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Re: "Who Am I? Who Are You?" (by Elizabeth Atkins)

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  • mulatta_loca
    Welcome to the group, Elizabeth. You re an inspiration :) In Generation-Mixed@yahoogroups.com, multiracialbookclub wrote: Hello Gen-Mixies,
    Message 1 of 5 , Oct 25, 2007
    • 0 Attachment
      Welcome to the group, Elizabeth.

      You're an inspiration :)




      In Generation-Mixed@yahoogroups.com,
      "multiracialbookclub" <soaptalk@...> wrote:




      Hello Gen-Mixies,

      Here are more thought's shared by our fellow
      'Gen-Mixed' member, Elizabeth Atkins. Enjoy!

      -- M




      WHO AM I? WHO ARE YOU?
      by Elizabeth Atkins


      "You're a `black' woman," my friend
      Randall* said over lunch at a chic
      salad place in New York City.
      "Your mom is `black', so you're `black'.
      Period."

      Authority radiated from Randall's handsome
      brown face; his eyes glowed with the same
      cocky intelligence that had whisked
      him through top universities
      in the U.S. and Europe.

      "But Randall," I protested,
      "You knew my father.
      He was white."

      "Yeah, he was cool, but you're a sista."

      The bright yellow glow of my hair
      caught my eye in our reflection in
      the restaurant's giant window.

      With my face superimposed over the sea
      of people streaming past on the sidewalk,
      I literally saw myself in the human
      kaleidoscope of color and culture that
      is so beautifully the essence of New York.

      I tingled with pure BLISS.

      Because that is how I view the world—as a
      Technicolor phenomenon where I'm free to
      celebrate the African-American, the Cherokee,
      the Italian, the French and the English…

      All the delicious flavors that swirl into my
      personal melting pot of white chocolate fondue.

      But the moment was bittersweet.

      Because, despite his worldly brilliance, my friend
      was not trying to dunk his opinions into the
      sweet, bubbling optimism of my outlook.

      No, he was looking through the same-old
      foggy lens that sees only Black OR White.

      Not the brilliant blends in between.

      Or the reality of our diverse world that was
      staring at him from across the table and
      walking by outside the window.

      Nope.
      He saw only Black.
      Or White.
      No Gray-Area.
      And certainly no kaleidoscope.

      "So Randall," I said, glancing
      around the bustling restaurant.
      "Do you think all those
      people see me as `black'?"

      "Black is a cultural thing," he said.
      "It doesn't matter what you look like.
      You're `black' on the inside."

      For Randall, my interior defined all of me.

      My exterior, however, was the defining factor for
      a Caucasian female colleague just hours later.

      "You look like a White woman," she declared.
      "Certainly no one would look at
      you and think you're `black'!"
      Her hard-boiled New Yorker tone of
      voice struck me into still silence.
      The sirens outside the windows of her office
      made my insides feel even more jittery.
      I sunk into the leather couch.

      Okay, I thought.

      Randall just told me I'm `black'.
      This woman just told me I'm White.

      What am I?!?!

      Fortunately, I've spent
      many years figuring this out.

      It is my spirit that defines me.

      If you close your eyes and simply
      feel the loving energy that I
      radiate like warm sunshine,
      that is Elizabeth.

      And it's not even something
      you can put into words.

      My spirit manifests her place
      in the world with deeds, actions.

      Being a loving mother, daughter,
      sister, friend, neighbor.
      Writing and speaking on subjects
      that promote harmony.
      Teaching children and adults to write.
      Sharing my writing skills to give
      voice to powerful stories and ideas.
      Exercising and eating healthy to
      inspire excellent health in others.

      This is me…

      But whew!
      If I didn't know the answer,
      I'd be one mixed up chick!

      Black!
      White!
      Black-White-black-white …
      This racial ping-pong match
      could make you crazy!

