When I wrote I’m Half Black and Offended a Lot of People I thought it was only going to get a few views, but to my surprise, it’s been read thousands of times. For the most part, it’s been received pretty well by people of all colors, and it gives me hope. Any time I see people are open to having the tough discussions, it reminds me that humanity may not be doomed.
Unfortunately, being half-black does get me a lot of criticism from the black community. My entire life, I’ve felt in this sort of no man’s land while identifying with both races, and when the black community comes after me, I’m reminded of it all over again. When I read Trevor Noah’s book Born a Crime, it was the first time I’ve truly felt like someone understood what I’ve dealt with my whole life.
I think it’s important to note that I’m not stupid (at least I don’t think so), and I’m aware of the privilege I have looking white. Even those like Trevor Noah who you can tell are mixed are aware of that privilege, yet we’re constantly being told by the black community that we don’t have the right to speak on these issues.
I’m as liberal as they come, and us liberals fight for equality of all kinds. In the current political climate, it feels like people fighting for equality are simultaneously promoting inequality. I find it difficult to see how we’re going to achieve our goal when people keep trying to separate themselves from others.
Although I’ve experienced less racism than most, my passion for discussing these matters comes from knowing what my parents went through. As a black man, my dad was subject to quite a bit of racism in the 60s and learned to just let it go. My mom, growing up in a conservative part of California, was regularly called a “n***** lover” and was regularly beaten by her father for dating black men. She was also jumped by boys and girls at school, and she has two fake front teeth to show for it.
As a liberal, my concern is by telling people the following things, we’re pushing away allies. Luckily, my parents didn’t raise a punk, and I can take it.
“You’re Not Half Black. You’re Half White.”
“You’re white-passing, so you don’t understand.”
“You haven’t experienced our struggle.”
I think big picture, so when I look at these types of comments, I try ask myself if the people writing these things think this is pushing us closer or further from our overall goal. What is the overall goal? Well, there are a few: eliminating racism, fixing the major issue with blacks being incarcerated, increase opportunities for blacks and so on.
Again, I don’t see how such comments get us closer to our goal.
Like most people, I was confused for weeks after Trump was elected. I couldn’t understand how it happened. So, I decided to start doing some research, and it’s clear as day: conservatives stick together and liberals tear each other apart.
I still stand by the way I closed my previous piece:
If we hope to make changes in this world, we need to choose our battles.
With so much out there worth fighting for, is it really a valid use of our time to say who is or isn’t black enough? I personally don’t think so. Due to similar issues, I’ve seen female friends of mine back away from labeling themselves as a feminist because of what’s happened in the extreme edges of the movement.
I’m never going to stop talking about issues that I think are important because I hope to help people gain a different perspective so we can reach our goals together.
I’m extremely sad to say it, but there are many books I haven’t read such as White Fragility, How to be an Antiracist, Biased, and A Terrible Thing to Waste: Environmental Racism and Its Assault on the American Mind.
Why haven’t I read these books even though I read 10 plus books a month? Because I like to discuss what I learn from non-fiction books to start a conversation, but my fear is the black community will come after me and tell me that I’m not black enough to have a say on these subjects. My fear is that until this pointless fighting stops, we’re pushing away more allies than we’re gaining them, and we’re going to repeat the 2016 election.