Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Biracials: America’s emergent race

By Allen R. Gray
NDG Special Correspondent

The One Drop theory is defunct and wasted away.

America has arrived at a point where it must admit that the way we have historically felt about racial classifications has changed. Our world is no longer as simple as Black and white—or Hispanic or Asian. Even job applications now allow applicants to declare if they are biracial, multi-racial, or if they are of two or more races—and just the atypical white, Black, Hispanic or Asian.

There once was a time that the viscosity of Black blood was so infectious that merely one drop could condemn any other major ethnicity to the bowels of Negrodom. It was for this reason that inter-racial marriage was a crime punishable by imprisonment and miscegenation was often a death sentence.

 

(Clay Banks / Unsplash)

All states enforced some brand of anti-miscegenation law, but the notion of a government dictating who one could or could not love based on race took roots with the ruling in an 1883 Supreme Court Decision that upheld the constitutionality of anti-miscegenation laws.

In the pivotal case Pace v. Alabama (1883), a Black man, Tony Pace, was accused of living together in “adultery and fornication” with Mary J. Cox, a white woman. Had there been two white people caught in this moral dilemma, they would have been fined one-hundred dollars, or they were sentenced to a few days in jail. Pace and Cox were sentenced to the maximum penalty allowed, which was two years in the state penitentiary. Pace and Cox appealed their conviction to the U.S. Supreme Court under the provisions of the 14th Amendment’s equal protection clause, but they didn’t receive a righteous verdict from that august body. The Supreme Court ruled that Alabama’s anti-miscegenation law did not violate the 14th Amendment, because both the white and Black offenders received the same sentence. That unrighteous decision stood for nearly a century and proved to be just as damning for fair and just America as did the ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson’s “separate but equal” doctrine.

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So it is that in America it is not always a matter of how one might view oneself or what they are purported to be racially, it is more a matter of what the racial culture of the day allows them to be. For some, it is no more than an imitation of life.

Being multiracial is mostly a matter of opinion. The Black culture has always accepted multiracial Americans. We had to because we didn’t have a choice. A biracial was apt to be found in places as lowly as slave quarters, and as grand as the big house. But those biracials could never claim to be white even if they wanted to. Still, mankind’s view of his racial self is due to evolve, even when some wish otherwise.

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The day some ardently white Americas have feared for centuries is now upon us. Biracials have come boldly out of the closet. A recent Pew Research Center survey on America’s racial composite revealed that 60% of Americans identified as multiracial say that they are proud of their background, even though, they have been subjected to racial slurs or jokes.

U.S. Census statistics show that our multifarious construct of America is rapidly changing.

In 2016, Americans claiming two or more races accounted for 2.6% of the total population. Keep in mind that 2.6% is comprised of only of those multi-racial individuals who were audacious enough to admit that they were multi-racial. Over the next four decades, though, the number of multiracial Americans is projected to grow exponentially. At the same time, the biracial race is experiencing this growth, the white population is projected to shrink by nearly 19 million people when you measure births versus deaths.

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As America becomes more racially diverse and social taboos against interracial marriage fade, a new level of acceptance has descended upon our land.

Advertising giants are beginning to realize that, as a nation, we’ve come a long way, baby. Based on their recent nationally televised advertisements, even corporate America is getting the message. Inter-racial couples and their biracial offspring are smiling for the camera in all imaginable combinations of family members. Biracials are the face of products as diverse as automobiles to insurance. This new perception of the Black gene pool is a far cry from the perceptions of yesteryear.

75 years ago, Blacks weren’t allowed to participate in major sports; and even when that color line was crossed, Blacks were placed in limited support roles. Blacks certainly couldn’t play the position of quarterback, because—even though Blacks had “the God-given ability”—the claim was that Blacks didn’t have the IQ to be QB. Biracial athletes, though, are a can’t miss proposition, because they are credited with having all the God-given ability attributed to Black athletes plus all the intellectual strengths attributed to white athletes.
That twisted bit of genetic logic might be hard to argue with when we take a look at their production on the field. Biracial athletes have ascended to MVP of the NFL, NBA, WTA, WNBA, MLS, MLB, Formula 1…and they are working on dominating the NHL. (We, too, must pay homage to groundbreaking, record-shattering “Caublasian,” Tiger Woods as he continues to recover.)

Americans must now become cognizant of what racial tags we place on our fellow Americans. Specifically, Black folk will have to be cautious of the racial tags we place on our brethren; and where that tag might place us in the annals of historical accomplishments. We would be forced to admit that we Americans have never elected a Black president but, instead, a biracial president who is more commonly affiliated with Blacks. Nor have we ever elected a Black vice president but, rather, a multiracial woman who attended an HBCU (Historically Black Colleges or University) and who is a member of a historically Black sorority.

One must confess that a few more people admitting that they are proud to have Black blood streaming through their veins isn’t likely to cause a major shift in American politics (most admitted biracials tend to be democrats, though), nor will biracials coming out of the racial closet dampen the flames of systemic racism, but the unconditional acceptance of this new breed of American may have us two steps closer to being an all-inclusive melting pot.

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