one tiny soapbox: Biracial: All Mixed Up?
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Friday, February 16

Biracial: All Mixed Up?

Here it is, nearly 4 AM, and I've decided to break my 2 month blog silence with some seriously personal musings from the ol' gray matter's "south 4o."

[What follows is a revelation, or "outing" of certain private thoughts that may elicit both positive and negative reactions among people who've known me for years. Don't worry, though, it's "rated PG".]

It's about being 'biracial' and being attracted to people who aren't "all black."

As some of you may know, my father's Black and my mother's from Italy, which makes me 'mixed' or 'mulatto' or 'biracial' or what have you. And you know what? Because the Lord made me this way, I like being so. Fortunately, I never had a rough time with it - you know, undue pressure one way or the other from friends and family - mainly because several members of my dad's family married white women, providing me with ample and tacit "moral support" to help me to see being "mixed" as nothing too special.

Be that as it may, I was still cognizant of the several trends that swept across the Black community in America's 80s and 90s. Media influences - fueled, no doubt by the recording artist flavor of the day - caused several "shifts" in what we thought was cool with respect to tones of skin. Earlier on in my life, "light-skinned" (or "high yellah," as my dad and his peers called it) was supposedly most attractive. I suppose The
DeBarge family had something to do with that. Later, when Gangsta Rap and sleek, dark-skinned models came on the scene, "we" decided dark was in, and the mulatto crowd got less attention.

Though being light of complexion has seen its hey day come and go several times, one thing I've always noticed about myself is my own tendency to be drawn to the
aesthetics of others like me, biracial people with some "Euro" features (and even to people who aren't Black at all). Particularly women. I say this in light of my recent foray into wife-searching, which has obviously led me across the virtual paths of numerous prospects. Upon recently coming across the face of an unquestionably gorgeous biracial woman, my mind began to revert to that somewhat latent tendency. I had already been leaning toward women of other ethnicities, mainly white and Latina. (At my church, where the bulk of desirable marriage prospects exist, this is the predominate "demographic," anyway.) But, when encountering this particular lady's picture, it was like something clicked, and I realized (or remembered) just how much I'd always been attracted to this "type." It was as though I was just then acknowledging to myself, "aloud," that this was my preference, for good or for ill!

I don't know if I can explain it well enough for you non-black folks, but, among a great many blacks, this can be a pretty volatile subject.


Why? Because there are many of us black folk who are literally enslaved to our cultural "allegiances." This bondage manifests itself in a most insidious way: we think we need to preserve the "purity" and thus the "dignity" of our ethnic heritage by committing many of the same segregative errors our former white slave owners did. We feel a necessity to preserve and protect our "blackness" by marrying our own, buying from and selling to our own, living among our own, etc, etc, etc. There are so many burdensome consequences to this type of thinking - obvious and not-so-obvious - that I couldn't possibly enumerate them all here, in this one sitting. I will say, though, that when it comes to dating and marriage, a lot of Blacks - especially women - are almost fiercely protective of the ideal of preserving the Black family. They'd like nothing more than to see Black men remain faithful to this ideal by preferring and choosing Black wives.

Many would castigate me for having the preferences I have, claiming they're solely the result of media programming. They'd say my likes and dislikes were basically handed to me by the little white man on TV, and in the magazines, and on the movie screens. Further, they decry this as bad, because I, as a member of the Black Community, need to have an equal, if not greater appreciation for "my own" than for the "other." Consequently, the prescribed anecdote to such "jungle fever" has, in part, been counter-programming, using those same media outlets to reverse
the affects of "self-hate" instilled in me by The Man.

Heil, Hitler?!

I never really bought the logic, completely. But, in an effort to tow the "party line," I tacitly accepted this thinking - at least never overtly challenged it - until recently. The one thing that made me see ever so clearly the error in such a rationale was my acquiring a Biblical perspective. Now that I see this earth as temporal, and its people groups as the single race the Lord made them at Creation, I'm no longer compelled to strive to "preserve" anything so shallow or inconsequential. Simply put: it's not "Kingdom" thinking. It's not Biblical thinking.


Political liberals, especially Black ones, would argue that in that last statement I revealed myself to have an insufficient appreciation for the far-reaching impact of slavery on the condition of today's "Black community." To that I'd say they're right. I recognize today's problems among Blacks and other so-called disenfranchised ethnic groups not merely as obvious indicators of the long-term effects of slavery and "race" hatred; that's far too narrow a view. Instead, I see it from a Biblical perspective, being the direct consequence of the presence of sin - past and present - in the heart of (every) man. It's remedy is not the preservation of superficial
ethnic line-drawing, but an accurate teaching of - and ardent obeying of - the Word of Christ.

Period.
Product of BOTH black AND white parents

With that said, be it known from this day forth that, I will no longer offer any apologies for being inclined toward marriage prospects with the physical characteristics of "biracial," Latin, Mediterranean and European ethnicities.

