Interracial Couples in Popular Media

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I'm way behind on this, but I had some thoughts on this that I hadn't seen anyone else saying, so now that I have a moment I'd like to say them. Nicholas Kristof's column in The New York Times a week and a half ago was on interracial couples in American culture and particular in popular media. This generated quite a bit of discussion.

Jonah Goldberg says the one-drop rule is prevalent on the left. I have some evidence for that, I suppose. I grew up thinking Donna Summer had three daughters, one white, one mulatto, and one black. My basis for this was what they look like. One of them has very light hair and blue eyes. (Is this right? This is what I was told, anyway, and thus it's the basis of my judgment at the time.) One of them looks like her mother in terms of skin tone, hair type, and bone structure. The other one looks mixed. As the racial concepts I had been inculcated with worked, the way these three sisters looked determined their race. I had no idea of any sense of a one-drop rule and how it might work. That rule just didn't function in my culture.

Then I studied race in a graduate seminar with a very influential professor who takes the dominant view among philosophers on many race issues. She claimed that all Americans assume the one-drop rule. Since race is just a matter of how people are classified by society, and people use the one-drop rule, this professor insisted that the one-drop rule, though immoral, is the correct rule to classify people. Thus all of Donna Summer's children are black in their racial classification, not one of them is white, and they might be mixed also among particularly enlightened sub-cultures.

All the evidence I have from my students refutes this. In the northeast U.S. there is no one-drop rule, which means those who insist on it are insisting on an immoral classification for no good reason, even given their consideration that we should use the classifications society gives us. I've had one student who, for the sake of shorthand and race-preference benefits, describes herself as black even though her African ancestry is a small part of her highly mixed heritage (including white, Native American, and Latina). The vast majority of my students would say that she's not lying by saying she's black, but they think it's incomplete and thus might see it as dishonest. So I think there's at least something to what Goldberg is saying. [See Sam's post about her reflections on our own kids.]

Kristof's main point is that Hollywood won't portray interracial couples as often as they occur in real life. Goldberg points out in the same post that Kristof has ignored some crucial interracial couples in film and TV, though I don't think Goldberg's critique begins to scratch the surface. Kristof says:

For all the gains in race relations, romance on the big screen between a black man and a white woman remains largely a taboo. Americans themselves may be falling in love with each other without regard to color, but the movie industry is still too craven to imitate life.

Is this even true? He wonders when Reese Witherspoon and Denzel Washington will portray characters who fall madly in love. I'm assuming he doesn't mean those exact actors are required. Do Steve Martin and Queen Latifah (Burning Down the House) count? Julia Stiles and Sean Patrick Thomas (Save the Last Dance) may not be of the same level of celebrity, but that's nothing to sneeze at. What about Pierce Brosnan and Halle Berry (Die Another Day), or Halle Berry's dual-front romancing of Hugh Jackman and John Travolta in Swordfish? Does Kevin Costner's pairing with Whitney Houston (Bodyguard) count for nothing? This article lists a number of other films and TV shows with interracial couples, including characters played by Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro, and it only goes through 1991! Kristof is just wrong. Interracial couples are common in movies and TV, and in fact that's probably what has led to the increase of interracial couples in reality due to people's coming to see it as more normal from seeing their favorite characters doing it.

If the claim is simply that interracial couples hardly ever appear on screen, Kristof is just wrong. However, if you read him carefully, maybe there is something to what he's saying. He picks Denzel and Reese for a reason. His claim is that we don't see black men and white women on screen as much as we see white men and black women, which means we have on-screen interracial relationships in the reverse pattern of how they more often go in reality. One thing Kristof says here is pretty ridiculous, and in a later post Goldberg takes on the catch-22 argumentation implicit in Kristof's critique of the interracial couples that he acknowledges. Kristof says:

The latest "Guess Who" is about a white man in love with a black woman, and that's a comfortable old archetype from days when slave owners inflicted themselves on slave women.

Right, and even though it's the most uncommon interracial pairing you will find, there's nothing heroic about white men overcoming the standards of beauty they're raised in to find beauty in a black woman. It's simply about conquest of the beast. (John Miller provides an alternative account of why it would be seen as bad.) I wonder if Kristof is the one who can't get beyond the racist stereotypes if he can't see a black woman with a white man without thinking this. What's worse is that portraying black men with white women will be seen to elevate the racist standards of beauty that would lead black men to prefer white women. So you can't win. Kristof says there aren't enough interracial couples being portrayed, but then when people do it, particularly in the combination that happens least often in real life (though it turns out also in the opposite combination), it's racism.

Maybe Kristof is right that we don't see enough major Hollywood black men paired with major Hollywood white women. It may be that white Hollywood execs are too racist to see their white daughters paired up with black men and thus can't tolerate this combination on screen (or they're worried about viewers who would have such fears). It might just be that they simply don't think about the percentage of interracial couples who are black man, white woman as opposed to white man, black woman. On the other hand, they might be unwilling to do what will lead to ridiculous assertions like what Kristof here says in the one film he mentions where he acknowledges a white man, black woman pairing. Yet another possibility, however, is that they realize that white men don't marry black women anywhere near as often as black men marry white women, and they're making a conscious effort to make people more comfortable with couples consisting of white men and black women. Maybe they're giving in to the pressure from the black community that frowns on the practice of black men with white women (on the grounds that the black women won't have anyone left, given that many of the young black men who aren't in prison are with white women). So why again is it immoral to portray white men with black women, given the multitude of motivations and reasons for having more of those than the other way around?

