So we are back to the “one drop rule.”

I am White/Caucasian.  My wife is Korean/Asian.  I have two girls that I generally classify as my daughters.  Yet the world has to have some classification for them other than that.  My oldest is now 7 and she is finding her identity.  This is harder because she is part of two cultures.  She has a tan complexion all year round and has dark brown hair.  She does not have double lids on her eyes.  She is tall and stocky for her age.  You have probably seen pictures of her on this site.  She has an exotic look.  We have tried to share both the American and Korean cultures with her.  She loves Korean food and uses the Korean word for dad when speaking to me.  She also loves American food and speaks English as her primary language. 

I keep waiting for Barack Obama to come out and correct the media about his "classification."  I mean, sure, I would love to live in a world where it doesn't matter and people are people, but that isn't the world we live in and I doubt if it will ever be very realistic.  Obama is black, but he is also an equal part white.  It saddens me that my daughter's example of a mixed person is one that denies 50% of his heritage.  I am sure that this is done for completely political reasons and that only makes it worse.  He has the opportunity to reach out to all of the mixed children that are confused about who they are and tell them that it is okay to be who they are, part one race and part another.  Instead, he shows the example of picking one side and allowing half of himself to be dismissed and ignored.  Obama has applied the one drop rule to himself, and when he won the election, by proxy to all mixed Americans. 

The world gets confirmation from the ruler of the free world that being mixed is not okay and that children must choose just one side (preferably the side that has any physical characteristics showing) and ignore the other side.  My heart breaks for my daughter every time the media calls him the first black president.  I always look at my daughter and correct them.  I tell her she doesn't have to choose and hope that she can embrace all of the blood running through her veins.  I also hope for change in a world that still believes in this one drop rule. Obama should be proud that he is the first black president but he should not cower from the fact that he is also the fourty-fourth white one.

I would be interested to hear how mixed people on here feel about this.  I can only glimmer this battle through the eyes of my daughter and can't even start to comprehend what is going on in her head. 

 

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20 Responses to “So we are back to the “one drop rule.””

  1. I completely agree. I have been saying basically the same thing all week. Although I do have a slight *cough* problem with your 'Ruler of the free world' thing!!!!Puh-leez.I didn't particularly care for either cnadidate…they both played it safe as usual.Besides…everyone knows the Doctor rules the world…free or otherwise. 🙂

  2. I would vote for the Doctor. Heck, I might even consider voting for David Tennant.

  3. Obama has embraced societies perception of him. If a person
    appears to be black they will usually be thought of as black (and be subject to the same advantages and disadvantages of said perception). The same applies to other races. If Obama insisted on being referred to as
    "mixed race" or "biracial" people would say he was sending the
    wrong message to black children because he wasn't embracing his heritage. The matter is further reinforced in that many African Americans are of mixed race. My understanding is that many have caucasion, Native American, and even Asian ancestry to a lesser extent.Now that being said I don't think he has ever denied his white ancestory.

  4. oh my god, budd. i had this same convo with steve last night. in fact, i was going to write a little blurb about this on my own blog. but maybe i'll just link to yours. because i'm lazy. :Pokay, so don't get me wrong. i love that obama is now the president. and i know he's brought up his white grandma on his campaign… however, i think that the media is doing most of the classifying. and i wish that he would bring up that he's the first biracial candidate instead of letting everyone go with "black." i think that mia will have a very different experience growing up than your daughters because we live in an area that is so dominated by half asian/half white (and other halfies… but asian/white seems to be the predominant mix here) but it still rubs me the wrong way when people don't totally embrace both sides. (ahem, tiger woods. alicia keys.) you know, steve keeps saying that it's not their fault, that it's the media's, but… i don't know. i think they could bring it up more… i'm just saying.i guess i'm more sensitive to it now because mia's a halfie. i hope one day, our kids will have a good role model who embraces both halfs of themselves. 🙂

  5. It is more Politically Correct and politically expedient for him to present himself as black.

  6. Yeah, the wife and I have really been going back and forth on identity lately. Ashli goes to Korean school on Saturdays and Jung thinks everyone is racist towards her. Ashli started that new school this year and she is having trouble making friends there. Jung blames it on her looking Asian. I don't know. When I look at her I don't really see race. I see my daughter that I love very much. I think she is beautiful, smart, and silly. I don't see how anyone can not like her, but I am sure that is how any dad feels about his daughter.

