by James A. Landrith, Jr.
July 7, 1999
Many blacks who frequent internet forums and discussion groups who oppose the multiracial movement often talk about a lack of respect for the black community by the movement as well as being treated as irrelevant by the movement. Let me be blunt, disrespect is when one group of people tell another group of people that their free will to self-identify is irrelevant and that checking a box or boxes is disrespect to a whole "race" of people. Those who think that box-checking is disrespect need stop trying to put their social agendas on others. Fight for your rights, but don't tell others that their rights are meaningless and take a back seat to yours. That takes on a totalitarian flavor and reeks of intolerance towards self-identifying people of mixed-race descent. When did the right to call yourself by whatever name you want become a right solely reserved for the self-appointed representatives of black people who frequent internet forums and discussion groups?
If you want to know why some multiracials who post on internet forums are so pissed off, take a look at the people telling them to believe in one-drop theories and magic blood. This is about self-identification, not the right of any of the monoracial groups to force a monoracial identity on people who want to self-identify as all they are, not just one part of their heritage. The more monoracial people oppose the movement the larger it gets. Intolerance of free will for self-identification by many blacks is what has caused many self-identified multiracials to get militant. Not checking boxes. Or movements.
A multiracial category in one form or another has been added in 7 states. The U.S. Census Bureau has adopted a check all that apply approach to race for the 2000 Census, but now appears ready to possibly add a category called "mixed" or "some other race" as an alternative to check all that apply. This fight is silly. Checking boxes is not disrespect, telling someone else that they have no right to acknowledge their total heritage, if that is their choice, however, IS disrespect. In fact, I'd call it racism. No one in the movement is calling the contributions of the black community irrelevant. However, many blacks are telling self-identified multiracials that their rights are irrelevant though and only exist if they, the self-appointed representatives of black Americans agree that they do. This is not how you build alliances and fight racism. It's how you start fights between groups that could accomplish much if they could work together.
This movement is about the right to self-identify. If the self-appointed representatives of black Americans want to end racism, they could start by ending the racist campaign currently being waged against self-identifying multiracials. Stop calling white parents of mixed-race children in the movement white supremacists. Stop calling blacks in the movement Uncle Toms. Stop cheering when racist elected officials tell 12 year-olds that they can't identify as multiracial. Stop cheering when representatives of the NAACP disrespect us and call us names. This is not hard. Just stop the intolerance. Stop the namecalling. Stop the intimidation. Stop it. The militancy of many self-identified multiracials is a symptom of the intolerance being waged at them, not the problem.
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: firstname.lastname@example.org or at his personal website/blog.