Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Myth # 77: The Beat

Dancing. Some people like it, some love it. But let's get something straight: Not everybody who likes to dance has the ability to dance. And just because someone is bi-racial doesn't mean they know how to dance, or as the title suggests, can stay on beat. (And by beat, I mean dancing on the 2 &4 and NOT the 1 & 3, thank you).

I'll never forget venturing to Maine when I was 12 to visit my real dad. He had another family which included two other bi-racial step-daughters. One day we went to a community recreation center where a small party was happening. They brought in a DJ and everything! As the group of middle schoolers started dancing, I glanced at my younger step-sister and I nearly died laughing. At that time, while the rest of the world was doing the bumb-n-grind and butterfly, she was stuck in the era of MC Hammer. As if that wasn't bad enough, this girl had NO rhythm; no ability to stay on beat!! I shook my head and couldn't stop laughing. She just kept dancing the afternoon away. Did she like dancing? YES! Could she dance? NO!

There is a common myth that all black people and bi-racial folks can dance. It is a myth for a reason.

Dancing Circles around you,

Friday, August 15, 2008

#18 Being on "Mo'Nique in the Afternoon"

(A JAM C) This could be my second time revisiting my blog about how biracial people like to act more black around black people, but this entry deserves to be it's own entity.

So yesterday, I was listening to the radio, and the Mo'Nique show was on. They were asking people to call in and tell them stories about how they got something fake and tried to play it off as real. I immediately remembered when I was in 8th grade, and my step dad gave me a Rolex. At first, I thought it was real, so I showed it off to everybody acting like I was a baller.

Then, my stepdad told me it wasn't real, but it didn't matter. I wasn't going to be like "yeah I thought it was real, but it actually isn't."

Anyway, I called the Mo'Nique show for the first time EVER, and I got through. Needless to say, I was nervous. The guy I talked to told me it was going to be 12-14 minutes before I got on, so I was thinking that I would just pull the car over and wait for her to say my name. ONE MINUTE LATER, I hear Mo'Nique say "how you doin' Alex?" As I'm driving the stick shift about to make a turn, Mo'Nique asks me how I'm doing, so that just made me even more nervous.

But yeah, I tried to stick in there like a champ until the very end. I told my story, and she asked me a couple of questions. After the second question, there was an awkward pause that just seemed to take forever, so I said the first thing that came to my mind... "it's a good story."

Just in case you were wondering Mo'Nique, the story I just told you... it was good. It wasn't just good, it was HOT! It's so good that it should be made into a movie. If not, then at least an E! True Hollywood story.

She laughed at me at the end, but she's really nice about things, so I definitely didn't take it personally.

Monday, August 11, 2008

#17 Twins

(A JAM C) I remember studying about cross-pollination in a high school science class.  At least I think that's what it was called.  Basically, my biology showed a picture of a red rose and a white one.  The result of those two roses being close together formed a bunch of pink roses.  Then, the pink roses together made a whole array of roses.  Most were pink, but some were red, and some were white.  "Hmm, that's cool," I thought.  And that was the end of that story for a few years.

A few years ago, what I learned in biology resurfaced when a biracial man and woman came together, and gave birth two twins.  Not just any twins though, but some of the most fascinating twins that this world has ever seen.  Here's a picture.
This obviously doesn't always happen, but in this case one of the daughters got all of the black genes, and one of them got all of the white ones.  I can't even begin to tell you how awesome this is!  Biracial people have the advantage of having beautiful children along a w
hole spectrum of races.  Most will end up looking exactly like their parents, but many of them will look like these two girls pictured.

I have two young nieces.  They're both 1/4ths black.  One of my nieces looks exactly like she's supposed to look, but my other niece looks very different.  It's so funny to look at her when she's standing next to my sister, but I don't care.  She's one of the most beautiful little girls in the world to me.  Looking at this picture, and seeing my niece and my sister together, and thinking how different, but how beautiful they look together brings a smile to my face.

