In the wake of Get Outs success, a 4 million dollar independent movie making over 100 million and counting, Jordan Peele may have a great opportunity to tell more horror stories that revolve around racial fears.
I’m all for that. I enjoyed the film for many reasons but that’s not what I’m writing about. I want to see an exploration of the multiracial experience in the United States. There are so many directions the story could go because, thematically, multiracially centered contexts focus on exoticism or picking sides. For example, a bi racial man marries a white woman. His mother is white, so you conclude this is where his attraction lies. But rejection is a huge part of how mixed people navigate the world because they are either identifiable as something or marked as attractive and exotic because they are so far from stereotypes.
These influences are flooding society with the use of today’s technology. You can make your brown eyes blue. You can bleach your hair or pay for a blond human hair weave. You can apply lashes and wingtip with black eyeliner. Straighten the curls. Dye the roots. We can morph and that’s amazing, but sometimes we can’t escape the set of genes that give me less melanin than my brother and cousins.
As a teen I believed I didn’t quite fit in with the Southern California demographic. I looked Latinx, wasn’t Mexican and didn’t speak Spanish. So I aligned myself with mixed kids and those who were Black to whatever degree. I always thought New York would allow me a full ethnically embracing experience. Not true. The weather is the main culprit. I’ve been Vitamin D deficient since I moved out here because it’s either too cold or too humid. Three weeks of Spring weather doesn’t cut it. So I get no sun. The difference between the heat of California and that of New York is California is a dessert with dry heat and New York follows rainforest protocol. I never experienced rain in the summer until I came to the East Coast and saw the water pour from the sky, finally cutting the heat. I never thought I’d pray for rain to cut an entirely different kind of heat.
It was like in the movies. I never believed it could pour out of nowhere. There’s a warning of some sort and then a light drizzle before the steady rain. No. This is a sky flood. I thought it was a story metaphor.
I digress. (My health has as well)
My father is technically half white and half black. DNA says that. However, neither of his parents are white. They are fair to medium in color. Both of my grandparents were Black Americans. But you go back far enough and you get black, white with a dash of indigenous. Based on the influences of our parents and their own self discovery, children can be pushed in so many different directions based on the variation of features.
Recently I was told my brother couldn’t be my brother because he is darker than me. I didn’t realize I was working on a huge prank. The gag is I am so much of nothing and everything. Make a film about that.
I recently read an article written several years back about Prison Breaks Wentworth Miller. It surmised that he ultimately is not black and his alignment with being multiracial is a farce in so far as he can pass for white (and chooses not to). My initial reaction was that this sentiment was hurtful because it made hard claims about someone based on weak public information they then turned into fake math. For example, discerning he’s 32% this and 8% that and therefore blah blah blah. He’s not the first mixed kid with straight hair and blue eyes.
If we don’t look black to those around us we don’t belong there apparently. I’m at a point where I know my fair color doesn’t make people as afraid as they may be of someone who is darker. But let’s be clear, I’ve never gotten out of a traffic ticket and I’ve always been pulled over when driving with one or more black people in the car.
So I’m an active ally to my own communities. I never thought I’d have to serve as an ally in this way but in the wake of people claiming they are black merely for outsider acceptance and publicity (insert name of Trans African here), I have to serve in the way that is necessary.
And maybe this is a good thing. My students never can tell what I am. They can’t even place me when I call out their racism, heterosexism, ableism or respond to their Spanish whispers with English chastising. You don’t get away with being a crude bigot in my space.
Aren’t you Boricua? Sure. And a lot of other shit that equals black, white, red, and brown. But does that mean black people in New York see me as Spanish. Vomititious. Yeah some colonizer came from the Iberian Peninsula but that isn’t what I AM. Spanish is a language I learned in school cause Abuelita didn’t think my mother needed it in the United States. I bet she never thought I’d come along with my righteous anger and 7 years of high school and college Spanish to call her Abuelita for the rest of her life. Her name was Carmen Maria Jimenez before she was married. She hated that name. They pronounced it GYM-in-ez. I know about rejection. It was in me before I was born.
When I was in high school and adults asked me “what are you” I told them about my parents, not myself. I’d ultimately here “damn, that’s why you’re so angry. Knife fight, gun fight, fist fight…” I had never been in a fight before but that’s what my ethnic history meant: violence.
Today I must simply use my voice and presence to disturb the comfortable hatred spread through ignorance and privilege.