Also, one piece of evidence worth thinking about is how many young celebrities nowadays are of mixed race. These are the products of interracial couples. There are so many that it would be hard to list even the most popular ones, but we can start with Tiger Woods, Halle Berry, Mariah Carey, Vin Diesel, Christina Aguilera, Beyonce Knowles, Derek Jeter, The Rock, Sade, Paula Abdul, Vanessa Williams, Lenny Kravitz, Brooklyn Sudano (My Wife and Kids), Lexa Doig (Andromeda and Stargate: SG-1), Lisa Bonet (The Cosby Show, A Different World, Enemy of the State), Jasmine Guy (A Different World), Cree Summer (A Different World), Rainbow Sun Francks (Stargate: Atlantis), Jessica Alba (Dark Angel, Sin City, Fantastic Four), Catherine Bell (JAG), Maya Rudolph (Saturday Night Live). Some of these people are popular partly because they are of mixed race. Not all of these people are of mixed black-white heritage, but this is an overwhelming phenomenon once you realize the scope of it. It's got to say at least something about people's attitudes toward those couples who produced children that have garned such a fascination. I think it's an understatement to say that today's young people are fascinated with mixed race people.

There are a couple other interesting points at A Face Made 4 Radio. He corrects a mistaken impression some people have given about the famous Kirk-Uhura fake kiss. People claim it created an uproar, but they only received one negative letter over that, and it was a pretty tame letter.

Also, he observes that the military seems to be way ahead of most of the United States with respect to interracial marriage, which is really a separate issue because many college students will date someone they would never marry (whom their parents will never approve of), and even more seem willing to sleep with someone their parents would never even approve of them dating. Interracial couples are far more common at Syracuse University than interracial marriages are among the recent graduates of Syracuse University. That the military is way ahead in interracial marriage is striking. I'd say the same about evangelical Christians of my age group, from my own experience. The two roommates I lived with for most of my college years married people of another racial group, and we know lots of other people who have done the same.

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Hubby tackles the topic of Interracial Couples in Popular Media that I initially talked about here. He points to (as I did) the large number of interracial individuals all over the Hollywood entertainment scene as a good indicator of the acceptance a... Read More


A very good post; you have given me much to ponder.


Here's an interesting article on the topic of interracial marriage:

What stuck with me most from this article was how it pointed out that certain kinds of interracial marriages are much more likely than others. For example, one might occasionally see a African-American man with an Asian woman, but it is much less likely one will see a African-American woman with an Asian man.

Jeremy, once for all: there is no term of comparison between being Black, White or Indian and being Latino/Latina. This basic knowledge. Learn it and do not speak like the most ignorant persons do.

Pretty interesting. Just the other night, my wife were talking about Judging Amy and how we're rooting for a relationship to bud between Amy Brenneman's character and Richard T. Jones'. I'm not sure how much exposure the show gets, but it's been some great story-telling tension.

Tony, it's a social reality in the United States. My Latino/Latina students can all see it. Just because you can't see it doesn't mean there aren't social realities about how Latino/Latina people in the U.S. are treated as a racial group. Not everything will be analogous to other racial groups, but nothing from how one racial group treats another or about how the mainstream treats a group will be fully analogous to any other group. There are an overwhelmingly high number of analogous features to blacks and Latinos/Latinas in the U.S., more than any other two minority groups I can think of. Since what determines racial groups is only artificially related to biological features and primarily related to sociological practices (though the features picked out usually include biological features), the fact that these two groups are so similarly treated and so similarly think of themselves with respect to white people (e.g. the affirmative action issue, test score and academic performance differentials, groups like the NAACP and La Raza), it seems really out of touch with what most experts in racial studies think about race to insist on what you keep insisting on.

Now this post is hardly about that anyway. I don't even use those terms except to state how my student described her racially mixed heritage, in her own terms.

The one-drop rule and the system of hypo-classification still exist in the USA, and, as far as we know, it is the only industrialised Country that still maintains such systems. In Europe the one-drop rule does not exist anymore.

The idea of inventing new racial labels is to perpetuate segregation. For many generations Jews in Europe have been regarded as foreigners in the very land they were born. And yet, immigrant Christians took just one generation to become fully integrated. The idea is the same behind calling a nationality like Mexican a race: a condition that cannot be reversed. So, generations of persons born in the US will remain foreigners in the very land they will be born.

So, scholars have a social responsability on this matter. While you somehow endorse the false premises that support the discrimanatory and segregational systems, you contribute to the perpetuation of the segragation and the discrimination.

One scholar alone will not make much difference, but if one by one they combined efforts to uncover the lies, they may make some difference.

Latino is not a race. AND THAT IS THE ACTUAL FACT. To say the contrary is a pure lie and utmost ignorance that only serves the purppose of opressing a social group. And when you repeat that lie and ignorance, you not only forsake true knowledge, but also help injustice to prevail.

Do not substitue ignorance for true knowledge. It is not because an enormous group of ignorant evil-does say and believe that the Earth is flat that you have to repeat such nonsense.

The one-drop rule does not function among the young generation in the northeast. That's all I claimed. If it functions among another group, that's consistent with everything I said.

If you want to challenge what I've said about race, you should either challenge it theoretically at the post where I've really done some serious work explaining my position or at least take that position into account. I don't accept your arguments on this issue because you haven't addressed any of mine. The fact that Latin Americans have called themselves La Raza undermines your entire argument.

I would submit that the "one-drop" rule is most often used by politically leftist blacks and Latinos.

I would argue that there is some difference between the ways that Latinos are viewed as a race and the way that blacks are viewed. With Latinos, there is a cultural demarcation that doesn't exist with black (where color--or color of some ancestor--seems to be all that matters). If you don't have a hispanic sounding last name and don't speak Spanish, people don't see you as part of that group. I have a family friend who's mother is Puerto Rican, but he has a hard time getting anyone to believe that he's anything other than completely white because he doesn't speak Spanish, has a light complexion, and his last name sounds German. Basically, he has to try to pass as anything other than white. Though, on the other hand, Jeb Bush's children, despite being from the about as blue blooded as you can get Bush clan, are always identified as being hispanic as though the Mexican side of the family is the only one that counts. I suppose what I'm saying is that hispanic, as a race, seems to be a much more fluid definition than some.

Beyonce Knowles' parents, her mother and her father, are both BLACK. Please do your research.

I did do my research. My research turned her up as an example. If that's not true, go tell the biracial and multi-racial celebrities sites that were listing her as mixed race. I looked harder for her, and it turns out her mom is of Creole descent, so it's not entirely inaccurate anyway.

