This is my response to the Linked In discussion…
Do people of biracial/multiracial descent still face challenges in society today?
“Do people of biracial/multiracial descent still face challenges in society today? On Linked in. “Being that the majority of America’s population will be of multiracial descent within the next generation, I wonder if mainstream America understands the significance of this change. Historically, multiracial individuals were rejected by society. It is my contention that innumerable individuals of biracial/multiracial descent still face issues with being accepted today. Your thoughts?”
This discussion has all the normal positive contributors and naysayers… This is my humble input to the discourse.
Thanks John and both Carlos’s for an awesome discussion and the human aspect that you bring to this discussion.This is not about the statistics and disproving the facts – it is about the realities of how people feel.
Men cannot talk about the pain of giving birth to a child, only a mother will have had that experience. Single race people cannot speak, from experience, of the pain of discrimination – that a bi-racial/ multi-cultural person feels. Nor can a white person experience what a “non-white person feels, or vice versa. (At this stage we must remember that there are so many variants of these broad classifications that we could go on forever with the “you can never understand us”, aspect. This could be related to many things – including something as simple as personality types.)
A little about my family.
My wife is a South African Hindu, of Indian (Bengal) descent. She comes from a huge and supportive family. I am a multilingual White South African, born in what is now Zambia, of Irish/ Scottish/ English and South African descent. (I am also an adopted member of a Zulu tribe.)Our two boys – Lliam (11) and Kailash (6) are the result of our wonderful relationship.
Lliam has identified himself, until recently as a white (Irish) boy. He now aligns more with the Indian side of the family. He speaks of “We Indians. And includes me in that statement!”
His school decided to classify him as “coloured”, in 2012. This is a still current Apartheid classification, for the product of a “white” and black” relationship. I refused to allow the school, or education department to do this and demanded that where they needed a “classification” for any of us – they write “human.”
Some adult white people talk to our boys in what they think is a clever and rather silly “Indian” accent. They get a verbal dressing down from me. Who are they to categorise my sons, by their prejudices?
Indian people are the most accepting, of me and our boys. To them the kids are just children. And I am just a member of the family. And what a wonderful and huge family it is. I am honoured to have been accepted into their lives!
At school the black kids call Lliam “Umlungu” (Whitey) and run away from his “heathen” Hinduness. He is told continuously that he is going to hell. (Fortunately Hindus do not believe in Hell. But that is a topic for another discussion.)
Lliam can greet in almost 40 languages. Both he, and our small boy Kailash, fit in easily in any company. They are able to adjust their accents, grammar and tone to be at one with the people, with whom they interact. Both are bright, sparky and extremely intelligent. They are assets to any society.
Obviously Kailash will experience more, as he grows older. He has just started Grade 1 today. He is just a child and loves being one. He sees kids, as kids. And his best friends, are simply his best friends – not a “colour”.
I have no idea what it is to be bi-racial. I have no idea hat is like to have been born on the disadvantaged side of Apartheid. I have just experienced life socially and professionally, as a white person in amongst many cultures and religious groups. And I have been isolated because of my links and friendship with people from other backgrounds.
What I do know is that this discussion is not about figures and statistics. This is about the feelings of the people who are involved. Not single culture “observers” – but those who have actually lived the life and felt the joys, wonders and the pain of their multi, or bi-racial upbringings and experiences.
It is neither the numbers, nor the accuracy of the data that will shape the world that we live in – it is the emotions and personal events that shape the human spirit and the resultant actions that are taken on their varied journeys.
John and Carlos, I salute your honesty, input and the brave and wonderful paths that you have taken. You are an example to all of us!
I truly believe that bi-racial and multi-racial people are advantaged by their multiple experiences of the World – in terms of language, culture, background and religion. This is the advantage that our sons share.
I know that Lliam and Kailash will change the World – because of who they are – and what they experience. Their acceptance will be ensured, in our country. In fact – I believe that single culture people will actually seek them out to learn from and share from their experiences and their stories.