Julian Abagond: Of mixed-race identities

by , under Enrique

COMMENT: Some Finns have resolved the “mixed-ethnicity” question by stating that there is only one kind in Finland. Such an affirmation, that there is only one type of “real” Finn, is as ludicrous as stating that racism doesn’t exist in this country.

What does a white Finn say when he asks about your “other mixed” side? Is that person asking you why you aren’t white? 

Finns with “other” backgrounds are an ever-growing group in this country. We should remember, however, that being an “other” Finn is not only inclusive to ethnicity.


By Julian Abagond

Some misunderstand my position on mixed-race identities.

In the post on internalized racism I said:

God made you to look a certain way and gave you certain gifts to use in the course of your life. There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of it. Nothing. It is only narrow-minded, brainwashed people who want you to believe otherwise. … Who think there is something wrong with you for just being you.

One commenter remarked:

What kind of people think there is something wrong with you for being you?

{Ping! silent, little explosion goes off in cerebral cortex…)
Yet the writer of this post believes it is a character flaw if a multi-racial brown- or black-skinned person of multi-racial parents says what they are!

She gathered that from a post I wrote about Tiger Woods where I point out that Nas thought it was a character flaw that Tiger Woods defended and excused white racists.

What Nas said in a King magazine interview:

Tiger Woods standing up for this white lady who said something about him being lynched is a coon move to me. God bless the brother. I like to see him doing his thing, but that’s a flaw to his character.

I point out two other examples of the same behaviour by Tiger Woods in the post.

The issue is not mixed-race identity in and of itself. It is trying to kiss up to whites, especially while distancing yourself from people of colour. It is hard for me to respect that. And, in most cases, this behaviour comes from internalized racism, from self-hatred. That is not a healthy thing.

Racial identity in America is not simple, certainly not as simple as applying a set of rules. It is something everyone has to work out for themselves. But not all courses of action are equal, not all are harmless and innocent. It is a moral, political and psychological decision that carries a cost of one sort or other.

Tiger Woods is hardly the only mixed-race person I have written about. For example:

  • Danzy Senna, who can pass for white, sees herself as mixed race but has never distanced herself from being black.
  • Anatole Broyard, who passed for white to become a literary critic, all but disowning his mother and sisters.
  • Peola of “Imitation of Life”, who passed for white and turned her back on her black mother to be accepted by whites.

I have no issue with Danzy Senna, but the other two did the very thing I am talking about. This is not about me imposing the One Drop Rule on mixed-race people, as some think, this is about them being low lifes.

Selling out to whiteness, of course, is hardly limited to mixed-race people. Nearly all White Americans do it. And even some people of colour who are not mixed-race – like Michelle Malkin. Or Rented Negroes. It is what “The Boondocks” makes fun of in Uncle Ruckus.