A better term than "half" or "part" for biracial children... - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 77 Old 09-16-2011, 09:06 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Logan View Post

The problem is not the word itself, more the backwards idea that because something doesn't bother me I should continue to call people that because I don't feel the word has power. The 'N' word doesn't have power in my life, and I have heard plenty of African American people identify themselves using that word, but that doesn't mean I would ever use it to refer to another human being because I know it is offensive and hurts others- just cause it doesn't hurt me (being white and all *rolls eyes*) is completely irrelevant. What someone calls themselves is their own choice, but what we refer to others as requires some tact. For example the term 'colored' is widely used and identified with in South Africa. I would hope however that a South African person traveling to the US would be more sensitive to it being offensive to some people there and not use it when describing someone. Just because it feels perfectly acceptable to one person doesn't mean those around you wouldn't be offended. I think its good to be aware of the history of the words we choose to use when describing other people- especially when it comes to sensitive issues like race. And when we describe our own child in a certain way we are saying, not only to the child but to every stranger we meet, that the term we use is an acceptable one to use- so it makes sense to choose one that really is acceptable to the community you are describing- especially so if you are not a member of that community.

 

Of course if you want to describe yourself any which way then that's fine, but when you are talking about someone else why not find an option which is not inappropriate? Heaps of people have posted many great alternatives on this thread to using half. If my kids choose to identify as being 'half' when they grow up then that is their identity to choose. But until then I would prefer to model something which is not racist towards them or anyone else. I understand it's not racist there, but it's good to be aware that not everyone you will meet in your life is American, or doesn't know the history of certain terms.  

 

If a friend introduced you at a party and someone asked where you were from, would you prefer they said "oh she's half black and half white" or "she's Scottish/Namibian"?

 

I say all this as gently as possible as I never intended this thread to get so heavy, was merely looking for ideas :) 



My point was more about people who use the word "half" to describe themselves...generally I do think it's important to try to avoid using hurtful or racist terms and will definitely avoid using that term in non-US situations (including the internet). I will continue to use it to describe people who use that word to describe themselves, just as I will use the word "mixed" for myself and my siblings although apparently some dislike it, because I think self-determination is key.

 

Of course I rarely if ever and then I generally use what they prefer. As for what I prefer others to say about me, it would be "mixed", but if someone asked where I am from I would hope a friend would say "Colorado". I hate that question as a proxy for race...no one asks white people where they are from.

 

Anyway, I am glad you got a lot of ideas and I agree with you that word choice is very important and not an imaginary issue as some here would have it.

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#62 of 77 Old 09-16-2011, 10:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Yeah of course. People should definitely be free to identify themselves how they feel comfortable. I hate the 'where are they from'/'what race are they' questions too. Unfortunately people are curious and it's usually the first thing I get asked about my kids- at least it's usually said after 'they are so cute' LOL. And I know that people don't mean anything by it. I'm often curious about the background of other people's kids at the park and such too- though I don't ask. I wait until I know someone well enough that they mention it in conversation themselves.

 

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#63 of 77 Old 09-16-2011, 11:09 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Logan View Post

Yeah of course. People should definitely be free to identify themselves how they feel comfortable. I hate the 'where are they from'/'what race are they' questions too. Unfortunately people are curious and it's usually the first thing I get asked about my kids- at least it's usually said after 'they are so cute' LOL. And I know that people don't mean anything by it. I'm often curious about the background of other people's kids at the park and such too- though I don't ask. I wait until I know someone well enough that they mention it in conversation themselves.

 


I take the same approach by waiting until I know someone well enough. Heck, I have been seeing a chiropractor off and on for 22 years as needed, and I just recently asked what his wife's ethnicity was. They do have gorgeous children, and a gorgeous grand baby.

I don't know how I would say "half" in a better way...it isn't really seen as derogatory here. I do think that many that believe themselves to be 100% Caucasian, etc. would be surprised if they had their DNA tested. I believed that most of my ancestry was German and English, only to find out that I have ancestors from nearly every European country on my mother's side. I also have African and Native American ancestors, most likely from the Melungeons in the Appalachia area. (I haven't gotten a male relative on my paternal side tested yet, so that is a mystery.) Most of us are quite a bit more "mixed" than we'd even realize.

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#64 of 77 Old 09-17-2011, 07:20 AM
 
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In all of my previous posts, I didn't say I used those words. I said I didn't give them power. And since we live in two different places being half anything isn't really that serious of an issue here. I do not know how it's dealt with there. I can't possibly understand that mindset.
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#65 of 77 Old 09-17-2011, 06:22 PM
 
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HAPA! Half and mixed always makes me think of dogs.. and a lot of filipinos locally have these "purebreed" stickers on their cars and it makes me crazy, like are you AKC registered? you're a human. unless you're mating with another species...... UGH it makes me a little irate.

I always tell people my son is "hapa" when people ask, generally an answer that stops the rest of the line of questions. I'm German, DH is Japanese. Someone asked me whether I'd adopted him when he was about a week or so old.. That made me absolutely irate and I think I told her the adoption agency gave me a bonus c-section scar to make it more realistic, too. I was still pretty post partum crazy hahaha.
 

 

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#66 of 77 Old 01-11-2012, 02:22 PM
 
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Where I am "mixed" is the norm, and it's not offensive from anything Ive heard.

 

Ive heard half-breed...I HATE it, i find it offensive, I knew a racist who would use that term, but then I know a haitian who used it as well. 

 

i had a vivid memory of my close friend saying when we were younger that she told people im not black, im mixed, whereas I known mixed men who identify themselves as black

 

I call my son mixed, the (country/country) doesn't work, he's got a whole array of backgrounds (jamaican, black irish, native, english, irish)

 

Shockingly, considering I live about 2 1/2 hours from Toronto in a rural farm community, it has never been werid or an issue, in fact I get more looks and such in the city than here.

