Why Mixed people need their own category

L to right, Tessa Thompson, Ruth Negga and Rebecca Hall/Getty Images

Becoming a historian made me even more aware of the importance of classifying files properly, in order with each group having their own specific issue. Though I have often written about problems regarding race-mixing and postcolonial identity, I have, like many, suffered from the constant treatment of populations both Black and White people could not categorize. They would either reject such people or try to innihilate their voices through different methods, all of them being engraved in a strong desire to silence them. Black people from the Western sphere, as they deal with self-love issues for afraid of being forgotten by the Whites, always claim the whitest mixed or multiracial individuals and prevent them from speaking by throwing a brutal “you look black to me” as a way to block them or turn down their energy out of jealousy.

Indeed, many mixed individuals have, through their non-black heritage, a door of escapism the Blacks are denied. Such darkness terrifies them and they wish they had the right to escape too. In reality, the problem relies on the fact that there is nothing wrong with their blackness at all but with their mentality which has been modified and whitewashed. In this paper, blackness refers to the direct descendants of slaves brought from West and Central West Africa, the latter being known as Bantu. Most of them, it is true, have a hard time with their kind of blackness, their features, hair and noses judged too wide. It would therefore be more different than that of the Eastern or Northeastern Africans who share another phenotype. Yet, even if they would be deemed more privileged by the Bantu, the Arab world does not pay attention to phenotypes and mistreat Abyssinian women as horribly as the illegal Cameroonian Bantu immigrants in Lebanon or Saudi Arabia.

In a matter of 400 years, the slave descendants in the West and the formerly colonized immigrants who came later have endured centuries of damage regarding their mental health and history. The people were therefore traumatized and a dissociation between their minds and souls occured. The Black Arabs, though affected too by the Muslim Slave Trade, have been less deconstructed and physically analyzed than the ones in the West. The problem of colorism and featurism illustrate our point here. The Black Westerner is living with a trauma. Yet, as the years went by, they mostly took a look on the outside and not the inside of their own depth and the double mixed race agent, depending on his political position, became the principal target for their dysfunction. He would be either hated or claimed for fear of disappearence of the Blacks. Indeed, deemed more exotic, whiter and more beautiful for fitting European beauty standards, the Blacks do not want him to jump out the boat to create his own category.

Over the years, pro-Black activists in the United States have adamantly forced mixed race people to identify as Black on the sole basis of the one drop rule. The mixed people who wanted to claim their duality were considered to be sold out or self-haters. A white mixed individual would rather be called light-skin instead of white for the recognition of his race would be a clear affirmation that he now belongs to another category. However, the more claimed, the more colorism and foreign intrustion. For this reason, the mixed race category has been denied the mere right to exist and be recognised as a whole.

Alexandre Dumas, père - Simple English Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Alexandre Dumas, father/Credit unknown

Actually, contrary to what many believe, things which happen in the black sphere are not deemed important to the white general public. However, the mixed race experience DOES exist and is very real. It must be accepted and studied.

Right after I began reading Mariah Carey’s first mémoires, I remained kind of baffled by the content of the first chapters. At some point, Carey mentioned how her brother and sister wrongly accused her of passing along with their white mother. If Carey had had two black siblings this feeling of jealousy could have been understood. Yet, the only difference between the three of them relies on the color of their hair, Mariah being blonder. Upon reading it, I took a pause and remained quite shocked. If colorism affects the whitest mulattoes in the mixed category, if such issue hurts the group deemed privileged by dark skin Negroids, how could Mariahs be fairly compared to Rashida Strobers or Tracy Chapmans? If colorism and featurism impact quadroons like Carey then the work regarding the consequences of racism within the mixed category has not been done.

What does being mixed mean actually? Unfortunately, when evoking mixed race identity, one only thinks about biracials. Yet, due to the 400 years of slavery and the century of colonialism, a lot of us have been the victims of colonial rape. The Cape Verdean community or even the Angolans could talk about it. If there are dark skin Black Cape Verdeans and whiter Cape Verdeans, all the citizens have been, mixed to a certain degree and therefore, the victims of slavery and colonial rape. However, due to the toxicity of black people who do not want to let go of exotic individuals in their surroundings, the darkest mixed people are the first victims of the black silencing. To them Blacks would throw a brutal “You look Black to me” so as to downplay their family history or experience. Even within the mixed category, not every body is the same and belongs to the same category. Race mixing can not only include biracials and quadroons. It is more than that. One should recognise the category of the diluted ones, hence black peoples with direct multiracial ancestors or black individuals mixed with black and multiracial people over the years and generations (MGM) -which is my case*-, reversed quadroons (a black individual with three quarter black and one white), a reversed octoroon (a black individual with one white great grandparent), descendants of biracials who intermarried over many generations, as well as quadroons, octoroons and hexadecaroons. Such populations should belong to the mixed category within their own ranks and experience. An octoroon, for white and mixed, will not have the same experience of a reversed quadroon. Yet, both categories are not fully black but incorporate others.