Also, it's not as if having two black parents mean one isn't mixed. Actually, having two black parents makes it highly likely that one is mixed. Something like 90% of black Americans are mixed race anyway, ancestrally speaking, so the categories are a little strange to begin with. My kids have a mom who's as dark as Whoopi Goldberg, but our kids are only a little darker than Jimmy Smits. She's probably more mixed than most, because she's from Barbados, but the mixing is there in most American blacks too. The difference with Beyonce is that she looks more mixed than most. It's that look that attracts people.

Some of the examples of so-called 'mixed race' celebrities are ridiculous.

Christina Aguilera is to intents and purposes a white woman. I know some of her family members. They are ethnically WHITE Spanish.

Catherine Bell? Bell's father is English, her mother is Iranian. What ignorance! Although Iranians are located in the Middle East/South West Asia, they are predominately ethnically and linguistically 'white.' The very name of their nation, 'Iran', means 'Aryan Land.'
True many Iranians are swarthy, yet often so are many Southern Europeans (e.g. Italians, Greeks, Southern French, Iberians, South Slavs), however you will also still find throughout Iran and Afghanistan many people with light eyes, pink skins and even blond hair.

Christina Aguilera visibly has non-white ancestry. For that, she will be treated as non-white or not fully white by enough people, and part of the basis of racial groups is how people are treated. Racial classifications are not based on criteria that will correspond to the most rational thought processes, so you should expect irrationality in what places people in which categories. That doesn't mean that those aren't the categories society has left us stuck with.

Catherine Bell also has some features that are not typically white, as do most Iranians, and that has the same effect. Most people will see her as white when they look at her, but when they look at here knowing her mother is Iranian they will see it and consider her mixed race. Full Iranians are clearly not treated as white in the U.S. They have Arabic heritage even if they also have Caucasian heritage.

Christina Aguilera looks like a white girl to me!

Just an observation, women with white fathers and black mothers are among the most beautiful in the world/ Could work the same with other races of mothers. Just an opinion.

Genetically speaking, there should be no reason for that. Each child gets 50% of the genes from each genetic parent, and I don't think it's as if certain kinds of genes have a greater chance of manifesting themselves if they're from the mother or from the father. Maybe gestation has some influence, but I don't think it affects appearance all that much. The only thing I could think of is if color genes have some recessive or dominant element that's sex-linked, but I don't think that's true. It's probably more likely some observation selection effect. The cases you're familiar with happen to be more like this, but the data sample is very small (which isn't surprising since this is the least likely interracial pairing).

As an African-American woman who would be classified by anyone who sees me as such, I can assert that Beyonce's mother being part "creole" does not qualify Beyonce as interracial. If you were to ever survey a large portion of African-Americans from any region of the country, you would find that the majority of African-Americans are not solely of African descent (as stated in an earlier post). This explains why, although this fact tends to be oblivious to many White people, many (if not to generalize and say "most") African-Americans can actually visually determine between an African and an African-American...because African-Americans do tend to have certain physical features and charcteristics that are distinguishable to the "trained eye" (so to speak). I've found this true with many races, such as the Asian race. A close friend of mine who is half Phillipina and is often mistaken for Latina recently disclosed to me that she is always correctly identified as having Aisan ancestry by Asians. "They can always tell who is Asian", she remarked. Anyways, back to Beyonce and Vanessa Williams for that matter, neither one of them are bi-racial. They both have parents that any African-American will tell you are "Black". To say that either of them have an interracial "look" is indicative of either a border-line racist ideology what is to be defined as an "African-American look" is ignorant. To anyone who has been living in America for more than one year or simply watches television in the United States I should not have to explain that African-Americans come in an array of skin tones, eye colors, and hair textures. To identify Beyonce or Vanessa Williams as interracial simply because they may have had some relative who was not full blooded African some generations back is ignorant. I personally know of no African-Americans who are truly AFRICANS in America (and even some Africans are of mixed race ancestry do to the heavy colonization of the continent). My own grandmother is half German and would probably appear to any who who was to see her as an older white woman, my mother has a very fair complexion with hazel eyes and even freckles, and I am very dark with long jet black hair. Anyone who sees me would, without hesitation, identify me as an African-American woman. However, technically, I am more inter-racial than either Vanessa Williams or Beyonce. So are you saying that because they have lighter skin and are percieved as beautiful in the media they should be classified as inter-racial? WHat about me with my dark skin? Why wouldn't I be classfied as inter-racial do to my mixed race ancestry?

As I said before, I took some of the people on my list from a website listing people who are mixed race. This is a group of mixed race people who have catalogued a list of famous people who are of mixed ancestry. I didn't check the list, so if there are errors in it you need to blame the original list's creator(s).

I don't think a lot of what you've said follows, however. Do you mean to say that there's no sense in which having mixed ancestry makes one inter-racial? There's certainly some sense in which someone is black simply from identifying with the African American culture and having a strong enough degree of the biological features associated with being black. Vanessa Williams is therefore black. So is Beyonce. That doesn't mean they're not mixed.

Most black people in the U.S. are mixed to some degree. Some are more mixed than others, and some of those are mixed from more recent influx of European genes. Those people can properly be called mixed race even if they can also properly be called black. There are people who have a fully white parent and are therefore mixed who are black. What makes them black is mostly how they look and to some degree their culture. That doesn't mean they're not interracial. It just doesn't. The whole point of talking about people as mixed is to capture the sense that someone is in some way or to some degree in more than one category. Your assumption is that you can't be mixed without not being black, but that's an incoherent position.

The Creole culture is a mixed culture, by definition. Someone whose parent is in that culture therefore partakes in that heritage. Beyonce is therefore mixed. That doesn't mean she's not black. It means she's interracial in some sense. Those are mutually incompatible. They can't be, because being interracial does not mean being in a third category. It means partaking in more than one category, which means you've got to have some claim to being in those categories, even if it's not an equal claim with both categories (as it isn't with both of these cases).

