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Passing as white (transracial debate). when do you become white?

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quencher Fri 21-Apr-17 10:12:35

As the title states, when do you become white? Or when are you considered white?
By default, anyone with black heritage is considered black. If you look more white than black, do you have to state it every time to make people know you are black. In order to stop people claiming you are passing as white?
How come, it's not ok for black people with black heritage to be white (mixed/biracial).
When do people draw the line that separate black from white and the person becomes white?
Why is it always that the person needs to accepts their black heritage and by not doing so, they are denying their blackness. But it's also, accepted and believed that you are not white if you have any percentage of black?

Funny how Barack Obama was never called as mixed race. He was always black. One of Michelle's ancestor was white. Is she more black than Barack or are they on the same level of blackness?
What would that mean for their children?

I find it disturbing when people claim that black people pass as white. No they don't! 99% of the time they are white too. Why can't they claim their white side? Why should they deny that part of their heritage to appease racist?
Why should it be one sided?
Vin diesel claims to be ambiguous. He uses more of his white side than black (in the beginning of his career to be employed).
The case of wenworth miller. I remember reading it and being fascinated years ago.
Miller said in 2003 that his father is black and his mother is white.*[5]* His father is of African-American, Jamaican, German, and English ancestry; so why black out of all the races mentioned?
*his mother is of Russian, French, Dutch, Syrian, and Lebanese ancestry.*[6][7][8]
What makes the mum white and not Asian/Arab?

Please somebody answer at list one of these mind numbing questions.

Temporary2002 Fri 21-Apr-17 10:18:41

Obama had a white Irish ancestor.grin

FilledSoda Fri 21-Apr-17 10:23:20

I've always wondered about this.
No one could give me a sensible answer.

quencher Fri 21-Apr-17 10:24:52

Why is not not Irish? A lot of Americans will make you know they have Irish ancestry. Celebrate it every year like they are still in Ireland or first or second generation Irish.

FurryElephant Fri 21-Apr-17 10:25:46

I have no idea either blushmy DD is mixed black/white and I'm interested to know what she'll identify as when she's older as so far she has no input whatsoever from the black side of her family.

VladmirsPoutine Fri 21-Apr-17 10:27:20

Both my parents are mixed race and I could pass for most races. If anything the fetishisation of being 'mixed' annoys me when people say "tell me where you're from" as if I've just landed from Mars or something.
But to your point - I think 'passing' for white was entrenched in colourism, r.e. the brown paper bag test. This still rears it's ugly head today, lighter = better.

AnthonyPandy Fri 21-Apr-17 10:27:50

Trevor Noah, who presents the daily show (?) Tells a story about opening a bank account and has to tick a box for his ethnicity, so after exactly this deliberation, he ticked white.

MyNameIsntTaken Fri 21-Apr-17 10:31:28

Depends where you are. Im half black half white, in the UK I'm considered black by most but when I go to my dad's country they call me white and are baffled as to why they'd call me black in the UK just as people in the UK would be baffled about why I'd be called white by anybody.

I know one mixed lady who looks whiter than my white mother! My mother actually has darker skin than her. She has blonde hair blue eyes. She has a black parent. She does drop it in to conversation sometimes with new people that she's actually half black. Or when somebody makes a racist comment thinking they're in safe company hmm

That's true only in western countries, elsewhere they'd often say the opposite. I know what you mean though and I find it so annoying. Why would some only see me as one thing, and if I said I were the other they'd think I'm an idiot.

About accepting the black heritage I think it's because lots of people are just judgmental and think you'll suddenly have no culture if you're mixed. For some it seems you need to make more of an effort than somebody who was full something to be seen as having any culture and then still be seen in a different way.

I thought the opposite of Obama. Before he was president he was just called black, then he was elected and it was "he's not black though, he's half white too!" But now I think he's just called black again.

I think being mixed, you'll get half the people calling you one thing and half calling you the other.

For Wentworth Miller, maybe that's just because they were mainly black? I mean how far back do you go before you stop claiming a culture? Realistically nearly everybody could go back to grandparents, great grandparents etc and say they're something else it's just how we are. For the mum, I guess she might say white because most of her countries are white. I think for many people once it gets to less than a quarter they don't think about it anymore.

GolderAndWiser Fri 21-Apr-17 10:38:40

I never really got why somebody with more white ancestry than black was kind of ''pressured'' (?) encouraged (?) to identify as black.

GolderAndWiser Fri 21-Apr-17 10:41:28

ps, Barack Obama's mother was Irish, so he's 50% white going back only one generation. I wonder how far back Michelle's white ancestor was. I'd say it's quite hard to find somebody without one white ancestor!

quencher Fri 21-Apr-17 10:42:39

The brown paper bag test. This is good tedtalk about it.

I agree with everyones comments too.

quencher Fri 21-Apr-17 10:46:09

Michelle great+ grandfather was a slave owner who used rape to multiply his slaves. Her great+ grandmother was a slave. I don't remember how far back.

GolderAndWiser Fri 21-Apr-17 10:51:50

wow, interesting Ted article/link. And I can so believe that casting directors categorise black women. Shocking that the call for darker skinned black women they also had to be fat!

