Race And Ethics Essay Research Paper Tania

Race And Ethics Essay, Research Paper

Tania ManzanaresRace and Ethnic12-4-97 Biracial Children and Interracial Marriages For my tern paper I’d like to discuss Interracial marriages and Biracial children: Their feelings toward discrimination because of their mixed blood. My reason for going into research on this particular subject is because I’d like to understand the feelings of others who are in interracial marriages and have children whom are biracial. I am a biracial child who can relate to this topic, my personal feelings will be expressed through out this paper. For so long has there been a big issue about interracial marriages and biracial children. Many people think that there should not be interracial dating because eventually this would lead to interracial/biracial children being born. Now for the most part those who are concerned about the children are indeed concerned about many difficulties and discriminations that child will be faced with because of their ethnic mixed blood. However, there are those people who don’t care about the well being of that child at all. They are those who are only concerned with what benefits and satisfies them. They only care about pleasing society and not “mixing” with one of a different race. I’d like to help others see what it is like to be a child of an interracial couple. I’d like to more importantly help express the feelings of the one for which most do not: the children. In my perspective the children are and should be the most important factor. I say this because yes, the couple who is interracially dating will be discriminated against and talked about but they are adults. I do not think because they are adults that discrimination against them is justifiable and should be accepted, but they are a bit more prepared to deal with the consequences that are involved. Where as the children have no choice in the matter. Children can not avoid the discrimination and enmity that people would have towards them. Furthermore, through this term paper I hope you have a great learning experience. I can only help others imagine the pain and sorrow a child of interracial parents may have. I went into this topic to help better establish my knowledge as well. I still call myself ignorant to others feelings on this topic, although I can relate. I know what it feels like to be discriminated against because of racial status. I am a Mexican/African American woman who has come to know how keen the existence of enmity is. Biracial children really have no choice because if you think about it there racial status is one that is ascribed and they can not change that. So if we know this then why is it that many citizens in the society do not seem to accept them as well as any other race? It was 41 years ago that the Civil Rights Movement began permeating the country and the American society. In the following decades, a multitude of hard-won changes have transformed schools, jobs, voting booths, hotels, restaurants-and even the wedding altar from pillars of segregation where Jim Crow ruled supreme to facilities tolerant of racial diversity. In the course of those changes there has been a dramatic increase in interracial unions, in particular marriages between Blacks and Whites. Not surprisingly, there has been a surge in number of mixed-race offspring. In 1991, about 128,000 interracial children were born, more than four times the 31,000 born in 1968. The U.S. Census Bureau says that there are at least 2 million multiracial children in married-couple households. Consequently, there has been a new movement rolling across the nation, and it too, could change society as we know it. This time proponents come from the ranks of multiracial individuals (and their parents) who are lobbying for addition of a “multiracial” classification on governments forms, including the U.S. Census tally. It also has been charged the right-wing conservatives and other civil rights opponents are pushing the move in a deliberate effort to divide and dilute Black political power. Not surprisingly, the notion of drastically altering the nation’s racial demographics is meeting opposition from civil rights organizations and major segments of the African-American community. There is concern that individuals now consider Black are categorized as a separate ethnic group. We are all aware that biracial people are not phenomenon in America. The races have mixed going back to the Colonial days. And it was not always by mutual consent, but through the sexual abuse of African American women by their White slave masters. Whereas over time other races blended with the Whites without question, “Black blood” was held accountable to the “one drop” theory, the social ideology of that era that declared anyone with one drop of African blood is Black. In doing so, America defined a way to permanently separate races. But the world is changing anyway. Changing so rapidly that the familiar din of black-white antagonism seems increasingly out of date. Partly because of immigration and partly because diversity is suddenly hip, America is beginning to revise its two-way definition of race. Though this process will surely take years, it is already blurring our sense that racial identity is fixed, immutable and primarily a matter of skin color. What is Black? It is every conceivable shade and hue from tan to ebony- and suddenly a matter of ideology and identity as much as pigmentation. The definition of black was not always so rigid. Though

