I have a question and I’m interested in your answers.
I was reading an article this morning where a woman discusses how much she hates when people tells her she looks mixed (because she doesn’t) and that it’s not a compliment. It wasn’t so much the article that made me scratch my head, it was the comments made by readers. After reading the first page of them, I have to ask the question: Is there something wrong with saying that you’re mixed?
The author of the article says that when men tell Black women that they look mixed, he means it as a compliment and he’s “insinuating that her beauty comes from the (allegedly) non Black part of her.” She goes on to say that Black women are beautiful because of their Blackness and men dare not give credit to anything else.
Readers went on to comment with:
Margaret: I couldn’t agree more. I always felt that people want to say or be “mixed” because they’d rather be anything but Black. They find shame in it. Don’t call me “mixed” like it’s a compliment. My hue, if anything, is a result of 400 years of buying and selling of flesh. So don’t call me mixed. I am a Black woman. Period. (This comment got 116 thumbs up.)
Selena: Some of this is related to the way that some of those same “regular old Black women” you mention are presenting themselves. In her Loreal commercial, Beyonce makes it a point to state that she’s “mixed”, describing her race as African American, Native American, and French. One of the reasons that Tyra has been described as beautiful is her green eyes, which many people attribute to racial ambiguity. Janet has had facial work done that has removed most of the African features of her face. The mixed thing has been around for years, but if we stop acting like it’s more beautiful than anything else, the power of it will go away. (This comment got 103 thumbs up.)
Guest1234: Boy, oh boy that Loreal ad really gets under my skin. I couldn’t help but wonder if Jennifer Lopez was throwing a bit of shade at Beyonce, because her ad says: “100% Puerto Rican.” Ain’t it a shame that the black woman was mining every drop of her blood looking for anything that mitigates that pesky blackness? I mean, French? Really? I loved that J Lo (who I don’t have a lot of use for, either), who, I’m sure could trace her heritage back to Spain or whatever, was, like, uhhh uhhhh, I’m 100% Puerto Rican – and don’t try to take that away from me. Beyonce, on the other hand…… Le sigh! Black people….(This comment got 98 thumbs up.)
First of all, people always find a way to shade Beyonce, but that’s another post for another day.
I really feel like there is an imaginary war on Blackness – but the war is between Black people. It seems like many Black people are concerned with how the next Black person identifies themselves as if because we say we’re mixed, we must don’t want to be Black. Could it not just be because we are? When do you ever see White folks arguing back in forth in a comment section about who isn’t White enough?
My father is Creole (explaining my weird and for some reason hard to pronounce correctly last name) and my mother is Black. Growing up, I tried to figure out where I fit in. Both sides of my family are equally beautiful but seeing such obvious differences between their features was a little confusing as I tried to find my own identity. Eventually, as I learned more about my families, I began to embrace everything about me and my ethnicity and I proudly speak about my heritages. Creole is a mix of African American, Native American and European/French races and acknowledging my Creole background doesn’t mean that I don’t love my Blackness. Nor does it mean that I’m uncomfortable with being Black at all, especially because Black is a part of the Creole ethnicity.
There is no harm in a person wanting to identify with everything that makes them who they are. When we make a big deal out of it, it only shows that we feel the need to defend the beauty of Blackness, which goes against the point we’re trying to make in the first place.
What’s your take? Do you think people who say that they are mixed just want to be anything other than Black?