- Naoime Djaté
What Does It Mean to be Biracial?
Disclaimer: Nations Voice would like to mention that the opinions stated in this article are those of the author and are not representative of all of the editors or school at large. This is an opinion piece. It is meant to highlight perceived issues within society by the author and its purpose is not to shame or offend anyone.
The shame when you condemn white people, yet you know that you, yourself, have a white heritage. A need for racial identification that is somehow denied by no one other than you and your confusion. The desire to belong to a minority yet to somehow remain yourself, yet you, yourself, feel defined only by your racial heritage.
Not wanting to deny your black heritage, yet you don’t want it to define you. Somehow you find yourself living your life trying to appear neutral, yet loyal. There is always the question that is: where do your loyalties lie? What side are you on? Do you deserve to be a part of the black anger? You want to be an individual, yet claiming your whiteness makes it look like you are denying your blackness. Though when you claim the black side of you, some black people will look at you with scorn; what do you know of the black struggle?
We all know the system is anti-black but sometimes you’re tired of complaining, you start letting people use the n-word because why not? You hide your discomfort and you just hope that they don’t see you flinch when they laughingly say it to your face. They say it and laugh and you have to laugh and agree because you can’t be that stuck up black girl who thinks she’s so much better. Sometimes you do try to explain but you can’t put into words just what that word means when it’s coming from a white person’s mouth. You can’t explain how it makes you flinch, how dirty it makes you feel, you feel guilty of a crime that you didn’t even know you had committed. And as you try and formulate this into something coherent all the while trying not to hurt their feelings, because god forbid they get offended by your oppression, then it’s reverse racism, now we have the privilege. Our privilege is to say one word. They say that we think we are better, that we are making them feel guilty for a crime they didn't commit. We are just too damn defensive, no wonder people don’t listen to us if we just stopped being so angry all the time maybe people would give us the time of day. How black people feel when we hear that word is insignificant, “freedom of speech” is what’s important here.
And here is when being biracial comes in handy to them, I can be black and I can be white. Pick and choose. They ask me how I can even be offended - aren’t I also white? I have to answer that I don’t say the n-word, I know very little of the real black struggle. Then suddenly I’m black again, they insist that I can say it. I look black, don’t I? Why don’t I say the n-word? I explain that I just don’t like the word, I have never experienced the real oppression of black people nor did I grow up in an environment where the African side of my culture was very apparent as my dad never seemed that proud of it. I realise as I am arguing how insubstantial my reasoning is. It’s all based on a feeling, one that I know is shared, but a feeling nonetheless. Yet it seems ridiculous to me, why are they arguing so passionately to justify the use of a word that is still used to this day as an insult towards people of African heritage? It essentially names them as less of a person because of the color of their skin, the color of their skin is used as a weakness. Why you would argue to use such a word still baffles me to this day.
Oh but then what about insults towards white people? Isn't that the same? I refuse to acknowledge “reverse racism” as I have only ever seen it be used as someone’s way (sadly usually a white person) to avoid responsibility after having said something racist. And I say then that I do not insult a person based on the color of their skin and would certainly never dream of using a word that names the color of their skin as a weakness to their face. Yet insulting someone based on the color of their skin does not have the same impact when that skin color is ultimately a handicap in life.
As I have said, all this still isn’t enough for them. When we get angry we are only stuck in the past and sensitive. Can’t we see that it has no meaning anymore? And that is white privilege speaking. Oh and now I can feel any white person reading this get a little angry, you want to defend yourself don’t you? You want to prove to me that you, a white person have struggled too, perhaps more than I have. When we mention white privilege you think that we are taking away your right to complain. We are not denying what you have been through, we are pointing out what you won’t have to go through based on the color of your skin. It is still difficult for you to accept what I am saying and you hurry to give examples of black people who have made it and you tell me that I am stuck in the 1960s. What you fail to see, or refuse to see, is that when you are a person of color you are only your color, your success is attributed to the color of your skin. Suddenly it is not just your success but the success of the whole black population. It seems that in a way black people are interchangeable, part of a mass. Give them one black president and they’ll all shut up. No matter that he was half white, here it suited them for him to be black, so he was black and he represented the black population. Can’t we see him up there smiling? He made it, didn’t he? What more do you black people want? A black president, don’t you see? You don’t deserve special treatment anymore. If Barack Obama made it then so can you, no more excuses.
The only reason you haven’t made it is because you’re lazy, stop blaming us for your incompetence. Slavery happened a hundred years ago, segregation is over now. Just get over it.
And I know part of you agreed with those last few lines, and that’s the whole problem.