What race do you identify with? I mean, if you have to choose (which you do, by the way) what race would you identify with? I, as an interracial woman, identify with being an African American with Caucasian lineage. My mother being white (Italian) and my father being black (African-American) I believe that I am safe in identifying with BOTH races that feed into my personality, my physical appearance, and my being. Though my skin is a delicious carmel color (haha, indeed I do love my God-given hue) I cannot deny that part of who I am stems from my more pale European ancestors.
When I say this to my African-American friends, I truly think some of them frown upon this personal decision to recognize my full heritage. In society, I think it is safe to assume that most people who look at me and think, “she’s black.” This is fine; they are simply stating the color label that society has come to agree with; they aren’t speaking on my race or ethnicity. Black is not a race; it is simply a color. My culture isn’t black. I don’t have “black”traditions. At Christmas, we don’t eat a “black” meal… as a matter of fact, I don’t even know what a black meal is (I am not talking about Soul Food, here people!). I am being honest; people need to know who they are, or they will accept whatever label society gives them. What does it mean to be “black?” Have you ever thought about that? When the Irish and Italians came over to America through Ellis Island, they were classified as black. So, did that have anything to do with the color of their skin, or more to do with what they represented. When someone says you’re black, what does that mean to them?
I guess I am fired up about this topic specifically tonight because of the race options that will appear on the 2010 US Census. People of African decent are given the option of selecting the button that says: “Negro, African-American, or Black.”(see picture above) This is not a correct . These 3 labels are not correctly synonymous, though society may think they are. Again, Negro and Black are colors, not races.
I don’t want to beat a dead horse here. I simply wanted to express some thoughts and let out some steam about the overall confusion and lack of knowledge we have about our cultural identity as African Americans. Maybe you’re reading this and think that I am incorrect, or overanalyzing the situation, but I have tried for too long to know more about my African roots, to no avail. I know everything there is to know about my Italian heritage, but I know very little about my African lineage. I think it’s time we, as a unified race, become more concerned with WHO we are, and less concerned with who people try to label us to be.