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View Diary: Why? CNN and NPR Present a Potpourri of Tragic Mulattoes Before a National Audience (285 comments)

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  •  and is there an archetype in this country (11+ / 0-)

    and elsewhere of the tragic mulatto. what does it mean culturally and the like?

    if you would like me to cite articles on the developmental issues and challenges faced by "mixed race" children, especially those children of black-white pairings where the black parent is not present I can easily do so.

    since you are dealing with this issue directly, how are you preparing your children to navigate the colorline? what protections, life skills, and wisdom are you offering them? alternatively are you one of those parents who are teaching their "mixed race" children all sorts of fictions?

    if you read any of my pieces on this matter you will see this is my primary concern. you cannot have children across the colorline and be a responsible parent without preparing them for the real world.

    •  Is there such a thing as too much college? (4+ / 0-)

      Your condescension is common among many people who immerse themselves in liberal arts, racial studies, gender studies etc. without ever peeking their head outside their self-selected echo chamber.  

      You can't even comprehend of parents raising children properly without consulting "articles." Good lord, man, go out, grab a beer, and relax.  

      Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

      by bigtimecynic on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 01:18:07 PM PST

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      •  you should read as a parent, you would be (6+ / 0-)

        surprised by what you would learn. you made a claim about a concept you may not understand.

        yes, parents of all children should read and learn. parents of mixed race children have a particular burden they need to learn about. lots of the kids who are profoundly messed up on these matters are the result of parents who did not prepare their children of color for the real world. it is very sad when I encounter young "mixed race" kids whose parents have not given them any knowledge, race pride, understanding of their own culture and (raced) people's history etc.

        open a book, you may enjoy it.

        •  Reading is, of course, a path to knowledge. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Larsstephens, malharden

          And I make that comment as someone with a liberal arts education and a graduate degree.  But there is such a thing as being too academic. Your comment irritated me because you seem to conclude that reading articles in a journal places you in a position to pass judgement on someone else's actual parenting .  Reading is never a substitute for experience in any field, especially parenting.

          Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room!

          by bigtimecynic on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 01:34:30 PM PST

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          •  reading can help, and nice that you have a (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lcj98, Larsstephens, GenXangster

            graduate degree. welcome to the club.

            many folks with credentials in one field think they know everything. they do not. expertise in basket weaving 101 does not help me understand astrophysics.

            the know it all types who have an ma or even a phd in one narrow subfield in a particularly narrow specialization are often among the most tedious because they want to pontificate on stuff they know nothing about. they also get upset when they encounter someone with superior expertise.

            i simply said that we know a great deal about the particular challenges faced by mixed race children in terms of being well integrated psychologically and with identity issues. what are you afraid of?

            given you have a liberal arts education and a graduate degree one would think you would have some interest in empirical data and in learning about the challenges to be faced by parents in that situation.

            i wish more parents would read about rearing their kids and different approaches to it; we would not have so many messed up, in jail, impaired by helicopter parents, and tragic mulattoes and other maladapted mixed race types who are shocked when they encounter racism.

            the world would be much better off.

            •  "shocked when they encounter racism..." (7+ / 0-)

              Indeed. I spent most of my life growing up around Jewish people or other black people and I had never heard a white person say the nword (except on TV) until I was 23 and living in Kent, Ohio as a college student. I was enraged and defensive and it shocked the person I reacted to.

              I was sitting at a bar casually having a drink and chatting with a random white guy who say a black guy enter the bar and said to me, "Oh look, there's a nword in here..." I was like, "there's more than one nword in this bar, asshole." He got a good look at me and was horrified that he revealed himself as a bigot to a woman he tried to pick up and that he came really close to being attracted to a nword.. That will still never trump being shot to death because somebody thought a black man was running from a crime scene rather than jogging or something like that.

              Why had I never heard the nword before from white people? Because they had never called ME that. What alternate reality was I living in? It's the alternate reality of being privileged.

              There's no way I could discount somebody being too educated about race with the body I live in that shields me from knowing what it really is. Some people NEED this education. Even children that cant pass need this education so they can know how to confront or deal with the racism that will surely come their way.

              "It's not enough to acknowledge privilege. You have to resist." -soothsayer

              by GenXangster on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 04:43:10 PM PST

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              •  This. (5+ / 0-)

                My own echo of it, as a white of descent from at least almost all of Europe (and who knows where else) with an Irish name, came living overseas. I grew up in the West, away from the distinctive ethnic ghettos my grandfather told me about in detail - later. But when, as a young teen, I got a faceful of anti-Irish racism from a couple English kids, I was stunned and furious.

