The One-Drop Rule is still ruling us

Hodges Investigation team

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This month we will return to one of my favorite types of column, my famed community survey. This time we hit the streets of the Twin Cities area asking people the following question: Why are people of mixed race, particularly those who are part Black, considered Black as opposed to their respective other half?

Boy, look here, I had no idea what we were stumbling onto when we started to put this column together. This is a very complex issue to say the least, and people feel very strongly about it. In this case ignorance is bliss, to say the least, so let’s see what some of you had to say.

Kendra, 25 years old, said, “White people will never consider a mixed-race person one of them. That’s why they are always considered Black, because White people hate us so much.”

Reggie, 32 years old and mixed race, said, “I always considered myself Black even though my mother is White. It didn’t mean anything. My mother even raised me to be Black, and until you asked me this question I never thought about considering myself to be White.

“You’re making me think! Why can’t I be White? Why am I considered Black?”

Emmanuel, 21 years old and mixed race, said, “I just always thought I was Black. I never even considered the option of being White. I kind of feel like my mom’s side gets dismissed, you know.”

Lena, 35 years old, said, “I am half White. I even look more White than I do Black, but the White side of my family has always considered me Black. I just think that people like me are considered Black because Whites just don’t want anything to do with us.

“I even have racist people in my family who hate me because I am Black. I have children, and I am hopeful that they will be able to consider all of their heritage as opposed to just one aspect.”
Gina, 26 years old, said, “I check White on every job application that I fill out because my dad is White, so why can’t I be White? People act surprised when I show up and they see that I am not White in their eyes.

“I have been told by one employer that they would not have given me an interview had they know I was Black. I tried to explain to them that I was not Black, but that didn’t work. Needless to say, I filed a complaint and a lawsuit and they paid me, but I don’t know why I can’t be White.”

Sonny, a 24-year-old, said, “I hate that it is the way that it is. I have trouble fitting in because of the way that I look. I can pass for White, but they don’t accept me because I have a hint of Black in me. You can see it in my hair that I am of mixed race.

“I really wish that we could be one people. It has been my experience that Black people are just as bad as White people when it comes to being racist with people like me.”

Author’s note: The One-Drop Rule is the practice of placing an individual of mixed race into the category of the non-White race. For example, a person is considered Black if they have an inkling of Black blood flowing through their body. The One-Drop Rule was the law of the land during the time of Jim Crow and was not officially outlawed until 1967.

Although outlawed, we see how today that rule is still the law of the land. I mean, Obama is the first Black president, right?

The issue of what mixed-raced people are is a very complex issue that not many people really think about. The idea that a person of mixed race is automatically considered to be of the non-White race should be challenged. It’s 2011, and we are still succumbing to this slavery-type racist mentality.

It is my hope that one day we will get past labeling people by race. I truly believe that we will be able to get past race one day in my lifetime.

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