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  • Rochelle Armstrong

In The Shadows of Mixed-Race Pride

Updated: May 26


[Disclaimer: this views expressed in this blog are from the authors understanding of said history. Please take into account that as the transatlantic slave trade took place across different continents and countries thus the laws, norms and customs and varied greatly]


As a sensitive soul, mixed girl and counsellor - I understand the significance of words and the emotional triggers that they can activate. Such sentiments seem particularly true in the current climate and racially divided lens that our world tends to see through.


I created my beautifully blended, marvellously mixed campaign to promote self-acceptance, self-esteem, and self-love within mixed people. Mixed people can face bizarre and dehumanising questions like "What are you?" sometimes before they ask the more important questions about values and interests- “Who you are? How are feeling? What makes you who you are?”


At times mixed-race people have gotten "Are you the nanny?" when our black or white looking children don't visually match us at first glance. Going back further historically we were shunned, even deemed "illegitimate" inside our parent’s and grandparent’s loving unions as interracial marriage was illegal in parts of the US until the 60s. Prior to that, in the Caribbean and the Americas, at the hands of their white fathers, "mulattos" (fitting language of the time) were unclaimed by their white fathers yet raped by them faster than their more melanated half-sister in the field. The mixed girl in the house was resented by her full black sisters for being in a space of "privilege” as she got to learn to read, sleep in a bed and eat from the top end of the swine instead of the tail and feet like her mother and siblings. Maybe these narratives informed the stigma surrounding mixed girls today in black culture ("stuck up", "big headed" & "full of themselves", etc.)


Historically enslaved mixed girls may have also been preferred by white men because the mulattos had a more European and familiar look. White men felt more comfortable being with women more like themselves. They also did not allow for celebration of anything black and pushed European standards of beauty. This standard, during slavery days, was very expensive. Many slave owners could not even afford to buy an enslaved mulatto. So having them as house slaves was similar to showing off your best china. Yet in all that fascination caused, still the mixed girls soul went unseen. Objectification, rejection, and conditional love plagues so much of the mixed-race experience then and now, i.e., "mixed babies are so cute" and "mixed people are so exotic". When starting the campaign Peace is Power "beautifully blended, marvellously mixed" which included pictures of mixed children wearing t-shirts with the slogan, I received push back from an elder person who is of mixed-race heritage accusing me of implying that "mixed is better as it is closer to white."


I unpacked that by explaining that my celebration of mixed people isn't a way to denounce my blackness nor remove myself or others from it. Instead, it's a result of going on my own introspective journey, finding a way for my cultures to live side by side in harmony and having a model or formula for me to connect deeper with myself and my cultures - whether or not I get it out there. Thus, in my case I am saying that I am indeed black, Asian, and white (beautifully blended, marvellously mixed). What I am saying for other mixed people is that we all are a glorious mixture of the heritages that make us up. We are not better than anyone from a monoracial heritage but just as of value and worthy.


I merely wanted to offer other mixed people a similar experience of owning and celebrating their own 'mixedness' in a way that's right for them. Being confident and unapologetic about my own mixed-race identity isn't mutually exclusive to my pro-blackness nor my celebration of black culture or any other for that matter. For me, embracing my 'mixedness' became a way to be more authentic and not have to do an exhausting dance of wearing different parts of myself in different spaces.


I hope that my new e-book - https://www.amazon.com/You-Are-Enough-Mixed-Race-Self-Acceptance-ebook/dp/B09564YGVX/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=You+are+enough+mixed&qid=1621884551&sr=8-1 validates, affirms, esteems, and informs mixed-race people, families and people wanting to learn more.


Love, peace and power,

Rochelle

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