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.

Friday, July 25, 2008

#12 - When People of All Races Hang Out Together

(A JAM C) I remember the first time I was really confronted with the complexities of being mixed black and white.  I was in 8th grade and I had just moved to a new state.  It was my first day of school at my middle school, and things were going great until it came time for lunch.  I remember walking in to the cafeteria, and what I saw amazed me.  All of the black students were sitting at their tables together, and so were all of the white students.

In grade school I never had to face this issue, because we always sat by our class.  In 7th grade, I went to a school with maybe four black people, and so I didn't have to worry about it.  So here I was in 8th grade, and I remembered it clearly... where should I sit?  After standing there dumbfounded, I noticed a small table in the corner of the room that had one black guy, and the rest white guys.  I didn't know any of them, but it didn't matter, because I really didn't know anybody.

After about a minute, a black girl came up to me and asked me "are you Kendall?"  She knew about a tall, dark, and handsome transfer student from a neighboring school who was the quarterback of our football team, and she must have wanted to get to him first.  Why then did she think I was him?  I don't know.  I replied and told her that I wasn't Kendall, but her response was one I'll never forget.  She said "it doesn't matter, sit with us anyway."  I had just gotten a glimpse of this girl's world.  She saw me sitting at what in her eyes was the wrong table, and so she felt the need to make everything right.  To this day, I insist that I'm more black than I am white because of several experiences like that.

I remember coming home and telling my step-father about the situation.  It was disturbing to me.  Being my innocent 13 year old self, I had just experienced a paradigm shift.  Why do the black students not hang out with the white ones and vice versa?  I was completely shocked, and I had no idea why it was like that.  13 years later, I have come to notice that black people almost always hang out with other black people, and white people do the same.  Hispanic people are even worse, and asians set the bar at its absolute limit.  If you're asian and you're offended by that comment, just think about it.  Think about what would happen if a person of a different race walked up to a group of Asians, and tried to talk to some of them.  It would be very awkward for all involved, and you know it.  I know, because I have tried to do it.  It just isn't happening.

How awesome do you think it is to a biracial person when we notice people of other races hanging out together?  I can't even begin to describe it to you.  Some of the most segregated places in America are some of the places that should be the least segregated.  It's hard.  Where do we go?  What do we do?  Who do our parents hang out with if everybody else is hanging out with each other?  Those are all questions that we have to face when we see a lack of racial diversity in specific areas.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

#11 Bass over Treble

Last night I was crusing in the car with my roommate, driving all over columbus at crazy hours of the night and of course, blasting music with the windows rolled down. Earlier in the day, I had exposed her to the wonderful world of music that existed on my ipod. I kid you not, the first thing that was adjusted when we began listening to my music was increase the bass, decrease the treble. How can you listen to Sade with the treble on high? How can you listen to Adele with the treble high? How can you listen to any soulful song with the treble on high?

Biracial people like their bass.

I like to feel it in my chest. I like to see it rattle the rearview mirror as I'm driving down the road. I like for YOU to hear it too as i'm driving in your neighborhood. Yeah, it's like that.

Needless to say, as we switched back to her music selection in her ipod by the end of the night, sure enough, the first thing adjusted was the decrease of bass and increase of treble.

Treble out, Janara aka mocha dream

#7 Revisited - How I Acted More Black

(A JAM C) A few days ago, I went to Blockbuster Video.  I had no idea what I wanted to watch, but I just had the itch.  I'm a movie guy, and even though it is a bad thing sometimes, I just love to watch movies to break away from life.  Anyway, as I pulled up to the store, I saw this pimped out escalade... I mean, this thing was hot!  It had multiple flat screen TV's, including a huge TV in the trunk.  It had brand new shiny spinners.  It was painted in such a way that from one angle, it looked like it was green and from another angle, it looked like it was purple.

My favorite part about it though was the doors.  It had those Lamborghini doors that don't open the regular way, but they opened upwards.  This thing was hot, and I wanted to get a good look at it.  Of course, there was a large group of black guys around it.  I think there was one white guy, but he was standing next to his bike, so I don't think he was a part of the group.  So yeah, I purposely parked as close to the pimped out Escalade as I could, and I slowly walked by, hoping that someone would notice me checking out their ride.  

