whiteness infers that a POC hates black identity. Let us consider that the black identity in the western world is an extremely difficult one in that the body is constantly assaulted by forces that seek to marginalize and exploit.  When someone hates being black it is not the colour of the skin but the treatment that they receive from others that is detested.  It is believed that whiteness is the passport to equality in a society that is racist. Upholding whiteness as the ideal ignores the ways in which even this privilege can be mitigated by sexuality, age, gender, class etc.  Whites exist with a degree of privilege but the privilege is not universally experienced.

A relationship between a black man and a black woman does not necessarily guarantee a shared experience vis a vis race and or exposure to racism.  Yes they will share the same invisibility in the education system, and experience the same negative representation within the media, however the male will exist with unearned male privilege.  The relationship can further be problematized by class location which will of course lead to difference in access.  When we consider that each person enters into a relationship with varying frames of reference, the idea that maintaining "blackness" through appropriate mating is problematic.

Finally there is the argument that blackness constitutes a biological identity and that by choosing to inter-marry one is diluting the gene pool.  Again the difference between blacks and whites genetically is marginal at best. To claim that it is possible to dilute blackness in one generation of "interbreeding" denies the science of  human physiology.

I did not answer the comment from a personal stand point as I do believe that I need to justify any aspect of my life. No one sleeps in my bed but me. Instead I chose to look at the larger implications of blacks dating whites as it is the social reaction and not my personal lived experience that needs to be deconstructed.  Black identity is not a monolithic identity and therefore a recognition of the various nuances means a more inclusive blackness, a blackness that is boastful and self declared.  By body presents as black and I identify as black, and that is my right. My children who are biracial will probably identify as black mainly because their bodies overwhelming present as black, but they will be aware of their "white heritage". It is not for another to say who and what is legitimately black, it is for the individual to accept or deny on their own terms. Just as it would not be appropriate to say to a heterosexual that they cannot declare themselves straight because they perform so-called non conforming gender behaviour, it is not appropriate to delegitimize blackness for a failure to conform to social constructed ideals of blackness. I am black, I am woman and I am whole, not because someone has said this to me, but because it is my truth.

 


22 comments:

Ebony Intuition said...

"It is not for another to say who and what is legitimately black, it is for the individual to accept or deny on their own terms."

You state all the time that black women who wear their hair permed, or weave are trying to be "EUROCENTRIC"

My hair is natural I haven't permed it in 11 years, I wear weave, and extentions, by doing that i'm not trying to be "eurocentric" black people have been wearing wigs and extentions for centuries before we even saw a "europeans" face. My hair can grow long natural and is doing so without dreading. So how am I or any women expressing self hatred. White women dye their hair blonde, they get plastic surgery, they starve themselves not to eat. and no one says its self hatred. Non black women run and mimic the styles of black women on a regular basis, they get botex pumped in their face to have fuller lips and no wrinkles and perky breast, anytime I go to get my hair done a non black women is in the store buying weave or getting their hair braided or weaved ( fyi and they date black men)and they get heavily TANNED, to achieve dark skin.


The point is why does being in a relationship excluded you from not having self hatred against yourself but a black women who perms her hair or wears a weave or a wig is expressing self hatred.

I see black men and women who have natural hair or their hair dreaded on a daily basis who have their hair dyed blonde, but most people who have natural hair seem to think they are "more" intuned with being black or execept themselves more. (which is not true at all)

Having mixed children doesn't change who you are but it changes the genetic makeup of your children. If I was to have kids with a white man what if the children come out with blonde hair, I will be then forced to accept a child who will idenitfy as being black but has blonde hair, but If I dye my hair blonde im expressing self hatred. So then why would I have a child that will resemble the same image that black people" so called" dislike.

How many generations done the line, how do you know that your children will even admit that they have african heritage in their blood line. I've met countless mixed children who deny any part of their african heritage, i've also met countless mixed children who have a lots of hatred towards black people but still want to identify with something that they hate so much.

How does the racial hierarchy end if we continue to have children that will not resemble us and society will always place those children over children who are darker skin. Then we wonder why people who have a darker complexion dislike themselves.

Ebony Intuition said...

Also i've never stated that dating inter-racial was being a race traitor, what I stated is that having mixed children continues the same hierarchy that Europeans created when they were raping black women in order to create children to place over the children who are darker.

If Europeans never raped black women all of us would still strongly resemble out ancestors most of us still do.