I can only hope that I'm as lucky when I have children.  They're a blessing, and I'm thankful for the skin that God has put me in.  I can only hope that all biracial people would feel the same way.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

SBPL Myth #5 - Hey You Look Like _______

(A JAM C) Charles Barkley.

Charles Barkley is one of the ugliest men alive.  You know what?  He's not ugly.  I apologize to the word "ugly" for associating Charles Barkley with it.  He's ooguhly... in other words, he's too ugly for ugly.  He makes "ugly" so pretty.  With that being considered, how much do you think it crushes my spirits when you tell me that I look like him?

I don't really look like him anymore since I have grown out my hair, and shaved my mustache, but back in the day when I was bald with a goatee, people said that I looked like him all the time.  Honestly, the only similar features were our bald heads, similar skin tones, and facial hair.  I guess that's enough.

For us biracial people, there's a whole slew of ugly people that you could compare us to.  Just don't do it.  I don't go around to every Asian girl I meet, and say that she looks like Margaret Cho, so please return the favor by not telling me that I look like Joakim Noah.  Nobody has ever said that I look like him, but my hair is getting longer, and if that day ever comes, I'm probably going to cry.

Like I said in the previous post, we can easily be compared to a wide variety of people, and my two worst comparisons are Charles Barkley and George Lopez.  George Lopez was kinda crushing, because at least Charles Barkley was in shape at one point.  When someone starts saying that you look like George Lopez, that means that your becoming fat.  You're not fat yet, but you're on your way there.  Granted, the person who told me I looked like him was a 12 year old kid, but it still pierced my soul.

But yeah, this should just be a general rule for all people.  Don't say somebody looks like a famous person who is widely known for being ugly.

Monday, August 4, 2008

#16 HEY, You Look Like _______

(A JAM C)  I can't count how many people I have been compared to.  Us biracial people have a wide range of look-a-likes.  Native American, Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Black, sometimes even Asian.  I have been said to look like so many people, and when they're good looking, I love it.  Can I get a witness from my biracial brethren.

The reason why we like this is the same reason why any person would like to be compared to people who are famous.  If they're good looking, does that mean you think we're good looking too?  For instance, if I tell a girl that she looks like a current or ex-girlfriend, that probably means I find her physically attractive.  Why wouldn't that apply to famous people as well?  You think I look like The Rock?  Thank you!  The Rock is a beast, and in my opinion he's a good looking man.

Some of my favorite comparisons (in no particular order):

1. Will Smith (actor/"rapper")
2. Albert Pujols (baseball player)
3. Jerome Iginla (hockey player)
4. The Rock (wrestler/"actor")
5. Daunte Cullpepper (football player)
6. Chico Debarge (singer)
7. Don Omar (rapper)

All of these men are at least decently good looking in my opinion, so thank you.  Please, think of as many people as possible who have light brown skin and share some similar features as I do.  Please don't say that I look like Patrick Ewing though.  Ew.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

#15 Playing ANY Character in a Play or Skit

(A JAM C) Other than a generic "how are you," the question that I have most often gotten in my life is "what race/nationality are you?"  It never really bothered me, and sometimes it actually worked to my advantage.  For instance, when my 5th grade class had a skit, and they needed somebody to play my native American principal, guess who they asked?  Or, when they needed somebody to dress like a Middle Easterner?  You get the picture.  I have had some pretty sweet roles in my lifetime, and I can attribute it all to my being biracial.  My favorite roles from #5 to #1 are:

#5 - Rico Sanchez - During my senior year of high school, I got to play a Hispanic sports reporter who was fluent in Spanglish.  "Next Friday" had just hit the theatres, and I fell in love with it.  There was a particular character from that movie that I was trying to model myself after.  I don't remember his name, but he was young and he was trying too hard to act like a thug.  His basic look featured baggy pants, a wife-beater, and a skull cap pulled too far over his eyes.  He was hilarious and so I tried to reenact his performance.

