One of these women is African-American, and it’s probably not the one you think.
There’s a huge chance this will offend some people, which only goes to prove the point that I’m trying to make. As a women of ‘mixed race’, I often jokingly refer to myself as a Halfrican, as well do many others of the white/black combo. However, I adamantly oppose the title of African-American to describe all black people.
Why? Well, for starters, as illustrated above, African-American doesn’t necessarily refer to a black person (Charlize Theron is from Benoni, South Africa). Also, not all black people are descendents from Africa. Again, evidenced above (Rihanna is from St, Michael, Barbados, which was originally a British colony).
Myself, I’m Irish, German, Polish, and West Indie (the specifics on that part are unclear). The West Indies included a large portion of Caribbean Islands, such as Trinidad & Tobago, Barbados, Antigua, Turks & Caicos, and again, were colonies of the United Kingdom. So if you take all those things into consideration, I’m really just European-American.
I always select ‘other’ on any form that asks for race/ethnicity. Luckily, I have seen, in just my 3-decade lifetime, a change on those forms. They used to say ‘check one’. Now they say, ‘check all that apply’. I still don’t check them, because I don’t feel they apply.
When I tell people this, they say it’s because I have racial identity issues. That may be true, who knows. I’m not ashamed to say that I probably identify more as a white person, having lived my entire life in 98% white suburbia (0.81% or 316 black people and 0.50% or 195 people ’from two or more races’… this is of 39,019 residents per the 2000 census), and having far more of a family base on my white side.
But then I’m also quick to notice when someone is acting discriminatorily toward me because of my beigeness. Any tint or hue in the brown color wheel automatically sends most brains to “black chick” and really doesn’t allow space for any other clarification. No one bats an eyelash at the idea that my dad, who is significantly darker than I, is, in fact, my dad, but eyebrows often raise, to this day, as to whether my mom is my mom.
It’s like Obama. White people freak out that he’s black – even though he’s half white. Black people freak out that he’s not black enough – why, because he’s articulate?
Long story short, if you’re mixed, you’re never going to please everyone. And if you’re black, it doesn’t mean you’re African-American.