Let's be clear--this is how I was raised. When the topic of race came up around the Perry dinner table, my parents were unequivocal. "Mulatto" came from the Spanish word for mule--a creature unable to reproduce and bred only to work. Half breed, mixed, half cast, Miscegenation (Latin miscere "to mix" + genus "kind") etc., was the language of horse breeders. The single-drop theory was put forth by people who said that any race mixing was the pollution of the white race by others.
I remember being in a very heated Afrocentric meeting, back in the day. Both sides were represented by gentlemen who appeared as white as the driven snow. Yet, they argued about who was the "blackest." Who had black folk deepest in their heart? They told me that I had an African personality, I guess to imply that was where my "African-ness" began and ended. Right on! No one brought up my Sicilian mom...smart that.
As someone who is said to be "biracial," I find the whole discussion of the historical racial categories slightly amusing and bittersweet. I have even taken to calling the crop of "mixed-race" kids who you see being pushed around in strollers, "Obama Babies." It's as if Obama has given license to people who had a pent up yearning to cross racial and ethnic lines and are now able to exercise their desires. I say to that: Seeing anyone in love these days is a beautiful thing.
For years, my darker brother and I have been asked, "What are you?" My lighter brother was asked, "Who are they?" Our mother would look across the holiday table and say to me and my brothers, "All of you look so much alike!"
We are so late to the "race-mixing" rodeo. The Romans, the Bantu, the Vikings, the Mongols, and slavers of all sorts beat us by centuries. Forget about it. Go back a few generations and dip into that vast pool of your polluted blood. None of us will ever meet the purity test! Of course you all know that, you Hungarian-Black, Japanese-Black, Jewish-Black, Puerto Rican-Black, Jewish-Sicilian, Japanese-Chinese, Korean-Chinese, standard issue white guy married to a Louisiana woman--in fact all of you from Louisiana (speaks for itself) ... Whether you, your children or grandchildren are "mixed" we must continue to celebrate our uniqueness and our completeness in this crazy gumbo we are.
Frederick Douglass Perry
Editor Valerie Haynes Perry
Keep on pushing
I've got to keep on pushing (mmm-hmm)
I can't stop now
Move up a little higher
'Cause I got my strength
And it don't make sense
Not to keep on pushin'
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Subject: NYTimes: Black? White? Asian? More Young Americans Choose All of the Above
The continuation of the debate on racial categories
From The New York Times:
RACE REMIXED: Black? White? Asian? More Young Americans Choose All of the Above
Many young adults of mixed backgrounds are rejecting color lines that have defined Americans for generations.
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