What about fitting in as an individual or as a family that is multi-racial? That question comes on the tail-end of the two previous MONDAY posts prior to this one regarding other aspects of this same subject matter. So, if you haven’t read those – stop – go back (scroll down) – and catch up!
To be honest it may be easier to fit into the framework (as currently constructed) of our modern day society when you enter as a multi-racial family than as a multi-racial individual – just by the sheer nature of the dynamics at play. First of all – as a family – you are a unit entering into any social arena together; which allows each of you to fall back on one another organically speaking. And, in fact, you may not even necessarily feel the need to “try to fit in” within a given social context that you are existing in at the time.
The individual dynamic is on the other hand somewhat different. As most of us probably know, individuals who are bi- or multi-racial, do often state that they either had difficulty identifying with or being necessarily accepted by a particular race or group during their formative years, especially. This is more of an issue in the adolescent and/or teenage years when not only do young people feel a need for “acceptance”, but kids are also much more overtly critical at that age as well. However, I do think there are several other factors involved that go well beyond fitting into a given preconceived racial boundary. Factors such as the area where a child grows up – how diverse their school is – are they by nature the type to lead or follow – are they an introvert or extrovert and so on.
While there are many factors that have an impact on whether one is able to “fit in” -most of us undoubtedly have an innate desire to feel included. And in some instances – depending on the circumstances – a child or even adult who is bi- or multi-racial may feel they don’t exactly fit neatly into the preconceived delineations that have been ready-made by society. There are individuals among us who identify strongly with traditions associated to cultures that are viewed by many to be attached directly to a specific race or ethnicity. And, certain people within given groups that are tied to those traditions, who may not view someone who attempts to identify with what they deem to be “their culture” – as being a legitimate part of that tradition or circle so to speak.
What’s interesting is that this can happen even when a person is of “one race” (black, white, asian, etc.). People of their “own race” may say things like “he is trying to act black” or “she is acting white”. Or, related to our subject matter in this series: “they married outside their race” so that makes that person a “sell-out”. And that actually brings us full circle to the crux of this whole series on “interracial matters”. It seems that when you drill down to the root of this issue or dilemma if you will – that we as a society have made pre-determinations based strictly upon skin color for what another human being can and cannot do. And here is the kicker: these pre-determinations that are used to categorize every one we see around us – in many cases – completely disregard a person’s: likes or dislikes (personal preferences) – emotions or feelings – background – or experiences. So, in other words, people have decided that you can just take all of that “stuff” that actually defines who a person is and set it to the side. Instead of considering any of that we will just look at your skin color and decide for you what that means to us and try to force you to conform accordingly. Oh and if you are bi- or multi-racial: for some of us that means you are automatically (again based strictly on your skin color or lack thereof) not going to be able to be a part of any of these categories that we have arbitrarily created. Have a nice day!
At the end of the day, the issues we have with race in America are of our own making and are based upon philosophies that are what is known in logic as reductio ad absurdum (click here for definition). I am able to make that logical designation based upon the fact that an attempt to prove that any one “thing” can be based solely upon the color of one’s skin leads to some very impractical or asinine conclusions. And, yet, here we are in 2017, despite so much compelling evidence to the contrary, in a situation where certain individuals are still trying to lump others into their “absolutes” – their pre-determined categories – strictly according to one thing: the color of their skin.
All of our backgrounds – our traditions and our stories are collectively what make this story of mankind an interesting read. America is a melting pot like none other – a gumbo if you will – which is what makes it such a terrific and compelling nation that has unprecedented influence on other societies. And since we lead the way – we ought to set a good example for the world regarding what it looks like to live together in peace and celebrate this august body of diverse backgrounds. That is what makes America great. Not the money or a particular right like the one “to bear arms”. Not the technology – not Hollywood – or even the hallowed American flag. All of these things are but empty pleasures and trivial affairs – sans the actual people who inhabit this great land. And those people (all of us) need be reminded – less we easily forget…united we stand…but divided we will eventually fall. And, this, no matter race, color, or creed.
OREOS TO GO: Share this series on Interracial Matters with a friend.
More than a blog. It’s a movement.
Though there is much more that could be said, I will have to stop for now. But hopefully you will continue the conversation in your living rooms, at your places of worship, and even with that person of another race you just met as you were walking down the street in your neighborhood.
And also I do have what I think is another interesting plate of cookies on a platter for next Monday (you can share via social media buttons below), when I hope you will join me again to talk some more oreos.