As soon as one of the guys glanced at me I said "hey man, did you guys get that on Pimp My Ride?"  He had no idea since it wasn't his car, but as soon as I asked that question another guy came up, and so I had to ask the question again.  As soon as I asked it, he got this grin on his face and said "nah man."  Feeling awkward, I decided to just go into Blockbuster, and as I was walking, I glanced over my shoulder to see the guy whisper in the ear of his friend while pointing at me.  I smiled and gave them a little wave, but inside I felt like a moron.

But hey, I'm just a product of my upbringing, and I'm living proof that acting more black around black people is "in" for us mulattos.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

SBPL Myth #3 - Music Trends

(A JAM C) When it comes to music preferences, I have often come to find that biracial people have chosen a side.  They either tend to like Rap and R&B, or Alternative, Rock, and Heavy Metal.  Well, maybe I should refer to that in the past tense.  Music has definitely evolved over the past decade.  In the 90's, it was either or.  There was typical white music, which rarely had any black followers except for Hootie and Lenny Kravitz, and there was your typical black music which had all black followers, and a decent amount of white ones too.

Then the Backstreet Boys came out.

I didn't mean that to be a metaphor... honestly... I kinda liked the Backstreet Boys.  But for me, that was the beginning of the end.  Music hasn't been the same since then.  I remem-
ber the first time I heard a Backstreet Boys song.  I was driving in my car listening to 96.3 FM, which is Indianapolis' Hip Hop and R&B station.  They were big in 
Europe, and now they were about to hit it big in the States.  As I listened to the song, I was thinking to myself "okay, this isn't too
 bad, I can dig it."  I didn't think much of it after that.

A few days later, I saw them on TV, and I recognized the song, and honestly, I was flabbergasted.  I thought they were black, but they weren't.  Five white boys we
re on my TV screen, singing music that wasn't quite "black music," but definitely wasn't "white music."  One of these five guys looked like a girl.  I was scared.  Honestly, I knew w
hat was coming next.  I knew that as a result of the Backstreet Boys, two things were going to happen.  1) Little girls everywhere were going
 to fall head over heels in love with them, and 2) there would be imitations... many, many imitations.

There were imitations.  Shortly after the Backstreet Boys hit it big, Britney Spears came out with "Hit me Baby One More Time," which debuted at #1.  After that, N'Sync hit it big.  After that, Christina Aguilera, 98 Degrees, Jessica Simpson, Mandy Moore, O'Town, J-Lo, etc., came, and the whole landscape of the music scene changed.  Pop died with the New Kids on the Block, but then it burst rapidly onto the scene to end the century, and things have never been the same.

Here's what the late 90's Pop explosion did... before Pop, music had a very thick line dividing it.  In Indianapolis for instance, there was Hoosier Hot 96, which as I stated before was devoted solely to Rap and R&B, and there was 93.1, which was devoted to Heavy Metal, and 103.3, the alternative station.  I was fine with that.  I didn't see it lasting long, 
but it was okay with me.  Before the year 2000 hit though, 93.1 decided to change gears.  It became Radio Now 93.1, and instantly became the most popular radio station in Indianapolis.  Their plan was to have a top ten countdown every hour... EVERY HOUR!  And you know what?  People ate it up.  I could tune to a station at the 55th minute of any hour throughout the day, and I was guaranteed to hear "Genie in a Bottle," or "I Want it That Way."  It freakin' drove me crazy.

Instead of the thick black line, there became a huge grey area, and people who grew up with the black line had no idea what to do.  I'll admit, I really didn't want to like the Backstreet Boys or N'Sync because I didn't think I would have been accepted by my friends or older brothers.  Then, I heard that Michael Bennett, the 6'6 all-state basketball player from my high school liked the Backstreet Boys, and N'Sync, and I was more willing to broaden my horizons.

The Pop revolution did two things to music.  One of those things was very good, but the other was so bad, that it completely obliterates the good.

Good - More and more people began to like music from the "other side."  This was fascinating to me.  I remember my friend Mike (not the ball player), the biggest most intimidating looking black dude I knew.  When I first met him, he was strictly on one side.  Then all of a sudden he's listening to Creed, and Three Doors Down, and the Bloodhound Gang.  Really?  I remember my sister, who all of a sudden listens to anything, and I mean an-ny-thing-guh!  And honestly, that's awesome!  That's the way it should be.  I don't think there should be music that's designated as white music and music that's designated as black music, but that's the way it was in the mid-90's.  But then there's the bad.

