One of the most common hassles that mixed-folks have to deal with is a sense of “hybrid-vigor,” an idea that breeding across difference, as in the case with dogs, creates a stronger, and more attractive breed. Mules are said to have the strength of a horse with the intelligence of a donkey, inheriting each parent’s best characteristics. Even “America’s Next Top Model” tries to recruit models from “diverse backgrounds,” because of this idea of hybrid vigor and mixed-beauty.
Now, I understand that folks of color tend to be unwilling to identify with animals because of the intertwined legacies of racism and specieism in this world. I’ve spent some time thinking about what an anti-specieist analysis of the use of animal-derived terms to refer to mixed-folks would look like. I’m no biologist, but my conclusion has come to this:
Horses and donkeys are different species. Hell, dogs breeds are even called “species.” In the case of mules, their parents are different enough that together they can’t create a functional reproductive system; mules can’t bare offspring. Mixed-breed dogs might be able to reproduce, but a Chihuahua giving birth to a Great Dane’s offspring might not be so functional, if even possible. Humans, however, are Homo sapiens. Using animal names referring to mixed-SPECIES animals to refer to mixed-”race” people just becomes another example of the ways in which white supremacy functions to perpetuate a white-washed notion of worth and value. It’s you’re not human, you’re not valuable. If you’re not white, you’re not quite as human.
Just another instance of how specieism and racism operate in tandum, I suppose.
The college uses its nest egg to attract students who otherwise could not afford college and draws exclusively from the bottom of the economic pile. It is extremely selective, rejecting 75 per cent of applicants as it tries to find those with the most potential. Those who apply have often endured appallingly bad secondary education and come from dysfunctional homes.
Mr Gibson is one of those and he has thrived at Berea. He earned his savings working on-campus, a requirement of this unusually public-spirited university. Every student must put in at least 10 hours a week, whether helping on the college farm, working in the admissions department or making furniture in Berea’s crafts workshop.
Mr Gibson did community outreach. “It was great,” he said, “we organised anti-Iraq war demonstrations.”
Though not, by his own admission, a top scholar or the hardest worker, he also pulled in lots of academic scholarships.
“Every department has lots of money to give away. It’s a question of applying,” he said. The coup de grace was an award of $25,000 to finance his round the world trip starting in a week.
Mr Gibson, who is black, will spend his time studying biracialism, beginning in Tokyo next week. “I come from one of the poorest and most disturbed backgrounds you could imagine,” he said. “All my family were involved in violence and drugs and I was brought up by a single parent and then no parents when my mother died while I was 16.”
“Living in rural Appalachia, I suffered some extreme racism and it is only thanks to this college that I am now in this lucky situation.”
Friends of his at other universities are not so lucky. One is paying back $37,000 after a three-year degree. Next year, Mr Gibson will attend graduate school in Pennsylvania, where he hopes to qualify as a lawyer and possibly enter politics.
22-year-old Vitaly Kovtun was stopped at a red light in Salt Lake, Utah, when a car pulled up beside him. The passenger in the other car asked him to roll down his window. When Vitaly rolled down his window, the passenger asked, “Excuse me, sir, do you have any Grey Poupon?”
That’s when Vitaly reached in his glove compartment, pulled out a gun, cocked it, aimed it at the other car and said, “Here’s your Grey Poupon, roll your fucking windows up.” Hmmm…maybe he’s a French’s type of dude?
[Mod Note – Okay, that last one doesn’t really fit with our general theme, but that shit was too funny to let go and not share with y’all. Blame Fatemeh, she sent me the article. – LDP]