by Jared A. Ball, Ph.D.
A government and society that is ever ready to restrict the freedoms of Black folks now offers “freedom” from Blackness. This census and social “opt-out” for the progeny of interracial couples allows them to hope to be considered “as something entirely separate, different and apart from” what Curtis Mayfield called the “dark deep well.” The Black “baggage” can be left behind.
The Multiracial Sheep is the White Supremacist Fox
by Jared A. Ball, Ph.D.
“More people born to interracial couples are happily accepting the racial placebo of ‘multiracial’ and multiple racial choices as official census categorization.”
Let’s be very clear from the outset. Multiracial categorization is an aggressive defense of white supremacy. Multiracial census categorization, particularly in the era of what some are calling the first Black and multiracial president, is, pun-intended, the bulked up steroid-induced version of the old sports aphorism that “the best defense is a good offense.” By aggressively encouraging younger generations to identify officially as multiracial the national desire to disappear worsening racial divides gets further juice by offering folks a chance to both adopt the illusion of the “post-racial” and to seemingly categorize themselves away from, if not out of, oppression. The beautiful dialectic traditionally developed in this country’s form of white supremacy was its built-in inability to be white and forced inclusion into Black which has made Black America, if even to a fault, among the most diverse, open and accepting communities in the world. It also increased the potential that that community would become more threatening to white domination which has led to the centuries-long development of neocolonial-styled light-skin privilege as a mechanism of siphoning off some of the more willing participants in an escape from blackness.
This continues and now in the form of official racial category. No longer, as a recent USA Today story suggests, will younger people be forced or even encouraged to see themselves as light-skinned extensions of Curtis Mayfield’s “dark deep well,” but as something entirely separate, different and apart from. Younger generations are being encouraged in far greater percentages to accept forms of, what some academics call, hyperdescent, or degrees of identity up the so-called racial caste scale.
“Black America is, if even to a fault, among the most diverse, open and accepting communities in the world.”
As we have previously described, there is a general delusion happening where the material conditions of Black people are worseningwhile assumptions of progress among Black people are increasing. Similarly, we have also recently discussed, that there is right now are-inscription of America’s racial slavery caste system forcibly locking Black Americans into permanent recessions and entombment at the bottom rungs of the nation’s social or colonial pyramid. So it seems equally alarming that more people born to interracial couples are happily accepting the racial placebo of “multiracial” and multiple racial choices as official census categorization.
As the 2010 census is disseminated nationally this month it brings with it all the old baggage of the enterprise, that is, it is used to mask gross inequality in distribution of national wealth, the locked-down gerrymandered political districts designed to assure that this fraudulent “two-party” system remains safely intact, and the sweeping under the rug of stolen prisoners who when caught up in an equally unjust system of mass incarceration are disappeared into distant regions and used to bolster the economic and electoral strength of their captors communities while not, of course, being able themselves to access any of the benefit they help to create by their incarceration.
National offerings of mobility in racial category, combined with a president whose multiracial background is used more to blunt discussions of racial inequality than to make them known and addressed, will further allow white supremacy to go unchecked and, therefore, to become more invisible and ultimately powerful. Self-identification is, of course, personal and ultimately up to the individual. But racial categorization is decidedly political and, therefore, means a responsibility that goes beyond any one person’s private choice. The history and current structure of race in this country and its impact materially on Black people who don’t have the immaterial option to be categorized out of their blackness nor the material option of avoiding that category’s real-life meaning in this society demands that we who are offered the devil’s hand up reject it and remain happily categorized with the those in our families whoare our family and who are not able to escape the ravages of being fixed to the racial floor.
For Black Agenda Radio I’m Jared Ball. Online go to www.BlackAgendaReport.com