Mixed children will always be placed higher than children who are not mixed that is the point of a hierarchy to rank one person or things higher another. Thats all I want you to really admit that society will always treat and place mixed children over darker skinned children, your relationship doesn't bother me one bit. I know people who are in inter-racial relations (even though most are in it for the wrong reasons just like any regular relationship between people of the same kind)

Ebony Intuition said...

"Who gets to decide what is and isn't authentically black? "

Europeans have already defined this hence why there is so much confusion. They did this also so that they can seperate the accomplishments and achivements that black people did which is racist. This is why no one thinks that the ancient egypitians were black (dark skin wooly hair) because anytime a European laid eyes on such great accomplishments they could never belive that someone with dark skin could do such a thing.

The original people of pretty much all of this earth were dark skin wooly haired people (Africa, Middle East, India, Asia, North, South Central America and the Caribbean. Until the invasion of Europeans.

I'm not one of those people who think that you must look a way or speak a way to be part of a group of people, its not just black people who treat other blacks like this , people of other races also look at us oddly if we don't fit the stereotypical image.

And lastley black and white has nothing to do with skin colour its a social contruct used to divide and conquer people . I know what I truly am, I know what tribe I belong too, people who continue to use definitions made by Europeans will continue to be confused. Black is a misnomer its not a tribe, its not a country , its not a flag , its not a language, its not a creed, its a misnomer.

Misnomer:
1. a misapplied or inappropriate name or designation.
2. an error in naming a person or thing.

Renee said...
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Renee said...

You state all the time that black women who wear their hair permed, or weave are trying to be "EUROCENTRIC"

No they are trying to appear Eurocentric as they are changing a part of their body to mirror white features. Getting the lips enhanced has nothing to do with emulating "black features" The mouth of the woman is a substitution for the vaginal lips..to get them fuller is to accentuate the link between the mouth and vagina not race, hence the red lipstick etc...

How does the racial hierarchy end if we continue to have children that will not resemble us and society will always place those children over children who are darker skin.

Racial hierarchy does not hinge on whether or not the member of the oppressed group has children with a different race. There are many factors at play. For instance race in part maintains economic privilege...it is simplistic to suggest that an end to inter racial dating will reduce racial hierarchy.

nia said...
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Ebony Intuition said...

@ Nia

The original people of this Earth are dark skin, anyone can argue it as much as they want but everyone ignores the fact that everyone was orignal darker. That is the main point, i know that we have become ligther and it does have a to deal with all the inter-mixing that has taken place over centuries. All you have to do is take out a map and look at how close Italy, Greece, Spain etc are close to the Nothern Part of Africa. By the time people in those countries came over into Africa the pyramids etc were already built.

Again why is it that people think that if someone is dark skin that they can't do anything.??? Where does that racist perspection come from.

@ Renee.

Mixing is the same thing, when you mix your offspring gets ligther and will start to take on features that you claim are white features.

I have friends who have children with european women(white) and the children now have blonde hair, blue eyes aren't these white features. Its the same thing, that is why europeans raped black women to begin with.

You ignored that children who are mixed are valued and tread better than those who aren't and you also ignored why non black people now want to have "dark skin" even though they hate those who naturally have it.

This is why its useless to even talk about these things because its always the european point of view that outshines the african point of view..

nia said...
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nia said...
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Renee said...

You ignored that children who are mixed are valued and tread better than those who aren't and you also ignored why non black people now want to have "dark skin" even though they hate those who naturally have it.

No I referenced hueism in the original post.

lee said...

Dating or marrying inter-racially is a personal choice- no one can dictate who you love. I know some people who are in a relationship with another race that have extreme racial views and that surprises everyone when their partner appears. Within the black community, you still have a large percentage of black professionals marrying lighter skin or European feature black people.You rarely see a white professional male or celebrity marrying someone dark. Inter-racial relationship does not mean that you have abandon the race; but it reflects upon your commitment to your own happiness- not condoning or condemning love.

Melissa McEwan said...

White women dye their hair blonde, they get plastic surgery, they starve themselves not to eat. and no one says its self hatred.

Actually, quite a lot of people say that's self-hatred. I daresay it would be difficult to find a discussion of any of those issues in the feminist/womanist blogosphere without reference to internalized misogyny, which is just another way to say self-hatred (but while also noting its origins are external).

Donna said...