      Or tragically confused.
      That's why the term "tragic mulatto"
      endured for so many years.
      From slavery to segregation to society
      today, mixed-race people have been
      "doomed to languish on the color line".

      Too `black' to be white…too white to be `black'
      … scorned, abused, taunted, terrified … into
      tragic depression, suicide, drifting, self-loathing.

      Even now, this one-or-the-other mentality instills
      confusion and identity chaos for too many of us.

      Blame the perverse power of "The One Drop Rule".

      This wicked vestige of slavery continues
      to poison our perceptions of each other.

      It's still achieving the divide-and-conquer objective
      of plantation powers who decided that anyone
      with a single drop of Black blood was black.

      Do the math to see how ridiculous that is!

      It means, if your great-great-great
      grandmother was Black, so are you!

      But while the law was abolished on paper,
      it still rules the minds of many, many people.

      As a result, I and 7 million other multiracial
      Americans — including Presidential Hopeful
      Barack Obama — must constantly combat
      suspicion from folks who think we're
      not Black-enough, not White-enough…

      But we are showing by example that we are enough.

      We are all that and more.

      Just look at Tiger Woods.
      Mariah Carey.
      Derek Jeter.
      And the millions of folks who checked more than one
      race box on the 2000 U.S. Census questionnaire.
      We proudly celebrate ourselves as Multiracial
      Mosaics of all that America is supposed to be.

      We confidently and courageously offer ourselves
      as symbols of hope for a colorblind world.

      Any Mixed-Race person who makes proud
      declarations of his or her interracial heritage
      does so, as the title of Mr.Obama's
      book says, with The Audacity of Hope.

      Because despite the world's confusing and
      contradictory definitions of who we are—
      we have used that adversity as fuel to search our
      souls to discover our true selves beneath all the
      labels, the pigment, the categories, the contradictions.

      "What is Race?" I asked.

      I found the answers, and am inviting you
      on a personal quest for truth as well.

      That's why I'll join a panel of experts to answer
      "What is Race?" at the National Association
      of Black Journalists convention ` in Las Vegas.

      The impetus for this provocative conversation
      is Mr. Obama's quest for the White House.

      Scholars, journalists, the actor Isaiah Washington
      (whose DNA links him to a tribe in Sierra Leone) and
      I will engage a powerful dialogue about how one
      defines one's own racial identity amidst the
      raucous, even malicious, opinions of the world.

      So the question then becomes –

      Who are you?

      ARE YOU THE PERSON THAT THE WORLD
      SAYS YOU ARE … OR ARE YOU THE
      PERSON THAT YOU WANT TO BE?

      These questions transcend race—they
      hinge on the essence of a human being.

      I challenge you to plunder the depths of your
      heart and soul to experience your true self.

      You have to, as my favorite
      mentor says, "shut out the noise."

      Strip off the labels that the world
      has placed upon you – whether
      good or bad – and decide who you are,
      independent of that praise or criticism.

      This is a momentous—even
      impossible task—for most people.

      Because the world is not going to "shut off the noise."

      Every day, somebody is going to tell me about myself.
      That I'm black.
      That I'm white.
      That I'm biracial.
      That I'm white chocolate.
      Or black vanilla.

      Doesn't matter.

      Because I know the truth.

      So find yours.
      Then live it! Passionately, powerfully.

      Because the beautiful thing is — when
      you define and become who you want
      to be, you, too, will tingle with BLISS.


      ( *NOTE:
      This conversation is real, but I changed
      my friend's name for this article.)



      Elizabeth Atkins, © 2003
      All Rights Reserved

      Source:
      http://elizabethatkins.com/blog/2007/07/24/who-am-i-who-are-you




      NOTE:

      More of Elizabeth's thoughts about the
      Mixed-Race experiences can be found at
      her web site http://www.elizabethatkins.com
    • Elizabeth Atkins
      THANK YOU! I m going to be on NPR today on Tell Me More Elizabeth http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15725248 http://www.npr.org/
      Message 2 of 5 , Oct 29, 2007
      • 0 Attachment
        THANK YOU!

