I was born and raised in America, have a college degree and English is my first language. My 3rd grade educated grandfather felt that grammar and enunciation were important so I am, in fact, articulate. Thanks to a flat iron my natural hair is often straight and when it isn’t my fro earns me the exotic label more often than not. Perhaps the straightness of my nose contributes to that characterization; I guess I owe that and my love of a good drink to my Scottish heritage.
Why is origin of my genes a pressing concern in 2011? Why is the “Mixed” question asked with a tinge of hopefulness, as if a certain combination of racial pieces will somehow unlock a treasure trove of American post-racial goodies? It is so tiring to hear people run down the list of bits and pieces that comprise a broken whole. We are all brown Americans at varying levels of consciousness (or lack thereof). Investigating my ancestry in an attempt to reconcile my face with your perception of beauty makes me feel tired and sad for your limited vision. Maybe it’s just innocent curiosity, and you are a student of faces, an artist. It’s just that I’ve been a Black woman in America for decades so I’m skeptical/jaded/over it.
I’ll answer the question though…
I’m mixed with
Angst & fury
Melanin & moxie
Tenderness & tenacity
Hardheaded sensibility and cool logic
Fiery passions and childlike wonder
By turns memorable and able to move without being seen
All of these traits and the unspeakable longing of my ancestors
Combine in the greatest chemistry experiment ever.
Transformation of the highest order has taken place…
Every time I do not respond to provocation.
Each tear that I hold back when I witness a hungry child.
As I stifle screams, knowing that Black men are jailed for profit
When I don’t give in to the lightheadedness that washes over me when I hear a mother’s screams, her child a victim of circumstance.
The fact that I am able to sit still and appreciate the color variations of a flower’s petals
Experience it with all my senses, and pick up on music playing softly in the background
…while Rome, in the form of my community, burns to a crisp
Is a testament to the perfection that is possibility
And what is a remix but a combination of possibilities?
So yeah, I’m mixed…