You raise the specter of being identified as a certain way by immoral criteria. I agree that it's bad that people are identified racially by arbitrary and immoral means. That doesn't change the fact of how racial categories are assigned. Most people have little control over what category is assigned to them. There's no way I could affect how I'm classified in any way other than white, and there's no way my wife could affect how she's classified as anything other than black. Our children are another story. They're much lighter in skin tone than most mixed race children, largely because my wife is from Barbados, where black people are much more mixed than most black Americans, who themselves are much more mixed than most black Africans. Her ancestry is mixed. She will be classified as black, indeed as African American, in the U.S., as much as she thinks that term is inaccurate given her background.

It's arbitrary that looks will play a larger role than real ancestry in how someone is classified, but that's how classification is done. It's immoral that the entertainment industry's promotion of lighter skin and straighter hair as desirable affects racial classifications. That is how the classifications are done, however. In the end, these categories are somewhat arbitrary, but those are the categories we use. They're immoral and arbitrary in their origin, and they have negative consequences, but there's a reality to them in that the categories we use are defined for us and aren't in our control to set as we would like.

It would be a mistake to think that their questionable origin means they don't exist and have the boundary lines (as vague as they are) where society has set them. It would be equally a mistake to think that we should insist on using them exactly as they are without trying to help people see that they're arbitrary and from the immoral basis of the one-drop rule. What your concern seems to be is that we don't just remove the categories as they are, in terms of placing people outside the category black when that's out of step with what the word means. What my concern is is to point out that there isn't just one uniform method of classification that's the right one, as you gave some reason already to think, and we can use these different ways of describing people racially to try to overcome the arbitrary and immoral elements of racial classification.

Your reply has definitely provoked some thought. By my own admission, my original post was not very eloquent in conveying my thoughts (due to my own attempts to multi-task)...having said all of that, let me clarify my position somewhat for you:
THe fact still remains that whether or not Beyonce's mother is of creole ancestry at some point on their family tree, since nearly all African-Americans are of mixed ancestry, it is ridiculous to identify only certain African-Americans (i.e.: the lighter, longer haired, famous ones) as inter-racial and to deny this classification to all other African-Americans who also share mixed ancestry. This is practice is much like the "house nigger/field nigger" distinction during the days of slavery. By my own admission, much of my gripe with this is based upon the fact that many African-Americans who struggle with self-hate and identity issues choose to identify themselves as inter-racial...not out of pride or recognition to any mixed ancestry that they may have, but as a means to down play their "Blackness" due to shame and confusion or as a ploy for acceptance in a world where being Black is often more of a stigma rather than simply a racial identity. So, by my own admission, my opposition to seeing many prominent African-Americans classified as inter-racial (with the exception of those who truly have two parents of differing races) is offensive to me on some level because we live in a world where the beauty of the Black man or woman is often negated or over-looked in the media and when it is acknowledged, it is undermined by reaching back three or four generations to some non-Black ancestry so that it can be validated (i.e.: Beyonce, Vanessa Williams, Tyson Beckford, etc...) So, truly, that is the place where I am writing from.
All in all, my assumption is not that you can't be mixed without being Black, it is just based upon my own resentment of the fact that identifying oneself as mixed will often entitle one to better treatment than identifying one self as Black (although I made no attempt to state this position in my earlier post). It is actually something to argue on another board because that is not the topic was, in some aspects, my mistake to post that response on this discussion.
I am sure, that by your wife identifying herself as a native of the Barbados rather than allowing herself to be identified as simply "Black", she, in some ways, is enabled a distinction; that she is "different" than so many of the native African-Americans here. Simply put, the nomen of "inter-racial" allows for more autonomy in defining oneself.
Ultimately, I really hate that racial classification is an issue at all. Wouldn't it be nice if we all could focus on righting social injustice via economic and political action? I know, that's almost too idealistic...

There's a real tension between the following two things. First, there's the good element in undermining strict racial categories because there's something illegitimate about them, and to recognize the fact that most black people in the U.S. are quite mixed genetically will go a long way toward helping overcome ignorance in other ways, especially in terms of what is often called essentialism (though I prefer to restrict that term to what it classically means in philosophy). Second, there's the negative element in pointing this out that you mention.

What do we do about that? I don't know. I do think hiding the truth is a bad approach. It should be spoken. The question is why people are speaking it, and there's no way my motives are the ones you're talking about. I'm just plain white by almost any measure, and my wife is pretty dark despite being of fairly mixed ancestry. The fact that the two celebrities I listed whose mixed ancestry goes back a ways (Vanessa Williams, Beyonce) consider themselves black also shows that they are not doing this either.

My wife considers herself black, and she doesn't consider herself mixed race. She doesn't consider herself African American, because that involves being a native of this country, and it involves a whole culture that she never felt part of. If someone from Africa insisted "I am not African American", would that mean they're trying to avoid being classified as black? Hardly. Why would it be different with someone from the Caribbean? It has nothing to do with her distancing herself. If anything it was the other way around. She didn't feel as if that culture treated her as one of their own.

I can totally understand your wife's position in not identifying with the "African-American" moniker. As far as highlighting the mixed ancestry of Black people, specifically in America, I agree with your position that it is a double-edged sword. I think that on some levels, the self-hating issue (because of race) is something that can be resolved, for the most part, over time with more acceptance/tolerance. I hope this isn't too idealistic or won't come across as back-pedaling, but perhaps there is something to highlighting the similarities that many of us (not just African-Americans) have in ancestry. I don't know...maybe if people understood more about common lineages, it would be more difficult to make blanket judgements and sweeping generalizations about various races or ethnicities. PRETTY IDEALISTIC, I know. I guess that like you, I don't have a solution for that problem either.
On the reverse side: A little while ago, some Black men were nearly beat to death in a New York neighborhood called Bensonhurst (which is primarily Italian). I wonder if these men had known that the reason so many Sicilians and Southern Italians are darker skinned than their northern countrymen is because of their shared African lineage with the men they beat would they have been so quick to resort to their violent actions?
Thank God that you and your wife are able to see that there is more to a person than color: your children are, without a doubt, growing up with an advantage for learning this lesson early in life.

that is ignorant to believe that someone who is light skin is of mixed race,i have light skin cousins and friends,both parents are black. my son is light skin with wavy long hair. his dad is dark skin black and im brown skin, so please go somewhere with the nonsense because truthfully speaking beyonce dont even look mixed to me she look like a light skin black woman. people only say that because she is light skin. for all you know kelly rowland could be mixed, oh but i forgot she's too dark, thats such ignorance they have dark people who are mixed. people minds are so screwed up today on what a mixed person should look like black people should know better as many different shades we come in.