        I'm going to be on NPR today on "Tell Me More"

        Elizabeth


        http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15725248
        http://www.npr.org/
        http://elizabethatkins.com



        mulatta_loca <rosanna_armendariz@...> wrote:



        Welcome to the group, Elizabeth.

        You're an inspiration :)



        In Generation-Mixed@yahoogroups.com,
        "multiracialbookclub" <soaptalk@...> wrote:



        Hello Gen-Mixies,


        Here are more thought's shared by our fellow
        'Gen-Mixed' member, Elizabeth Atkins. Enjoy!


        -- M



        WHO AM I? WHO ARE YOU?
        by Elizabeth Atkins


        "You're a `black' woman," my friend
        Randall* said over lunch at a chic
        salad place in New York City.
        "Your mom is `black', so you're `black'.
        Period."

        Authority radiated from Randall's handsome
        brown face; his eyes glowed with the same
        cocky intelligence that had whisked
        him through top universities
        in the U.S. and Europe.

        "But Randall," I protested,
        "You knew my father.
        He was white."

        "Yeah, he was cool, but you're a sista."

        The bright yellow glow of my hair
        caught my eye in our reflection in
        the restaurant's giant window.

        With my face superimposed over the sea
        of people streaming past on the sidewalk,
        I literally saw myself in the human
        kaleidoscope of color and culture that
        is so beautifully the essence of New York.

        I tingled with pure BLISS.

        Because that is how I view the world—as a
        Technicolor phenomenon where I'm free to
        celebrate the African-American, the Cherokee,
        the Italian, the French and the English…

        All the delicious flavors that swirl into my
        personal melting pot of white chocolate fondue.

        But the moment was bittersweet.

        Because, despite his worldly brilliance, my friend
        was not trying to dunk his opinions into the
        sweet, bubbling optimism of my outlook.

        No, he was looking through the same-old
        foggy lens that sees only Black OR White.

        Not the brilliant blends in between.

        Or the reality of our diverse world that was
        staring at him from across the table and
        walking by outside the window.

        Nope.
        He saw only Black.
        Or White.
        No Gray-Area.
        And certainly no kaleidoscope.

        "So Randall," I said, glancing
        around the bustling restaurant.
        "Do you think all those
        people see me as `black'?"

        "Black is a cultural thing," he said.
        "It doesn't matter what you look like.
        You're `black' on the inside."

        For Randall, my interior defined all of me.

        My exterior, however, was the defining factor for
        a Caucasian female colleague just hours later.

        "You look like a White woman," she declared.
        "Certainly no one would look at
        you and think you're `black'!"
        Her hard-boiled New Yorker tone of
        voice struck me into still silence.
        The sirens outside the windows of her office
        made my insides feel even more jittery.
        I sunk into the leather couch.

        Okay, I thought.

        Randall just told me I'm `black'.
        This woman just told me I'm White.

        What am I?!?!

        Fortunately, I've spent
        many years figuring this out.

        It is my spirit that defines me.

        If you close your eyes and simply
        feel the loving energy that I
        radiate like warm sunshine,
        that is Elizabeth.

        And it's not even something
        you can put into words.

        My spirit manifests her place
        in the world with deeds, actions.

        Being a loving mother, daughter,
        sister, friend, neighbor.
        Writing and speaking on subjects
        that promote harmony.
        Teaching children and adults to write.
        Sharing my writing skills to give
        voice to powerful stories and ideas.
        Exercising and eating healthy to
        inspire excellent health in others.

        This is me…

        But whew!
        If I didn't know the answer,
        I'd be one mixed up chick!

        Black!
        White!
        Black-White-black-white …
        This racial ping-pong match
        could make you crazy!

        Or tragically confused.
        That's why the term "tragic mulatto"
        endured for so many years.
        From slavery to segregation to society
        today, mixed-race people have been
        "doomed to languish on the color line".

