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Am I Passing for White? (by 'Elizabeth Atkins')

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  • multiracialbookclub
    Hello, Here are more thought s shared by Generation-Mixed group member, Elizabeth Atkins. Enjoy! -- M AM I
    Message 1 of 1 , Oct 28, 2007


      Here are more thought's shared
      'Generation-Mixed' group
      member, Elizabeth Atkins.


      -- M


      by Elizabeth Atkins

      Nobody knew.

      Not the black woman with the
      business-like smile in Seafood.

      Not the blond-haired, blue-eyed dad tugging
      two little boys through Fresh Produce.

      Not the Spanish-speaking cashier.

      And not the trendy suburban
      teen in Baked Goods.

      Nope, none of these folks at the grocery
      store tonight had a clue about me.

      Sure, they were picking up new
      products in pretty packaging.
      They were reading Nutrition
      Information and Ingredients lists.
      They were getting a run-down on
      what's in the gourmet brownie mix…
      the granola… the garlic-pepper grinder.

      But the human package
      named Elizabeth
      — as I whizzed past with my shopping
      cart — offered no such explanations.

      They saw the package of sun-bleached hair,
      tanned skin and green eyes that sparkle
      with special intensity during summertime.

      So passers-by probably assumed that
      Elizabeth 's main ingredient is `White'.

      Yes, my all-American blend includes English
      and French, but it also contains Native
      American, Italian and African-American.

      But if my Multi-Racial mix is invisible…
      and nobody around me knows it, then…


      By simply "being" — am I deceiving the world?


      And no.

      I don't owe strangers an explanation
      of my ethnic or racial background.

      When I'm in the grocery store, I don't
      have to stamp an INGREDIENTS list
      on my forehead listing the DNA
      blend this is unique Brand BLISS.

      Because my manufacturer
      ---- His name is God ----  
      created this product to serve
      humanity as a voice of harmony.


      By raising provocative questions about
      how we think and talk and evaluate each
      other when it comes to race and ethnicity.

      That's why I divulge details of my DNA during
      speaking engagements… in media interviews…
      in books… in poems… in conversations with
      strangers… and right here on my blog.

      I explain and reveal because I am
      a powerful catalyst for change.

      I enjoy sharing my story, my viewpoints, my
      experiences, for the sake of edu-taining folks
      to think and talk about race and ethnicity with
      a new and improved passion for harmony.

      This is `the opposite of passing

      Back during slavery, reconstruction, Jim Crowe,
      the Civil Rights Movement and even now —
      "passing" is the word used to describe a person
      who was white-looking enough to HIDE
      his or her African-American heritage
      for the sake of social and financial gain.

      Lies, deception, denial and self-hatred
      were the name of that game.

      This often meant abandoning one's
      family to start a new life as a white
      person, as Sarah Jane did in the 1959
      tear-jerking movie Imitation of Life

      Other times, `black' men and women "passed"
      during the day to get and keep a good-paying
      job that only a white person could get–then
      they'd return home (paycheck in hand) to
      their `black' families and communities.

      But don't think times have changed so much
      that folks don't still pass for the perceived
      benefits of social and financial gain.

      Just watch The Human Stain with
      Anthony Hopkins and Wentworth Miller.

      Or talk to the dozens of people who
      purchased my second book, Dark Secret
      — a sexy, scandalous story about a biracial
      woman who's "passing" as a rich white woman
      — even as her `black' mother is dying in Detroit !

      Too many readers told me stories
      about friends and family members
      who had crossed the color line…

      You know that saying, once you
      go `black', you never go back?
      Well, once they went white,
      they were forever out of sight!

      Not me.

      My package might say

      But I proudly display my Ingredients
      as a unique face of race in America

      (and the grocery store) … a sprinkle of
      sweetness in our magnificent melting pot

      Elizabeth Atkins, © 2003
      All Rights Reserved


      More of Elizabeth's thoughts about the 
      Mixed-Race experiences can be found at 
      her web site 

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