Diamond, let me give you a tip in argumentation. Before you call people ignorant, it helps to make sure the view you're attributing to them is really the view they hold. Otherwise, it's you who will be seen to be ignorant. I've already explained in these comments that I don't hold the view you're complaining about. No one else here has defended such a view either.

There's clearly a difference between Beyonce, who identifies as black, and my kids, who look truly mixed and may well end up having almost no frequent, direct influence from African American culture. That doesn't mean there's no sense in which Beyonce is mixed. Genetically speaking, she is much more mixed than many black people, and my point had to do with the perception of people as mixed or mixed-looking. If someone is perceived to be mixed and therefore treated a certain way, it fits the pattern I was describing even if the person self-identifies as black, as many people in my list certainly do (and I knew they did before I made the list).

Your views were interesting on mixed couples only someof them were not true or unresearched to say that some people are famous just because of their mixed race is stupid, just because your mixed race doesnt guarantee fame, all of the people you named who are famous are also extremely talented and very beautiful that's why they made it, also you named Beyonce as one of the mixed race people well both of Beyonce's parents are black.

No one claimed that anyone is famous purely for being of mixed race. I did say that there's a particular fascination with mixed race people in popular culture today.

We had the Beyonce conversation above. Her mother is mixed race in a self-identifying way. She considers herself Creole.

What views were not true or unresearched? Among the facts that I found on the websites of mixed race groups were some claims about who is mixed race that turned out to be false or unclear (depending on which view of what it means to be of mixed race turns out to be true), but that's a far cry from any of my views being untrue or unresearched. I daresay I know far more about these issues than anyone who commented. I am, after all, writing a Ph.D. dissertation on racial categories, and I doubt anyone here can claim to that level of research on the topic of race. My views are very much informed by research. Things I report as facts that turn out false because the websites I looked at are misreporting things are not the same things as my views.

Actually the majority of southern italian and sicilians i know are light skinned..many with blonde and red hair with light eyes..either blue or green...


I don't know much about southern Italians and Sicilians, but Von's comment about many southern Italians Sicilians being dark-skinned and having African ancestry is fully consistent with the majority of southern Italian and Sicilians being light-skinned, with blonde and red hair and blue or green eyes.

I do know that many Italians Americans have dark skin, some even darker than my kids, who have a black mother.

Usually when a white and hispanic person get married and have kids, the kids come out looking white, ie Sara Paxton, Lynda Carter, Joanna Garcia, Frankie Muniz, Cameron Diaz, etc. Sometimes when two hispanics get married and have kids their kids are born white due to the fact that hispanics are half caucasian. (spainard) Alexis Bledel, Alexa Vega, Gisele Bundchen etc

Hispanic doesn't mean non-white. Some Hispanics are black and so dark that it's unlikely their kids will look white unless the other parent is fairly light. Some Hispanics are white, period. If two such Hispanics have kids, it's not surprising that their kids will be white, because these Hispanics are 100% white.

I think "African Americans" should embrace their mixed heritage and do research on themselves (not beyonce,william and the like...) I am from Europe-UK I am British Caribbean I know I have mixed heritage. In Europe its true we DONT have this one drop rule...the one drop rule PAH to that...its hiding the fact that people HAVE other heritages in their blood and I feel the term African American sounds like your vistors to your own country the same with the terms native american Latin-american etc...Dont you have every right to be called just american too or is it because the caucasian folks don't know where they come from do they feel America is THEIR land?? How comes there is NO Carribbean- American? Why does everyone have to african american? everyone is mixed its so true and people who wish to ignore it....well so be it "Variety is the Spice of Life" Ciao

if blacks are called african american then whites should be called european american.

Larry, there's something to that, but I wouldn't assume the way people of largely European descent bear the same relationship to their ancestors that those of largely African descent do to theirs. That at least removes the absoluteness of such a claim.

jeremy, your assumption of all hispanics being white is flawed. they come in all shades. a child of a hispanic person and a white could have any complexion.

Vic, which part of "some Hispanics are black" did you not understand?

It's a little strange to be told that an assumption I did not make is false and then to have my own point be given back to me as evidence.

Jeremy, your earlier post stated:

"Usually when a white and hispanic person get married and have kids, the kids come out looking white"

So not true!!

Actually Jeremy, i should apologise I should have directed my post to Rachel.

mentalnote: read posts more carefully ;)

Rachel also wasn't assuming that all Hispanics are white. She was treating Hispanics as non-white, which is what I was responding to.

you guys must be bored huh

Shurvan. Iranians are as much arabic as italians are russians. Cut out the nonsense and direct provocation.

Andrew, Shurvan was agreeing with you. He was engaging in direct provocation, but it wasn't nonsense. Iranians do indeed have less Arabic ancestry than other Middle-Eastern peoples (but not none).

What matters for race is not so much ethnicity as which group people will socially classify someone as. In the United States, that's the same category as other Middle-Easterners, whether that's accurate in terms of ancestry or not.

all valid arguments, i must say i am truly impressed with the evidence used to explain your points. I just dont understand one thing in hollywood, why are the A list black male actors never seen kissing their leading white ladies in movies. e.g. when danzel washington starred along side Julia robarts (a close friend of his in real life) he had every right to kiss her. If jude law was in danzels role i am 100% sure there would have been some love scenes in that movie but all they could manage was holding hands.

it outragous, espcially when in reality (where i am from australia) over 70% of black men have had at least one partner who was White. it's only fair that is portrayed in films as well. But the fact is, Black men in mainstream media are not considered good enough for white females. Never have i seen an A list white Actress kissing a black man in their movies, not Julia robarts, nicole kidman (even though she dated Lenny kravitz) but halley berry made out with fred dust on his film clip. Can you imagine jenifer aniston making out with 50 cent on a film clip, the answer is no.

