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Are mixed race people black??

(243 Posts)
franch Wed 19-Jan-05 14:29:20

Great article in Feb Good Housekeeping celebrating 20 "black and Asian" women who are "changing the face of Britain". However, included in the list are at least 2 mixed-race women: Kelly Holmes and Zadie Smith. I'm not arguing with these women's achievements, but surely it would've been simple enough to call it a list of "black, Asian and mixed-race" women??? Would these 2 have been included in a list of white women, as they are both 50% white?

As the white mother of a mixed-race woman (albeit only 1 year old!), it makes me feel irrelevant. And I also feel DD is missing out on having inspirational role-models identified for her.

Help me write a letter to GH about this. What points should I cover? Also, for reference, here is the rest of the list - I may have missed some others who are also mixed race:

Meera Syal
Baroness Valerie Amos
Kelly Holmes
Parween Warsi
Baroness Patricia Scotland
Gurinder Chadha
Yasin Alibhai-Brown
Doreen Lawrence
Zeinab Badawi
Shami Chakrabarti
Vanessa Mae
Trisha Goddard
Pinky Lilani
Denise Lewis
Serena Rees
Tessa Sanderson
Reeta Chakrabarti
Zaiba Malik
Zadie Smith
Baroness Flather

Ones to watch:
Parminder Nagra
Ruzwana Bashir
Mishal Husain
Nina Wadia

cerys74 Fri 10-Feb-12 16:04:40

I have a question about other racial mixes: my mother is welsh (of french/welsh extraction) and my dad is syrian (there's also some chechen in there somewhere). I have red hair and white skin, so most people think I'm white British (even though I grew up in the Middle East).

My welsh family say I'm not really welsh, my syrian family don't consider me to be syrian. What do you call someone of Arab-European descent? What am I?!

franch Mon 13-Feb-12 13:35:21

This is an interesting little video.

arronsmum Fri 09-Mar-12 15:24:02

to belgium waffle, you +I are so different,thank goodness.i am half caste,my son who is white agrees.I AM NOT OPFFENDED.we'r too politically correct nowadays. we accepted it years ago,y not now?I would be happy if some1 says to me(+they have done so) well u dont really look black, your'e more white than black ,etc. we'r entitled to our own opinions and to call ourselves what we want. we not even supposed to use the word coloured anymore.this P. C. world gets us nowhere

cheapandchic Fri 09-Mar-12 17:53:34

hey french. that video is great. Halle berry should know better.

I also like what the girl said about it being 'by chance' that she is mixed. I hope I will be able to explain to my mixed race daughters that you can't help who you fall in love with and it just so happened that their parents have different skin colours. It really doesn't mean anything.

citytovillage Fri 09-Mar-12 20:01:37

As a mixed woman myself, I would say it depends on the person. For myself I would say no. Some mixed people have no black heritage. Some mixed people are wrongly identified as being black. From the USA comes the concept of one drop of black in you makes you black; I personally disagree with this. Some mixed people see themselves as black. Sometimes racism within both black and white communities leaves mixed people feeling outside if both- neither either.

citytovillage Fri 09-Mar-12 20:06:08

FWIW- I was brought up to view Half caste as an offensive term -if you look at the history of it's origins in the indian caste system. It's used in a derogatory fashion. Coloured is also offensive. It suggests the base point is white people and then everyone else had colour added. Does it mean that white people are un- coloured?

ReadyToDie Fri 09-Mar-12 20:09:49

I believed in the one drop theory until I had my kids (mixed race). Now I see them growing up and eager to be part of both worlds, accepted by both worlds, interested in both sides of their heritage, very aware of one white parent and one black parent and being 'different' to both black and white children....and I feel that by saying 'you are black' to them I am denying them all that they are. Don't know if that makes sense?

citytovillage Sat 10-Mar-12 10:01:50

Gwenick- i am mixed race and find certain terms offensive - half caste and coloured especially.

EldritchCleavage Sun 11-Mar-12 01:00:17

"I have no doubt that she will identify more with the black community because the level of acceptance and inclusivity is so much higher."
Hmn. Not my experience. I've lived in both Africa and Europe and think the level of bigoted arseholes, while still a minority, is depressingly high in both.

ReadyToDie, your post makes perfect sense to me.

It is sad that so many people, including some posters on this thread, interpret a person insisting on a mixed race identity as being caused by aversion to being thought of as black. It is absolutely not that in my case. Interestingly, my mother, who is white, told me she could not think of herself as 'white', when used in opposition to black, after all these years of marriage to my father. She identifies as being on the same side as him so strongly (as he does with her) that it has transcended their original identity. They have adopted one another's identities alongside their own, which makes me amused and proud in equal measure.

On terminology, I wonder what other posters think of the term 'bi-racial', which I always found useful but has fallen out of fashion.

justhayley Sun 11-Mar-12 22:24:06

Havnt read through all the replies but good for you for standing up to this bull. I'm mixed race and had a black teacher who always used to say I was black even at a young age it upset me, especially as it was my White mum thy was bringing me up! Te whole black president things winds me up royally! If Obama was called mixed race it may stop articles like the one,! Really grates on me

dejones7 Sun 10-Aug-14 18:04:01


I know this thread is a bit old, but for what it's worth I am half black half white and I 100% identify with being biracial or mixed-raced. Preferably the former, but i don't care too much! I hate the fact Obama has been called the first black president and I would be so offended if I were fully black, became president and had to be the 'second black president.'

