Just a mixed girl living in a one-drop world.
I’m a mixed girl living in a “one-drop” kinda world. And according to this world, I am the tail and not the head.
I am NOT above, I am beneath.
My lived experience HAS NOT and IS NOT one of Whiteness. BUT Blackness? To some, there’s plenty of doubt and to others, there is no doubt.
According to the one-drop rule, I’m Black. From a historical racial heritage standpoint, I’m defined as “Mulatto—a term that means young mule, the offspring of a horse and a donkey—a hybrid of two different animals. Wow. Empowering right? (Insert sarcasm)
So which racial and cultural group does a “Mulatto” belong to? White or Black? Does society decide or do I decide? Is it a matter of my biology, my consciousness, my self-identification or my experiences? Am I not the sole expert on my own racial experience?
Who’s Free and Who is Enslaved?
It’s inconceivable to me, that at one time, not so long ago—that ‘mixing’ of races was illegal. This was all done in the name of establishing WHO would live a life of privilege and freedom, and who would live a life of enslavement. It was simply “categorization for the sake of separation with intent of domination.”
All of my life, my racial and cultural identity has been called into question because of my skin color AND last name. I’ve been asked questions such as “where are you from” and “what are you” so I could simply assist many with stereotyping and discriminating.
Historically, a “Mulatto’ categorization served to protect and preserve Whiteness.
However in my youth, this categorization served to attack and destroy my sense of Blackness. And as a result, I failed to have sense of true belonging, acceptance and community with either racial group. One societal group screamed “you’re less than me” while the other screamed “you think you’re better than me.” All I wanted to do was connect with those who were willing to embrace MY unique Blackness.
“When people of African descent question or challenge the blackness of someone of mixed heritage or light complexion, what is it that we are attempting to protect and what is it that we stand to gain?”
The way I see it is the ‘one-drop’ rule brought me into a community of phenomenal people. Kings, Queens, revolutionaries, geniuses, innovators, inventors, scientists, creatives, artists, leaders, activists, writers, musicians and poets.
My Black Is Beautiful Too
The one-drop rule may have been created out of ignorance, hatred and racism—but God used it to gift me entrance into a glorious community to belong to. But unfortunately, thanks to colorism within the Black community, some in that community rejected me too.
As a mixed girl growing up, I simply wanted to belong to a community who embraced MY Black as beautiful. And now, even as a middle-aged woman, I still want the same.
But this is not the end of my story because I know I belong. I’m truly grateful for my Black brothers and sisters who have not only embraced MY unique BLACKness, but see me as being connected to their Blackness because of our shared ancestral AND spiritual blood. ❤️
Blackness is not one dimensional. It’s multidimensional, just like me.
(Quotes taken from the book “One Drop” by Yaba Blay)