The Challenge Of Being Biracial In A Culture Of Ethnic Division

PLEASE NOTE: The views, thoughts, and opinions expressed in this column are those of Michael Goings, the author, and do not necessarily reflect those of The Dillon Herald. He is solely responsible for the content of this article.

Before I get into the crux of my subject, I want to make a preliminary assertion that has a bearing on my article today. Both my wife and I are the result of a biracial lineage. My wife’s grandfather was biracial, the offspring of a White man and a Black woman. My great- grandfather was a full-blooded Native American who married a Black woman and thus I inherited his last name, Goins, that my father changed to Goings. I am going to consider and briefly comment on some challenges that many people, especially those who are young and in school, are facing in this culture and time of racial division and discord.

Where Do I Fit?
One of the issues confronting biracial or children of mixed race is the often perplexing issue of where do they fit. There was a time in the history of America that if one had merely 1% of Black blood in them, they were automatically classified as being Black. Never mind the fact of how they looked in appearance. Some who looked completely Caucasian, with blue eyes and blonde hair, were categorized and disdained, due to their ethnic connection with a Black ancestor. In preparation to write this article, I interviewed quite a few biracial young adults. Some of these young adults and teenagers grew up in the church that I have been pastoring for over 40 years. Without exception or exclusion, they all have had to contend with the issue of belonging and where they fit. From a historical perspective, the children of a union between a Black person and a White person had no other option but to be considered as Black. There was no middle ground or classification for children conceived and born through miscegenation. This was especially the case when they have a White and Black parent. Even today, most biracial children have been forced, through the rejection of their White relatives, to live and interact with their relatives and friends who are Black.

How To Identify and Honor Both Sides of
My Ethnicity
As stated, I have quite a few mixed race children and young adults in my church. Consequently, I have had to use empathy and discretion when dealing with issues or subjects pertaining to race and racism. A book that I authored 28 years ago, which is still in circulation and demand entitled, Free at Last: The Reality of Racism in the Church, covers much of what I am considering here today. In dealing with these young and beloved biracial members of my church about racial issues, I have had to encourage and instruct them to not disregard or dishonor either side of their biracial lineage or heritage. For to do so, I told them, is not just to dishonor one or both of their parents, but worse. To do so would be to dishonor God, who chose them to be conceived and born the person, gender, and race with all the other distinctions that make them uniquely who they are. Like every one of us, I assured them that they are one-of-a-kind, divine design. To be candid about the issue that I am considering in this segment of my article, almost all of the biracial children that I interviewed or interacted with had no problem with fitting into and being accepted by their Black relatives and friends. However, on the contrary, the opposite is true for their White relatives and friends. I believe that the historical and racist stigma attached to biracial children (that has existed in our nation since its inception) is very much alive today. Due to the fact that the majority of these mixed race children are victimized and marginalized by the White side of their ethnicity makes it very challenging and very difficult for them to honor and celebrate their Caucasian heritage and lineage.
Many of you would be surprised to know that many outstanding people in American history are biracial. Just to name a few, people like Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and W.E.B. DuBois had White fathers. These people, who were of mixed race, paved the way for our first African American president, Barack Obama, whose mother was White and father was a Black man from Kenya.

Final Considerations and Conclusion
I want to encourage everyone who will read this article to please be empathetic, compassionate, and accommodating to the many mixed race children and people who we have in our locality. Invariably, due to the increase of miscegenetic marriages in both our locale and the nation, as well as people’s God-given and constitutional right to either court, romance, or marry who they are attracted to, the increase of biracial babies and children will continue to increase – with or without our approval or acceptance. Finally, if you are a biracial person, do not let prejudice, bullying, or rejection by some victimize, marginalize, or stigmatize you. You are, ethnically speaking, who your Creator designed and made you to be. Thank God that you are “fearfully and wonderfully made” (Psalm 139:14). If they have a problem with your ethnicity, let them take it up with God.

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