Now that I've said my piece, I'm going to bed.

¡sbgtfa!

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Comments on "Biracial: All Mixed Up?"

 

Anonymous Kitina Thomas said... (Sat Apr 07, 08:41:00 PM 2007) : 

Wow, I hear this from many multiracial men and see it in trends in multiracial celebrities, ie. Derek Jeter but what gets me, is that your fathers or mothers in some instance are "all" black. So if you are "drawn" to people like you or really just anybody that is not "dark-skinned". How do you explain your parents getting together? No strife or envy on my part, because I am a beautiful, intelligent, chocolate covered beauty but it tickles me that "multiracial" people seem to say that they want people that "look" like them but they are a product of people who look completely different. I think it is deeper than that, it is definitely the influences of our society, the women you describe are considered "beautifu" by society. Where black women especially darker toned are considered unattractive, especially by our own people. It is sad, have you even gone pass the outside of a woman to really get to know her, not just her light skin and curly hair? Especially as a Christian, I too am a Christian and I know the Word of God and my Pastor teach we must look at ones character, something that people rarely look at any more. That is why the divorce rate is so high. I wish you the best in your pusuit and pray that the Lord gives you more insight about living in the skin you are in and that you don't marry a non-black woman because she is not black and because you truly love her.

God bless,
Kitina Thomas
Actress/Model/Author/TV Host

 

Blogger ib.carlos said... (Sat Apr 07, 09:05:00 PM 2007) : 

Thanks for commenting, Kitina!

I'm not sure how you stumbled across my obscure little blog, but, what you have to say does bear some validity. This post was obviously not meant to address this "issue" in its entirety; rather one important facet...that of not being needlessly burdened by the cultural "baggage" inherent in one's "ethnic community."

The matter of character is a given for any authentic Believer seeking the same. It certainly is most important for me. That notwithstanding - and as I'm sure you'd agree - aesthetics cannot be discarded, nor can one's preferences for such particulars ever possibly be objectively judged by another.

Grace to you, and Peace!
ibcarlos

 

Anonymous Kitina said... (Sun Apr 08, 07:50:00 AM 2007) : 

I was actually searching for something and happened upon your blog. You should check out my article "Loving the Skin I'm In" in Honey Magazine (www.honeymag.com). It sorta of touches on what you are talking about.

God bless,
Kitina*

 

Anonymous Anonymous said... (Mon May 05, 02:49:00 PM 2008) : 

Wow Carlos,

First of all, I'm glad to hear you are doing well. I knew you at ORU (not well though). I was looking through the alumni website and saw your profile. I had to smile because I remembered your easy going and funny personality. You said to check your website so I did.

I know this is an old blog but I wanted to respond. I don't think that you need to defend your preference as long as you realize that the value of a person is not determined by their looks.

As a dark skinned sister, I have been attracted to brothers of many shades and even other ethnicities. If they showed enough interest and were compatible with my beliefs, personality, and etc, I would have tried relationships with them. However, it has been my experience that many men prefer light skinned women, especially other light skinned men. I think that some dark skinned women may be a little sensitive about a light skinned preference, because there are not many places that dark skinned beauty is appreciated in the society.

I can't be mad anyone who prefers light skinned people because I did too! When I was younger I loved light skinned guys! I even had a little crush on you in college. (Now, I can't reveal my identity). I do think that my preference was influence by society, the media, etc.

I married a dark skinned man, not because I was attracted what he looked like (although he is very handsome) but because of something deeper. And it's that something deeper that makes me want to be around him 24/7 even after 10 years of marriage. I can't even explain the something deeper but when I met him I couldn't even use my old measuring stick to determine if someone looked good to me or not. My "fine-o-meter" did not work because I knew that he was the one. I couldn't even see what he looked like because who he really was blocked my view. Now we have 3 kids, whom I home school. I teach my children that they have a purpose and they should choose a spouse with that purpose in mind. I will be teaching my girls that they are queens and any man of any ethnicity will be blessed to share a life with them (if they choose to marry). I will be teaching my son to value women regardless of their outer appearance.

Anyway, If you are still looking I hope you find the one. God will lead you to the right person.

God Bless

 

Blogger ibcarlos said... (Mon May 05, 07:18:00 PM 2008) : 

Thanks for sharing, "Miss Anonymous" ~

It really is too bad you've decided to comment annonymously and refuse this Providential opportunity for us to reconnect. Regardless of whatever private admirations may have existed in the past, I would hardly regard you as anything other than the happily married - and greatly blessed - woman you are now. (And I'm sure your husband wouldn't care a lick, either, given the type of man you say he is.)

Nevertheless, I sincerely hope you'll take some time to click through the various links in the right-hand column of the site. I humbly consider them to be among the most worthwhile reading you'll find on the Net...for Believers.

Lord bless you!

 

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