All Articles Tagged "racial identity"
“What’s your daughter mixed with?” asked the cashier at the value grocery store I often frequented as a new mom with my, then, three-month old daughter. She was smiling then, so I knew that her question was well intentioned, or at least that’s what I thought at the time. The question proceeded something about my daughter being pretty and something else about her then “wavy” and “pretty” hair “Ummm…mixed?” I asked, not really confused but mostly trying to buy more time before facing the questions that I knew would inevitably come when I told her my daughter wasn’t mixed. “Yeah,” she said, confidently. “What’s she mixed with?”
Like many persons of color who look a bit different, I grew with questions about my heritage. So by the time I had become a parent, questions like “Where are you from?” and “What’s your background?”and “Are you (fill in the blank nationality)?” had come to be colored in my head as racial identifying questions. I had come to accept them as just part of my identity as a brown-skinned African-American woman, in the same way, I assume, my East African husband had come to accept them as a brown-skinned, black man in America. Our ethnic backgrounds are mixed, but we are black, and so, too, are our lighter-skinned, curly-haired daughters.
I try often to explain this to strangers we encounter in public, but it’s tricky since so many, it seems, have a predisposed notion of what it means to be black and not black and that anything that veers from that notion is odd. “No, they’re black,” I always say when asked about my daughters being mixed. To this, the person asking usually looks confused. And then there’s a silence between us that makes me feel like I should explain more. And I usually do explain more by saying something about how my husband and I have many ethnicities in our backgrounds, but that we, and they, my daughters, are black. This usually does the trick. But, sometimes it doesn’t. Sometimes, the person asking will want to know specifics. So then I say, “I’m American and my husband is from Africa” but the inclusion of Africa in a conversation about being mixed just complicates things even more.
Read more on MommyNoire.com.
L’Oreal and their spokeswoman Beyoncé are making headlines again. (The company who was once accused of excessive lightening the singer’s skin.) Now people are pointing the finger at how Beyoncé chose to identify herself.
Some are taking offense to the fact that instead of listing just African American, Beyoncé mentions the fact that she’s Native American and French.
The argument is that it’s assumed that black people in America (and across the world, really) are by default a mixture of several ethnicities, so why take the time to highlight your non-black heritage.
Others speculate that this is much to do about nothing.
What do you think? Should we be offended by the way Beyoncé chooses to identify herself or is this ad indicative of black people taking pride in being anything but black?
Read what people have to say about this topic and get a full analysis of the controversy at theGrio.com.
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Easy credit rip-offs.
Scratchin’ and survivin’.
Hangin’ in the Chow line.
Ain’t we lucky we got ‘em
There has always been a running joke about the lyrics in the Good Times’ theme song. But, what was so great about black folks in the projects struggling to survive? If anything, those aforementioned situations sound downright like a miserable existence.
However, a new study, which appears in the current issue of Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology—a research journal published by the American Psychological Association—may be able to help shed some light on why being black and poor can mean good times. According to researchers at Michigan State University, African American people who identify more strongly with their racial identity are generally happier than those who don’t.
It has been a long-held belief that a person’s happiness depends upon a number of external factors, including making lots of money, having nice material things, being a parent, falling in love or achieving some heights in one’s own career. However, this new research suggest that those who are black-centered — or in other words, thought that being black was an important part of who they are — felt more fulfilled with their life as a whole.
This new research supports previous studies, including a Pew Research Center study, which suggests that material things like money are less of a factor in determining happiness for blacks than it is for whites. It’s also a conclusion that has been championed throughout black-nationalism and Afrocentric circles for years, extending back to the black pride movement of the 60s when black folks picked Afros and pumped black fist in the air as a sign of racial identity and solidarity.
Of course, racial pride should not to be confused with racial supremacy and superiority, which is mostly bred out of fear of the “others” and one’s own disempowerment. To the contrary, black pride is similar to what Italians feel when marching in parades and waving Italy’s flags on Columbus Day, or Irish Americans feel when discussing the trials and tribulations of Ireland. It’s about celebrating one’s own cultural, physical and sociopolitical contributions to society while relying on the emotional significance and personal empowerment that comes from being associated with said racial group.
That’s why it should come as little surprise that black secondary-aged students seem to succeed more in Afrocentric-focused educational environments and that the top eight colleges producing African-Americans who get PhDs. in science and engineering over the previous decade were Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
If anything, this new research gives weight to the idea that being black doesn’t necessarily have to be a burdensome experience and that there is hope, strength, fraternity – and yes, good times – for those who have yet to declare that they are black and proud.
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.
A recent study from Michigan State University found that there is a link between racial identity and happiness. According to the study, which featured black adults in Michigan, the more an individual identifies with being black, the happier they are in their overall life.
Researchers said this was the first empirical study, that they know of, to link racial identity and happiness. Previous studies have expounded upon the relationship between racial identity and self esteem.
Researchers found that the sense of belonging to a cultural group contributed particularly to women’s happiness.
Over at Black Voices, Dr. Boyce Watkins writes about how accepting and embracing his culture while he studied for his PhD provided greater self fulfillment.
Is your racial identity more important to you than your gender, or your socioeconomic class? Do you feel like your identity contributes to your own happiness?