  7. when i went back to pennsylvania with steve to meet his family, i got SO MANY STARES from random people. i felt SO out of place and i know for a fact that i could never ever live there. even growing up in NY, i felt out of place. i did feel a lot of racism growing up and while i was in PA… and i think mia would get the same thing if we for some reason ever moved to PA… like your girls, mia definitely doesn't look white. and kids can be so cruel. all you can do is keep giving her love. at least she'll know that at home she's safe. i hope that as your girls get older, they meet more halfies. 🙂 i think that will definitely help… is everyone at the korean school korean? sometimes koreans are even more racist than anyone else. which sucks. you're a great dad. and everything will work out… 🙂 ashlii is beautiful and smart. she'll grow up and show all those jerks! 😀

  8. I think people say he's black simply for that fact that he "looks" more black than white. Nuance in American society — especially the American media — is generally not embraced.

  9. I have a 24 year old nephew whose mother (my husband's sister) is white and father is black. He was raised primarily by his mother (his parents were never married) and the mother's family. If I had to break it down, I'd say that 90% of his upbringing (and his life now) was spent with his caucasian relatives. However, if you ask him, he'll tell you that he's black. I assume that's because he looks black.
    I agree that it's sad that some people feel they have to choose. But I also agree with another commenter above me that if Barack Obama called him multi-cultural, bi-racial, or any other term denoting his "differences", it may very well be perceived by African Americans as not embracing his heritage.

  10. i was thinking about this issue this morning, and every time the news called Obama "our first black president," i wanted to correct them. i couldn't understand why i had the urge to correct them every time, but i did – and in my head i corrected them. in my head, i said, "he's HALF black. he's also half white, ya know." now, i'm caucasian and i felt like maybe i didn't understand a biracial person's perspective on being of two cultures, but i really dislike the idea of calling him our first black president. yes he is part black and i LOVE that this country (or at least half of them) were able to elect him into our highest public office, but am i wrong to want to identify him as a halfsie (as my mixed-race friends call themselves)?
    i don't know. but i do know that *I* will continue to refer to him as a halfsie. 🙂

  11. I have a little boy who is half Filipino and half White. (My husband's family dates back to pre-Revolutionary War days, and I have every intention of taking advantage of that fact and enrolling him in SAR for scholarship purposes.) He doesn't look White, but he doesn't look Filipino, either. (The only real Filipino things about me are my nose and my coloring, and even my skin is lighter than most Filipinas.) But he is definitely mixed.
    Just after the race was called, he cried out, and I plucked him out of his crib and whispered how exciting it was, that the first President he will know will be a man who is of mixed descent, just like him. Because it's a very exciting thing, indeed!
    Much like Mr. Vernon in The Breakfast Club, the media (hell, people in general) like to label people with "the simplest terms and the most convenient definitions". Obama looks more Black than White, so he's Black.
    But Obama never said he wasn't half White. In fact, he's spoken only glowingly of his mother and grandparents, and he's never hidden from the fact that his mother, who was a single mother raising him, was White.
    I don't like labeling people, so I'm actually grateful that my son may be spared ethnic labels because his features are very blended. But I'm so hopeful that one day, preferably in my lifetime, the majority of children will be multi-racial, and "pure-breds" (as I like to call my husband) will wish they had more familial cultural heritages to upon which to draw.

  12. Very good points. By the way, Doonesbury brought this up in their comic today, too (although for humor's sake, not for the point you're making).On the positive side, your family and everyone they interact with is becoming more educated as they deal with someone of mixed-races. It sounds like you're doing a great job helping your kids to embrace diversity, not only in themselves but in others. I hope with time, Obama will be able to get the message out to help more people acknowledge and accept his bi-racial heritage, and use it as a basis for trying to identify things in those around them that makes them unique, whether it be a difference in race, religion, age, sexual-orientation, or just ideology.

  13. Oops, I meant to link to the Doonesbury cartoon. It's here.

  14. That's awesome! 🙂

  15. You should get down on your knees and praise Allah we have Barack Hussein Obama II as the 44th President of the United States of America! McCain has some nasty things to say about Asians such as your wife. To be polite, he's not a good man.

  16. Who said anything about McCain?

  17. I wondered about that myself. I thought he did say something recently in teh context of choosing a dog, ie, that it would be nice and appropriate to get a "mixed" dog from a rescue shelter. Kind of OT but I know that Australian Aboriginal people consider anyone who has any Aboriginal heritage at all to be Aboriginal but there is some cultural reason for that. Also they argue that they get discriminated against no matter what "percentage" their Aboriginal heritage.

  18. Okay, so I'm German, English, Irish, Scottish, Italian

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