I found this in my Facebook Timeline. I posted it on Dec 15, 2016 4:17AM.
This was in response to a Meghan Markle article on being ‘the other’ as biracial. It was well thought out so I decided to transfer it here to save.
‘I’m not sure how I feel about this article.
I do not feel like Meghan does.
I don’t necessarily feel like she is wrong either.
Her experience is very different from mine. I see this often with folks with one black parent and one white parent.
I’ve found that how we socialize often depends on where we are raised. Many ‘mixed/biracial’ folks raised in a white environment, in my experience have this reaction.
I was raised in Detroit. My friends were black, my teachers were black and BOTH of my parents told me I was black.
I did go through a phase where I felt frustrated by my circumstances. My mom told me when I was in high school that she felt erased by my blackness. White women don’t give birth to black people, where was she in my lived experience.
I had never really thought of that or how she felt and so for a time I tried to make room for her whiteness in my otherwise black life. I marked myself as ‘H’ for human until I realized I was erroneously labeling myself ‘hispanic’.
For awhile I marked other and wrote in IL if asked I would say it meant Intelligent Life. Since it’s illegal to ask ethnicity questions I found that mostly I was just labeled by what I appeared to be, which was black.
As time passed I had to explain to my mom that I’m not white and I’m not half white. Whiteness doesn’t function that way. It’s a zero sum game, either you is or you ain’t. I ain’t. And attempting to identify as something I’m not was painful for me.
I didn’t create the situation of race in this country but I’m not about to sit on my privilege and deny my blackness. For me that’s what biracial or mixed is, a way to distance oneself from blackness.
When I first started working for Verizon Wireless my mom came to my store. I was in the break room. The manager came in and said I want you to stay here. We have a ‘crazy’ customer insisting she’s your mother and we’re worried you might not be safe. 20 minutes later the assistant manager asked if I was adopted. I was surprised but said no. He said well this white lady is insisting she’s your mom and she knows your address so I thought I should check. I had to explain that I wasn’t adopted and that ‘crazy’ white lady wasn’t ‘crazy’ she was actually my mom.
This isn’t that uncommon. Growing up doctors always thought my mom was my social worker. Sometimes doctors literally wouldn’t understand how I could be her ‘real’ daughter. In many ways I think this was harder on my mom than on me. I was always ok being black but I think it hurt her to be ‘erased’ in her kids heritage.
In many ways ‘race’ functions in this country based on what is seen. So perhaps I look more ‘black’ than Meghan. That isn’t really cut and dried either. See at some point in my adult life I stopped being perceived as ‘black’. I was still perceived as non white but non-black people have zero idea what my ethnicity is.
So began the ‘what are you?’ narrative which never happened to me as a kid because as a kid I was perceived as black. Today I rarely answer that question with black. If I’m asked my ethnicity or if I’m ‘half’ black. I respond that I’m black and leave it at that.
However if I’m asked ‘what are you’ as if there is a real possibility I’m other than human. 😑 I detest that shit and will fuck with the person who asked. Inspired by the True Blood TV show when vampires kept asking Sookie that question, I often respond Fairy with a totally straight face. I enjoy the shock and folks truly have no idea what to do with that. I had one guy look confused and ask me if that’s a real ethnicity. He said ‘I didn’t know fairies were real.’ 😂😂😂😂 I assured him they were.
Still not being perceived as black is a mindfuck. Overnight I become so pale I could wear my blonde Nordic mother’s concealer. We were the same color.
It was unsettling for me. I went to tanning booths and bought make up that was the color I was supposed to be.
My lowest point was when I was in Vegas with my youngest sister, who is not ‘mixed’ and the black guy working the Titanic Exhibit didn’t know I was black. Even when I said I was I’m not sure he believed me.
It felt weird. I felt not black enough and I’d never ever felt that. I’d always felt very comfortable being black. That’s who I am and where I fit. Always.
I began to really be aware of my light skin privilege.
My daughter looks like what I wish I looked like. She is my ideal in every way. I began to notice once she was a teenager that how she was viewed changed. I think in truth what I felt was a need to own and acknowledge my light skin privilege.
Either way to have one black parent and one white parent in this nation in which really you are black OR you are white is to have to find your own way to navigate race.
For me there is no right way and each and every one of us will have to blaze our own path and our own trail.
This is the link to the original Elle article ‘More Than an Other’
As soon as I realized how much I enjoyed mini C2C graphghans I knew I would want to design my own. I used the free programs stitchfiddle.com and stitchboard.com but neither offered both ease of use and printed line by line directions. In my niece’s Beauty and The Beast afghan I used a graph I found on Pinterest with a few changes. I wrote out the directions using a ruler. To label it ‘tedious’ is a monumental understatement. It took me 8 hours and that’s sadly not an exaggeration. No way was I doing that again. I did some research and found a moderately priced program called Win/Mac Stitch. I downloaded it and found that graphing was made much easier when I don’t have to also write out the pattern. Still graphing is more complicated than I understood and it took some finesse to get the hang of it. More on that once I gain enough experience to share.
Anyway, I decided to design a few graphghans for Yule/Christmas presents. After I finished my daughter’s flower afghan I decided to start one of my planned afghans. I decided to start on my daughter’s family afghan. I saw in one of my Facebook crochet groups the ‘family’ spelled out in the shape of a heart as an afghan. I found the clipart and originally just wanted to add the last name across the top. It grew from there to include names and dates. Next big decision was on color. I had predecided to use Caron One Pound in ‘Lace’ because I had several skeins left from previous projects waiting to be used. Family in red was added first. I added all of the names and years also in red. I felt it looked ‘neat’. Then I got the idea to put the names in different colors and have the last name be multi colored. For me it symbolized that a family is made up of different members. Also I’m prone to rainbow colors. Always have been.
I started it last week. I really love how it is turning out. Love the colors too.
Still, I massively underestimated how annoying all of the color changes involved with forming letters and numbers are. I find myself constantly changing colors and weaving in ends. Also it’s a massive pattern, 15 pages and 219 Rows.
This is the largest and most complex project I’ve ever crocheted. I had some trepidation about if the computer generated pattern would match the graph I designed. The flower afghan in my previous post included a mini C2C name banner that was my first graphed project, worked perfectly on a small scale. So I crossed my fingers and hoped this would work as well. It did. Way better than it looked in the graph.
*The above picture has an error that is not included in the pattern I’m using.
Above is the basic layout. I’ve started in the bottom right corner and am almost finished with the names and years on the right. I just started both the ‘A’ and the ‘K’. As this is a gift I’m only cautiously posting this in social media.
This has been a major learning experience for me. My next holiday present project is for my MIL. After starting this project, I simplified the design for the upcoming afghan. I limited it to 3 colors and took out the words. I actually think it’s more effective simplified. It’ll certainly move along more quickly. This is my first time trying to have large projects completed in time for a holiday as a gift. So wish me luck!