        Too `black' to be white…too white to be `black'
        … scorned, abused, taunted, terrified … into
        tragic depression, suicide, drifting, self-loathing.

        Even now, this one-or-the-other mentality instills
        confusion and identity chaos for too many of us.

        Blame the perverse power of "The One Drop Rule".

        This wicked vestige of slavery continues
        to poison our perceptions of each other.

        It's still achieving the divide-and-conquer objective
        of plantation powers who decided that anyone
        with a single drop of Black blood was black.

        Do the math to see how ridiculous that is!

        It means, if your great-great-great
        grandmother was Black, so are you!

        But while the law was abolished on paper,
        it still rules the minds of many, many people.

        As a result, I and 7 million other multiracial
        Americans — including Presidential Hopeful
        Barack Obama — must constantly combat
        suspicion from folks who think we're
        not Black-enough, not White-enough…

        But we are showing by example that we are enough.

        We are all that and more.

        Just look at Tiger Woods.
        Mariah Carey.
        Derek Jeter.
        And the millions of folks who checked more than one
        race box on the 2000 U.S. Census questionnaire.
        We proudly celebrate ourselves as Multiracial
        Mosaics of all that America is supposed to be.

        We confidently and courageously offer ourselves
        as symbols of hope for a colorblind world.

        Any Mixed-Race person who makes proud
        declarations of his or her interracial heritage
        does so, as the title of Mr.Obama's
        book says, with The Audacity of Hope.

        Because despite the world's confusing and
        contradictory definitions of who we are—
        we have used that adversity as fuel to search our
        souls to discover our true selves beneath all the
        labels, the pigment, the categories, the contradictions.

        "What is Race?" I asked.

        I found the answers, and am inviting you
        on a personal quest for truth as well.

        That's why I'll join a panel of experts to answer
        "What is Race?" at the National Association
        of Black Journalists convention ` in Las Vegas.

        The impetus for this provocative conversation
        is Mr. Obama's quest for the White House.

        Scholars, journalists, the actor Isaiah Washington
        (whose DNA links him to a tribe in Sierra Leone) and
        I will engage a powerful dialogue about how one
        defines one's own racial identity amidst the
        raucous, even malicious, opinions of the world.

        So the question then becomes –

        Who are you?

        ARE YOU THE PERSON THAT THE WORLD
        SAYS YOU ARE … OR ARE YOU THE
        PERSON THAT YOU WANT TO BE?

        These questions transcend race—they
        hinge on the essence of a human being.

        I challenge you to plunder the depths of your
        heart and soul to experience your true self.

        You have to, as my favorite
        mentor says, "shut out the noise."

        Strip off the labels that the world
        has placed upon you – whether
        good or bad – and decide who you are,
        independent of that praise or criticism.

        This is a momentous—even
        impossible task—for most people.

        Because the world is not going to "shut off the noise."

        Every day, somebody is going to tell me about myself.
        That I'm black.
        That I'm white.
        That I'm biracial.
        That I'm white chocolate.
        Or black vanilla.

        Doesn't matter.

        Because I know the truth.

        So find yours.
        Then live it! Passionately, powerfully.

        Because the beautiful thing is — when
        you define and become who you want
        to be, you, too, will tingle with BLISS.

        ( *NOTE:
        This conversation is real, but I changed
        my friend's name for this article.)

        Elizabeth Atkins, © 2003
        All Rights Reserved

        Source:
        http://elizabethatkins.com/blog/2007/07/24/who-am-i-who-are-you


        NOTE:

        More of Elizabeth's thoughts about the
        Mixed-Race experiences can be found at
        her web site http://www.elizabethatkins.com
      • soul sis36
        Hi Elizabeth A. Welcome to the group! Have a good one. :) Elizabeth Atkins wrote: THANK YOU! I m
        Message 3 of 5 , Oct 29, 2007
        • 0 Attachment


          Hi Elizabeth A.

