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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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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?

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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

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 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?

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.

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.

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

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

This is an interesting little video.

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?!

BelgianWaffle Fri 10-Feb-12 15:46:50

This is a totally fascinating thread!

NB: The term half-caste is offensive. I still hear it and it still annoys me that this is in many places, perfectly innocently used as a term for MR people.

Dual Heritage is a new one that I have heard recently, yet this ignores that fact that a person might be from three or four different nationalities, or have two mixed parents of totally different races. I think it is a bit ridiculous.

Mixed Race is fine by me. I am MR and have never ever thought of myself as white. At first glance, people will always look at a person of colour and automatically make assuptions about them. I have walked into shops and been followed around by the security guard in expensive shops, been asked if I am in the right place when in expensive hotels. I have struggled to get service etc, etc. As a black person you always have to work twice as hard to disprove peoples' conscious and subconscious prejudice. It is all fine to have the attitude of colour-blindness, but unfortunately the world doesn't work like that. I wake up in my skin every day. I wish that a person's skin colour was the same as having blue eyes, or auburn hair, just a feature but sadly, it comes with many, many more associations.

Mummyofone I totally agree with you about MR representation in the media. Now that MR people are in adverts etc, black people have disappeared!
righton- I totally agree!
MUM2BLESS very clear argument re: Tiger Woods. He chose to re-define himself but at the end of the day, he was still called a bl&*k Bast*&%d. his re-labelling of himself as Cablinasian proved to be futile.

Whenever people have told me "I don't think of you as black" They do not realise that this is not a compliment. It is an insult, as they imply that being black is something awful and that I should be flattered to be thought of as an 'honorary white'. My mum is white and I am certainly proud to be identified with her, as she is a wonderful person, but I am equally proud to be and prefer to be thought of as black.

duchesse Fri 10-Feb-12 10:44:28

I've always felt extremely uncomfortable with the terms "mixed race" (implying that there are several races to begin with), and "black" (since it also draws on the concept of a difference or gulf. I just find these attempts to divide people up into groups rather bizarre, which imo is going to become harder and harder as time goes on and people from different origins get together and have babies. Can totally understand why people would want to identify their heritage/country of ancestry but don't see why they would feel they had anything more than superficial in common with another person with the same colour skin unless their Grandparents/parents came from the same place and they actually had a shared heritage.

As far as I can tell, we all have mixed heritage. Skin colour is a relatively irrelevant aspect of that imo.

Disclaimer: I am about as Northern-looking as you can get without having white-blonde hair. I have a middle Eastern blood group for example and my father looks Middle eastern, although I have very fair skin and blue eyes.

mummyofonegirl Fri 10-Feb-12 10:43:54

Following on from above, I have also noticed a sense of disdain from some MR people and their parents at the thought of being considered black. The tone is almost as if it is an offence to be deemed black.

E.G. to MR brothers: 1 who identified more with his black side (Bro A) and once that idenifies with his white side (Bro B)
Bro B asks Bro A why he idenifies with his black side more as it is less of an advantage. He argues that he cannot see the benefits of considering himself as being black. BUT Bro B is an actor and recently took on a role as the first black * in the UK. (omitted as i do not want to reveal Bro B's true ID)

It is wrong to choose your black side when it suits you and denounce it when it is more convienient to be MR.
This is offensive. I do not have a choice in what race I am. I am black. Black when it is cool to be black and black when I am in a place where I "am not welocome".

This is another reason why I believe that MR people should be and say what they ... MR.

I know that it is sometimes not was easy as that (i was going to say not black and white but...) but that is my general line of thought.

mummyofonegirl Fri 10-Feb-12 10:32:20

This is interesting as the answer to this question has changed throughout my life time. being a child of the 80s, if you were mixed race you would automatically considered black. White society were less likely to acknowledge or identify MR people as being white, in fact they were "half-caste" - half outcast presumably the black half.

I had MANY MR friends growing up who denied their white side and did all they could to "Learn" how to be black- They adopted the "black-popular culture" of the day and embraced it more than I did or was allowed to - all in an attempt to prove their blackness. In retrosoect it seemed as though there was an inner conflict of identity. Society (inc their parents) was telling them they were black but they knew that one of their parents and one side of their family were not black. How do you expect them to understand that?

After Mel B of the spice girls publically refused to take a racial side (she was neither black nor white, but both) it was an announcement to the confused world that MR people did exisit. You did not have to choose. Since that time i have noticed a new found confidence in MR people and their parents. A sense of belonging and a blalance in their identity. This I believe is very healthy for the MR individual as it provides a sense of reason and logic to their being.

