Today, there are more and more individuals being created multi-racial and multi-cultured, it is almost shocking racism still exists. I happen to be born of both. Years back, remember the elections when Obama was appointed our new President? I want you to really go back to that day. I specifically want you remember that one day of togetherness we all had the opportunity to experience of all races, personalities, and cultures. Actually, that’s an emphasis on one day. Why? Because if you went back years with me just now, you will realize that it really was only one day that we all pretended to have world love of color. That’s what it really boiled down to being about if you think about it.
Then the next day and the days following became a racial awakening for me. The beautiful blue skies I saw turned into ugly dark clouds within hours even. I couldn’t be in forums or social network discussions without witnessing off color comments from even personal friends. I painfully figured out which side of the racial spectrum they really learned toward. It was quite agonizing to watch because some of these people were friends that I spent time with and shared my inner thoughts with. I started wondering how they truly felt about me or perhaps how they viewed me as a multi-racial person. Or did they even realize what they were saying and the impact of their outspoken thoughts?
At that time I think I had seen such an abundance of racism than I think I had in my whole life thus far. But, this very experience led me to a theory that there are two types of racism: hateful racism and ignorant racism. Some people were not raised around different types of people of different races. So how are you supposed to know how to think or what to say toward others if all you know is your racial background? However, that’s not really an excuse since there are resources you can use to educate yourself on other people. It is why I call it ignorance, especially if you have gone to school and learned how to read. It is also why I absolutely love reading and encourage that for others any chance I get. I yearn to learn—I want to understand mankind as much as I can before I leave this world. Hence, I have come to the conclusion that there are people in this world just don’t care.
Throughout my life I have had discussions on what race I should say that I am. But really it doesn’t matter because I am going to consider myself what I see fit. However, if I say mixed, people will argue with me and say that I am one race which is Black. So be it, if that’s what you want to call it. I call it mixed. When I see someone bi-racial—they are biracial. After the elections I even witnessed Black men complaining that we really don’t have a Black man in office, calling him absurd names. Then, others would say he is not Bi-racial, he is Black. So then, I think, yes, we do have a Black man in office according to the vast majority of society, which makes me the same generally speaking. I guess we all can view this at so many different angles, it’s kind of overwhelming.
On to the real purpose of this article—my story of being a woman of many different racial and cultural backgrounds.
I was born in Rochester, NY from a Jewish mother (whom is mixed) and briefly brought up around my Jewish Grandmother. That side of my mother’s family is Turkish and Israeli, which makes me part Middle Eastern. Now, every daughter born from a Jewish mother is Jewish, however, my father (whom is also mixed) made sure I always embraced being Black. He also let me know that by society people will often look at me as just a Black woman, so I understand that completely. There are those that don’t know what I am and when I explain I never exclude the fact that I am part Black. However, I refuse to exclude the other parts that make up who I am for many reasons.
The first time I faced racism was when I was at a school in Rochester, NY and all or majority of the children (as I can remember) were white. I never really looked at color until that moment because even the teacher treated me differently than all the other children and she made it pretty clear that it was because I was not like the other kids in my class. However, not because of my skin color, because it was slightly the same as their complexion, but because of my hair considering it was not straight like theirs. That is a moment I will never forget.
Nevertheless, when we moved to Japan on a military base, where I was majorly raised, I soon forgot about color because we were all from different backgrounds and all had the same struggle. We did not have time to judge each other on the color of our skin because we had other things to focus on and always found common ground. I am fortunate to have been raised in that kind of environment away from how ugly people can be.
However, it put me at a disadvantage.
When, I moved back to the US, (Jonesboro, GA to be exact) at fourteen years old, I inevitably felt racism again. I didn’t think I would since the school I went to had so many different types of people, and even people that dated were doing so inter racially. In my experience at that school I still don’t know how even some Black individuals look at me and now after Obama being in office, I don’t know how some Caucasian individuals look at me either. I haven’t had issues with any other racial groups, gladly.
To add, I am hesitant of how some Black individuals view me because in school my own people would often ask me “Why do you talk like that?” or would make fun of me because of how light I am, for example, they called me Powder, Casper, and the Invisible Woman. This type of ridicule pushed me to more so associate with mostly Caucasians, Latinos, and Asians. It then, made it hard to embrace my “Blackness”, and I am ashamed to share this even today.
However, I am not forgetting that I have also been with faced challenges from my non-black friends too; for instance, on many occasions I have been asked why I can’t wash my hair every day. Trust me it’s really bothersome to ask someone that repeatedly because it can be said in a way that can make a person feel dirty for not doing so.
Even today, still, I am faced with racism from the black side of me by having rigid remarks made about me in the Urban Entertainment Industry, hence, why I have worked for mostly Latin and Mainstream markets. Those markets have been much more accepting of me. I think today, we have racism even in our own groups, across the board. I would like to regret saying this and hope to one day be proved wrong. I’d like to see everyone come together or one day just forced to by default, because there will be a period maybe even our lives that everyone will be clearly mixed. I say “clearly” because there is this theory that everyone is mixed, maybe so but people are sure not claiming it obviously or else I would not be writing this right now.
I am also writing in hopes that you will get more of an understanding as to why others around you wish to embrace only certain parts of who they are. The question always has been, “Why is it that Black people only have the “ounce of Black blood theory” why isn’t it “ounce of Asian blood” or even “ounce of Hispanic blood” and so on?” You want to know what I think. Because that theory was made by someone who owned slaves and created a biracial child. That person he created a child with, of course was a slave; therefore, not wise to be claimed as his child. Therefore, the child is Black to justify him later also being a slave one day and not part of the family. Black people embrace this theory because of their struggles because we have earned our “blackness”. And we have justified it by saying the Black race is a dominant one making the race superior. I beg to differ; I feel like this is just a reminder to a negative era in history. I personally don’t like it and that every ethnicity is dominant in their own right due to each group having it’s historic struggles. Furthermore, the only way for me to deal with it is to greatly embrace all colors of which create the person I am. I think others should too and create the kind of harmony there was on election day every day!
All Content © 2010 Marika Dye