Home > Uncategorized > Racial Identity in America by Gerald Curry

Racial Identity in America by Gerald Curry

Racial identity is something that many in the United States have to deal with.  Most African Americans can share a story with you about a time when they were discriminated against or something did not go their way because of the pigment of their skin.  What if both blacks and whites had problems trying to figure out if you fit in with them, or could not figure out to which race they belonged?  This situation could cause confusion on everyone’s part, including yours!   Sisters Aja and Cherish Hannah, continually deal with this bewildering situation daily because they are multiracial. Most people want to immediately place them in a category where one parent is black and the other is white, right?  Not so fast!

The Hannah sisters’ parents are both multiracial; their father was African American, Cherokee/Native American, and Irish, and their Mother is Greek, Italian, and Native American.  They find themselves desiring to embrace all their ethnic backgrounds and not wanting to be pigeon-holed into just one category.

These young ladies’ share stories of when they were in high school many African Americans did not want to claim them and often overlooked them when it came to inviting them for events and activities primarily concerning black issues, and at the same time whites also discounted them because they did not look completely like them.  This fitting-in continues to be a difficult problem in adult life according to Aja, who recounts an employer who asked, “What color are you?  If I can label you as African American we can receive credit for hiring more diversity!”  Aja stated that she was offended by the employer’s comments, but let it go because she needed the job.

Cherish explained that while in high school she was never considered “black enough” to hang out and accepted with her African American friends.  Many times while visiting white friends, parents would make disparaging comments about blacks, while not completely understanding that she was multiracial, as if the comments did not apply.  Cherish continued, “I am always felt uncomfortable because it seems we really don’t fit into any one category.”  While the girls are dealing with an age-old American society stereotypical problem, theirs is a bit different and is unique.

It is truly unfortunate that our country has the ugly past of slavery, racial discrimination, and horrific injustices that accompanied it.  The legacy and practice of attempting to categorize people continues, and is stagnating society and marginalizing people by attempting them fit them into a category. There should not be a race based on skin pigmentation, only the human race is what matters.  Society has created this concept of wanting to separate people into unique categories based on the pigmentation of their skin, and not looking closer at their character, which is the true measure of a man.  People of every ethnic background have members with light and dark pigmentation, straight and wooly hair, small and wide noses, and other features that are uniquely human, and nothing more.

Finally, the United States has a President who is multiracial; the world sees him for what he is, and is not attempting to classify him in one particular category.  President Obama is just as much white as he is black, and the only thing that really matters is his qualification for the position.  Early on during the 2008 Presidential Campaign, issues of race surfaced in the news media and Senator Obama dealt with each criticism head on by acknowledging his multiracial background with the pride it deserved.

America is truly the melting pot of the world, and, as technology continues to bring us closer, multiracialism will become a permanent part of our society’s culture.  Embrace people for who they are, not what they look like.  Everyone wants to contribute value to each situation, and I ask you to keep an open mind and accept people as they are, not for the categories that society has designed and desires to place people in.  Now is the time to break down these traditional barriers and replace them with ideas and concepts of openness and acceptance.

You can learn more about many of the struggles and challenges people of multiracial backgrounds have to endure by visiting: “Diaries of a Mixed (up) Kid” at http://ajahannah.blogspot.com/.   It is great to be different!  We are all made in God’s image.

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Categories: Uncategorized
  1. June 15, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    Aja, your blog is wonderful. I’m thrilled you’re writing about mixed-race issues.

    • GC
      July 13, 2011 at 3:13 pm

      The issue of mixed race people is taking on an increased interest across the nation and the world. It is our hope that it continues to be discussed more frequenty.

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