SO the truth is, Black men will never get the roles they deserve especially when there is a white leading lady.

Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts were in a movie based on a book by John Grisham. I don't believe the filmmakers wanted to change the content of the book significantly by making it too romantic a relationship.

There are plenty of black-white relationships in movies that do include kissing. It's just that the male heroes of black women like Denzel Washington are less likely to be shown that way, simply because many in the business know how much that will anger black women, who see that as white women stealing their men and as black men abandoning them.

Another problem is that if black men kiss white women, many will complain that it's furthering the stereotype of black men who are predators of white women. It's an unfair charge, but it's almost inevitable given the current racial ideologies that predominate in public discussion.

Hi, Jeremy. You make some very thought-provoking statements here. I have a few comments of my own.

1. I live in a state that is HEAVILY populated by Hispanic and Latino people. However, I notice that the majority of them classify themselves as "white"...even if they have black or Mexican ancestry and look somewhat ethnic.

2. Hispanic doesn't necessarily mean "non-white" in ALL cases, but MOST of the time the US census takes no notice of this. Many people in this country often make a distinction between "Hispanics" (those who might have European lineage from Spain and sometimes including Mediterranean people), and "non-Hispanic whites" (those of Anglo-Saxon lineage). I suppose they want to make a clear distinction between the two. There are Hispanics that look physically white and have European ancestry, but are also mixed with the blood of Indians and Africans.

3. I myself hear that I "look Hispanic" all the time and people constantly approach me speaking Spanish. Living in a city that is 90% Hispanic/Latin, this is common. I'm a white woman of British extraction, but b/c of my dark hair and bright blue eyes, I'm viewed as outside the norm. I've seen Hispanic people who look like me, but the difference is that I'm non-Hispanic. I don't speak the language and I know little about the culture. They look at me oddly when I politely respond that I don't understand what they're saying, like, "But you're one of us! You SHOULD know"! Some want to know why I speak so well and why my English is so "perfect". I suppose part of it comes from English being the only language spoken in my home.

4. Many Black people in America and esp. the Caribbean, are mixed people. I have lived in Jamaica, which is VERY mixed. Trinidad is mixed as well, but most of that mixture is African/East Indian, with some Chinese thrown in. St. Lucia tends to be mostly East Indian. Ditto with Guyana. Many "white" Americans would be surprised at the number of white Jamaicans there are. I had another white American woman who had lived on the island for nearly a decade tell me that there were NO white Jamaicans, simply "light-skinned blacks". I had to politely state that no, indeed, there are white Jamaicans of European stock and the fact that they live in a Caribbean country doesn't change that. She didn't want to believe this, for some reason. The islands are far more diverse culturally and much more accepting of different mixtures, in my humble opinion.

Jeremy is 100% correct,There is a double standard when it comes to inter racial romance onscreen.The notion that Black men don't kiss White women because the studios care what Black women think is ridiculous.White men just don't want to see that. In the Pelican Brief book there was a romance between the character played by Denzel Washington and Julia Roberts and it was removed for the movie.Gee I wonder why? In the recent DIff'rent Strokes film there was barely a kiss between the Todd Bridges and Dana Plato characters and they were together for years. Let's be real here .

Kenny, I'm not sure you're paying attention to who said what. Also, I did not read the book. I did not know of any romance in the book. I thought it unlikely that they consciously resisted a romance if it hadn't been in the book. Given that it's in the book, that claim makes more sense, but Ahmed did not say that they had changed things from the book. He just said that he had a right to kiss her, which I had no idea happened in the book. Did it?

I do think the studios are aware that Denzel Washington is very highly liked by many black women as someone they can identify being the kind of guy they would like to land. I'm fairly sure they're also well aware of the dynamic of many black women thinking black men have rejected them by dating or marrying white women. It's not as if those two facts are secrets. Knowing that demographic would seem to me to give them some reason to avoid casting Denzel Washington in an interracial romance. Maybe there's some of the other motivation too, but it seems really out of touch with the social dynamics here to deny this part of the explanation.

Now on the other explanation, I really think you're overgeneralizing. I don't think I know very many white men who would consider it gross if Denzel Washington kissed Julia Roberts. There might be pockets of people like this somewhere, but that's just not how things are anymore, at least among the majority of people in the demographic that provides most of the movie-going audience. Many things were different in the 80s, but that doesn't seem to me to be a primary explanation for why this doesn't happen much nowadays, even if it was more of the explanation in the 80s. The MTV generation sees interracial kisses all the time and has no problem with them.

Jeremy I may have been a little sleepy while scroling the posts forgive me.I was actually agreeing with Ahmed I think. Most Black women don't like seeing Denzel with Hispanic women either but there he was onscreeen with Eva Mendes recently .Will Smith has stated that the studio did not want two Black leads for Hitch because it would deem it a Black film. Audiences would be uncomfortble with him kising a White women also and so voila! Mendes was hired again. Answer me this? Why is it that we see Lucy Luu and Tia Carrere with White love interests but not Jackie Chan or Jet Li? When was the last time Jennifer Lopez starred opposiite an Hispanic male?

Answer me this? Why is it that we see Lucy Luu and Tia Carrere with White love interests but not Jackie Chan or Jet Li? When was the last time Jennifer Lopez starred opposiite an Hispanic male?

There's plenty of evidence that most Americans of the moviegoing age are not uncomfortable with a black man kissing a white woman. It happens all the time on MTV. I'd in fact think more people would be uncomfortable with a white man kissing a black woman. Women tend to be less affected by race when choosing a romantic partner, and white men are a little more likely to be turned off by the thought of kissing a black woman than white women are by the thought of kissing a black man. We're enough beyond the assumption that black men are all rapists that I don't think that's at work here in the general public, so if that's what the studio is assuming then I think they aren't in touch with their audience.

If Will Smith has said that the studio thought audiences would be uncomfortble with him kising a white woman, that's some evidence for your explanation of the studio's motive. Is Smith reporting something the studio bigwigs said to him, or is he just interpreting their on their motives the way we are? I'm sure his opinion counts a little more given his proximity to the people making such decisions, but if it's just his interpretation and not from their actual words then I'd be inclined not to take it as very strong evidence, even if it counts as some evidence.

Jeremy, Will Smith was quoting what was said to him.Mendes even said it was lame thinking "although it gets me work". The fact that there are more mixed couples in America with BM and WW but the reverse onscreen speaks for itself.WM are the ones who green light movies for the most part.Do you think it's a coincidence that Whitney Houston, Brandy, Monica,Aaliyah and Beyonce all made their film debuts opposite non Black men ? Do you think we'll be seeing Jessica Simpson or Britney Spears onscreeen with Black guys anytime soon? Not cable tv but the big screen

OK, then that counts as much stronger evidence of particular people's reasoning process. Do you know the exact quote? Did he say that white men would be uncomfortable seeing this or that people would be uncomfortable seeing it? Just saying that people don't want to see it doesn't mean it's white people thinking jealously that black men can't have their women. It might be that, but it falls short of saying that and is consistent with the explanation I gave. The fact also remains that the two explanations are not inconsistent.

I do have to wonder, though. If this is a commonly-used justification in the film industry, it seems to me not to reflect most people's responses to such match-ups, at least among the generation that sees movies the most.






Beyonce is BLACK!!!!! The fact that you are a white woman means this is probably a point that you shouldn't argue because white people don't know about the different types of black people. Your husband is African. Africans are notorious for denying the fact that mixed race blacks are considered black. The fact is that most blacks outside of Africa are mixed with other races. I am a darked skinned black person but I have white in my family tree. Does that make me mixed race? If you saw me on the street you wouldn't call me mixed race. The only reason you are calling Beyonce mixed race is because her white genes show up more than other blacks.

Food for thought... How many of us were suprised to see that Halle Berry's mom was white? Blonde hair blue eyes white. She doesn't have colored eyes like Vanessa Williams and we assumed she was black until we saw her mom. In fact it still feels weird to call her mixed race because she looks black. Tyra Banks has colored eyes like Beyonce's mom and Halle doesn't... is Tyra mixed race? Technically Halle is more mixed race than Tyra! She is half and Half. Tyra isn't. Your argument doesn't follow.

You state that she is a Creole but I suggest you look up what a creole is. It's not a race. There are many types of Creole. There are black creoles, white creoles, mixed race creoles etc. Creole was just a term used to separate motherland born people from territory born people. So you have French creole and English creole etc. Therefore you can have a french speaking black creole. I am an English speaking black creole. The list goes on. CREOLE is not a race, no matter how much you or they want to make it into one.


Ann, it's a documented fact that different cultures have different racial assignments. Since all of it is culturally determined, you can't claim that the American assignment of races (or the particular American one you use) is correct and another incorrect. It's not as if you can read the American one off of biology anyway.

What I'm wondering is why Halle Berry shouldn't be considered both mixed and black. It seems to me that she would be assigned both terms by society, though perhaps in different contexts.

The term 'creole' has to do with language mixing, at least in its primary use. I'm not sure the details of how it is used in certain contexts, but that's its origin. My understanding of its most common use in American society as a whole is to refer to a particular group with mixed ancestry in the greater New Orleans area. Its localized use in that very area is probably much more nuanced, mostly because it's not based on ignorance of the variety within the population, but meanings of words come from how those words are used. That's why we have racial terms anyway, because it's not as if biology is going to tell us which groups form which races. I think most people who hear the term 'creole' do expect the person referred to to be of mixed ancestry of some sort, and the context in which I saw the term applied to Beyonce's mother made it clear that she was of mixed ancestry.

Jeremy I never claimed that the American assignment of race was correct. I'm not American. I am West Indian. My views are my own and do not belong to your country. Had I argued a point that was in agreement with your own views you would have responded differently or not at all.

I believe that Beyonce is whatever she calls herself. Whereas she does identify that she has creole roots, she also identifies herself as being black and I think we need to respect that. I will, therefore, break down the problems that I have with Shira's argument.

"my GOD, BEYONCE IS NOOOOOTTTTTTTTT BLACK!!~!!! MY HUSBAND IS BLACK AFRICAN AND NEITHER HIM OR ANY OF HIS AFRICAN FRIENDS OR FAMILY CONSIDER BEYONCE BLACK, HAER MOM GOT GREEN EYES AND WHITE SKIN ! NO WAY SHE CAN BE BLACK!"- She clearly isn't black and was herself so confused about the race issue that she had to seek her husbands counsel. If you yourself aren’t sure how are you going to convince me that your opinion is a valid one to ponder? I am saying that I believe her husbands views are biased. Africans are not experts on the black race assignment either. Many African people are of the opinion that anyone born outside of Africa isn't really black as most of them have other races running though their genes. I will not allow anyone to take away my identity. I am black. If you saw me on the street you wouldn't think twice about it. My white genes are repressed and that has afforded me the opportunity to make such a claim without much argument. Others, like Beyonce, aren't as lucky. If she says she is black, who are you to tell her otherwise? Also, Beyonce is an aggregation of her mother and her father so to say that she isn't black because her mother possess certain features does not prove anything. Her father has dark skin and brown eyes. So? Why are we leaving him out of the equation?

"I AM WHITE MYSELF, ME AND MY HUSBAND HAVE A LITTLE BOY, WHO IS DARKER TAHN BEYONCE, I HAVE SEEN HER AT THE AIRPOT BEFORE, SOME OF YOU PEOPLE SHOULD GET ON A PLANE AND GO TO SEE HOW REALL BLACK PEOPLE LOOK LIKE" - This is a very ignorant statement. You don't have to be dark skinned to be black. I suggest you “get on a plane” and fly to Jamaica. Go to St. Elizabeth and tell me what you see. There are black people in St. Elizabeth that are extremely light in complexion but they are black. They have all the features and the genetic breakdown of a black person (including extremely kinky hair) but they have pale complexions. I didn't need to refer to a Biology book for that realisation. My eyes did it for me just fine.