If you have a dog that's a cross between a spaniel and a collie and people said 'what type of dog is that' you wouldn't tell them it's a collie or it's a spaniel. It doesn't matter if it was same shade of colour as it's mum or dad there would be subtle or more obvious differences in features. We are humans, not dogs yet we are confused by this. People never know what my heritage is, but I am 50% black and white and would not identify with one or the other even if i looked more 'obviously black/white' whatever that even means!

What also annoys me is how in America, black and mixed-raced americans are called african americans. Yet, if you're white and you're parents were french or polish, you're not referred to as being french-american! It makes people of african decent seem less american in my opinion which is wrong.

Also! In London, I have had people (mostly foreign people to britain) say oh but you don't look british, you look spanish or south american, or turkish, or egyptian or french etc... when i say i'm british. I wonder how many of these people question white americans, australians and south africans and challenge them by saying, oh but you don't look native to your country! I am half british half african and yet i could be sat next to white person with two non-british parents and just because they're white, they are more british than me.

This is the reason why I insist on acknowledging both halves because i am half british by blood, fully british by birth and upbringing and yet many white british people have no british blood only culture and birth.

Steelojames Mon 18-Aug-14 21:24:56

I am a mixed race woman and I would identify as being black.
I am not white despite my mother being so and she doesn't feel "irrelevant" by me chosing to categorise myself like that. My life experiences have meant I have lived the black experience and that could be a factor. I am incredibly proud of my heritage but I don't see despite being 50% mixed how a person of mixed heritage could classify as white.
Also despite having fair skin I have met black people who are in actual fact lighter than me.

bumbleandbumble Thu 04-Sep-14 14:11:36

I also think it depends not on how you are brought up but on your social surroundings and how you are perceived...

In the all white area where I grew up my mixed girls will definitely be labelled as black. Here in London, one child with darker skin an tighter curls is immediately identified as mixed...whereas my other child with loose soft curls and lighter skin often gets seen as white or very often people ask "what she is?" which winds me up.

One question I have for people is how to easily describe their mix? My husband is 100% from Nigeria...but I am white and a proper mix (Dutch, Spanish, English, Irish, German, Swedish, Scottish)

How do my children say what they are? Or what should I tell them to say?

Lovestone Wed 24-Sep-14 22:58:36

Politically and socially, mixed race children are black. Ethnically YES they are mixed. My daughter is caribbean, filipino and English, this is her ethnicity, but in social/political terms she is black. Calling your child black does not exclude you as a parent, it simply says more about your child's heritage. As we live in a European country your child will be exposed to western culture regardless, therefore it is more beneficial to amplify and acknowledge the ethnic portion of your child's heritage. The term mixed race says NOTHING about your child's heritage, mixed black, white, Asian, Latino, oriental, Polynesian? etc, whereas the term BLACK does. Being called black doesn't necessarily mean your entire family is black; many black communities are comprised of mixed and white family members, ie South America, the Caribbean etc. using the term black just means that part of your ethnic makeup derives from Africa. And for those 'upset' that Barack is classed as black, he classes HIMSELF as Black! His experience to him is black! Who are we to tell him how to identify himself! Mark Duggan was also 'mixed race' yet I don't see the media reporting him as such. He is seen as black. Which further proves my point. You can't pick and chose when someone is mixed or when someone is black. Mixed people (black&white) are black with mixed ethnicities. Just like the people of the Caribbean and South Americas. Simple. grin

howrudeforme Fri 26-Sep-14 22:44:26

Lovestone - sorry I don't agree. By your definition I'm black. I don't look black. But I am mixed raced - anglo indian amongst others.

If I were to say to anyone that I am black - they'd laugh at me.

You say that mixed race children are black but what about adults?

I am mixed raced because of my lineage, not because of my looks. Because I am mixed race, my son is also mixed race even though his dad is european and he has a very european look.

Mummyofone nails what I experienced of growing up in the 1980. I found that many of my friends sort of denied their 'white' side.I didn't. I grew up with many kids such as myself who seemed to identify more with one of their ethnic heritages than another. I never did. Still don't.

I define myself as female above my ethnicity. But that's my upbringing from a very mixed heritage family. I didn't grow up with any sort of emphasis on ethnicity, race, or religion (which is pretty diverse in my mix).

My son is very comfortable in all of his ethnic backgrounds but says to me ' I'm a child, not a passport or any sort of particular person' and I very much encourage him in that view.

Princessjonsie Mon 12-Jan-15 13:42:26

My son is mixed race and says he only ticks Black or considers himself Black if there is an advantage to it. If not he is mixed race. He says he is lucky as he has two bites of the cherry so to speak. Same as Suzywong

KillerBee123 Fri 16-Jan-15 19:18:56

It boils down to this people. You ARE what other people see you. If people see you as black, you are black. If people see you as White, you are white. That is the whole point of "classification". Let me be clear, being mixed you can call yourself whatever you want. It just seems like people mixed with White want to try and claim it (Like it's the better race). Sorry, if you mixed with White and something else 90% of the time you will look NOTHING like white. If you get mad at someone calling you the wrong race. You have some issues. I've never gotten mad for someone calling me some race that I'm not. Why? I know no race is better, and frankly I don't care. They best thing anyone with mixed kids can do is love and have them have mixed friends. But going back to the original question. You can call yourself whatever you want, but the cold hard truth is you are what other people see you.

Mammina1958 Mon 26-Oct-15 18:02:56

Surely choosing to describe a mixed race person by any colour other than white suggests, by inference, that only pure 'white' can be white and thus anything else is impure and thus 'black'.
In such a case, calling mixed race people black is the most racist thing that can be said.

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