#4 - Pharaoh - During my freshman year of college, I was in a skit that had to do with... actually, now that I think about it, I have no idea what the skit was about.  Whatever the case, I played pharaoh.  I loved how I got this role.  A friend of mine told me about this skit he was going to be in, and how his skit team was representing our dorm, so I was like "cool, I'll be in it."  Then, when they were doing the casting and they saw that they needed an Egyptian character, everybody just kinda looked at me.  Somebody finally had the guts to ask me, and then everybody else replied something like "oh yeah, that's a great idea," as if they weren't already thinking it themselves.  This was the first and last time that I was ever on stage in front of 2000 people with my shirt off.  In college, you put on weight.  When you put on weight, the shirt comes off less and less.

#3 - Shaggy - In another skit during my freshman year of college, I got to be the world famous reggae singer Shaggy.  I loved this role because I got so into it that I actually ended up teaching myself how to sound exactly like him, and it totally blew the crowd away.  This would be #1 except for the fact that they cut my singing in half and gave the other part to a white girl who didn't sound like a reggae singer at all, and ended up forgetting her lines even though we practiced about 100 times.  Oh well, I'm not even bitter about it or anything like that.

#2 - Morpheus/Billy Blanks - The reason why the two of these are together is because I played them both in the same skit.  My fraternity had a Matrix remake where I was (of course) Morpheus.  After fighting off the bad guys, Neo got a surprise visit from Master Yoda who was about to tell him that I killed his father, but before he could say anything, I took a gun and shot Yoda, who of course didn't have his light saber.  After confessing to Neo that I didn't kill his father, but that I actually was his father, I revealed my true identity as Billy Blanks, who's popular karate workout "Taebo" was actually his secret way of funding the "Dark Side."  The skit continued with a motivational speech from Matt Foley, and ended with Neo killing me.  He only killed me because I tried to kill him once I realized that he wasn't going to turn to the dark side.  That was probably my favorite skit of all time, but nothing could possibly top the number one role.

#1 - Mr. T - I totally got into this role!  During my senior year of college, I was in a Cinderella-like skit.  Instead of Cinderella, there was "Pledgerello," and his evil fraternity brothers.  And, instead of a Fairy Godmother, there was the Fairy Dance Brotha, played by yours truly.  Something weird happened with this skit.  As we were practicing, I noticed that I was beginning to sound less and less like a "brotha," and more and more like Mr. T.  Because of that, I just had fun with it.  I shaved my head into a mohawk, and I threw in a "Don't Do Drugs" to my lines because Mr. T was famous for saying random inspirational lines such as "Don't Do Drugs," "Stay in School," "Drink Milk," and "Love Yo Momma."  Not only did I get to play Mr. T in that skit, but I also got to end it by singing "Shout."  I sucked them in with my "Don't Do Drugs" line, and the evening just wasn't the same again after that.

So yeah, those were my favorite roles in various skits.  There were so many more, but if you're in the theatre business, and you have a biracial person, you should be thanking God, because with him or her, you rule the world.  Just think about the endless possibilities!

Monday, July 28, 2008

SBPL Myth #4 Being Biracial doesn't mean I want you to speak to me like I'm "ghetto".

I might be called an Uncle Tom for writing this, but I'll live to write another blog.

First, let me just clarify/share my personal thoughts on the whole idea of "talking black" or "speaking ghetto". I personally hate that such dialect is automatically attributed to being black. I have spent much time on the north, south, east and west sides of columbus where there are neighborhoods filled with white and hispanic people that "ghetto talk". Just because I'm black/biracial doesn't mean I use "ax" instead of "ask" or "moms" instead of "mom" or "fin'in to" instead of "fixing to" or "be" instead of "am" get the point.

Secondly, I don't think such dialect necessarily shows a lack of intelligence either. To me, it's simply a way of speaking. Can I do it? Yes. Do I choose to speak that way? Rarely, if ever.

Now, back to the title of this post.