Bad - As a result of the pop revolution, music today is garbage.  You can feel free to disagree with me all you want, but I'm sticking to my guns.  Do me a favor... if you ever see VH1's top 100 songs of the 90's on TV, watch it.  The show annoys me, because they only chose one song per artist, but still... If you were a teenager at any point before 1997, and you don't find yourself thinking "what the eff happened to music?", by the end of the show, then you're one of a kind.  Instead of having music in it's purest of forms, it is all blended together with the aim of reaching that very large grey audience that is mostly made up of teenagers... if you do the math, an 18 year old was in first grade when the Backstreet Boys came out.  They don't know a thing about that thick line, and they probably don't care.  In my opinion, the blend is okay at best.

Pop destroyed R&B.

That's my beef with Pop when I think about it honestly.  Today's Pop music sounds too much like R&B for R&B to have a fighting chance.  Think about it.  I did a search online for the top R&B songs of all-time, and I found somebody's list of favorite R&B songs.  There wasn't a single song from after the year 2000.  If I made a list of my favorite R&B songs, mine might be in a similar situation.

Pop probably did the same thing to Alternative.  Green Day has been replaced by a boy band with an electric guitar player and a token black guy who raps a few words.  I don't know much about Alternative, so I'll just have to stop there.

Pop cheapened Rap.  Seriously, this one almost hurts as much as what Pop did to R&B.  Do you know what I heard the other day?  Little Wayne is the greatest rapper alive.  Little Wayne?  Little Wayne?!!  Do you mean the same Little Wayne from Cash Money records who sounded like an ironing board sounds like when you have to open it?  When did this happen?  I mean, I'm open minded... if Little Wayne really is the greatest rapper alive, then maybe I should check out some of his music, but seriously... I remember 90's Little Wayne.  The wind could beat him up, and he was rapping about how hard he was.  I just wasn't buying it.

The reason why this is an SBPL Myth is the fact that this seems like it would be right up a biracial person's alley.  You know?  Get white music and black music, put it in a blender and viola!  Biracial music!  Whatever the case, I think our collective reaction is at worst the same as the collective reactions of any other race.

Yesterday, I was driving somewhere and I had an epiphany.  When I was in high school, I was determined to always like the music that was on top of the charts.  Whatever was in, was my kind of music.  Here I am only 10 years later, and I can already tell you that my time is up.  I'm finished, and I'm afraid that there's no hope for me.  I'm not even 30, but as long as Pop is King, my ability to be with the "in" crowd is a 0 on a scale of 1 to 10.  That's okay with me.  There's much more to life than being "in."

Monday, July 21, 2008

#10 Southern California

(A JAM C) Every year, I go out to the Los Angeles area for a conference in the middle of February.  It is such an awesome break for me, because along with 95% of minorities, I really dislike the cold weather.  February is notorious for being a freakishly cold month.  So, I get to go out to SoCal, and enjoy a few days of summer weather before I have to go back to the misery of my Columbus, OH winters.

My first trip out to LA was a pleasant surprise.  I fell in love with the area.  Everything about it just seemed to say to me "this is where you belong."

With all of that being said, the reason why biracial people like Southern California is because of the diversity.  California as a whole is one of four states (along with Texas, Hawaii, and Florida) with more minorities than white people.  Nothing against white people, but that is pretty sweet.  It should probably add some perspective as to how diverse Southern California is when you consider the fact that Northern California might as well be called South Oregon.  That's really what it is.  Anywhere north of San Francisco is pretty much just as white as anywhere else.  So, when you consider that, Southern California even more than just 50/50.

The thing that I love about the unique diversity of SoCal is that there isn't more of one race than another.  There's plenty of black people, white people, Asians, and Hispanic people.  Because of that, there's also a ton of mixing going on.  My old roommate Matt just got engaged to a girl from Southern California who is mixed Hispanic and Philipino.  In his eyes she's the most beautiful girl in the world.  I don't know why he could possibly say that since he's definitely friends with my super hot fiance, but that just goes to show that beauty really is in the eye of the beholder.  Anyway, that's a different story for a different time.

Here's what a biracial person experiences when they visit SoCal.  We get off of the plane, take a few looks around, and for the first time in our lives, we realize something... we're not different, because everybody is different.  Being different from everybody else is being the same as everybody else, and that's beautiful.