          Welcome to the group! Have a good one. :)
          color




          Elizabeth Atkins <Elizabeth@...> wrote:



          THANK YOU!

          I'm going to be on NPR today on "Tell Me More"

          Elizabeth color


          http://www.npr. org/templates/ story/story. php?storyId= 15725248
          http://www.npr. org/
          http://elizabethatkins.com



          mulatta_loca <rosanna_armendariz@ yahoo.com> wrote:



          Welcome to the group, Elizabeth.

          You're an inspiration
          color
          size



          "multiracialbookclub" <soaptalk@...> wrote:



          Hello Gen-Mixies,

          Here are more thought's shared by our fellow
          'Gen-Mixed' member, Elizabeth Atkins. Enjoy!

          -- M

          WHO AM I? WHO ARE YOU?
          by Elizabeth Atkins

          "You're a `black' woman," my friend
          Randall* said over lunch at a chic
          salad place in New York City.
          "Your mom is `black', so you're `black'.
          Period."

          Authority radiated from Randall's handsome
          brown face; his eyes glowed with the same
          cocky intelligence that had whisked
          him through top universities
          in the U.S. and Europe.

          "But Randall," I protested,
          "You knew my father.
          He was white."

          "Yeah, he was cool, but you're a sista."

          The bright yellow glow of my hair
          caught my eye in our reflection in
          the restaurant's giant window.

          With my face superimposed over the sea
          of people streaming past on the sidewalk,
          I literally saw myself in the human
          kaleidoscope of color and culture that
          is so beautifully the essence of New York.

          I tingled with pure BLISS.

          Because that is how I view the world—as a
          Technicolor phenomenon where I'm free to
          celebrate the African-American, the Cherokee,
          the Italian, the French and the English…

          All the delicious flavors that swirl into my
          personal melting pot of white chocolate fondue.

          But the moment was bittersweet.

          Because, despite his worldly brilliance, my friend
          was not trying to dunk his opinions into the
          sweet, bubbling optimism of my outlook.

          No, he was looking through the same-old
          foggy lens that sees only Black OR White.

          Not the brilliant blends in between.

          Or the reality of our diverse world that was
          staring at him from across the table and
          walking by outside the window.

          Nope.
          He saw only Black.
          Or White.
          No Gray-Area.
          And certainly no kaleidoscope.

          "So Randall," I said, glancing
          around the bustling restaurant.
          "Do you think all those
          people see me as `black'?"

          "Black is a cultural thing," he said.
          "It doesn't matter what you look like.
          You're `black' on the inside."

          For Randall, my interior defined all of me.

          My exterior, however, was the defining factor for
          a Caucasian female colleague just hours later.

          "You look like a White woman," she declared.
          "Certainly no one would look at
          you and think you're `black'!"
          Her hard-boiled New Yorker tone of
          voice struck me into still silence.
          The sirens outside the windows of her office
          made my insides feel even more jittery.
          I sunk into the leather couch.

          Okay, I thought.

          Randall just told me I'm `black'.
          This woman just told me I'm White.

          What am I?!?!

          Fortunately, I've spent
          many years figuring this out.

          It is my spirit that defines me.

          If you close your eyes and simply
          feel the loving energy that I
          radiate like warm sunshine,
          that is Elizabeth.

          And it's not even something
          you can put into words.

          My spirit manifests her place
          in the world with deeds, actions.

          Being a loving mother, daughter,
          sister, friend, neighbor.
          Writing and speaking on subjects
          that promote harmony.
          Teaching children and adults to write.
          Sharing my writing skills to give
          voice to powerful stories and ideas.
          Exercising and eating healthy to
          inspire excellent health in others.

          This is me…

          But whew!
          If I didn't know the answer,
          I'd be one mixed up chick!

          Black!
          White!
          Black-White- black-white …
          This racial ping-pong match
          could make you crazy!

