Archive for June 6, 2017

Oh Tiger…

Posted in Uncategorized on June 6, 2017 by jerlina

What if Tiger Woods had told Oprah “I decline to state” when she asked him how he racially identifies? I remember there being such a negative public backlash to this. People thought he was ashamed of being a Black man and this was so important because he was the first extremely successful ‘Black’ golfer. This is a great example of the discord between how a person self identities and how the social environment identifies a person. This is also a great example of how ugly and painful it can be when this discord arises.

“Black or Cablinasions? 80,000 Google Tiger Woods Ethnicity, Nationality, Parents Race and Family Background”




Racial Homelessness

Posted in Uncategorized on June 6, 2017 by jerlina

The writing I have been doing lately has landed me with a new theory: it is possible that some people from mixed race backgrounds feel or sometimes have the experience of feeling/ being racially homeless. I think it is easiest to use the example of Mariah Carey, who is half African American/ Afro-Venezelan and half-Irish. Mariah can pass phenotypically as white but she is very open about her racial and cultural heritage so she has chosen not to pass. However, the question arises about what she considers her racial identity to be and what her diverse social environments consider her racial ‘status’ to be. Before I move forward I want to make it clear that how someone identifies and how the world identifies them is not always in accord and for mixed race people there are often moments of discord. With Mariah I wonder if she ever feels racially homeless? Is there a race of people, with whom, she feels at home with? Or perhaps, does she have multiple racial homes? If so, what are they? Here I want to point out that this experience of homelessness can arise and dissipate. Sometimes a person might feel at home with a racial group and then a feeling of homelessness can arise. However, for some people this feeling of homelessness can be a dominant experience. I know a young woman who is mixed with many cultures and three different races. My guess is that when she begins to think about her racial identity and look to connect with a racial home, as most Americans do, she will find herself without one. While the one drop rule with suggest that she is Black, she is phenotypically ambiguous and very multi-cultural. Integrity and authenticity are factors in the experience of identity that cannot be overlooked. Strategically, this young woman might chose a racial home and build relationships there. However, I have to wonder if in doing this, she can do this with a sense of being true to her experiences and who she truly thinks that she is? Can she claim this home with her integrity intact? I am now thinking about Drake, the rapper/ R&B singer. He is a biracial man from Canada- his dad is African American and his mom is Jewish-Canadian. I really like his music but he is constantly taking on new accents, from urban African American, to West Indian (and Jamaican in particular). On one hand, he is a performer and his job is to entertain so in this regard, he is completely doing his job. However, in the world of hip hop there is this vague belief that the artists are authentically representing their experiences and cultures. So when this man takes on identities that he clearly does not identify with, as a strategy, is there something wrong with this? Or as someone who can pass as all of these things, does he have the right to do so? I think it is pretty clear that his taking on a Jamaican identity is performance, but how about his identity as an urban Black Man. I mean, he grew up for much of his life in an Affluent neighborhood being raised by his single parent Jewish mom. So, is all of Drake’s public persona an act? Is he passing? I think that people with multiracial heritage have the potential to struggle with integrity and authenticity when it comes to making personal identity claims.

In mixed race circles you often hear people saying things like, “I don’t want to have to chose” between the different cultural/ racial groups that compose their heritage, as they construct their own racial identity. However, i am wondering what happens when you decide not to chose at all? I am not suggesting that a person pretends to be race-less, but simply decides not to make a personal racial identity claim. They simply chose to abstain. This means not trying to find a home in a biracial or multiracial identity because, these are homes. I honestly believe the identity of multiracial and biracial were constructed in order to create a racial home for people of mixed racial hertigate. The idea of being racially homeless was, perhaps, overlooked or dismissed as an option.

Finally, I think that culture plays a huge role in this issue. To be multiracial and multicultural/ multi-ethnic is a different experience than being multiracial but mono-cultural. Also, i believe that you can be mono-racial and multi-cultural and this multiculturalism can create a feeling of homelessness. This is a common experience for the children of immigrants.

Here is an article questioning Drake’s ‘cultural appropriation’ of West Indian culture: