My father always taught me to celebrate my African roots (and all the other ones too.) My great grandfather, Encarnación was a fisherman with very dark skin and the husband of my blue-eyed great grandmother. I never had the opportunity to meet him and great grandma didn’t talk much about him aside from telling me that she was his widow. I never even saw a picture of what this man looked like. From the stories my light-skinned and raven haired father told, I imagined the old man as being dark like coffee beans. The childish imagination opened my eyes to the beautiful rainbow of what people often call “black” skin.
Few things in comic art are as tough as painting the subtleties in the darkest skin without lightening it. Shades of black skin are so various and exquisite. To simply dismiss them as just being “brown” is an injustice and a gross lack of observation. Blue black, umber, sable, sienna, sepia, bronze, tan, chocolate, russet, dark chestnut, and more form a veritable rainbow of skin tones. Lighter skin tones as just as beautiful, but the sheer amount of layering necessary to create this dark rainbow makes it an especially exciting element to tackle.
Here are the final guesses on Katie Burrell’s ethnic background as of Sunday, June 13th, 2010:
- White/Black 31.3%
- Hispanic/Black 11.1%
- Arabic/Black 10.1%
- Asian/Black 8.1%
- None of the Above 18.2%
- I Don’t Know 21.2%
– Katie Burrell in Her Own Words –
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes, 7 seconds. Contains 624 words
I’m half Arab and half Black. I live in the desert southwest so it’s predominately Latino/Hispanic. When people find out I’m not Mexican but Black and Arab, they treat me differently instantly because they said I lied to them. Honestly, it’s whatever.
When you’re not accepted by the Black community because your hair isn’t apparently ‘nappy’ enough (my own grandmother says I got Puerto Rican hair) and the Arab community says you’re not full Arab, it’s like you’re in between. It’s hard to mix my life and friends because they are so different.
When I’m with my family I feel normal. I feel more at home with Black folks rather than White or Arab, just because I do. People say I act like I’m Black then when I tell them I am, um…they’re shocked to say the least.
I’d say it’s about finding your own identity. We cannot define ourselves by the stereotypes in our culture, that gets us nowhere. No one can act or talk Black or White or Green or Yellow, it’s just how we perceive it.
Like half of my family thinks I’m being White because I have an education and an honest job. All that means is that they have set the bar low for themselves and they think success means they’ll lose who they are. It’s actually the opposite, success defines the path in which you’ll go and so does failure.
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There you have it! Katie’s ethnic background is Black and Arabic. I would have never guessed correctly myself if I didn’t already know the answer. It just goes to show you that you definitely should not judge a book by its cover.
Black people are not literally black. I know a Black woman with blue eyes, I recently saw an image of a Haitian child with blonde hair, and actor Harold Perrineau (who is married to a White woman) has two daughters and the youngest looks more like him and the oldest looks a lot like the mom.
I can also recall a time when many people had no idea that Mariah Carey was Black (Afro-Venezuelan) or that Halle Berry has a White mother! I also just learned that Tom Sizemore’s mother is Black; something that he kept hidden for many many years! Wow!!!
It’s a crap shoot people, and that’s the beauty of it. You never know what you’re gonna get, but you can rest assured that whatever you get it will be part of the human race.
Update – December 15, 2011
On this day, Paris Jackson appeared on the Ellen show as a guest to promote a book and film project that she will be appearing in titled, “Lundon’s Bridge: and The Three Keys”. She as well as her brothers are in the spotlight more than ever and tongues are also wagging more than ever about whether or not they are Michael Jackson’s biological children.
Look at these two images:
Still don’t think Michael fathered Paris and her siblings? That’s your problem, but here’s something else; Paris is an avid tweeter on Twitter and when someone tried to call her out as being White she promptly came back stating that she’s “mixed”.
So, there ya have it folks, Paris and I’m sure Prince as well as Blanket are very aware of what they are and who their biological father is.
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes, 7 seconds. Contains 1024 words
This is a three part series about colorism.
Take a look at my friend, Katie Burrell:
Is Katie Black? Is Katie White? Is she both?
Katie’s ethnic background will be revealed at a later date, but carefully look at her face, study her features and skin tone because she is my poster child for this series. More pictures of Katie will be shown later.
-Oooh, her daddy must be White or High Yellow!