          Or tragically confused.
          That's why the term "tragic mulatto"
          endured for so many years.
          From slavery to segregation to society
          today, mixed-race people have been
          "doomed to languish on the color line".

          Too `black' to be white…too white to be `black'
          … scorned, abused, taunted, terrified … into
          tragic depression, suicide, drifting, self-loathing.

          Even now, this one-or-the-other mentality instills
          confusion and identity chaos for too many of us.

          Blame the perverse power of "The One Drop Rule".

          This wicked vestige of slavery continues
          to poison our perceptions of each other.

          It's still achieving the divide-and-conquer objective
          of plantation powers who decided that anyone
          with a single drop of Black blood was black.

          Do the math to see how ridiculous that is!

          It means, if your great-great- great
          grandmother was Black, so are you!

          But while the law was abolished on paper,
          it still rules the minds of many, many people.

          As a result, I and 7 million other multiracial
          Americans — including Presidential Hopeful
          Barack Obama — must constantly combat
          suspicion from folks who think we're
          not Black-enough, not White-enough…

          But we are showing by example that we are enough.

          We are all that and more.

          Just look at Tiger Woods.
          Mariah Carey.
          Derek Jeter.
          And the millions of folks who checked more than one
          race box on the 2000 U.S. Census questionnaire.
          We proudly celebrate ourselves as Multiracial
          Mosaics of all that America is supposed to be.

          We confidently and courageously offer ourselves
          as symbols of hope for a colorblind world.

          Any Mixed-Race person who makes proud
          declarations of his or her interracial heritage
          does so, as the title of Mr.Obama's
          book says, with The Audacity of Hope.

          Because despite the world's confusing and
          contradictory definitions of who we are—
          we have used that adversity as fuel to search our
          souls to discover our true selves beneath all the
          labels, the pigment, the categories, the contradictions.

          "What is Race?" I asked.

          I found the answers, and am inviting you
          on a personal quest for truth as well.

          That's why I'll join a panel of experts to answer
          "What is Race?" at the National Association
          of Black Journalists convention ` in Las Vegas.

          The impetus for this provocative conversation
          is Mr. Obama's quest for the White House.

          Scholars, journalists, the actor Isaiah Washington
          (whose DNA links him to a tribe in Sierra Leone) and
          I will engage a powerful dialogue about how one
          defines one's own racial identity amidst the
          raucous, even malicious, opinions of the world.

          So the question then becomes –

          Who are you?

          ARE YOU THE PERSON THAT THE WORLD
          SAYS YOU ARE … OR ARE YOU THE
          PERSON THAT YOU WANT TO BE?

          These questions transcend race—they
          hinge on the essence of a human being.

          I challenge you to plunder the depths of your
          heart and soul to experience your true self.

          You have to, as my favorite
          mentor says, "shut out the noise."

          Strip off the labels that the world
          has placed upon you – whether
          good or bad – and decide who you are,
          independent of that praise or criticism.

          This is a momentous—even
          impossible task—for most people.

          Because the world is not going to "shut off the noise."

          Every day, somebody is going to tell me about myself.
          That I'm black.
          That I'm white.
          That I'm biracial.
          That I'm white chocolate.
          Or black vanilla.

          Doesn't matter.

          Because I know the truth.

          So find yours.
          Then live it! Passionately, powerfully.

          Because the beautiful thing is — when
          you define and become who you want
          to be, you, too, will tingle with BLISS.

          ( *NOTE:
          This conversation is real, but I changed
          my friend's name for this article.)

          Elizabeth Atkins, © 2003
          All Rights Reserved color


          Source:
          http://elizabethatk ins.com/blog/ 2007/07/24/ who-am-i- who-are-you

          NOTE:

          More of Elizabeth's thoughts about the
          Mixed-Race experiences can be found at
          her web site http://www.elizabet hatkins.com.

