DrOp, everything you just put was bang on. And being an honest Black male it is easy to see how being misunderstood, being characterized as a criminal feeds into the anger. It doesn't help that there are always going to be certain individuals playing into the stereotype. You've got that prejudice in you as well though, and you revealed, maybe by accident:
Originally posted by DrOpIt's not as if I can be Mariah Carey and blend into mainstream white culture with few people questioning my ethnicity.
See, now this is offensive to me. I am of the same ethnicity as Mariah happens to be, and of close to the same complexion. You've gone and implied that Mulattos in general can do this, as nothing about the structure of your comment seems to indicate that it is due to Mariah's celebrity status that she is able to do what you claim. Let me share a frame of reference from my life, since we're all doing it: I cannot remember a time in my existence, where I have not been resented by Black people who are darker than me, which is basically all of them. I've always been seen as "less Black", and I guess from a sort of biological, genetic perspective I am, and I can accept that. But you know, the white lady holding her purse close, the old people crossing the street to avoid, all of that shit still happens to me too. I am not anywhere fucking close to being able to "blend into white mainstream culture", because even if my skin is paler than theirs is, to them I'm still "the black guy". So that makes me a man without a country. It doesn't help that not a single person of my ethnicity makes any particular proclamation to it, and, with I guess your noted exception of Mariah, do the opposite of what you've claimed. Halle Berry never acknowledged it. She's "Black" to America. Same for Lenny Kravitz. Or Jason Kidd. Or Bob Marley. Or Jimi Hendrix. Or Vin Diesel. I can't think of a single one of them that ever stood up for the people who are told by two groups, neither of which fully accepts them, to embrace the other side.
And trust, for me, that sucks worse than some old white lady clutching her purse.
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Hogan--That comment was not intended to offend. My apologies. I don't assume that all biracial indidividuals can blend in. I meant only that Mariah can blend in because of the way she looks in her particular case and that she, therefore, could "play the race card" in that SOME people have no clue she is biracial. Similarly, I can't "play the race card" because,well, I can't really hide the fact that I am AfAm. I meant to use her only as an example of someone who can, if they CHOOSE TO, hide her ethnicity to a certain degree. Did you see all the flack that Ebony magazine got for putting her on the cover as the "most misunderstood mullato"? It's sad.
Passing was once a very common thing--if you read som eof the older slave narratives--specifically Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl and Clotel: The President's Daughter they have some interesting tales of women who passed as either white women or white men. Fascinating stuff.
I understand your experiences. I liken what you have experienced to some of the same anti-blonde backlash that you see and hear about. I am brown, my dad is very fair skinned (as are most of my cousins). I was teased for being darker as a kid growing up (by family mind you). Then, sometime in college--there was this big "chocolate renaissance" when having brown skin and brown eyes was cherished again. This is the hard part--being AfAm in America IS to be multi-racial and many of our own people don't seem to get it. I have a white great-grandfather and Native American relatives as well.
Spike Lee was kicked off the campus of Morehouse College (my alma mater) once the President discovered that School Dayz was about the skin-tone divide in the AfAm community. It saddens me.
Also--what you talk about, to me, is a clash between the way America likes to label us versus how some people want to be identified. Going back to the days of slavery--one black parent meant you were black regardless of how fair or dark skinned you were. Lighter skinned slaves were treated better, often worked in the house and generally had a slightly easier time of it. Unfortunately--some of these preferences still exist.
Ask yourself--how many people even know that Halle and Lenny are biracial? Vin Diesel is interesting in that he goes to great lengths to AVOID discussing his ethnicity. Perhaps he is afraid that if he is identified as a "Black actor" that the number and variety of roles he would be asked to audition for would diminish. teh sad part is that, if that IS his reasoning, he is probably correct.
Glenn Reynolds over at Instapundit made a very intersting observation: I think it does make some sense, because often times Presidents get elected and tend to try to disprove some things that were said about them.