Race

You’re so much more black.

Guys if one more person says this to me I’m gunna lose it fr.

When I started my blog I really didn’t think I would ever really talk about my race because to me it’s never really been that deep. I feel like a lot of mixed people can have an identity crisis where they can’t figure out if they’re white or black and I never really understood that, being both just wasn’t that difficult for me to understand. I don’t want to take away from the experiences of mixed people who did experience that, but for me it wasn’t a thing. It’s weird though, because it felt like other people expected me to go through that phase. Like having to tick the “Other” box when filling out forms that ask about ethnicity hasn’t put me on edge, but I have been made to feel like it should.

I’d say I’m fairly in tune with both of my cultures. My mum’s from Ghana and my dad’s from Pakistan, both of them were born and raised in their home countries so I’ve learned a lot about each culture from both of them. You’d be surprised how similar they can be. My parents are cool people, very reasonable and they never really talked about race until I was a lot older.

Anyway, this isn’t (technically) my life story.

I just don’t want to hear anyone telling me that in their opinion I’m more black. I get it, I don’t look Pakistani, but that does not mean I am any less Pakistani than someone who does look it. I also understand that I tend to engage with black issues more than brown issues, but this also does not make me any less Pakistani. Race isn’t a merit. If it was then the likes of that rachel doly zaly should be considered black. Plus ,the very fact that I do not look Pakistani means that I can’t actually relate to the struggles that Pakistani women face day to day. On top of that I’m not Muslim, so my presence in the Pakistani community is fairly non-existent. But even then, anti-blackness in the Pakistani community is rife so is there even a place for me?

I just think that generally, asking or just forcing mixed people to pick a side is absolutely stupid, what do you actually gain? Depending on the persons’ mix, identifying themselves can be very complicated. Often times I’ve just identified as a black woman for no particular reason other than out of convenience, but if I were to now identify myself as an Asian woman then it would raise a lot of eyebrows. The reality is that the black community is generally extremely welcoming to mixed individuals, now maybe this is partly due to colourism, but either way they just are. Other ethnic minority communities can’t say the same, so if a mixed person says they’re black just understand they know they aren’t fully black and they aren’t trying to be. Sometimes it’s just easier to say you’re black and not have questions asked about your mix. Whether this is problematic, I’m not really sure. I just think as long as you aren’t claiming experiences that aren’t yours or talking over others, what is the harm?

The thing is, I haven’t had an identity crisis, but in thinking about my race I have come to understand how complicated it all can be. Like the privileges that I have in being light skinned in the black community simply do not exist in the brown community because I’m “too black”. Then there’s also the fact that there isn’t really a mixed community because “mixed race” isn’t actually a race. In my life, the only other person who could truly understand this is my brother, but our experiences are likely to be totally different just because of things like gender. I think that generally mixed people can relate to certain things like being asked which culture they prefer, but it seems like most of the stuff we can relate on are experiencing similar microaggressions. Oh and by mixed, in this context I’m talking about being mixed with black and something else.

My point is if you think I’m “more black” please keep it to yourself.

 

I read this the other day and I actually cannot believe it. 1985. AS IN 34 YEARS GO: In South Africa, the Prohibition of Mixed Marriages Act of 1949 prohibited marriage between Whites (people of European descent) and non-Whites (being classified as African, Asian and Coloured). It was repealed in 1985.
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