Archibald J. Motley Jr., The Octoroon Girl, 1925 | Whitney Museum of  American Art
Archibald J. Motley Jr, The Octoroon Girl 1925, painting

By recognizing such diversity, the issues regarding colorism and featurism could be resolved more easily for each patient would be treated on his own. The brutality faced by biracials are not similar to that of the quadroons and octoroons at all. Race mixing as a whole, especially in our postcolonial era, has nothing to do with culture. An octoroon born and raised in the Congo and abandoned by the white parent can have ties to the African culture, speak the language and keep the traditions. Though African in the culture, the latter does not take away the fact that the individual is mixed and not black but racially mixed and white. Yet, pro-Black mulattoes want to eradicate such evidence to replace blackness so as to be placed at the center of the black community they want to take over due to their quest of power.

Mixed race people have been wrongly called privileged when, throughout history, they have been the consequences of sexual wars. Northern Europeans such as the Brits, the Dutch, the Belgians or sometimes the French, did conquer the world and colonized southern peoples. Yet, though they raped women, they belong to the white category which hates to mix with other peoples. They were always the ones to favor the system of apartheid actually. Race-mixing as a destructive way was brought up by the European Latinos, such as the Portuguese, the Spaniards and the French. They would use sex and mixed people to not only confuse but create a system of privilege. Yet, how can mixed people understand the real meaning of their existence if they Blacks prevent them from stating the obvious?

Free People of Color

Race-mixing does confuse when not well organized. At the time of the Bible, in the Ancient Testament, it did happen and it was common to read about Canaanites marrying Israelites or Canaanites marrying Egyptians. Yet, such mixes would not be that brutal for the black peoples living there, though they belonged to different ethnic groups, shared a common understanding of each other’s culture. However, race-mixing today does not follow such pattern. It actually creates degenerate agents who are ignorant of their heritage and culture. The dominant in our society marry their own, yet, slavery has damaged Blacks and encouraged them to dilute themselves and mix with others out of love and open-mindness. Yet, for the case of Cape Verde or Puerto-Rico and Brazil, race-mixing has been used as a criminal tool to confuse the descendants of Blacks regarding their heritage. The populations aforementioned not only ignore the origin of their lineage in Africa but worst, many of them identify with the roots of their oppressors who eventually become their own father.

Race-mixing can not be perceived as an act of strength and courage. If applied, it has to be carefully practiced. A French-Congolese woman who marries a French man does not really bothers. Though her roots are in the Congo, she was born in France, has a French mentality, thinks French and shares the same cultural heritage as her white French husband. In this sense, the children will have a sense of stability. Yet, other unions do not make any sense. A French-Congolese woman and an French-Algerian man could not make it at all on the length and they will have to find a unique link of transmission between the two. And for this reason, the Christian individual will have to convert to Islam to submit to one culture. And this is where the problem comes from. Nowadays, many of us forgot that race-mixing is way more important than the race or skin color for the culture must be put at the center. If not, the mixed child will not only be lost, but choose the state as a reference.

The existence of a mixed race category needs to be established toward the testament of history, in times of slavery above all yes, but also colonialism and the sexual treatment of black and mixed women. It is time toxicity lets us deal with our own issues and fate to heal, change and organize for the better. Our differences is what makes us stronger and unique.

*Though I am partially Sicilian/Sardinian, my mother’s lineage is quite different from the mixed Blacks and Whites in the Western sphere. Indeed, as mentioned in many of my poetry books and essays, my mother’s blackness is originally from Northeast Africa, now in the colonial “Arab world”. Though my maternal lineage is from there, the main white blood quantity which I carry in me is not Northwest European hence British, Irish, or German but Turk. The Turks were the main colonizers of the Middle East and also encouraged whitewashing and race-mixing to accentuate their presence and that’s why I carry their blood. I have both a Black and White heritage in the Levant. And therefore, my experience would be closer to that of my other fellow Black Arabs and not the Blacks in the West.

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