Melissa beat me to it. I've seen many discussions about whether or not white women and their beauty regimens and attempts to alter their looks are due to self-hatred, or adherence to harmful cultural ideals.

I would think very few people consider what their children might look like when they are dating someone. I certainly wasn't when I met my husband, he was just someone fun to hang out with. That's why it's very hard to come to the conclusion that who someone procreates with is due to self-hatred, unless that person was specifically chosen from the first meeting for that role, and who the heck does that? I might agree that who one dates might indicate self hatred if that person exclusively dates only white people ever, whether they have children together eventually or not.

frau sally benz said...

White women dye their hair blonde, they get plastic surgery, they starve themselves not to eat. and no one says its self hatred.

I might be mistaken, but I think the original point there was self-hatred in the way that WOC are accused of self-hatred (as in hatred of their color more so than their gender).

For my own two cents in the matter, I think the more important part of this discussion is what those children grow up to believe. Renee hinted at it in her post:

My children who are biracial will probably identify as black mainly because their bodies overwhelming present as black, but they will be aware of their "white heritage".

If a child is brought up knowing both/all sides of their culture, then that is the important part, IMO. I (a Latina) look darker than my guy (who is black). I've had people say to me things like "how interesting that if you have dark children, it'll be because of you and not him." Am I supposed to be ashamed of this? They say it as if I should be sorry and go bury my head in the sand. I usually say to them "well, as long as they know their culture, what difference does it make why they're dark or light?"

Ebony Intuition said...

"I might be mistaken, but I think the original point there was self-hatred in the way that WOC are accused of self-hatred (as in hatred of their color more so than their gender)."

The original discussion was based on self hatred of looks not gender. Renee has stated countless times that black women who weave or perm are expressing self hatred. But fails to acknowledge that black men and women who dreadlock their hair or wear their hair natural also dye their hair blonde and other multiple colours ( I have friends who have natural hair and their hair is dyed blonde). And also fails to acknowledge that many black people will exclusively date people who are lighter than them because they do not want dark skinned children.

If it doesn't matter what colour someones child comes out then why should a black women feel guilty of wearing a weave. No one has given a proper reason. My hair is natural and I weave my hair ,just because I weave my hair does not mean that I hate myself. Wearing a weave is not permanent, I know a lot about my culture and my heritage and my history so again why should I feel bad because I wear a weave or why she I be accused of not knowing because I wear a weave. I weave my hair probably 2 or three times a year other than that my hair is worn in its natural state. Wearing a weave or perming your hair does not mean that you don't know anything about your cultural or heritage.

"That's why it's very hard to come to the conclusion that who someone procreates with is due to self-hatred, unless that person was specifically chosen from the first meeting for that role, and who the heck does that?"

Men do that lots of black men do that!!!!

When slavery was abolished in America countless people were trying to have children with white people because having less pigmentation gave a person a better life.

There was also a law during slavery that if a child was born to a white women the child would only serve 7 years of servitude or would be born free, if the child was born to a black women the child would continue to be in slavery. European men used black and white womens bodies to determine who was enslaved and who was free. Isn't that sexist and misogynist??? and dehumanizing??

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Passing_%28racial_identity%29

"I would think very few people consider what their children might look like when they are dating someone."

That is uncorrect because most white people chose not to date outside of their race because they don't want to mix with other ethnicities. And there is nothing wrong with that.

My ex boyfriend had his 1st child a year ago and I was speaking to him on the phone the other day, he said that he's surprised that his son came out so light skin. I asked him what hue did you except him to come out, you had a child with someone lighter than you. He responded yea I know I still love my son . I then proceeded to ask him what if our child came out dark skin,he didn't reply he couldn't give and answer. So its obvious that he has no problem with his son being lighter , but would have a problem if he came out darker.

I do care about how my children look and I want them to look like me, and I have the right too just like Renee doesn't care that her children may look European because she's with someone of European decent. Also having mixed children doesn't always guarantee your children coming out looking more black, we all know that is not true and its being ignored. Countless children come out looking like they don't have african heritage in them at all.

Ebony Intuition said...

"I've had people say to me things like "how interesting that if you have dark children, it'll be because of you and not him." Am I supposed to be ashamed of this?"

Your missing what I am saying I don't have a problem with dark skin children I am NOT light skin. My problem is that people put lighter skin and mixed children over darker skin children and we all know this, regardless if lighter skin or mixed children know their culture it doesn't mean that they won't say a racial or ethnic slur to someone who is darker then them. And vice versa for darker skin.