Is there anywhere else in the world like that?  Seriously, I want to know.  Is there anywhere where the land isn't dominated by white people, black people, hispanic people, asian people, indian people, etc?  I don't know.  Well, there's one other place... there's a verse in the Bible that talks about Heaven, and the apostle John says that in a vision he looked around and saw people from "every tribe, tongue, and nation."  In other words, he saw diversity.  He saw a melting pot, and I'm not talking about a melting pot like the United States of America claims to be... which is really just a melting pot of the different European countries with their slaves, and the remnants of the people they kicked out... I'm talking about something far different, and far superior.  And no, I'm not saying that SoCal should be compared to Heaven.  Far from it.  There's still something sweet about it though.

Friday, July 18, 2008

#9 Chicken

(A JAM C) Now I know what you're thinking... Chicken? CHICKEN?! There's no way this guy is going to claim chicken as an exclusively mulatto thing!

If you're thinking that, you're right. I just want to tell you about the power of chicken. If you're white, you must realize that black people love chicken. To just say that they love chicken isn't saying enough though. Black people are passionately, aggressively, wholeheartedly, and madly in love with chicken. Don't ever touch a piece of chicken that you even think belongs to a black person. Trust me on this one. All chicken is off limits. Chicken wings, chicken nuggets, chicken salad, KFC, grilled chicken, chicken dumplings, chicken pot pie, even chicken a la mode. If you see a black person eating chicken a la mode, don't stare, just keep on doing what you're doing. It is impossible for black people to surprise me when it comes to the myriad of ways that they eat their chicken.

A poem I wrote 6 years ago best explains why biracial people can also claim chicken as something they like.

I was in the motherland (South Africa in particular) on a mission trip, and we were reading the Psalms from the Bible. We were asked to write our own Psalm, and I wrote what came to my heart. I won't share the whole thing, but I will definitely share the relevant part of the revised version:

With my Lord, and my Sword
I take Satan to school
From West Beverly to East Cranwich
And I looked at the fool
And said 'make me a sandwhich.'

'What do I want in it?
You've got to be kiddin'
Cause even though I'm half black

It wasn't necessarily the most Biblical of poems, but it got to the point. I wish I could read it out loud, because I say it with a lot more gusto. Anyway though, the thing I'm trying to say that this poem illustrates is that the power of a black person's infatuation with chicken is so strong that it grabs a hold of anybody with any African blood in them, and it sweeps them away. Whenever I go visit my brother Jason in Connecticut, we seem to have this unspoken rule. There WILL be extra chicken. Case closed. If he ever comes to visit me, the same rule is in place. Chicken will always be aplenty.

Friends, I can't even begin to tell you how much I love chicken. My favorite food went from Chinese food, to lobster, to chicken wings as I grew up. I could eat chicken wings every day for the rest of my life. After that, I would go with chicken salad. Some of you may be thinking "chicken salad? really?" Well let me tell you something... if you make chicken salad right, you have just made a masterpiece. Chicken salad made the right way is heavenly. I'm drooling just thinking about it. After that, I have to go with anything from Chick-Fil-A... oh Lord, don't even get me started.

I know I'm not alone in this. Chicken is just so versatile. You can make it any way you want to, and it can taste like anything in the world. Now, I don't want to discredit the fact that white people like chicken too. I mean, come on... the most famous chicken person in the world is white, Colonel Sanders. There's just something powerful about a black man and his chicken though. Black people made Colonel Sanders rich, but Colonel Sanders also made black people rich too. The people who founded Church's Chicken, Popeye's, and Roscoe's Chicken and Waffles owe a lot to Colonel Sanders. He was the pioneer.

Words can't even begin to describe how thankful I am to the many black men and women who came before me and cultivated my love for chicken. It is so easy to become passionate about what other people are passionate about, because you can just see the natural outflow of their heart towards the object of their heart's desire. In this case, black people have opened up my chest, and implanted a piece of their heart in mine. For that I will be eternally grateful.

I'd also like to give a shout out to the first person who ever looked at a living chicken, ignored the look of a chicken from the outside, and thought to themselves "hmm, I think that would taste good." How right you were my friend... how right you were.

#8 Milli Vanilli

Hear me out on this one.

Two black guys from Germany and France... the land of half of your ancestry.  One of those guys looks like he's biracial.  His skin is medium toned, and he has light colored eyes.  His dad is black, and his mom is European.  They're hot, and they're on top of the world.  Not only do they have three singles that topped the charts, but they just won a grammy for best new artist.  What biracial person wouldn't have absolutely fallen in love with Milli Vanilli?!

