Ever since I started this blog I have received mail from people of all nationalities about black people and black issues. I try to be welcoming of all people and all points of view because I want to encourage openness in the best interest of improving race relations and ethnic divisions. No judgments, just frank answers as best as I can give them.
From now on when I receive a particularly good letter I’m going to highlight it on the blog and encourage others to ask me anything and I’ll give an answer as honest and as informed as I can.
If you have a comment or question for The Snob email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My name is Stephanie and lately I have been trying to find who I am.
Well, I know who I am in a way but in another way I don’t.
To make a story short my grandfather on my mum’s side was African American (she was born at the end of WW2).
I have been reading a lot about African Americans lately, I read about the notion of “passing.” Well I guess that here in Belgium I am kind of passing although I always tell people about my roots. My Dad is white as chalk and my mum is brown and I am white with green eyes. When I tell my story to people, they take a closer look at me and usually say, yes I can see it in your features.
Now my is question: What do you call someone like me? Someone whose grandfather was African American?
One thing I am sure of is that I am proud of my roots, even if I have never met my grandfather. My mum never got to know him either. She doesn’t even know his name. Shame on the grandma for this.
Well, I hope I am not annoying you with my babbling and questions.
Take care and thanks for reading this,
Your story is interesting. Traditionally, in the United States anyone with any African ancestry is considered black or African American. Things have changed some where individuals who are biracial or have a black grandparent may identify themselves as bi- or multiracial, but despite this slightly more relaxed attitude people white and black in the US tend to adhere to the “one drop” rule. It’s based on a post-slavery law adopted throughout the US that labeled all people with African ancestry, no matter how minuscule, as black. That’s where the rigidness over the issue comes from.
Basically all African Americans are mixed — usually with white (primarily French or English), West African and Indian (Native American) blood,. This isn’t so much dissimilar for how it is for other blacks throughout Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean although their white blood tends to come from the French, Spaniards and the Portuguese. But because of the degree of racism in the US there is a form of solidarity among all people with black blood. We all faced the same discrimination and harassment. Some people who don’t look black at all, like yourself, are quite adamant in identifying themselves as black. But in modern times other individuals who look black, like golfer Tiger Woods, insist on being seen as a multiracial person.
I don’t know if this helps you any. Most of the terms created for the different degrees of biracial people are considered offensive now. If you were biracial, having one black parent, you were mulatto. In your case, with a grandparent, you’d be a quadroon. But like I said, these terms are considered offensive in the states.
Also, the general rule for most multiracial people in the US is “you are what you look like.” If people look at you and see a black person that is how you’ll get treated no matter what. If you do not look black it’s understandable to just refer to yourself as bi- or multiracial.
I think it’s good that you want to learn more about your African American roots. It’s always good to learn where you came from and about different cultures. And I wouldn’t worry too much about the “passing” aspect. If you’re honest about who you are and comfortable with who you are that’s all that really matters. You, the individual, are not limited to or defined by your ethnicity solely.
Good luck in learning more about your family and culture. If you have any other questions just drop me another email. I’m always happy to help.
Danielle aka “The Snob”
LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
On Black Conservatives
I just saw Shelby Steele on Hannity’s America and what I can’t understand is why these Fox News Uncle Tom’s (Steele, Larry Elder, Juan Williams) aren’t smart enough to know that the white man is just using them to try and disgrace strong black men.
These black men have obviously lost their minds and I bet when they see black people coming toward them on the street, they turn and go the other way from fear. It really bothers me to see Fox News use these house Negroes to try and sway blacks and whites not to vote for Obama. Obama has surrounded himself with skilled young and old people who make McCain look like an old fool. It seems like all McCain’s campaign does is wait to see what Obama says and does and then criticize him. If Obama looses, it’s only because he’s black. He has been running circles around McCain and the old fool can’t seem to figure him out. Obama is so much smarter than McCain.
Let me compliment you on this very fine piece of writing (Black Conservatives on Barack Obama). It was both insightful and thought-provoking.
As a black conservative it is rare that a confessed liberal will give credence to the fact that black conservatives have a right to exist without being considered anathema’s to our ethnic designation. I was a liberal for many years, but 20 years of Pastoral ministry in Gary, IN has taught me that the social policies of liberals are not working for blacks.
I would agree with J.C. Watts that the Republican Party has done little to reach out to blacks, and seems to have conceded the black vote once again. This being said, I favored Mike Huckabee, and I still struggle with McCain. I am truly in awe of the historical moment before with Sen. Barack Obama; however policy is the deal breaker for me. I just do not believe the evidence supports success of his policy proposals. I say this in the face of the huge disappointment G.W. Bush has been as a President.
Thanks for your opinions, and I hope to keep reading them.
Raymond C. Dix Jr.
Berean Fellowship Baptist Church
If that heading doesn’t look like spam I don’t know what does.
Much for the reason I found you, TJ Holmes, I have also much wanted to see a picture of Tiger Woods showing more skin.
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