White people have been around blacks for centuries and they know our culture they know all the good about us, but still view us as bad because of our skin.

Ebony Intuition said...

@ Nia

"I'm really not sure what you meant by that, and there was definitely nothing in my post that suggested that, so can you please clarify.
And I never disputed that the original people on earth were not dark skin. "

No prob Nia, I'm not directing my question at you I'm directing it to everyone. Everything to do with our history as black people Europeans have dis-credited it by using a racist perception to separate the colour of our skin with our achievements as a people . Anytime we try to look for our history or explain things in our history or talk about great achievements Europeans will say" oh that's not your history because the people who built that civilization etc etc, were white.

History alone has been so distorted to give credit to Europeans and dis-credit people of colour. And the only way for that to change is for Europeans to admit the truth and stop covering up things in history.

Ebony Intuition said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paper_Bag_Party

The Paper bag test was created by lighter skin and or mixed african americans so that they could isolate and distinguish themselves from darker-skinned blacks.

Even in contemporary American society, psychological studies have shown African-American and white participants both demonstrate colorism, in which they perceive light-skinned blacks to be smarter, wealthier, and happier than those of darker skin.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pencil_test

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_yellow
[The city's] social life was dominated by light-skinned 'high yellow' families, some pale enough to 'pass for white,' who shunned and despised darker African-Americans. The behaviour of high yellow society was a replica of high white, except that whereas the white woman invested in tightly curled permanents and, at least if young, cultivated a deep sun tan, the colored woman used bleach lotions and Mrs Walker's "Anti-Kink" or the equivalent to straighten hair.

Mixed african americans have a lot of discrimination under their belt in comparison to a dark skin person discriminating them.

Renee said...

@Ebony
I do care about how my children look and I want them to look like me, and I have the right too just like Renee doesn't care that her children may look European because she's with someone of European decent.

My children look like me, and you are making assumptions. Honestly as a mother I just wanted healthy strong children and thankfully that is what I have. That should be the first wish of any parent btw.

Renee has stated countless times that black women who weave or perm are expressing self hatred. But fails to acknowledge that black men and women who dreadlock their hair or wear their hair natural also dye their hair blonde and other multiple colours

Yes because you are altering your body to appeal to a standard. I use the same standard for such things as shaving legs, wearing makeup..the impetus for these decisions usually originates with a desire to mimic whiteness. My partner is a separate entity from me. I did not have to alter any part of my body to enter into a relationship with him.

Mixed african americans have a lot of discrimination under their belt in comparison to a dark skin person discriminating them.
yes Hueism is an ugly thing but the answer is not to get rid of a group of people. The answer is to challenge racism where ever it occurs.

Jananole said...

I would just like to comment on the quote in the main posting,

"Why is that self hatred and not having children who will come out looking less black with all these features that will be altered by changing the genetic makeup of someone's offspring not considered the same thing."

All children are genetically altered, as they get 24 chromosomes from one source and 24 from another, whether the people that gave them those chromosomes are the same ethnicity or not.

I have two nephews who are Asian and Black from the English and Spanish speaking Caribbean, and when I look at them, as when I look at all my nieces, nephews and kids in my life, I see love.

nia said...
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Ebony Intuition said...

"However, there are many black women who only wear hair weaves that mimic the natural texture of their African hair, in other words not all hair weaves for black people are straight, silky and European. "


Thank you Nia not all black women wear hair weaves that mimic european hair styles even so european women wear hair extensions too i see it all the time.


"and when I look at them, as when I look at all my nieces, nephews and kids in my life, I see love."

I love children too, everyone just seems to be missing my point and ignoring that when children are mixed that the features and skin colour the children may or will take on are desired more than dark skin and are treated better than those who have dark skin.

Also if all human beings so called loved children then no one would be racist towards black people or people of colour, again why do Europeans hate our skin in the 1st place, why do they make rude and dehumanizing remarks when they see black people, why do they ridicule and attach negative things to people with dark skin when lots of black children are born healthy and strong. Everyone fails to answer those questions, a European should care less that my skin is dark or if my child's skin is dark and stop attaching negative things to it, God blessed my skin with melanin for a reason,, god didn't bless me with it to remove it or lighten , god bless our people with this skin for a reason.