Okay, so they were revealed as frauds, and they never actually sang any of their hit songs.  I still have love for them 18 years later.  A few years afterwards, they came out with their own songs, and you know what?  They sounded pretty good.

After thinking about it, they definitely could have sung their own songs on that album that brought them to stardom.  I mean, just listen to their hit song "Girl You Know It's True."  Anyone could have sung that song, and it would have sounded good.  Their other songs were very similar, and if they came out with an album where they actually sang, and they managed to sound good, they would have been fine.

I'm sure that I'm not very convincing right now.  That's okay.  Maybe this entry should be titled "stuff biracial people should like."  That's much more appropriate.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

SBPL Myth #2 All Biracial kids are related.

We are all familiar with the typical spiritual phrase "We are all God's children; we are all brothers and sisters". You don't have to believe in Jesus or have gone to Sunday school to hear it.

Whether you actually believe that or not, I'm here to set the record straight: Not all biracial kids are related to each other.

In elementary school, middle school AND high school, I cannot tell you how often I was asked, "Is Myke your brother? Are you related to BJ, Erin, Brandon, Joel AND Davante?"

It didn't matter that all those people were the same age as I was and in the same grade. We were all biracial, so OF COURSE we all came from the same mother and father.

Reader, I must admit, it used to bother me in middle school. But then I started to give into it in high school. Why get mad? Let's just be super satirical! If you have ever been around me for 1 second and have encountered me coming across another biracial person, you've heard me call them my kin. In fact, Alex (AjamC) is my brother. Does it matter that he has less negro hair that I do? Does it matter that my nose is wider and his lips are thicker? Does it matter that our birthday's are only a month apart? HEY! Does it matter that we have totally different parents? Apparently not.

I'd like to take this time to thank all the ignorant people of the world for their humorous misconceptions. You've given me a good laugh since 1996 and it just keeps going.

An only child, Janara aka Carmel Delight

#7 Acting More Black Around Black People

(A JAM C) Just to make things clear, biracial people aren't the only ones who start dropping their "g" at the end of every word that ends in "ing."  They're not the only ones who start saying "y'all" as if that's actually a word.  And they're definitely not the only ones who all of a sudden start using words like "is" or "be" when you know that "are" or "am" is the appropriate word.  Most importantly, we aren't the only ones who say the "I" in a southern accent, which makes it sound like "ah."  For instance, when I hear a really articulate non-black friend of mine all of a sudden start saying something like "I'm down wit da game, you know who ah be," I really want to smack him in the face.

I'll just be straight with you, my speech all of a sudden doesn't change around black people.  With that being said, I have my techniques.

My way of being cool with my black friends is to reach into the extensive vault of my brain and bring out my love affair with traditionally black music.  I particularly like classic soul.  Stevie Wonder, Teddy Pendergrass, Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Luther Vandross, etc.  I love to all of a sudden whip their songs out and start singing in my smooth silky brown voice (No, I don't know what a smooth silky brown voice is, it just sounded good to say).  I can hang with the rap game, but I try to steer clear of it, because I'm not as familiar with the underground anymore.  So yeah, I stick with Classic Soul and R&B.  Some songs are ridiculously dirty, so I love to throw out a line or two just to get a rise out of people such as.

"Mymind'stellinmeno!"  (R. Kelly, Bump and Grind)
"Every time I close my eyes." (Jodeci, Freek'n You)

I love singing those exact words.  Seeing people's reactions is hilarious.  Mostly it's a simple "boy, you better stop" with a couple of chuckles.

Other songs just stick out to members of the black community.

"Girl you know I I I I I I love you!" (Lenny Williams, Cause I Love You)

"I've been really tryin' tryin' to hold back this feelin' for so long." (Marvin Gaye, Let's Get it On)

I love those songs.  Teddy Pendergrass has always been my favorite, but recently Stevie Wonder has made a push, and seriously, I love almost every song that he has ever released.  I mostly don't bust these songs out to try to impress my black friends.  I'm actually doing it because of my love for the music.  I live in a house with 9 other guys, and 8 of them are white.  If I bring up any of these singers or songs to my white roommates, they'll just look at me with a blank stare.  If I start singing around my black friends, we might just start having a spontaneous dance party, and let me tell you this... I am 100% black on the dance floor.  There's no white in me.  My booty is rockin' everywhere, I'm gettin' jiggy with it.  I get low, I get high, I pop, I do the robot, the worm, the Carlton, whatever.  I can break it down on the dance floor, and if my singing starts one of these dance parties, I'm down.