                They hadn't known - Americans look like Americans abroad, regardless of almost everything else.  So I heard it all... And I vented. They were shocked, stunned, and even apologetic, trying to justify... classic racist stuff, if was a joke, not you.... But the sense of acute pain, your very own first paper cut experience with being on the receiving end of bigotry and racism....

                An injury to one's privilege...

                "Be just and good." John Adams to Thomas Jefferson

                by ogre on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 11:50:30 PM PST

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      •  Heh (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Be Skeptical

        Recced if only because I've had that "too much college" thought any number of times myself, though I recognize this particular term and how Chauncy DeVega is using it.  Sometimes academic terms hamper communication when used without definition and I do think the burden in such cases in on the academic to recognize the difference in meaning from the vernacular and take it into account when the responses start coming in.

    •  I don't need you to cite articles for me. (0+ / 0-)

      It's the high-handed, pseudo-intellectual tone of the post that's the problem with it in the first place.

      If you weren't so enamored with the 'sound' of your own writing you might realize how much the tone resembles other scholarly classics like The Bell Curve.

      You try hard to sound like you give a damn, but it smacks of you simply foisting your own view of these individual children onto them, creating more baggage.

      I'll answer your other inquiries in a different post, where I attempt to be more analytic and less pissed off.

      "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany." - Ron Burgundy

      by malharden on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 02:39:11 PM PST

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      •  It's just a discussion. (0+ / 0-)

        I think you are reading way too much into this one.

        •  Or, it's a set of real issues... (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          gramofsam1

          It's a reflection of why some kids will have it harder. Other folks including the diarist want to force them into boxes.

          "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany." - Ron Burgundy

          by malharden on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 05:00:52 PM PST

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      •  if i were writing a pseudo intellectual tome (0+ / 0-)

        trust me you wouldn't know it...that is part of sleight of hand that comes with such tracts--and why the bell curve was so dangerous as piss poor social science.

        sometimes when you hit the nail on the head someone yelps. i think i called you out in some way on a sensitive subject, what is that? Why so upset?

        "If you weren't so enamored with the 'sound' of your own writing" What the heck does that mean? That sounds like garden variety hate from someone who doesn't get to much shine for their own work. Am I right? Do share.

        And yes, you should try to be more analytic before trying to engage.  

        •  And maybe you should try (0+ / 0-)

          to listen to what people have to say, even when they don't agree with your infallible pronouncements.

          Ever consider that you might not have "hit the nail on the head" after all?  Do you honestly believe that you are the ultimate arbiter of all things race, and that you get to insult someone's family dynamics in a personal way because of your infallibility?

          •  no, I tell the truth, we can argue and disagree (0+ / 0-)

            about the facts, the theory, and the framework. but if someone wants to make some silly pronouncement that what they teach their kid at home will somehow override centuries of history i call it out as the silliness it is.

            •  You know, there's a way to talk about (0+ / 0-)

              centuries of history without insulting people, without using a term in your title that might have a place in academia but comes off as insulting when it's applied to individual people and people's kids.  Did that poster say that she's lying to her children, telling them that they're "not really black", or that she intends to completely ignore the role that race will play in their lives?  You chose to conclude that, to tell her they can come to her for lies, but you love them and will tell them the truth- and you wonder why she's upset?

              Believe it or not, those of us raising kids of color actually welcome advice and guidance from black people who respect us and our kids.  Right now my daughter is trying to choose which of her black friends might be best to advise my grandson when he has questions we feel are best answered by someone who's lived it.  But the respect has to be there, and it sure did not shine through in this diary.

              •  i used a term that is historically grounded (0+ / 0-)

                is still in use, and is accurate to the degree that race is caught up with fictions of biology and the like. If you are doing that, more power to you. You are doing the right thing.

                As for the original comment, way back up the thread, it was made clear that he/she was choosing to raise their child in some post-racial fantasy land. When children who grow up in such environments come out to the real world they are in for some hard knocks. You are right. I do not respect that choice by parents who raise maladapted "mixed race" children as I think they are doing a disservice to their kids.

                The kids will hopefully figure it out with the help of others.

                •  I did not read her comment (0+ / 0-)

                  the way you did. She was talking in broad strokes about raising strong kids- maybe she didn't say what you wanted to hear about race but she said her kids are young.  We didn't talk much about my race with my grandson in other than a casual, answering his questions kind of way until he was four or five and we took him to a museum exhibit on slavery.  We try to make it a topic that is always open but not an obsession.

