Mixed Blood

Photograph by Bradley Lincoln

It has been stated, quite rightly, that the new President Elect of the United States is not in fact an African American, but is of mixed race. Only part of him is African American.

This is not to belittle his heritage - far from it - but I know those with a mixed ancestry can sometimes find the distinction to be one that is important, with the ramifications being either positive or negative. For example, one of my good friends grew up in West Africa with a white mother and black father. In Africa, he was labeled the 'white kid'. When he moved to the UK, he was labeled as 'black'. Confusing, no?

My children are of mixed blood, as are many of my friends, and I also know many people in interracial relationships. The question of identity and how your genetic heritage defines you is a very interesting one and as the world's populations integrate it will become more and more so.

Today I saw this series of photographs by Bradley Lincoln, relating to this project.

I think this subject has great potential for a photographic project and I only wish these particular portraits were better photographs...

2 comments:

Stan B. said...

One of the many ironies about "race" is that people from the Caucasus often refer to themselves as "black."

griffineyes said...

The "problem" lies in the identity of the person questioning someone of mixed race. As someone of multiple races and cultures, not just two, I've never question who I was, I simply indulged in all of the beautiful things my cultures allotted me. It only occurred to me when someone else would ask me.

They always want to know which one of my cultures I identified with most. Which is obviously an ignorant question, but you would be surprised at the amount of supposed intelligent people who ask such a question of me. Depending on my mood and the emotional stability of the person whom asked the question I would give them an answer that best addressed the question. If I knew they were racist pig I would say black and start talking about hip hop, BDP, fried chicken, and MLK. If it was someone who genuinely was interested in me for some reason, usually sexually motivated, I would tell them about the culture of my immediate family who raised me which is Puerto Rican. But it's rare you get these genuine inquiries. People generally want to pigeon hole you so they can figure out how to be comfortable around you because they either fear, admire, lust, or all of the above.