BeyondUser24601 Fri 21-Apr-17 10:54:25

The one drop rule is supposed to be antiquated, funny how in reality it actually isn't

EatsLeavesAndShit Fri 21-Apr-17 11:02:15

In late 19th century to mid 20th century America they had the Jim Crow laws to segregate the races. Under these laws anybody having even one drop of black blood was considered black. It was called the one drop rule

Halle Berry (mixed race: white mother, black father) said she considers her daughter to be black. The daughter's father is white, so the her ethnic mix is 25% black and 75% white.

CatherineHate Fri 21-Apr-17 11:16:25

I will do my best to answer your first question: black people look down and do not accept it when a black person disregards their black "side" because black people draw a lot of pride on being black and see it as something to embrace and never be ashamed of. This is because black people have been shamed, laughed at and literally tortured for their skin for centuries.

to have somebody deny or refuse their heritage in favour of a group of people who will never fully accept them, unless they reach success is why it shouldn't be done.

I'm simplifying of course, but that's the main reason

TheDropBear Fri 21-Apr-17 11:25:22

I think it probably comes down to a combination of 2 things, how you self identify and how other people (in general) identify you.
I read an interesting piece online written by 2 mixed race sisters. They were full sisters but they ended up looking quite different with one looking black and one looking white. The white looking one said that she had the privilege of passing for white and so never suffered the discrimination she had seen her sister suffer from at times. So even though they had the same access to black culture/heritage growing up her sister had experienced some parts of being black that she never would.

quencher Fri 21-Apr-17 21:29:20

@CatherineHate I agree with your statement too.

@BeyondUser24601 I don't think it's is in the past at all. I think yay is why people can argue that black people can pass for white. They say it without thinking what they really mean. The one drop blood rule is the basis for this argument.

You could not make this up. There is a debate going on online.

The tv show "girls" aired recently.( it might have been yesterday, I have no idea).
People on social media claimed the baby was black
The baby was casted to play half Pakistani and white
The mother has complained that her baby is not black.
She says the baby is Puerto Rican and dad Haitian.
The mum is offended that anyone would refer to her child as black. But she is ok with him playing Pakistani child.
It less likely that the dad is white because most Haitians are black. I would be offended if I was the dad too.

NotCarylChurchill Fri 21-Apr-17 21:40:54

Copying this from another forum (with credit to original poster) because I found it v thought provoking:

"At least in the US, historically, “white” used to only constitute WASPs. As time went on, Irish and Italians were allowed into the white fold, then Eastern Europeans, then Jews (though it seems like Jewish people are starting to be considered to be separate from white people (in mainstream society, not just with white supremacists) in the past few months).

There are several Supreme Court cases where the Court decided who was considered white, for example:
* Dow v. US, where a man of Syrian descent was allowed to naturalize because Syrians are considered white
* Ozawa v. US, where a man of Japanese decent was not considered “Caucasian” and therefore ineligible to naturalize
* US v. Bhagat Singh Thind, where a man of Indian (India) descent was not considered “Caucasian” and therefore ineligible to naturalize."

mimishimmi Fri 21-Apr-17 21:48:02

I don't know. I'm Irish with dark features and olive skin. i used to get teased all the time as a kid for looking like ... a monkey, a pikey, a kike, a roadrat (whatever that means) etc. Now that there are new 'furriners' on the scene we're meant to forget all that and remember we're part of some big white European club and do the same to some other poor mob.. NO F#%ING WAY

GolderAndWiser Fri 21-Apr-17 23:52:57

The word pikey is not even understood in ireland.

I only know that word because i used to live in the UK

SomewhatIdiosyncratic Sat 22-Apr-17 00:07:47

From a British perspective, mixed race people will reclaim and celebrate their otherness. The white British is the default.

I have mixed race nephews. Their "home" family notices their Asian traits. Their Asian family notices their "white" traits.

I've got a friend with blonde hair and light colouring. She has quite a distinctive look. It was only seeing a photo of her parent that made me realise that she is mixed race and her facial features quite typical of her parent's background. We didn't talk about it until she broached the subject because I didn't want to risk asking clumsy or offensive questions about her background and family. I find people's culture and heritage interesting.

ilovechoc1987 Sat 22-Apr-17 00:20:50

It's a really great question and one Iv always wondered myself.
I think black people are taught to embrace their black heritage (however small) because being black through the years was seen as a negative.
My niece and nephew have black heritage, but have blue eyes and blonde hair and pale skin, so never once have they associated themselves as black. Their mother is quarter African, and her mother had to escape South Africa because her family was being persecuted for being mixed race. My sister in law is more obviously black but she still sees herself as white.

CFSKate Sat 22-Apr-17 10:15:07

What does being white have to do with being eligible to naturalize in the US?

Chavelita Sat 22-Apr-17 10:21:44

Yy to Caryl's post -- the history of how the Irish 'became white' in the 19th c US is interesting. Though of course Irish people are still not considered quite 'white' in the sense of being 'without race' or 'not other' by a certain kind of middle-class English person, but that's another question.

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