some colonies passes laws penalizing white men and women who became sexually involved with blacks, all free mulattos were not considered black. Prior to Civil war, tolerance for racial ambiguity and mulatto privilege gradually evaporated. One reason that biracial children face problems with simply being who they are is because of the American obsession with labeling. We feel the need to label everyone and everything and group them into neatly defined categories. So often I hear people ask others “Are you Republican, a Democrat or a Independent? Are you pro-life or pro-choice? Are you African American, Caucasian or Native American?” Not everyone fits into such classifications. This presents a problem for the many biracial people living in the United States. One person I interviewed says that the rest of the population seems more comfortable when he chooses to identify with one group instead of saying that he is biracial. He goes on to say that it pressures him and the rest of the biracial population to do so, forcing them to deny half of who the are. Jessica Davidson, another interviewee who is biracial and is interracially married at the time and has a biracial son, says that she is sick and tired of people saying to her that she has “jungle fever” just because she has a Black man as her husband. Many of us if not all have heard the term jungle fever used whenever a black male or female is dating one of another race. This word is just another way of stigmatizing interracial couples. There has been many occasions where we have all heard that a person is trying to be something he/she really wasn’t. Sonya True, a biracial teenager says that she has been told many times that she was a “wanna be”. She says that people say that she tries to talk like a white girl and dress like a white girl. Now, all those silly comments are absurd. You can clearly see that it is nothing but mere ignorance and self-stupidity that provokes a person to say such ridiculous things. One person whom I interviewed that really touched me was Aida Johnson. Aida is a junior here at SIU, she is African American and Mexican as myself. She states to me that there are a lot of disadvantages in life, but she would never call here racial status a disadvantage. Expressing to me that she has a special gift the ability to live and learn two different languages and cultures. Yes, she states negative things do occur to her but the positive out weigh the negatives. Aida was the only person whom I interviewed with no single identity, she claims her self as Mexican/African American. I could go all day long giving examples of different incidents but it would only lead to more cyclic repetitious demonstrations, demonstrations that we all have come to be aware of throughout our lives as classified people. Based on these and other interviews, it appears that most individuals of Black-white percentage opt to identify with African-Americans. Halle Berry says it is important that multiracial individuals make a choice about race early in life “because even if you identify as `interracial`, you are still going to be discriminated against as a person of color in this country.” Actress Jasmine Guy, Troy Beyer and Lisa Bonet have always made it clear that they are Black women, despite their biracial percentage. And Rock star Lenny Kravitz, son of a White father and actress Roxie Roker, says he never questioned his identity, though he has encountered numerous other biracial individuals who he says were confused and trying to determine Am I Black or White? This is the common question that most biracial children are faced with and many times it takes years to actually be proud to say that they are both. Additionally, what I found from the interviews was that mostly all of them spoke about the reassessing of an individual label regarding the Census Bureau. All of them say that they want to be able to be classified as biracial or multiracial on such things as applications, college applications, interest exams, and other documented material that requires their classification. They feel that if they are able to have this special label then people will at least be acknowledgeable about their kind. The Census Bureau is currently conducting sample tests to determine whether to add a “multiracial” checkoff on the 2000 census, a decision s expected by the end of this year. This in some aspects is a good thing but I do not think however, that it will erase the problem of discrimination and stereotyping we have grown to establish as a society over the range of decades. In closing, I’d like to say that America is still preoccupied with race. Race divides us, defines us, and in some ways unites us. Let’s not let it destroy us. If you really think about it, yes, the color of our blood was still the same. It is what helps function as able persons, it is a major assister in our genetic make-up along with water and the breathe that keeps us alive, and it is the very thing that will be shed if we do not seize the madness. Referring back to a man for whom many of us love, loved, Martin Luther King Jr. “One day we will see a nation that is not judged by the context of their skin nut by the content of their character.” I have not given up on this dream and I pray that soon we will be able to see such being done. And yet another cliche, never judge a book by its cover because you may be deceived. Personally I do not see why it is any business of others who you date or marry. If two people are in love then so be it. It is a shame how society can make a racial issue about everything, an example we all know about is the O.J. Simpson case. There are many examples I can use but why they are all sick, I think! LLl Work Cited 1. Courtnet A. Brian. Newsweek Freedom rom choice: being Meant denying half my identity, Feb 13,1995 v125 p16 2. Beech, Hannah. U.S News & World Report: Don’t you dare list Them as ‘other’ (multiracial). April 8,1996 v120 n14 p56 3. Nortment, Lynn. Ebony I am black, white or in between? I there a plot to create a ‘colored’ buffer rece in America? August 1995 v50 n10 p108 4. Cose, Ellis. Newsweek: one drop of blod history. Feb 13,1995 v125 5. Morganthau, Tom. Newsweek: What color is black? Feb 131995 v125 INTERVIEW LIST Jessica Davidson: Friend of mine whom is biracial and has a biracial child.Aida Johnson: Friend who I biracial Mexican/African American.Sonya True: Student that is biracial.Larry Norris: Male who was born into a biracial family.Lori Hill: A biracial female that considers her self “White.”


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