Why you should remember your mixed race friends during Black History month

Posted by Ria, 05 Feb

Some people might argue that multiracial individuals are privileged, especially those who are light skinned. Well, may be yes. But when they find themselves in places where there are countless white people and countable people of color, one thing that is evident is that they feel like they don' t relate to anyone. And if we are going by the one-drop-rule, then they will always remain "that Black girl" or "that Black guy".

With the theme for Black History month this year being "African Americans and the Vote", much as you might think your light skinned friends or relatives are privileged, don't forget them this Black History month. For instance, where is the"Mixed Race" category on census questions?  Even in the 2020 census, mixed race individuals will have to either pick the race they feel they best identify with (which means denying all the other racial compositions of their identity) or check the "Other" box.

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According to the article, 'African-American or Other? Race & Ethnicity On the 2020 Census Form', "The mixed population counts as its own category, making it unclear how many of these people have African lineage."

This election year is important as it marks the 150th anniversary of the Fifteenth Amendment (1870). This gave black men the rights to vote after the Civil war. Now as we commemorate this, AGAIN, going by the one-drop-rule, even black-white individuals weren't allowed to vote. No matter how white your skin color was, even a drop of Black meant Black. And that is why we should not forget them as we celebrate this year's Black History month. They too went through what Black folks endured.

The theme highlights the struggle of Black men and women who have made their voices about the importance of the vote heard through voting-rights campaigns and legal suits. And this fight is still going on in courts today.

The thing is, whenever a question about minorities arises, we need to also seek the opinion of the mixed race individuals. Much as they only have a partial connection to the issues and struggles of minorities or what the Black people endured, it is still a connection. So while we are busy discussing these, let's all remember to also open up a safe space for them to air their thoughts. That way, if we include mixed race individuals in our discussions, it gives them a chance to evaluate and navigate the sensitive issue of racial identity.

So as we celebrate Black History month, we should all remember that even the mixed individual were also treated as second class citizens. They too need a chance to connect with Black historical figures who fought for human and civil rights. And the right to marry interracially. And we should also remember that during the census, they have no choice but to choose one identity or work with "Other".

Let's make this Black History month, not just about the struggles of Black people and legends, but also about giving both Black and mixed race individuals the platform to openly speak about their history, racial or otherwise, and how it has helped them rise despite the challenges that come their way. Everyone's opinion matters. So let's give them an opportunity to be heard. Then and only then will we understand that they also have their struggles and that we are all in this struggle together.

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