I can totally apprecialte this although fully black I am of both African AND Caribbean parentage. Throughout my life i have been asked which of the two I am. i have ALWAYS been taught that I am both and have been encouraged to embrace both cultures and it is truely a blessing. BUT even still I have been troubled as I am neither one or the other and sometimes as human beings I do believe that you want to have a sense of belonging. Whether that be with people of the same age, gender, race nationalilty or interests.

One thing that I feel should be said is that since the acceptance and acknowledgement of MR as a seperate race altogether, I feel that there is less positive representation of black people in the media, Particularly in advertising and the Music industry. MR people are more often used to represent black in the spectrum of race. for instance you would often have a Indo Asian person, a Caucasian White person and Oriental person (although admittedly less so) and a more often than not a MR person no Black (African) person.

It is good to see more MR people being represented particularly as they are the fastest growing race in the UK, but it gives the impression that being MR is the acceptable face of diversity. Black people do exisit and it important for the self esteem o black youth to see them represented in a positive, light and in positions of perceived beauty - in much the same way as MR people are.

MUM2BLESS Fri 02-Dec-11 19:43:06

Thanks APGifts. Never heard of what you mentioned before.

What is the sitiuation with black families with siblings of varying shades of black. I know black people who have black parents, yet they are very light skinned.

APGifts Sat 26-Nov-11 20:06:17

THE FACTS on Mixed-Race Linage:
1) It is often a surprise for people to learn that,
in reality, there is actually No Such Thing
As a “Light Skinned Black” person.
2) Very few people seem to be aware of the fact that the term
“Light Skinned Black” is really nothing more than a racist
oxymoron created by Racial Supremacists in an effort to
forcibly deny those Mixed-Race individuals, who are of
a Multi-Generational Multiracially-Mixed (MGM-Mixed)
lineage, the right to fully embrace and to also received
public support in choosing to acknowledge the truth
regarding their full ancestral heritage and lineage.
3) The people who have been slapped with
the false label and oxymoronic misnomer
of “Light Skinned Black” person are simply
Mixed-Race individuals — who are from those
families which have been “of a CONTINUALLY
Mixed-Race Lineage THROUGHOUT all of their
multiple generations” (starting with the very
first generation of racial-admixing and
leading to their present generation.).
4) Seeing that every other Mixed-Race group is allowed
the dignity of receiving support in having itself referred to
by the term that it most prefers … the question becomes
…“Why should the situation be any different for
those Mixed-Race individuals who are of an
Multi-Generational Multiracially-Mixed
MGM-Mixed) / Mixed-Race Lineage?”.
5) If an MGM-Mixed / Mixed-Race individual would like to
be referred to by the term ‘Mixed-Race’ (which is what they
actually are) rather than by that of “Light-Skinned Black“
(a term, which, once again, has the racist-origin of being
nothing more than an oxymoronic-phrase that was both
created and coined by Racial Supremacists in an effort to
try to deny these Mixed-Race people their right to and support in
publicly acknowledging and also embracing their FULL-Lineage)
there is no reason that they (like every other group on the planet
– whether Mixed-Race or not) should not be allowed the right
to choose the term that society uses in referring to them
(and to have their full-lineage acknowledged within that term).
ALSO …. here is a brief COMMENTARY on … the constant
misapplication of the racist ‘One-Drop Rule’^^ (to the
people who are of any part-Black / Mixed-Race Lineage):
The racist ‘one-drop’ “rule” was made ‘illegal’ in the U.S. in
1967 by the U.S. Supreme Court the ‘Loving vs. VA’ case
(i.e. The ‘Loving’ case) – where the U.S. Supreme Court ruled ...
--- 1) All ‘Anti-Miscegenation’ Laws found throughout the U.S.;
--- 2) The racist ‘VA Racial Integrity Act’ (upon which most
of the anti-miscegenation ‘laws’ were founded); and
--- 3) The ('black-lineage mocking' and exceedingly) racist
‘One-Drop Rule’ (upon which the ‘Act’ was based.)
… as being ‘UN-Constitutional’ (i.e. illegal, banned, etc.)
due to the fact that it was both 'racist' and 'unscientific'.]
Listed below are links to data on the Historical MYTH
of a Color-Based / Slave-Role HIERARCHY — as well
as the Urban LEGEND of Paper-Bag, Blue-Vein and
Other Allegations of Features-Based Entry ‘TESTS’:
If there are any questions regarding the information
presented, I can be reached anytime at the email
address and / or websites noted below.
Thank you and have a good day.
– AllPeople (AP) G.i.f.t.s.
Founder and Moderator of the following
online Lineage-Discussion Communities

MUM2BLESS Mon 07-Nov-11 22:15:28

Been informed that this not the longest talk. It has generated lots of comments.

Its interesting to hear the different views on this topic.

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