White guys can't break it down.

I wish they could, but they can't.  It's just a sad truth that I'm going to have to live with, and since I'm mostly surrounded by white people in my job, and in most areas of my life, it is easy for me to feel a sense of freedom when I'm with my black friends.

I don't think everybody is like this around black people though.  If you're black, here's a word for you... most non-black people are intimidated by you.  Well, maybe not you alone, but if you're hanging out with your black friends, there's an overwhelming sense of "I'm the most uncool person in the room" syndrome.  Some will want to leave that area immediately, but occasionally you'll find that they'll desperately want to fit in with you.  For this can even happen with us biracial people.  One time Janara (aka House Negro) and I were eating at a Mexican restaurant, and in mid conversation, she all of a sudden just started laughing.  Apparently, one of the waiters was getting a phone call, and his ring tone was a rap song.  Instead of answering the phone, he pulled it out of his pocket, then looked at us, and then answered his phone.  His look was a "do you see how ghetto I am?  I have a ring tone with the rhythm of your people on it" look.

Just a warning, that kind of stuff makes you look so much more uncool.  At first, you were just there... now, you're that really uncool guy who is trying too hard.  I can only hope that I'm never that really uncool guy who is trying too hard, but sometimes that label may fit me perfectly.  Now, if I'm ever that guy, when I am definitely not uncomfortable around black people, how much more likely are you to be that guy or girl, if you're very uncomfortable around black people.

Here's a possible remedy for you.  Despite the things you may believe, black people are generally nicer than white people.  As crazy as that might sound, that's the truth.  When you realize the fact that that's true, you'll have a much easier time relating to them.  Once that happens, you're in the clear.

Anyway, you're cool.  Just don't try too hard to make yourself appear cooler than you actually are.  I'll try to do the same.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

SBPL Myth #1 - Being Stared At

(A JAM C) Before I write anything, let me throw this word out...


I am 100% guilty of staring at biracial people.  However, when I stare at them, I get an awkward crooked smile on my face... especially when I see little biracial children.  It reminds me of my childhood, and almost any memory before the tenth year of my life is a pretty sweet one.

You, however, are probably far more guilty than I.  When you see a white woman walking around and holding hands with a medium skin-toned little boy, everything starts to click in your mind.  "Hey!  She's white... and that's probably her son/daughter... so that means that... the father is black!  How did that happen?"  And during the 5-10 second period that all of this is going on in your mind, you're looking at the two of them.  Let me tell you a little secret.  It's obvious!  It's obvious to them.  It's obvious to the people around you.  It's obvious to EVERYBODY... except for you.  Somehow, your staring has eluded you, and your mind is so entrenched in the moment that you don't even realize it.

I'm sure that you realize it isn't something we particularly appreciate, but I wanted to bring out the awareness of the issue because it happens too much, and even though I'm guilty too, my guilt is a misdemeanor, while yours is much more severe.  It's all good though.  Biracial children are beautiful.  Stare at their beauty, but just don't make it awkward.

Monday, July 14, 2008

#6 Scholarships

(A JAM C) If you're biracial, and you disagree with every post so far, you would be crazy to disagree with this one.  Scholarships are awesome, and MB&W high schoolers benefit from a whole array of offers.  I didn't exactly have an outstanding GPA in high school (it wasn't that bad either), but it got to the point where I had to turn down a couple of things because I already had a full ride to college.

I once got an offer to a historically black scholarship program called the "Beautillion Millitaire."  It was a pretty big deal, and I was told that I could get anywhere between $3000 and $10,000 worth of scholarships depending on how much effort I put in to the program.  I remember going and checking it out with my mom.  It seemed like a really cool program, and I also found out that I was going to learn how to do a sweet dance with some canes.  I was all for it, but then my mom and step dad pulled me aside a couple of days later, and said to me "you realize you don't need this right?"  They were right, I didn't need it.

Now, the two scholarships that I got were not race related scholarships, but you never know.  Maybe there was some influence.

With all of that being said, I can't say that I am all for minorities having such an advantage when it comes to receiving scholarships.  I'm definitely not all against it, because of the fact that the white majority typically comes from a wealthier home situation, but I can't stop thinking about the children from white homes that are just as poor as everybody else.  They're being completely ignored, and nobody really cares about them... in the words of Chris Rock, "you're white, smile!"  So what, we're telling them is that they'll be fine, and they have no excuse for not making it, because they're white.