-Your daughter is beautiful! She looks nothing like you. (Yes, in the same breath.)
-She must look just like her daddy.
-Is that your daughter?
-Is your daughter Mexican?
Over the past eight years the above quotes have all been said to or asked of me because of my daughter. I am a Black woman and I have a child by a White man. Those words once bothered me when my daughter was a baby, but I am used to it now and I respond accordingly with a healthy amount of venom in my tone.
When I found out I was carrying a baby by a White man I wasn’t happy. There is a long story behind this that will be shared with you in my memoirs one day, but one of the reasons is the fact that I knew I was going to have to deal with all these insulting questions and statements. And, the staring…oh gawd, people could win staring contests when they see a dark skinned Black woman with a child that appears White or is more than a few shades lighter.
I also worried that I would not know how to or be able to deal with raising a biracial child. It may seem ridiculous to you, but I really thought about what type of things I would have to teach her about her background and how to deal with people liking or disliking her because of things like her skin tone or her hair texture. I also worried that she would be different than me and that she would catch hell because of it.
I was right and I was wrong. I’m her mother. She has my DNA. I am raising her and I deal with any issues that may occur quite well. If she had come out half of whatever the hell Yoda is from Star Wars I would still love her lil’ brownish-green ass to death.
Ethnicity and color are not issues for me. They never have been. I love everyone and I dislike everyone. My feelings are equal opportunity. I won’t love you just because you’re Black and I won’t hate you just because you’re White. Like someone once said – “Just because you’re my color, it doesn’t mean you’re my kind.” Truer words have never been spoken.
For some odd and stupid ass reason many of us continue to be color struck. I really think most of us are ignorant or at the very least forgetful. Black people who look White is not a new phenomenon. Back in the day Black folks who appeared more White than Black “passed” all the time. Hell, some people are still passing today. There are some people that could pass but don’t like actress, Jennifer Beals, and my man, actor, Wentworth Miller.
Look at him:
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Would you have guessed that Wentworth Miller has a parent with Black heritage? Well, he does! Wikipedia says: his father is of African-American, Jamaican, English, German, Jewish, and Cherokee background, and his mother is of Russian, French, Dutch, Lebanese, and Syrian ancestry. I first laid eyes on Wentworth in the film . The film is about a man who passes for Jewish, but is really Black. If you haven’t seen it, check it out. It’s a good flick! plays Wentworth’s role as an older man. We all know Anthony Hopkins is not Black in any way, shape, or form (that we know of), but I’m sure he was cast in the role to make a valid point, not all Black people appear “Black”.
Anyway, back to Wentworth; I fell in love as soon as I saw him on the screen. He is a beautiful man. I saw The Human Stain around the same time Prison Break started on the FOX network, so I became a groupie and began watching it every week thereafter. Wentworth has also appeared in two Mariah Carey videos, It’s Like That and We Belong Together.
Some of you who know me are laughing and probably saying,”Yea, she likes ’em light, bright, and damn near White.” True, I do tend to go gaga more for light skinned men or mixed dudes. I guess I like the best of both worlds. Sue me! When Black and White come together it creates something beautiful. That’s not to say that when anyone else comes together that it’s ugly, so don’t go there, but I like what I like! There are no self hating reasons for it and I love chocolate brothas too. I like men! Period.
I can’t find one to make my boyfriend, but that’s another story.
Again, back to Wentworth, I was sprung after seeing him in The Human Stain, but when I read an interview where he explained that he only portrays a White man for TV, I fell in love. Why? Because he had the nerve, courage and pride to reveal who he is despite the fact that he does not typically fit what most people perceive as a person of color.
My true inspiration for starting this series are Michael Jackson’s children:
-Those are not his biological children.
-They look nothing like him or any of the other Jackson kids.
-Those kids are White.
-White never trumps Black. Never!
-Why is he trying to pass these White kids off as his children?
These are just a few of the ridiculous things I have heard aimed at Michael and his children. These comments upset me and I take them personally because as you have already read, I get some of the same ignorant reactions because of my daughter.
In the next part of the series I will get deeper into Michael’s children and the issues many people have when Black and White DNA come together to create a child that appears only White.
In the meantime, let’s get back to Katie. Answer this poll:
Read Part 2 of The Half Series