recently i’ve been doing some profound thinking. after a series of conversations of this past week i’ve been left with the question “What is black?” “What is mixed?” in this post i’m going to try to answer these questions, using my own personal experiences.
- What is black?
By definition being black is being of African descent. though the human species originated in Africa, meaning all people come from there, not everyone is noted as black. stereotypically black people are darker skinned, with shorter hair. though this is not true for all black people, it is the stereotype. systemically speaking, black people have endured oppression and are still currently being oppressed (due to systemic racism). being black is synomous with a lot of negative traits, such as stupidity, ugliness and irrational behaviors. to me, being black is being a part of a strong community. I am a proud black woman. black people are strong, so strong that even with systemic racism, we are working on changing and beating the system. there is more I could say, but i think as a whole in my mind being black is a symbol of strength.
- What is mixed?
Often times, mixed is thought of as having one white parent and one black parent. That’s it. If this is not true, even if one of your grandparents is white, you no longer get the ability to classify yourself as mixed. Personally, I believe all people are mixed, specifically all black people. black americans are a mix of different cultures, languages, and skin tones all pilled into one category. though i do not identify as mixed, I know that I have ancestors who were not of African descent. I’ve had someone argue with me about how there was no way I was just black, because of how I look. The experience was strange, but I honestly just regarded it as she wanted someone else to identify with. I was at a camp over the summer, with all black students and she was mixed. I never took it as a bad thing, I was just shocked. I never realized what she meant until now.
Let’s take a look
In this picture it is: my sister, myself, and two of my cousins. Both of my cousins are mixed (their moms are white). It was shocking to me to notice that we are about the same color. So what does this really mean? In the big scheme of things it means nothing, but it does mean something. It means that I don’t look “fully” black. But it’s interesting because besides that one incident, I’ve never had anyone question anything about my race. I think that has a lot to do with hair. Though my hair is long, when it’s curly it’s short (shrinkage lol). I think that could possibly add to the “look” of blackness.
Now let’s examine the rest of my family (my mother’s side). All but two people in this photo identify as black (to my knowledge, I’m not really sure what Olga identifies as). I always use these photos to show how diverse a family can be. But as a whole, my family is pretty lightskinned.
This photo is of my grandparents, my sister and I (I’m the one holding the duck).
From this experience, it really just made me want to do a DNA test. My grandmother told me that two of her nieces did one and they had a lot of European ancestry. All of this really just really emphasizes how “mixed” and “black” are really just social constructs.
I’ll keep you guys updated with the results.