Multiracial America and Apartheid South Africa

Multiracial America
and Apartheid South Africa

James Landrith

by James A. Landrith, Jr.

Much has been made of how the current multiracial community in the United States compares to apartheid-era South Africa. Prominent columnists such as David Horowitz of Salon Magazine and pseudo-civil rights figures such as Harold McDougall have tried to frighten multiracials into a Jim Crow ideology, that they embrace and support privately, while publicly trying to sound progressive and accommodating.

Those who want the American people to believe that a multiracial category would bring apartheid and a situation similar to the rivalry and competition between black South Africans and multiracial South Africans seem to forget several relevant items. First, in South Africa, racial identity was determined by the government using disgusting, racist methods and instruments. The country's blacks and multiracials were oppressed by apartheid and unable to choose their own racial identity. Racial identity in the United States is largely the choice of the individual, not the government. There is no apartheid here. Another detail they left out when comparing multiracial America to apartheid South Africa. Freedom vs. Suppression. Apples and Oranges. Anyone see a pattern here? To state that self-identification as multiracial would create an apartheid situation here in the United States requires an overactive imagination or a total disconnect with reality. Or maybe both.

Let me make this clear so that those in the cheap seats can hear me: MULTIRACIAL AMERICANS AND INTERRACIAL COUPLES/FAMILIES DON'T NEED OR WANT YOUR APPROVAL TO EXIST OR SELF-IDENTIFY. We exist in millions and are one of the fastest growing segments of the population today.

Let's discuss a few of the myths and scare tactics used by those who wish to keep us hidden or obedient to other groups:

Myth One: Acknowledging multiracials will set civil rights in the United States back decades.

Debunking of Myth One: How so? Checking more than one box won't bring back segregated bathrooms and waterfountains. It won't bring back poll taxes and separate but equal. Official government recognition of multiracials will not repeal any laws or cause new ones to appear on the books. That requires legislation. Any fifth grader can tell you that.

Myth Two: The people behind the movement for official government recognition of multiracial identity are secret members of some vast, right wing organization(s).

Debunking of Myth Two: Whenever you challenge the "established" civil rights community on race issues you risk the chance of this type of character assassination occurring. This allegation is offensive to those of us who risk our reputations, friendships, careers and sometimes even our lives by the simple act of loving some of another color or identifying as multiracial. Civil rights groups apparently feel that multiracials and interracial couples/families aren't entitled to the same courtesy and humane treatment that these so-called civil rights groups expect and vehemently defend.

What checking more than one box will do: It will force the federal government to officially recognize the existence of racially mixed individuals. This means acknowledging that there is more than just black and white. There is an in-between. This in-between is exactly what organizations like the NAACP fear. Official recognition of multiracials would also loosen the stranglehold they and other so-called civil rights organizations have on race issues in the United States. That would be an incredible step toward true racial harmony. They would rather keep things the way they are – divided. Organizations like the NAACP got out of the civil rights business long ago. To them, it's now about entitlements and boycotting companies that don't fill out their surveys. That's not civil rights advocacy, that's extortion. The multiracial movement has never been about entitlements or affirmative action. It's about identity, fairness and truth. Multiracials represent the future, not the NAACP's divided and jealously guarded present. It's time to move on from Jim Crow. He has no place here today.

James Landrith is the notorious editor and publisher of The Multiracial Activist and The Abolitionist Examiner, two cyber-rags dedicated to freedom from oppressive racial categorization. Landrith can be reached by email at: or at his personal website/blog.


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