Since When Are You Not Allowed To Identify As A Black Woman Even Though You Are Biracial?

I think this is the first time I am openly writing about race. Usually I touch on topics that I identify with personally such as mental health, self esteem, etc. But I am a daytime TV junkie and a recent episode on The Real with daytime host Tamera Mowry, really got me in my feelings.

Mowry emotionally discussed her response to Oprah’s speech and the #TimesUpMovement by relating the movement to her own personal experiences growing up.

She states, “My mom, when we were growing up, my mom said, you’re gonna have to work extra hard and not only that, you are a Black woman so you have to work extra hard. And right now I get a glimpse of hope that my daughter will not be seen as second place because she is dark, dark meaning Black….she can do anything that she wants to do. No one will look at her as oh you can’t do that. Like Oprah says, speaking your truth, that is the greatest tool. ”

Mowry’s words definitely resonated with me as a Black woman and knowing that for a fact, whether you are a Hollywood mogul or a common person living your everyday life, Black women and Blacks in general do have to work 10 times harder to find their footing whether it be in the workplace, among our peers, and even the simple act of forming an identity without being judged.

Segregation and racism has not been erased just because we don’t have signs on store doors saying Coloured Only, but racism is being systematically and strategically demonstrated within our society. It never truly dies, but continues and is expressed through more cunning ways than ever as time goes on. Look at the recent H&M ad of a little black boy wearing a sweater entitled “Coolest Monkey in the Jungle.”  A distasteful and pretty obvious jab at Blacks and the historical notion of Black being compared to monkeys.

But many mixed raced people do identify themselves as Black a factor that in my opinion should not even be up for debate because when it comes to inclusion and how someone identifies themselves, especially as being a mixed woman like Mowry who identifies with her Black roots, the subject of inclusion and who should be allowed to call themselves Black shouldn’t even be a question or a concern for some.

I looked down at the comments like I always do after watching videos and was shocked to see some of the ignorant responses typed after Mowry’s heartfelt moment.

Comments such as:

“Tamera, you are not black. You are mulatto. Stop trying to disassociate yourself from your white side. If my dad is Japanese and mom is white…I am not white but I am not full asian either. And tameras father is white…the race usually depends on paternal factors.(not all the time). But Tamera’s skull shape and hair texture is not black. I bet she is bullied to say she is black.”

“Tameras kids are only 1/4 black so I think they’re gonna be ok“

“Tamera ur half black”

I looked at these comments these comments with my temperature going a little higher than it needs to be and my head shaking because I realize that we are still in that place.

That place where we judge someone’s “full blackness” by how light or dark they are and seriously, that shit is not okay.

Mowry’s testament to her daughter growing up in a world where she can identify herself as a Black woman and not be judged is the story already lead out by some who have had to grow up and feel that they are not obligated to call themselves Black because they are mixed and as Blacks we need to throw away this misconception that if you are not “fully” Black then don’t even bother with identifying yourself as Black in the first place and that because you are mixed, you will have it easier in the world and will in some way get a pass at privilege.

Since when are we now excluding our fellow Black counterparts because there may be a slight 1% difference in genetics?

Mixed raced individuals face just as much prejudice as someone who is “fully” Black faces on a day to day basis.

In a blog post by MyBlackMatters, author Shenaie Cain details her experiences growing up as a biracial child and the racism she faced.

She states, “Growing up I questioned myself many times. Where do I fit in? My skin has defined me, my hair has defined me…Going to a basketball game when I was in high-school, a couple of girls in the bleachers were making comments about my skin colour saying, “That light-skin bitch thinks she’s the shit…”But all the hateful comments I’ve recieved do ot define who I am. But nothing defines you except you. I define me, I am the person I want to be. “

Black women, this year with #metoo movements and a call for acceptance of all people, we need to learn to love and accept each other whether biracial or not. We already have to deal with racism when we go out on the streets, so why perpetuate it against our own as well? In order to move forward as a race and a community we need to look past ignorant comments whether it be about our hair, skin colour or whatever other features we use to define ourselves as people.

We can never be better if there is hate within our own circle. Please remember that.