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10-25-2012 07:24 AM
Sweetpeasand

I don't see any problem with using 'half' or 'part'.

10-25-2012 07:22 AM
Sweetpeasand

I don't see any problem with using 'half' or 'part'.

10-25-2012 07:21 AM
Sweetpeasand

I don't see any problem with using 'half' or 'part'.

10-07-2012 01:43 PM
kgdg

i dont think white is an ethnicity. we say zimbo-american or americo-zimbabwean, and black, even though im white.

09-27-2012 09:17 PM
CA Country Girl

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.  

09-21-2012 11:29 AM
Kaydove 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?'
09-15-2012 02:14 PM
tonttu

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 !

08-09-2012 02:58 AM
Eclipsepearl

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.  

07-31-2012 07:33 PM
mstranslate

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.!

07-09-2012 07:55 PM
kgdg

I say my daughter is Black for short or ZimboAmerican or AmericoZimbabwean
 

01-12-2012 02:03 PM
mayaandx

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

 

 

01-11-2012 02:22 PM
canadianhippie

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

 

 

09-17-2011 06:22 PM
beautifulnm

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.
 

 

09-17-2011 07:20 AM
Imakcerka 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.
09-16-2011 11:09 PM
cameragirl
Quote:
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.
09-16-2011 10:47 PM
Logan

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.

 

09-16-2011 09:06 PM
kathrineg

Quote:
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.

09-16-2011 06:49 PM
Logan

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

Yeah but this is about describing yourself and finding a way to do so without offending. 


Actually it was about how to describe your kids when someone asks you about their background. In my case I am a different racial background to my kids and it makes me uncomfortable to perpetuate the use of certain words so I came here looking for alternatives.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post
 Half caste... really? People still use that term? Where? 


In Australia. In a derogatory way. Thus why Half makes me so uncomfortable- its a shortened form of half-caste, well that is how it comes across.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

Also just because I don't give those words power, does not mean I use them. I don't. I know that they are offensive to some people. I would never go out of my way to offend. That's not the kind of person I am.


Ah okay, this wasn't clear from your previous posts. It seemed as if you were saying because you didn't give them power then you would continue to use them since it didn't bother you. Thanks for clarifying.

 



Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

Thank you. I may read it someday. Though, I would like to say one last thing. One day this entire country will wonderfully be woven together. Beautiful people, mixed beautiful people.

 

I agree and I hope so too :)
 

 

09-16-2011 10:56 AM
Imakcerka Thank you. I may read it someday. Though, I would like to say one last thing. One day this entire country will wonderfully be woven together. Beautiful people, mixed beautiful people.
09-16-2011 08:40 AM
Toposlonoshlep


I highly recommend this book, to you and anyone else: http://www.amazon.com/Mixed-Anthology-Fiction-Multiracial-Experience/dp/0393327868/ref=sr_1_3?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1316187338&sr=1-3

 

It creates a very HONEST discussion of the underlying societal and personal issues on the subject. When I posted my opinion of the term "half-caste", it was in response to the discussion earlier in the thread. I didn't bring up the term, it was already being discussed. There is a difference between having negative feelings associated with how others refer to you, and "letting these words define you". Just because some people are more "immune" (which is arguable) to these terms, does not make them ok to use, as you yourself pointed out.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post

When you're stuck in a small room without windows for 12 hours, you get to know everything about each other. EVERYTHING! We're all retired military. Having friends from different cultures is absolutely normal. Getting to understand those cultures is quite a journey. To say "I have black friends" well I do. And cousins and Aunts... shall I go on? We're all half something! Half caste... really? People still use that term? Where? I've been called Hapa, half breed so on so forth. I'm mixed, my family is mixed. While I don't think words should have half the weight they carry, you do and what you believe is what you believe. I will not generalize and state that anything is a fact, however I will say there are people who will not be defined and will not allow others to define them.

Is that wrong?


 

09-16-2011 08:26 AM
Imakcerka Also just because I don't give those words power, does not mean I use them. I don't. I know that they are offensive to some people. I would never go out of my way to offend. That's not the kind of person I am.
09-16-2011 08:20 AM
Imakcerka When you're stuck in a small room without windows for 12 hours, you get to know everything about each other. EVERYTHING! We're all retired military. Having friends from different cultures is absolutely normal. Getting to understand those cultures is quite a journey. To say "I have black friends" well I do. And cousins and Aunts... shall I go on? We're all half something! Half caste... really? People still use that term? Where? I've been called Hapa, half breed so on so forth. I'm mixed, my family is mixed. While I don't think words should have half the weight they carry, you do and what you believe is what you believe. I will not generalize and state that anything is a fact, however I will say there are people who will not be defined and will not allow others to define them.

