My pal, Lorraine Spencer wrote an in-ter-esting Facebook note about Tom Sizemore’s ‘coming out’ about having a black grandfather and mother. The first thing I thought was, “Whoa! Mixed kids are like a box of chocolates!”
Besides that, one thing she wrote in particular that stood out:”But if they chose not to live as black they should be free to do so without being hijacked by black folks because they buy into the that stupid and irrelevant “one drop” rule.”
The question is, how come black people want to “hijack” or “out” people who fall fair on the melanin spectrum with parents are clearly racially identified? I’m just beginning to crack open Fatal Invention: How Science, Politics, and Big Business Re-Create Race in the Twenty-First Century, and I gotta tell ya, this race stuff is pretty messy to sort through. Slick Willy announced in 1999 that we are all 99.9% the same, and there is no race but the HUMAN RACE.
So…that’s it then? We’re done with about a kabillion years of segregation, discrimination and a bunch of other “-anations” since SURPRISE! we’re mostly all the same?
Race is just too easily identifiable, such a cinch to use to put folks in their place–why not use it? Because while there may be no multitude of races, there are fistfuls and buckets of tribes, crews, sects, nations, clans, etcetera. What better way to divide and feel superior over another, and justify all kinda wrongs than through something as no-brainer-y as race? Says Roberts:
Imagine walking into a room filled with people displaying a wide range of skin colors, hair textures, and facial feature. It is likely that the very first thing you do, either consciously or unconsciously, is to identify the race of every single person in that room. Americans are so used to filtering out impressions of people through a racial lens that we engage in this exercise innate racial identities. But the only way we know which racial designation to assessing each person is by referring to the invented rules we have been taught since we were infants. And the only reason we engage in this exercise is the enormous social consequences of classifying people in this way.
Under these conditions, each “tribe” jockeys for the top spot on the hierarchy. Which leads to an explanation for why black folks want to claim anybody who’s got 1/1000th of black in them, especially if those people have achieved some level of wealth and/or fame. It’s like the black community wants to simultaneously pull down these folks and prop them up. Pull down (Halle Berry = is just black woman, like me) and prop up (See! Halle Berry is BEAUTIFUL and BLACK, like me!!)
Wash for hogs, I say.