        • Elizabeth Atkins
          THANK YOU! soul sis36 wrote: Hi Elizabeth A. Welcome to the group! Have a good one. :) Elizabeth Atkins
          Message 4 of 5 , Oct 31, 2007
          • 0 Attachment
            THANK YOU!



            soul sis36 <soulsis36@...> wrote:



            Hi Elizabeth A.

            Welcome to the group! Have a good one. :)



            Elizabeth Atkins < Elizabeth@...> wrote:




            THANK YOU!

            I'm going to be on NPR today on "Tell Me More"

            Elizabeth

            http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=15725248
            http://www.npr.org/
            http://elizabethatkins.com



            mulatta_loca <rosanna_armendariz@...> wrote:



            Welcome to the group, Elizabeth.

            You're an inspiration



            "multiracialbookclub" <soaptalk@...> wrote:



            Hello Gen-Mixies,

            Here are more thought's shared by our fellow
            'Gen-Mixed' member, Elizabeth Atkins. Enjoy!

            -- M

            WHO AM I? WHO ARE YOU?
            by Elizabeth Atkins

            "You're a `black' woman," my friend
            Randall* said over lunch at a chic
            salad place in New York City.
            "Your mom is `black', so you're `black'.
            Period."

            Authority radiated from Randall's handsome
            brown face; his eyes glowed with the same
            cocky intelligence that had whisked
            him through top universities
            in the U.S. and Europe.

            "But Randall," I protested,
            "You knew my father.
            He was white."

            "Yeah, he was cool, but you're a sista."

            The bright yellow glow of my hair
            caught my eye in our reflection in
            the restaurant's giant window.

            With my face superimposed over the sea
            of people streaming past on the sidewalk,
            I literally saw myself in the human
            kaleidoscope of color and culture that
            is so beautifully the essence of New York.

            I tingled with pure BLISS.

            Because that is how I view the world—as a
            Technicolor phenomenon where I'm free to
            celebrate the African-American, the Cherokee,
            the Italian, the French and the English…

            All the delicious flavors that swirl into my
            personal melting pot of white chocolate fondue.

            But the moment was bittersweet.

            Because, despite his worldly brilliance, my friend
            was not trying to dunk his opinions into the
            sweet, bubbling optimism of my outlook.

            No, he was looking through the same-old
            foggy lens that sees only Black OR White.

            Not the brilliant blends in between.

            Or the reality of our diverse world that was
            staring at him from across the table and
            walking by outside the window.

            Nope.
            He saw only Black.
            Or White.
            No Gray-Area.
            And certainly no kaleidoscope.

            "So Randall," I said, glancing
            around the bustling restaurant.
            "Do you think all those
            people see me as `black'?"

            "Black is a cultural thing," he said.
            "It doesn't matter what you look like.
            You're `black' on the inside."

            For Randall, my interior defined all of me.

            My exterior, however, was the defining factor for
            a Caucasian female colleague just hours later.

            "You look like a White woman," she declared.
            "Certainly no one would look at
            you and think you're `black'!"
            Her hard-boiled New Yorker tone of
            voice struck me into still silence.
            The sirens outside the windows of her office
            made my insides feel even more jittery.
            I sunk into the leather couch.

            Okay, I thought.

            Randall just told me I'm `black'.
            This woman just told me I'm White.

            What am I?!?!

            Fortunately, I've spent
            many years figuring this out.

            It is my spirit that defines me.

            If you close your eyes and simply
            feel the loving energy that I
            radiate like warm sunshine,
            that is Elizabeth.

            And it's not even something
            you can put into words.

            My spirit manifests her place
            in the world with deeds, actions.

            Being a loving mother, daughter,
            sister, friend, neighbor.
            Writing and speaking on subjects
            that promote harmony.
            Teaching children and adults to write.
            Sharing my writing skills to give
            voice to powerful stories and ideas.
            Exercising and eating healthy to
            inspire excellent health in others.

            This is me…

            But whew!
            If I didn't know the answer,
            I'd be one mixed up chick!

