Wednesday, July 09, 2008

One Drop

I have a family reunion in a couple weeks. A real reunion based on the origional family lines from the first settlers to Louisiana. This is the family I married into. My husbands family. I am reading a book on the geneology called One Drop by Bliss Broyard and I must say, I am quite fasinated at the story.

So this girl finds out when she was like 23 that her daddy was 'black' but had kept it a secret and lived as white until he was on his death bed. She then goes on a quest to discover who the black her really is. Which even she realizes is a little silly. I mean, not that I think she should not have done the research or hooked up with her black family members. Just that while she can have black in her history does not necessiarly mean she has to figure out how to 'be' black.

So one thing I read that really stuck out to me was it was not legal for different races to marry until 1972. That is 34 years ago. I admit, I have gotten annoyed with my husband at times for playing the 'black card'. I never tried to say he did not experience racism, but I just felt it, well, stupid for lack of a more suited word, to have a mentality of 'my people were slaves and held back by the white man for too long' drama. I am glad I started this book because I feel I am learning a thing or two.

Funny that at the same time I am reading, I watched a Chris Rock special and he talks about how black people were bred to be big, strong and dumb so they do have genetics to overcome. No one will admit they think slavery was ok, but what Bliss realized on her quest to discover her blackness as a white girl, was people will show their true colors when they think they are talking to white people. After Bliss discovered her daddy's secret, she began to notice little things that were actually racist, even in herself. She had friends tell black jokes in front of her and for a change, she no longer found them funny. Once someone made fun of her name and said it sounded like a 'black name'.

There used to be a law called the One Drop rule which said if you had one drop of black blood in you, you were considered black. I am reading about lots of mixed or even white family members (that were considered black by association, i.e. they had mixed siblings) that lived in a world that did not value them as human beings. I decided I wanted my girls to learn about what some of their family went through, if for no other reason, than to be considerate of how we treat others in this world.

We may have come far in society, but I am seeing that is not far enough. One thing that I know of is it is no longer required to list a race on birth certificuts. None of my girls have a race listed on their birth certificuts and neither does it list what Kenneth and I are. I hope I can learn from the history of my family and open my eyes to see what is going on around me. I want to be a part of the solution and never a part of the problem. And I will educate my girls about their 'blackness'. That's what Im talkin bout!

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