I think it is a common misconception that when introduced to a mulatto, they (the mulatto) feels more comfortable when the person speaks to the mulatto in a "ghetto" fashion. This happens to me ALL THE TIME. Example:

Me (the Mulatto): Hello, how are you?
Person introducing themselves to me for the first time: Yo guuuurl, wasssssup??

Me: Hey! How are you doing?
Person whose known me for more longer: Guuuurl, I be aiight! Waassssup wit chew?

It's not like I go around introducing myself to white people, saying, "Like, OH MY GOD!! How are you?!? Like, I'm TOTALLY rad!", as if I were a valley girl. Afterall, don't all white people talk like "valley girls"? NO! All black people/mulatto people don't speak "ghetto" either.

My typical response to such a person (usually white, though not every white person) is to simply shake their hand and smile. However, as I've gotten older and become less tactful, and more assertive, i'm more prone to calling this behavior out.

Yours, Janara aka What's up Minority Affairs Scholarship?!?

#14 Rick Astley

I'll never forget riding down High St. in my mom's old Toyota on summer day when I was 7. The weather was nice, the windows were rolled down and my mom was blasting 97.9 at the time.
I'll never forget this day, as it was the first day I ever heard Rick Astley. Remember him? He sang such hits as, "Never gonna give you up", "Together Forever", and "Cry for Help".
On that particular summer day, "Never gonna give you up" came on. I kid you not, like most people, mulatto's included, when I first heard Rick Astley sing that day, I could have sworn he was a 6 foot tall, big black man with huge hands.
Later, once again to my shock and amazement, I found out that Rick Astley was not at all a 6 foot tall, big black man with huge hands, but rather a short, red-headed, small handed man from England.
If the soulful voice didn't captivate you, than surely his one and only dance move with the occasional hip and shoulder gyration, did.
We, the mulatto's of the world, tip our hats to you, Rick Astley, for fooling us to believe you were a big black man. And to our delight, feel in love with that voice.
Rick Rolled, Janara aka IRK

#13 Continued...

Hey y'all,

It's the HNIC here. As stated by my brother (AjamC), I do happen to have a few thoughts about fun nicknames attributed to the Mulatto variety.

Here are just a few that I've been called/given myself over the years as I've embraced my mulatto-ness...

House Negro
Belly warmer
Unique Elite
Carmel Delight
Mocha Dream
IRK (Inter-Racial Kid)
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. (Ok, that's not true. I just made that up)
Brown Sugar

As the title stated, these are fun nicknames. Some may be offensive, but if you have any kind of a sense of humor, you'd think it was funny too.

Sweetly yours, Janara aka Mocha Latte

Sunday, July 27, 2008

#13 Fun Nicknames and Sayings

(A JAM C)  I'll try to keep this short.

Being mixed black and white, it is very easy to talk about race issues, because it is always on the front of our minds.  We're constantly reminded of the different races, because every day growing up, we had to say hi to two parents who just didn't look the same.

I love joking about it.  Some of my white friends feel uncomfortable about it, because joking about race is a dangerous place to go, I mean come on, they're personally responsible for slavery right?  (kidding)

Anyway, my two favorite race related nicknames are "Vanilla Chocolate swirl," and "the half brotha."  They're self given, of course, but I love it.  They just seem to fit so well.

My favorite saying is a response to "once you go black you'll never go back..."  "once you go half black, even black becomes whack."  I don't really get a whole lot of laughs to that, but I think it's funny, so I'm sticking with it.

One time I was playing pool with a friend of mine who is the most Irish looking guy outside of Ireland, and it was time to rack the balls.  I told him that his people were used to cheap labor, so he should rack the balls.  His response to me was classic.

"Well, your people are used to free labor, so YOU should rack the balls."

I racked the balls.

So yeah, I would love to hear some of your race related nicknames.  If you're black, white, biracial, hispanic, asian, anything.  What nicknames have you had?

I know that HNIC has a few.