"BI" - like bicycle and "RACIAL" - like the racial tension in my house right now.
Wendy and I were venting a few days ago about how everyone says that Barack is black when he's actually bi-racial. When I first heard of Barack Obama, I will admit that I thought he was black (based solely on his looks), and Muslim (based solely on his name). When I learned that he was actually bi-racial, I became excited about his candidacy because I thought it would be healthy for my bi-racial children to grow up under a bi-racial president. Sort of crushes the theory about being "disadvantaged", right? [steering clear of an Affirmative Action monologue right now]
Now everyone is stripping him of his bi-racial-ness and the whole reason for voting for him is gone! ...well, at least in my mind ...what? ..there are other more pressing issues?
I hope my children grow up knowing who they are: first, they're divine creations, children of God and colorless in His sight. Then they are bi-racial, children of their imperfect parents, one who is black and one who is white. That black/white parent thing makes them bi-racial, multi-cultural, mixed, Oreo cookies...no! Stop! ..and while we're on topic of what NOT to call them, they are not "mulattoes". "Mulatto" is the bi-racial equivalent of the "N word". So erase it from your vocabulary. Now. Go ahead, I'll wait...
Anyway, every now and then I remind my kids that they're half-white and then they grin and say "really?". They forget (like Obama? like the media? like the rest of the world?) ..or they just see themselves as others see them, like how I originally mistook Obama for a black man. If enough people see you as something, there's a chance that you might start seeing yourself that way too (look at all the egos in Hollywood).
In my reading on this topic, bi-racial children want to be able to recognize themselves as bi-racial. They don't want to be classified as one race, to do so is to deny half of their identity. Who wants to be forced to do that?
When I first became pregnant someone told me that my kids would be confused. I think that person was wrong. Every once and a while they need a reminder, but in general, they don't seem confused. They don't look in the mirror and scratch their heads. In fact, look that Amelle's illustration:
She's got it right, look at the "bodies" of our family members....Dirt is black, I'm a reddish orange (this was probably drawn after Florida - yes, it was...see how my roots are dark and then I have blonde streaks in my hair, I was in need of a touch up...) and the kids are a beautiful shade of delicious chocolate. The only thing "off" about this picture is Dirt's ears (in real life they're actually much larger).