                  Because with both my grandkids, they reached a point where it was like oh please, not another book or movie about slavery or civil rights or role models.  Or as my granddaughter said "Nana, you do know I already have two Ruby Bridges books, right?".  There's a balance between helping them honor their history and making them feel too "other" in our family- the rest of the world might see them as other but we don't and we won't.

                  As for "tragic mulattos"- it's an archetype. It might be in use in academia but the black people I know never use it to label each other. And if you mean that my using it to describe my grandkids would be "doing the right thing" then I'll just keep on doing the wrong thing.

                  •  as i said, i know some tragic mulattoes (0+ / 0-)

                    and have a few in the family...and we call them that. likewise, i have seen real life self-hating uncle ruckus negroes too. they just don't exist on TV or make rulings on the Supreme Court.

                    I think you misunderstand the term too. Not all mulattoes are "tragic." That is a very specific reference to psychologically not well integrated people who want to pass. Your grands likely are not going to fit in that box if you keep doing the right thing.

                    •  Honestly I've not heard mulatto (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      breakingsong

                      used in any conversational sense since my grandmother used it when I was a kid.  My daughter's best friend is biracial and she was steaming mad when someone used it to describe her- and it takes a lot to get her steaming mad. I think people get to reject terms they don't like having applied to them, whether you think it's just a misunderstanding or not.

                •  How many mixed-raced children did you raise? (0+ / 0-)

                  Together with their white mother? Do you have any practical experience?  

                  Just asking because you seem to be convinced you would not make the same mistakes those parents you talk about made.

    •  To answer your questions, in part (3+ / 0-)

      ...my children are a bit too young for explicit conversations on sociology and racial anthropology.

      I'm currently providing my young children with a base of healthy learning and love to make sure they feel valued as people. As capable self-confident people, when they have to deal with some judgmental jackasses in the future they get to understand that it's the other guy that has the issue, not them.

      I fully understand that there will be plenty of external forces (e.g., the cab drivers that won't pick them up at night) that contribute to defining their experiences. But, I will build them strong enough that that kind of stuff won't poison their character and won't drive their own definitions of who they are as people.

      With regard to"are you one of those parents who are teaching their "mixed race" children all sorts of fictions?", bite me. (Tried to keep the bitterness out, but I think you earned that one.)

      "I'm very important. I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany." - Ron Burgundy

      by malharden on Mon Dec 10, 2012 at 02:45:02 PM PST

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      •  good luck with this one (6+ / 0-)

        "in the future they get to understand that it's the other guy that has the issue, not them. I fully understand that there will be plenty of external forces (e.g., the cab drivers that won't pick them up at night) that contribute to defining their experiences. But, I will build them strong enough that that kind of stuff won't poison their character and won't drive their own definitions of who they are as people."

        the reality is that your kids will have lots of problems and unique challenges because of their race and how they are perceived.  just a fact.

        your kids are likely very smart. young children are very knowledgeable about race and racial difference. they absorb so much on these matters and have a very refined sense of race "mattering" in this society. look at the nbc special on color bias, implicit values, and color bias among kids. never mind sister elliot's brown eyes blue eyes test. or the classic black doll white doll test.

        an anecdote. a student came to me when i was an admin a few years back. she was a "mixed race" racially confused kid whose white mom--the  black dad was not present--had raised her that she was biracial/mixed and not really black.

        someone had called her a nigger. she kept arguing that she wasn't black. the person calling her such a slur made it clear that to most people in this program--and society--she was seen as a black woman.

        this young woman, in her early 20s damn near had a nervous breakdown when she realized that yes, she was black and had best get used to it. her mom lied to her and did not give her life and coping skills because of some dishonest post-racial mess of a dream that hurt her child.

        her eyes were opened and now she is a much happier and well-adjusted person for it.

      •  Sounds good to me. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        shaharazade, gramofsam1

        Hopefully when they are older when things start to matter to them, perhaps the world [or this country] will be different enough that it won't matter either way.

        But judging from how the first African American President is treated in some circles of this country in 2012, I don't hold out a whole lot of hope for the immediate future.  

    •  I suggest a book: Negrophobia (3+ / 0-)

      by Mark Bauerlein. If you haven't read it, it is mainly concerned with the !906 Atlanta race riot but there is some interesting back story concerning Dr. W.E.B. DuBois who was living in the city at the time. DuBois attempted a dialog with a local white Religious leader who was so taken aback by DuBois' "radicalism" that he compulsively harped on the fact of DuBois designation as a "mulatto", as if that somehow rendered his views illegitimate.  

      Nothing human is alien to me.

      by WB Reeves on Tue Dec 11, 2012 at 12:01:03 AM PST

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