Franchesca Ramsey is doing an interesting series for MTV called Decoded, debunking all kinds of racial stereotypes. This week, Ramsey takes on the racial bias that occurs when people think they are being complimentary. Explaining why people projecting their own thoughts on mixed race children is problematic, Ramsey also opens the floor to biracial people on Snapchat, allowing them to add their stories to the narrative.
By Guest Contributor Ellen Oh
When I was a little girl, I was already very aware of what racism was. It felt like the cigarette burn to my flesh by the high school girl who called me a dirty chink. I was eight years old.
Racism has been seared into my psyche, like the shame that filled me when a white boy spat on me as he screamed “Go back to where you belong!” It sounded like the laughter of the crowd of middle school kids, both Black and White, that surrounded me and called me chink and gook. It looked like the jeers and smirks on the faces that pressed close, like nightmare images I couldn’t escape. I was 10 years old.
It was the fear I felt as I held my little sister’s hand tightly as we ran away from a group of Puerto Rican girls who pelted us with rocks and told us that slanty-eyed chinks don’t belong in their neighborhood. I was 11 years old.
It was the pain of my hair being torn out of my head by the middle aged Russian woman who spoke no English but knew every dirty, filthy word that she could use with “ching chong,”when I confronted her for stealing from my parents store. I was 15.
It was having a kind looking white grandmother scream at me to go back to my own country because she didn’t want my kind ruining the USA. I was 22.
It was having the managing partner of my law firm ask me if I had any relatives on the Golden Venture, the smuggler ship that ran aground in NYC with over 200 illegal Chinese immigrants. I was 24 and not Chinese.
By Guest Contributor Kristen Green
After talking with a group of writers about my new book—part memoir, part history—I was approached by a white woman who questioned my use of the term multiracial to refer to my husband.
“Is he Black?” she asked. When I said no, she firmly suggested that I “just call him American Indian.”
by Guest Contributor Aya De Leon, originally published at Mutha Magazine
All parents have hopes for their children. We have concerns about the world we’re bringing them into, but somehow, in an infinite number of circumstances, we become parents. Some of us use technology on the road to our parenting. This creates a complex layer of medical and commercial issues in our experience. Recently, a woman in Ohio got the wrong sperm from a bank in Chicago.
She and her female partner are white. They mistakenly got sperm from a black donor, and found out when she was several months pregnant.
Unexpectedly, they now have a multi-racial daughter.
In her commercial relationship with that company, she has a clear right to sue for damages under the law. In spite of her lawsuit, the mom has been explicit about how much she loves her daughter and that she would not change her.
However, for people of color, particularly parents, it is painful and difficult to witness the journey of parenting brown children posited as a legal liability and a quantifiable set of damages.
Here is the statement I, as a mother of color, wish she had given:
“I had no idea how hard it is to face racism and to worry every day about how it will affect my family. I am totally unprepared for this, but I honor the work of all the mothers of black children that have gone before me. Continue reading
By Guest Contributor Theresa Celebran Jones, cross-posted from Hyphen Magazine
A few weeks ago, as I was putting my kids to bed, my older one, in an effort to avoid sleep, said to me, “Mommy, blonde is my favorite color of hair. I wish my hair was blonde.”
Before freaking out, I asked her why, and her reply was simple. “Blonde is the prettiest.”
I took a moment to gather myself. This was not a discussion I could have with her right before bedtime. I said to her, “I don’t really agree with that, but we can talk about it in the morning.”
By Arturo R. García
THIS POST CONTAINS SPOILERS
Not to get all Morpheus on you, but: what if some of us Whedonistas have been approaching Agents of SHIELD off focus, just a bit?
Sure, I’ve been among the fans who have been critical of the show during most of its’ freshman season, with a good deal of that dissatisfaction aimed at the ostensible audience POV character, Skye (Chloe Bennet) — and this was before we found out she might be an extraterrestrial sort-of object of considerable power, on top of being a super-hacker.
But, over the weekend a colleague of mine at The Raw Story, Scott Eric Kaufman brought me up to speed on at least one more way to approach the series. It might not excuse some of the story choices in Agents thus far, but it sheds new light on how we might consider Skye and her cohorts.
By Guest Contributor Marly Pierre-Louis
I was warned before moving to Amsterdam that there’s a term Dutch people use for kids which translates to “monkey.” They use it with all kids and it’s supposed to be a term of endearment. They literally have no context for why you can’t call a Black kid that. The thing is my son is exceptionally cute (just sayin’) and people are constantly cooing at him, especially older people. Sure, they’re all smiles and sweet sounds but are they in fact calling my son a monkey?! And if they are, what do I do about it? Curse them out in English? Memorize Dutch insults to sling at all offending grandmothers?
We were also warned that we should make sure to be vocal about our two-year-old not being involved with any Zwarte Piet celebrations at his daycare. Most schools not only have kids coloring in pictures of him but they may even consider having Sekani dress up as a Piet! Excuse my Dutch but WHAT THE F*CK!?
The Dutch are so adamant about their love for Piet that the indoctrination begins as early as daycare. When parents have tried to have their kids abstain from the festivities at school, it seems unfathomable to teachers who do everything from guilt tripping the parents, “Why do you want your child to be left out?” to turning the kid against their parents, “your mommy doesn’t want you to have fun.” I heard from a friend that a Black mother she knew went to pick up her daughter from school one day only to find her face painted Black. This is all problematic for so many reasons.
When Sinterklaas season began, I was fully preparing to go to war.
At Hyphen, writer Sharline Chiang tackles the stigma of post-partum depression and how her race influenced her experience with the condition.
Four years ago I had three miscarriages. “You’re not careful enough,” my mother said. “You’re too active.” While I was pregnant with Anza, I learned I had balanced translocation, a genetic condition. We needed to get lucky. Even after explaining this to her, my mother would insist: “Go on bed rest so it doesn’t fall out.”
I couldn’t risk hearing words that sounded like blame. I already felt it was my fault: I was too soft.
My grandmothers combined had birthed and raised 15 children while fleeing the Japanese, the Communists, and poverty. What right did I have to fall apart?
So I took selfies of me and Anza smiling and sent them to my parents every day.
I lied because even though depression is so common in Asian American communities, we rarely talked about it. The message I grew up with: your mental struggles are our own; it’s up to you to find the inner strength to “ren,” to endure.
The character for “ren” 忍 is the character for “knife” over the “heart.” Endure even when there’s a knife in your heart.
In my thirties I discovered talk therapy, tried to get my parents to go. Their response was basically: “That’s for white people.” “They hook you in,” my mother said. “You can never be cured.”
I wish mental illness didn’t come with stigmas. I wish I could have told my parents that my mind had broken just as easily as if I had to tell them my arm had broken.
Whenever my husband would say, “You really should tell them,” I felt that chasm again (he’s white, son of hippies). To him it was unimaginable to suffer the darkest period of your life and not tell your parents. Meanwhile, everyone in his immediate family knew. His mother and brother moved down from Canada to help take care of me.
The fact that I could get PPD never crossed my mind. I had no history of depression.
Two years ago while pregnant with Anza, I had spent thousands of hours reading about pregnancy and birth and exactly five minutes reading about postpartum depression.
On the cover of the brochure was a white woman with long brown hair. She was staring into space under the words: “Feeling Blue?” I took one look and said to myself: white woman, sad woman, that’s not me and that’s not going to be me.