 

Here, Ive visited a local musuem for black history month when he was 18months or so, speaking with the co-ordinator I said about how he's mixed ( i dont know why i feel the need to spell it out, i feel like it addresses the obvious that some feel uncomfortable with) and she responded with "oh thats ok.." lol I know it is....but thank you for your....compassion? with my "situation"? 

 

In the city, buying him a hat at union station, "is he mixed?" yes....

 

My mixed son calling my white partner daddy, and every single time we've been around women and he says this, they always, always double take, yes....two white parents with a mixed baby 

 

My partner said to respond with the is he mixed question with "no, we just came back from Cuba"

 

He does get alot of looks, but mostly where I am now, women pour over him "oh he's soo cute!" and nothing more

 

 


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#67 of 77 Old 01-12-2012, 02:03 PM
 
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Just to throw in my two cents to this wonderful conversation...

 

Race is a social construct. There's no scientific definition for it and no genetic difference between races. My husband is African and I'm first generation Italian American. My child is not a "mixed" anything, and to me it sounds like a term applied to dogs. I hate it. I think we in the forefront of cultural intersections have to reframe people's questions and wake people up a little bit about this idea of "mixing" races. How can a human being be "mixed" or "half" anything? I think "multi-ethnic" or "multi-cultural" are terms that come closest to respecting a person's integrity and identity, although even these can be problematic if the parents in questions are both Americans from way back. Then it's just a question of different shades of skin color. 

 

Also, what are people really wanting to know about your child when they ask "WHAT IS your child"? Isn't it interesting that a stranger would ask this question, needing to categorize our children in their own minds? I've never been asked this question by a stranger, but I would find it really ignorant and certainly wouldn't perpetuate this idea that humans can be "mixed." I think ignorance like that can be kindly clarified with a "Why do you ask?" Or "What do you mean?," helping them to think their question through by bungling through what they think that means. (I think with new acquaintances or friends the question is framed differently and can have a different response.)  

 

And really, WHAT IS HE or SHE? A human being!!! Please.

 

Maya

 

 

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#68 of 77 Old 07-09-2012, 07:55 PM
 
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I say my daughter is Black for short or ZimboAmerican or AmericoZimbabwean
 

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#69 of 77 Old 07-31-2012, 07:33 PM
 
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My children speak a mixture of German and Spanish -- I call it "Germish."

 

Our family is a total mishmash -- and please don't pronounce the last syllable like "mashed potatoes!"

 

Take a look at the Bill of Rights for Mixed Race People.  This manifesto says that the mixed race person gets to decide what to call herself, and that can change over time -- or even between noon and one p.m.!

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#70 of 77 Old 08-09-2012, 02:58 AM
 
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My child is not a "mixed" anything, and to me it sounds like a term applied to dogs. I hate it. 

 

It's interesting to see how a non-mixed mother has already decided how her mixed child should define herself. 

 

Reality is that people will ask and the child might not always want to explain everything. I found that "mixed" was a good, all-encompensing term that avoided more questions. Dogs can be mixed too. Why is that a problem?

 

Just saying that one is a "human being" is both unrealistic and could be taken as rude in certain contexts. What do you say when your boss asks??

 

Sure, I get tired of explaining myself and my kids all the time too but it kind of goes with the territory.  

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#71 of 77 Old 09-15-2012, 02:14 PM
 
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I have 4 kids with my late husband , who was a " mix " of black american , puerto rican american indian and white , I myself am german , extremely pale ( which I get from my paternal Grandmother , who was almost as white as an albino ) , a paternal grandfather with italian roots , who was as dark as an arabic guy , a maternal Grandmother who was polish and a maternal Grandfather , who hinself had a Mother who came from southern France and a Father who was eastern european . 

I am sure anyone with a bit of imagination can figure out , how interesting my beautiful kids look 

BUT ... I totally resent the question " what are they mixed with ? " or " are they colored ? " because , for me EVERYBODY in the whole woide World is MIXED and I have actually told people " their Father and I " when the question was asked , what their " mix " was , which should be good for anyone !


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#72 of 77 Old 09-21-2012, 11:29 AM
 
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Sorry but to me the questions "what are they mixed with?" and are they "colored?" sounds like questions asked in regards to baking! Like a cupcake! How rude!

Also 'colored' isn't an acceptable term on the west coast. We say 'what's their heritage, nationality, or where's your family from?'

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#73 of 77 Old 09-27-2012, 09:17 PM
 
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When I was a kid, I always got called "exotic" which I hated.  I am not sure what my daughters will decide to call themselves.  Right now we tell my six year old to respond when asked with- "my family comes from places all over the world".  I am not really offended by "mixed", though I am a sometimes irritated with people's obsession with being able to categorize my girls somewhere.  I usually try to be vague, such as "both my husband and I have families with very diverse backgrounds".  I think I kind of like not making it really easy to fit us into a pre-selected box.  I agree that we are all more "mixed" than we realize, and easy categorizing does all of us a disservice.  


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#74 of 77 Old 10-07-2012, 01:43 PM
 
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i dont think white is an ethnicity. we say zimbo-american or americo-zimbabwean, and black, even though im white.

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#75 of 77 Old 10-25-2012, 07:21 AM
 
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I don't see any problem with using 'half' or 'part'.

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#76 of 77 Old 10-25-2012, 07:22 AM
 
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I don't see any problem with using 'half' or 'part'.

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#77 of 77 Old 10-25-2012, 07:24 AM
 
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I don't see any problem with using 'half' or 'part'.

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