A biracial generation looks for its place

It’s sad that the people in this story believe that it is acceptable to call themselves “biracial” or “black” but never “white.” Is “white” some kind of godlike identity of which they remain forever unworthy? This is why I’ve constantly emphasized the importance of establishing a “multiracial whiteness” in American culture. It exists in reality, we just have to get it publicly recognized.

Searching for identity as nation reweaves racial fabric
Neither black nor white, a biracial generation looks for its place
Sunday, February 8, 2004
News Staff Reporter

Karen Downing looks white, but she’s half African-American.

“If I identified the way people thought that I should, I would be a total headcase,” she says. “One group of people would say I should identify as black, others would say, ‘You look white. You should say you are white.’ Others would say you should be both.”

Downing says what she is: biracial.


  1. I think this is a reflection of the continuing racism in our society. For bi- or multi-racial people with African Ancestry, there is still considerable negative feeling expressed to us when we discuss our backgrounds with Caucasians.
    For many Caucasians, the only acceptable multiracials who can call themselves “white” are people who either look like Dean Cain or Keanu Reeves because their Asian features are that apparent. Additionally, many Caucasians are more than happy to admit some Native American ancestry as long as it’s not that apparent in their looks.

    In contrast, most “blacks” are accepting of mixed race people given that they need only look at their own families to see different hued “black” folks. I place the word “black” in quotes because most African Americans are not black-skinned due to so much interracial mixing. It’s easy to look at a carmel colored Beyonce or Will Smith, or a yellowish Cornel West or a brown Nelly or a darker skinned Outkast and see one’s family and friends who reflect mixtures of African, Caucasian and Amerindian (or Asian) background.

    While there are some bigots in the “black” community, overwhelmingly most people welcome anyone who wants to be part of the community. As such, “black” becomes like “Latino” in describing a collection of people associated by a desired culture vantage point.

    2/25/2004 12:09:58 AM

  2. I’m biracial and I’m proud. I’m black,spanish,french, native american,english,and indian (india). KIds at school ask me all the time at school what I am, and I tell them biracial. It’s hard being biracial in school because if you do the littlest thing like where your hair down,they flip. I jave long thick hair. If I blow dry it and wear it down to school girls get jealous, but some complement me.

    7/30/2004 1:14:54 AM

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