Yesterday I got into a spirited argument with a “conscious” friend of mine regarding Meghan Markle, her biracial heritage and African American mother, and her marriage to Prince Harry. He wanted to know if I thought this was a “win” for black women, and if I believe Meghan represents “us.” I told him no…but her mother, Doria Ragland, does. “Meghan Markle is my daughter,” I said. She represents black American women, married interracially and producing amazing girls who celebrate all facets of their culture proudly and unapologetically. Meghan, despite her racial ambiguity, is the anti Imitation of Life. She is not trying to hide her mother and her family’s slavery legacy. She appreciates and acknowledges all the layers.
He then asked me, “What if your biracial daughters (I have two) marry and have kids with a white man. Then they would hardly be black at all. Would it bother you that you won’t see yourself in your grandchildren?”
I told him that in fact, I would see myself in my grandchildren–if I’m lucky. I’ll see my scrappiness, my ambition, a desire to fairness and justice, my creativity and humor. And whether my grandbabies have the skin of mahogany or buttercream, they will still be my blood, my kin. I may have to invest in a little more sunscreen for my future little cherubs, but what of it? I am not so vain to insist that my progeny look exactly like me, and I don’t buy into the hysteria that somehow blackness is being watered down by race mixing. Are you kidding me? There’s a whole continent of black people called Africa, so the tiny 12% of black American women marrying interracially isn’t a crisis, so try again.
Another girlfriend of mine put it simply. Many black people (black women especially) don’t like me because of my unencumbered attitude about my womanhood. I don’t wake up every day and look at the world through a prism of BLACKNESS. I don’t spend every waking moment wondering and worrying about the black collective, and how every choice I make in life will benefit or hurt the group. Perhaps what is worse, is that I am not raising my daughters that way. They are free to choose the path they wish, fight their battles a la carte, and select the best man for the job, regardless of race, color, and creed.
I do not apologize for my life choices. What I did and do is and was best for ME, and didn’t lay myself as the sacrifice of the long-suffering, race first black woman. I never fit in that mold, and I never will.
I make my own mold.
Legacy is not about preserving melanin. Legacy is what you build through wealth, status, accomplishments, relationships and history. Humans are so silly–what does skin color have to do with any of that??
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