4019Re: The Long-Passed Days of "Passing" and 'Posing'
- Oct 18, 2009I have pondered a right way to respond to this topic fairly and you have put a part of what's been on my mind so perfectly.
"Some" people look upon me as being "white", however because of the other portion of people who have not, I have never been about pretending that is all that I am and also do not believe there is any realism in not presenting myself as a multiracial woman of color.
I have more than one race, a few embellished stories, outright lies and many different cultures running in my lineage. I have had my DNA tested and it showed me more than I expected to see, because it proved I was more than one race from both parents. The majority of my family would rather not acknowledge what I have no way of not accepting. I have one sister who would rather pass herself off as Mexican rather than accept herself as part "black", even tho there is no knowledge of Mexican heritage in our family.
As I grow older and wiser, and partly with the valued help of "Generation Mixed" contributions, I am finding it easier to deal with the pain my family's various decisions have caused me. Incidentally, my DNA testing also helped to reveal albinism that was overlooked. Despite the fact that another sister and I had many symptoms of being albino, it had not been considered because we were supposedly "white". But, in fact, the only way that we could have this condition and not have white-blond hair, not be stark-white in complexion and have dark eyes... is that we have African lineage.
When I was 20, I ran into a man who was a friend of a friend and looked exactly like my father except he was much darker in skin-color. I was trying not to stare, but I finally broke it down to him that the resemblance was just too much & that my father had been adopted & I was wondering if he was related. The following year, he took me to a light-skinned mixed "black" woman who claimed she had given my father up for adoption as a result of a teenage pregnancy, knowing that he was born light and with "nice hair" and knowing that this happened at least every 2nd or 3rd generation in her family, and she wanted my father to have a good chance in life so she hoped he would pass to be adopted as a "white" baby and that's what happened. My father (who really was adopted and has always had African features) got so mad at me when I told him that story, and said it could not be true, I will never probably know for sure, but I believe it 99% of the time, especially after I had my DNA tested & found that I had the gene for albinism.
As it turned out, my father was adopted by people who could give him a fair chance in life. I do not know the stories about what happened with my mother's side of my genes. I suspect at least part of it is related to my mother's mother's mother who is most likely the person on the other side of the family tree who carried the gene for albinism, because at a time when I was very young, I was already perceiving that my grandmother and great-aunt (her daughters) were "different" as in being women of color and both looking "alike" with each other. It didn't matter to me that no one else in my family acknowledged that perception. That was just the way I saw it as a little girl. DNA just made it more meaningful since I am just about sure my father is mixed and now know that I am mixed from both sides.
So here I be in 2009 and there are still misconceptions that I feel will forever be made about me in regard to race. But that is not because I go around pretending to be "white" -- It's what other people may see despite my obvious African features.
I'm not going around wearing a sign to announce to everyone I am a woman of color, but I am someone who looks so unique that I've had people who knew me as a child, and not seen me for decades, recognize me, I am someone who has experienced so much racism that it is often imperceptible for me when there are other people of color calling me "white", especially if it's obvious to me that they are also mixed.
Like I was mentioning earlier though, I am very thankful for the existence of this online group and your various contributions. I haven't done a whole lot of contributing in here, but I have been reading. I've been going through a lot of changes in the past year or so, including things with my health, not sure how long I'm gonna be allowed to stay living on this planet, so I just wanted to give you all a great amount of thanks for being out there.
"lauraparkercastoro" <lauraparkercastoro@...> wrote:
Just wanted to add another thought to this topic. I don't think so many whites
deny their mixed heritage as were never told. I once read that if a person's
family has been in the U.S. for five generations or more -- regardless of where
they are from originally -- they have a high possibility of having mixed
ancestry, black or white.
That said, 100 years ago (20yr a generation) 1909, most people weren't going to
admit to family and friends if they had been involved, sneaking around, or raped
by a person of another race. Not all mixed relationships were brutal or forced.
People fall in love, regardless of what the law says, let alone common sense.
We have only to look at family and friends today (and maybe even our own
choices!) to know people make choices for partners that make no sense to their
friends! Anyway, if daddy or grandma had a child--was a mixed child -- NO ONE
would have wanted it known. It would reflect on the entire family so keeping
the secret had great importance. It didn't help whites to tell, and blacks
mostly believed it would only make life harder if the child knew.
So, this is a long-winded way of saying ignorance of one's heritage is much more
likely than willful omittance in modern society. Their ancestors never
mentioned a word. How will you know unless someone tells you? My family kept
secrets. I'll bet yours did, too. You can bet money white families didn't let
their own members know what was going on.
So, don't be so sure people know things and are keeping it a secret. You can't
hide what you were never told.
I'd be interested to learn what percentage of whites doing DNA testing are
learning some surprising things.
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