My stepfather tried to get me to go to grad school at a top tier school, and his main point in recruiting me was that they would just throw money at me to come to their school.  Not because I'm smart or because I have potential, but because I'm black.  There's something wrong with that.  But hey, somebody needs to pay us back for the centuries of slavery that our ancestors went through... yeah, or something like that.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

#5 Interracial/Cross-Cultural Relationships

From the beginning of time, curiosity for the “other” has existed when it comes to relationships. Israelites have intermarried with Canaanites; Master has slept with a field slave; the Indian Desi has danced in Chocolate rain; David Bowie married Iman.

The result of such interracial coupling has resulted, at a most superficial level, in beautiful creations. Don’t deny the beautiful people of the world: Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey, Shamar Moore, Derek Jeter, Lenny Kravitz…the list goes on and on.

To the Mulatto, there is nothing like seeing before their very eyes the equation that adds up to them. Black + White = Mulatto.

Personally, I get warm fuzzies whenever I look into a crowd of people and see diversity in the form of interracial couples. I cannot limit it to the Black/White couple, as I love it whenever two different races come together in the name of love. However, I am biased toward the Black/White combination as I am a result of such a glorious equation. I’d venture to say that most, if not all other mulattos would agree with me.

I should also state that for the record, the legacy usually continues for the mulatto child. For example, I have grown up always wanting to marry outside of my race. In fact, my first crush was on a Chinese boy in the first grade. The only guy I’ve ever dated was white. To live and experience and learn another culture/ethnicity/race would be a dream come true.

Love, Janara aka Brown Sugar

Saturday, July 12, 2008

#4 The Color Pink

Barbie may have traveled around a child's bedroom in her pink corvette; little girls may have fought over a pair of pink jellie shoes; boys may have swore that the color pink was only for girls. Regardless, there comes a time in every Mulatto's life when they realize they not only like the color pink, but they look good in it too.

Why, you ask?

There is something about the combination of skin complexion with the color pink that just works. For men: Pink collar shirts and hats; maybe a man purse or capri pants if they are secure in their manhood. For women: Pink skirts, handbags, shoes, etc.

When I was a little girl, all my girlfriends LOVED the color pink in it's various shades. I've always been a person to go against the norm, so at a young age, i vowed to NEVER like the color pink and devote my aesthetic pleasures to the color green.

However, by the time I reached college, the suppression could last no longer! Almost overnight, the color Pink was no longer a color I only wore on Valentines Day. Skirts: Pink. Old Navy Shirts: Pink. Lip gloss: Pink. Underware: you get the point. I finally realized that no matter what tone my skin was (I turn virtually white in the winter--just check out my thigh sometime), the color pink looked good on me.

So it is with most, if not all biracial people.

Other colors that biracial people look good in: Tahiti and baby blue, yellow, olive green, maroon.

Pinkified, Janara aka House Negro

#3 Putting "Black" on a Census Report

(A JAM C) I really don't like it when I have to fill out a form and when it asks me my race, the only options are:

Asian/Pacific Islander
Native American

Some people have realized that there are many people who represent more than one race, and the generously tell us to "check all that apply."  Others, however, choose not to give us that option, and say to select only one.  Honestly, that hurts a little bit.  My mother's side of the family is Portuguese.  For all that I know, there isn't a single black person in that whole line.  To have to choose "Black" when half of my ancestry is white is a very difficult thing to do.  Regardless of all of that, I will always put "black" for many reasons.

1) For the first 13 years of my life, I thought I was black.  I know, it sounds weird, but the thought never entered my mind that I was mixed black and white until I saw a special on Nick News about kids who are exactly like I am.  It probably never entered my mind, because I only have three relatives from my mom's side that live in America.   On my dad's side, I had all sorts of family members all around me, who were very proud of their heritage.  They constantly reminded me of my roots, and I loved being black.  When I found out, I wasn't entirely black, I was pretty shocked to say the least.
After figuring out that I wasn't 100% black, I looked back on my life, and I realized that tons of people asked me what my race was.  Not knowing the truth, I replied "black," and being the innocent little kid that I was, I returned the courtesy by asking them what race they were... even though, it was obvious what race they were.  It was a tough adjustment, but I learned to appreciate my identity.

