If You Want To Be Black - Raise Your Hand.
Centuries ago, even one drop of black blood could lead to classification as an octoroon, mulatto or some negative variation of Negro. You had no choice over ethnicity or race, you were whatever they called you. Many of the terms were derogatory and offensive, but options did not exist.
A George Washington University professor, just got into a heap of trouble for claiming she was a ‘Black caribbean.’ She is actually Jewish and from Kansas, but she thought it necessary to fake being ‘Black’ to be considered an expert in African- American Studies.
In 1997, while on the The Oprah Winfrey Show, Tiger Woods referred to himself as “Cablinasian,” a blend of Caucasian, Black, Indian and Asian. He stated he was bothered when people called him African-American. Yet, with all his discomfort, he benefited financially from being perceived as a historic Black golfer.
So whether it’s Kamala Harris, Jessica Krug or Tiger Woods, folk are still uncomfortable with multiracial identities and mistrustful unless you choose a race. No one likes someone who benefits from being called black and then publicly claims another ethnicity.
When United States Senator Kamala Harris became former Vice President Joe Biden’s running mate, she was considered the perfect pick and the one candidate President Donald Trump feared would strengthen the democratic ticket. She has never claimed to be anything but who she is, a Black woman who honors her Indian and Jamaican heritage.
The presidential campaign took the question of race to a new level. After the announcement, she was referred to as a Black woman, an African-American woman, a woman of color, an Indian American, South Asian, Asian, multiracial, biracial, multicultural, mixed race and on and on. You could see correspondents visibly squirm as they tried to describe her race and pronounce her name correctly.
Her mother Shyamala Gopalan taught her to be fierce and it is on full display when anyone from either side asks the question, “Is she Black enough?”
Jennifer Ho, Professor of Asian Studies, University of Colorado Boulder, says, “Underlying these questions of authenticity are questions of legitimacy. Multiracial people are constantly confronted by those who question their whole selves and their choice to identify with multiple races.”
I was reminded yesterday while watching her CNN interview filmed at Howard University, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qAcciTWIdH0, how comfortable she is her own skin. Go Kamala Go! I am Dunn Talking.