            Black!
            White!
            Black-White-black-white …
            This racial ping-pong match
            could make you crazy!

            Or tragically confused.
            That's why the term "tragic mulatto"
            endured for so many years.
            From slavery to segregation to society
            today, mixed-race people have been
            "doomed to languish on the color line".

            Too `black' to be white…too white to be `black'
            … scorned, abused, taunted, terrified … into
            tragic depression, suicide, drifting, self-loathing.

            Even now, this one-or-the-other mentality instills
            confusion and identity chaos for too many of us.

            Blame the perverse power of "The One Drop Rule".

            This wicked vestige of slavery continues
            to poison our perceptions of each other.

            It's still achieving the divide-and-conquer objective
            of plantation powers who decided that anyone
            with a single drop of Black blood was black.

            Do the math to see how ridiculous that is!

            It means, if your great-great-great
            grandmother was Black, so are you!

            But while the law was abolished on paper,
            it still rules the minds of many, many people.

            As a result, I and 7 million other multiracial
            Americans — including Presidential Hopeful
            Barack Obama — must constantly combat
            suspicion from folks who think we're
            not Black-enough, not White-enough…

            But we are showing by example that we are enough.

            We are all that and more.

            Just look at Tiger Woods.
            Mariah Carey.
            Derek Jeter.
            And the millions of folks who checked more than one
            race box on the 2000 U.S. Census questionnaire.
            We proudly celebrate ourselves as Multiracial
            Mosaics of all that America is supposed to be.

            We confidently and courageously offer ourselves
            as symbols of hope for a colorblind world.

            Any Mixed-Race person who makes proud
            declarations of his or her interracial heritage
            does so, as the title of Mr.Obama's
            book says, with The Audacity of Hope.

            Because despite the world's confusing and
            contradictory definitions of who we are—
            we have used that adversity as fuel to search our
            souls to discover our true selves beneath all the
            labels, the pigment, the categories, the contradictions.

            "What is Race?" I asked.

            I found the answers, and am inviting you
            on a personal quest for truth as well.

            That's why I'll join a panel of experts to answer
            "What is Race?" at the National Association
            of Black Journalists convention ` in Las Vegas.

            The impetus for this provocative conversation
            is Mr. Obama's quest for the White House.

            Scholars, journalists, the actor Isaiah Washington
            (whose DNA links him to a tribe in Sierra Leone) and
            I will engage a powerful dialogue about how one
            defines one's own racial identity amidst the
            raucous, even malicious, opinions of the world.

            So the question then becomes –

            Who are you?

            ARE YOU THE PERSON THAT THE WORLD
            SAYS YOU ARE … OR ARE YOU THE
            PERSON THAT YOU WANT TO BE?

            These questions transcend race—they
            hinge on the essence of a human being.

            I challenge you to plunder the depths of your
            heart and soul to experience your true self.

            You have to, as my favorite
            mentor says, "shut out the noise."

            Strip off the labels that the world
            has placed upon you – whether
            good or bad – and decide who you are,
            independent of that praise or criticism.

            This is a momentous—even
            impossible task—for most people.

            Because the world is not going to "shut off the noise."

            Every day, somebody is going to tell me about myself.
            That I'm black.
            That I'm white.
            That I'm biracial.
            That I'm white chocolate.
            Or black vanilla.

            Doesn't matter.

            Because I know the truth.

            So find yours.
            Then live it! Passionately, powerfully.

            Because the beautiful thing is — when
            you define and become who you want
            to be, you, too, will tingle with BLISS.

            ( *NOTE:
            This conversation is real, but I changed
            my friend's name for this article.)

            Elizabeth Atkins, © 2003
            All Rights Reserved

            Source:
            http://elizabethatkins.com/blog/2007/07/24/who-am-i-who-are-you

            NOTE:

            More of Elizabeth's thoughts about the
            Mixed-Race experiences can be found at
            her web site http://www.elizabethatkins.com
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