2) By law, I'm Black.  I don't know if the rules have changed since I last checked, but as far as I know, the United States government says that I'm black.  In fact, if my kids all marry white people, their kids will be considered too.  By law, if you're 1/8th black, and 7/8th white, you're still black.  Hey, I don't make the rules, but that's just the way it is.

3) When people look at me, they may see a black person, but they will NEVER see a white person.  Here's the thing.  If I was put in a group of black people, and you picked random strangers to figure out what race I am, most would probably say black.  If you did the same thing but put me with a group of white people.  I would be absolutely shocked if anyone said that I was white.  Nobody has ever thought that I was white in my life, but plenty of people have thought that I was black.  If I'm honest, most people think I'm hispanic, which is understandable, but that's a different post for a different time.

Friday, July 11, 2008

#2 Black Men (girls)

(A JAM C) As I said in the previous post, my sister is going to marry a black man next May.  Unlike my brothers' dating preferences, my sister has had more diverse boyfriends.  She has dated white men, black men, biracial men.  Her daughter actually has a white father.  So why do biracial women prefer black men?  Well, it probably isn't as one-sided as it is for biracial men, but once again, I think it goes back to the parents.  Dad is (usually) black, and if he was a good father, then you would probably want somebody similar to him.

There may be a few other things deeper down.  For instance, white men could have the same intimidation factor towards biracial women that I talked about in my first post.  Maybe it has to do with the white men more than it does the biracial women.  I don't know.  From my observances though, I would say that MB&W women have a slight preference towards black men.  Maybe I'll get my sister on here for more of her thoughts.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

#1 White Women (guys)

(A JAM C) I have three brothers and a sister who are all biracial like I am.  It's just funny how things have worked out over the years.  My oldest sister dated many black men, and is about to marry a black man next May (the subject of another post).  However, none of my brothers have ever come close to dating a black woman.  I have dated three girls in my life, and they have all been white.  While I never objected to dating a black woman, the opportunity just never arose.

My older brothers are both married to white women, and I'll also be married to one very soon.  I don't know a whole lot a men my age who are mixed black and white... I know that it is becoming less and less taboo, but you still don't find many guys who are mixed black and white and are older than 20.  With that being said, I don't know a single MB&W guy who is dating or has ever dated a woman who is darker than he is.  Why is that the case?  Perhaps I can suggest a few reasons.

1. Intimidation - Black women are different than white women... is that the understatement of the century?  I don't want this to sound racist at all, but there's something much more scary about getting a black woman angry.  When a white woman gets angry, it's funny... go give her a hug, and tell her that everything is going to be alright.  Offer her some low-fat vanilla frozen yogurt, and pop in one of her "Friends" DVDs, preferably the episode where Rachel sees the prom video.  Black women, however, are a much different story.
Go ahead, try to anger a black woman... I'll wait...
Are you still alive?  An angry black woman will eat you alive and spit you out.  If you hear a "mmm" you better brace yourself, if you hear a "no you didn't," run until you can't breathe anymore, and if she starts snapping her fingers and pulling her earrings off, say hi to God for me... because you're already dead.  Black men know how to deal with this because they have mothers and sisters who are 100% black... which leads me to my second point.

2.  Lack of experience with black women in the home.  If you're a male, and you're mixed black and white, that means that your dad is black, and your mom is white.  There's a few situations where it is the other way around, but I would say that 80-90% of MB&W guys have black dads.  Because of that, they don't grow up in a home with black women, and they don't get the 18 years of experience needed to stand tall around a beautiful, strong, black woman.  Black men, get a wealth of experience in this area, and the brunt of their experience comes from a common source... momma.  If you're a black man, you already know what I'm talking about.  If momma ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.  You ain't happy, pops ain't happy, your siblings ain't happy, your dog ain't happy, your dead ancestors ain't happy.  Along with that, if you're the reason why momma ain't happy, then you can only take comfort in the fact that she won't kill you.  Everything else is fair game.  While black children grow up, they're equipped with the necessary tools needed to make momma happy, and that's all that matters.  Despite all of that, black men LOVE their mothers... it shouldn't be any other way.  When black men are looking for a wife, they want a woman a lot like momma.  In other words, they want a strong black woman... except for when the go for white women... which I won't complain about, because that's why I'm alive.  MB&W men don't get the same exposure at an early age.  It is like trying to learn Chinese at the age of 18 instead of from childhood. 
Anyway, a MB&W man might not last very long in a relationship with a black woman.  I don't know.  I'm not acting like I know it all, but at least I have a little bit of insight from my experiences.