Is that wrong?
09-16-2011 08:15 AM
Toposlonoshlep

I don't have a problem with the word "black". I don't know any black people who take offense to it. I didn't even know that the term had historical connotation. As far as I know, it's acceptable and non-offensive. If you read my post, I was referring to the word half-caste, which DOES have that connotation. Saying that because you work with BLACK people and none of them have confronted you or told you that racial slurs offend them is like saying "I'm not racist, I have black friends!". I HIGHLY doubt you know all of your co-workers so personally that you've had intimate and honest discussions with them about the words each one chooses to give power to. I think that's probably best in a professional environment anyway, since you already see what can happen when people are honest about their personal feelings in a job setting.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Imakcerka View Post



I know quite a few who choose not to give words power and they are older generation. I work in an office of all men, I'm the only Caucasian looking person in that room. All of them say giving words power is petty. All of them are BLACK. And yes they all feel that is a perfectly fine term to describe them. 
09-16-2011 07:53 AM
Imakcerka
Quote:
Originally Posted by Toposlonoshlep View Post

. I don't know a single non-white person who would not take offense to a historically racist term because they choose to "not give those words power".
 



 


I know quite a few who choose not to give words power and they are older generation. I work in an office of all men, I'm the only Caucasian looking person in that room. All of them say giving words power is petty. All of them are BLACK. And yes they all feel that is a perfectly fine term to describe them. This came up due to our newest employee who feels threatened about everything. Everything is a racial issue. He apparently hasn't realized that everyone in their is the same as him. He's constantly trying to insight some sort of uprising. He spent a good part of last week, spreading rumors that I the WHITE girl, (doesn't know me) is the highest paid employee. Since we're all IT professionals... We get paid by our education and I'm in the middle spectrum due to the all the Masters degrees and certifications that out rank my credentials.

This young man is a good kid. He's just blinded by injustices he feels he is being dealt. I'm sorry young man, you're getting paid 70,000 a year at 24 with a bachelors and one certification... the world has handed you a bad deal! At this point we've all decided he's just looking for a fight. Oh and loves to use the "N" word. He thinks it makes me uncomfortable... Very sad actually as it doesn't bother me and he really is making himself look ignorant . However if he makes one more beaner comment I may sink to his level and start a whine fest over the use of that word. I'm sure he'll appreciate that.
09-16-2011 06:17 AM
Imakcerka Yeah but this is about describing yourself and finding a way to do so without offending. I am Mexican, Puerto Rican from my mothers side. My father is Norwegian. DH is Native American and German. Why not just state that you're a wonderful mix. Both my brother and I get asked what we are all the time. Everyone thinks he's Asian and I get asked I "what the heck are you?"

A pretty awesome creation! I don't utilize words that I know will hurt others and I only address disrespectful words when used. We live in San Antonio and my kids just came to conclusion they're not full Mexican like all their friends. Of course they're now wondering what they are. So out comes the photo albums and I show them everyone. My great grandfather rode with Pancho Villa, my Dad's family came here in 1896 from Norway. Knowing your roots helps you realize you're not just what you look like. And knowing you're not just what you look like makes it easier to educate others who only look at your color.
09-16-2011 02:12 AM
Logan

If you are going to address someone using a racial term then yes, you should probably know whether that term is considered derogatory in their country/culture. 

09-16-2011 12:49 AM
IsaFrench

i need to read all pages now and make a table with on one side the name of countries and on the other side one column with the words that are not acceptable in that country and another column with which words are acceptable ....

09-16-2011 12:47 AM
Eclipsepearl

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.

 


This is an excellent example. South Africans termed "Coloured" people as those of mixed background. They were mainly mixed from Africaaners (the while S.Africans of Dutch descent) and African. They usually speak Africaans with any African language long forgotten. They lived separately from both white and black people, under Apartheid, in conditions in between the two lifestyles.

 

It really irked my "politically correct" heart to see this kind of separation (which was still in effect post-Apartheid). 

 

One white South African even said to me years ago "You Americans can never tell the difference between Black and Coloured!" Ouch! Found myself in a very uncomfortable position of having to explain race-relations in the U.S. and a stern "If you ever visit the U.S...." Hopefully, her countrymen are bit more informed these days! 

09-15-2011 11:55 PM
Lazurii

I have to say whenever the subject of race comes up I feel sad because NOBODY questions The Hubby's, my own, or our children's backgrounds.  We're just "white", so why ask?  We're actually amazingly diverse, myself being mostly Scandinavian, German, and some Native American (we don't know which nation, there was so much shame attached to the fact that my ancestor married a Native American that they refused to record her tribe).  The Hubby is Welsh, Scottish, Irish, Scots-Irish, and African.

 

I don't know is that offensive of me to feel that way?  I just get the idea that my history doesn't matter as much as someone with darker skin because my diversity isn't as noticeable. 

09-15-2011 11:25 PM
Logan

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 :) 

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