"SHE IS CREOLE WITH JUST A SMALL DROP OF BLACK BLOOD!"- This statement is flawed. She is suggesting that Beyonce's race is Creole. However, she has not assigned a race to Beyonce. Creole is not a race. People want to be identifiable. The majority race in Beyonce's ancestry is black. I'm not sure where she has gotten the idea that Beyonce has "a small drop of black blood". Her complexion is light but that does not negate the fact that her black ancestry out proportions any other race in her family tree. If Beyonce and Jay-Z had children, would they be of the “Creole race” as well? After all, their mother is of Creole ancestry.

Since we are on the subject of "one drop", and since you have accused me of using this theory, I must defend myself by saying that I do not use the one drop theory widely practiced in your country. I have many friends who have black in their family but they look white. I do not consider them black and they do not consider themselves as such either.

"BEYONCE IS LIGHT SKINNED…I KNOW BLACK AMERICANS FEEL OFFENDED, CAUSE ITS TAKING BLACKNESS OF THEIR STAR AWAY, BUT FACE IT SHE IS NOT BLACK"- I say again that light skin does not define a race assignment. Beyonce has identified herself as a black woman. Black Americans (or black people in general) should not be blamed for reinforcing this claim. The fact that someone thinks that we have to be scrambling for achievers within our race is both ridiculous and insulting. We have many other noble people in our rich history. Martin Luther King and Marcus Garvey have done enough to make us proud. We don't need Beyonce to save us as well.

And now I discuss my views on your points.

"What I'm wondering is why Halle Berry shouldn't be considered both mixed and black. It seems to me that she would be assigned both terms by society, though perhaps in different contexts."- Halle Berry has identified herself as Black. I respect that. She was considered black until she won her Oscar and became the first black woman to do so in the Best Actress category. Then, all of a sudden, she turned into the mixed race woman who isn't really black and who hasn't really represented black people. It's hypocritical. People shouldn’t be black in one context and mixed race in another. They are what they are. Following your argument, if she is considered both "mixed" and "black" by society then she could also be considered white. After all she’s no more black than she is white. In fact, she’s probably more white than she is black. I say this because we are assuming that her father is a typical black American who would have white genes in his genetic code. So that being said, it would be more accurate to call her white. It doesn't make sense to our eyes but it is what is right? Let’s just say that the whole thing doesn’t make sense at all.

By giving people the title of "mixed race", I believe that we are robbing them of an identity. I think that is cruel. A mixed race black and white person and a mixed race white and chinese person are not of the same race but are filed under the same heading? So if we are confused about whether Christina Aguliera is white or spanish what do you think calling her mixed race does? That doesn't give her an identity either. She still belongs to neither one nor the other (entirely, that is). If she identifies herself as white then so be it. If she says she is spanish then i'll have to accept that. I can't argue on behalf of her though because I am not equipped to do so.

“The term 'creole' has to do with language mixing, at least in its primary use. I'm not sure the details of how it is used in certain contexts, but that's its origin.”- That is not the origin of the term creole. Creole does not ONLY refer to language mixing. Language mixing came about as a result of slavery. Initially, Creole was the term used to separate the immigrants from a motherland from those born within the territory. ie. A frenchman born in France but living in Haiti vs. a frenchman born in Haiti. It was just another way to create another prejudice and a social divide, as Creoles were looked at as being beneath those born in the motherland. So within each race, there were creoles. That is why, today, both black and white people can claim to be Creole and that is why it is NOT a racial assignment. Many territories have abandoned the title. Some have even turned it into a culture such as the ones found in Louisiana.

There are, creole languages as well. I’m not refuting that. Jamaican creole, as a language, is an English based dialect that is widely known as patois. Haitian Creole, as a language, is a French based dialect as is the Louisiana based Creole language. They are languages that have African influences alongside the motherland language. In fact, many people will argue that these are dialects and not languages.

“I think most people who hear the term 'creole' do expect the person referred to to be of mixed ancestry of some sort, and the context in which I saw the term applied to Beyonce's mother made it clear that she was of mixed ancestry.”- Noone is denying the fact that Beyonce’s mother is creole and of mixed race ancestry. She is obviously of mixed race ancestry. I don’t think you need someone to tell you that. It is, however, incorrect to assume that most people view the term “creole” as being someone of mixed race ancestry. I can only assume you say this in relation to an American idelogy. An American definition is not an absolute and it is not a worldwide definition. In this day and age, everything has been bastardised. So in America, "hoover" means to vacuum and "xerox" means to photocopy even though those terms are derived from the companies that made their product popular. Those words mean nothing outside of your country. There are also creole people in, say, Brazil that identify themselves as creole but also identify their race as being white. This has nothing to do with their language and has nothing to do with being of “mixed race ancestry”. Also, Beyonce’s mother being Creole and of mixed race ancestry does not define Beyonce’s racial classification. So I’m not sure what your argument is here.

Therefore, getting back to my original point, Beyonce’s race assignment is not Creole. I will allow her to call herself black as she is well within her rights to do so. Don’t get me wrong, I do agree that she is of a mixed race origin but if she choses to identify with her black majority genetic make up then that’s fine with me. After all, I do allow Mariah Carey and Tiger Woods to say they aren’t black. If you chose to keep your argument American based then I still put it to you that in the eyes of most Americans, Beyonce is black. Your history dictates that. Not mine.

Just to be clear, I was not defending what Shira said or endorsing the claim that Beyonce is not black. A good deal of what she said reflects some ignorance. I just thought things are a little more complicated than how you responded.

I have affirmed several times here that Beyonce is black. I don't even think her complexion is all that light (as black Americans' complexions go). I'm just not sure why it can't also be true that she is mixed. In certain contexts it's appropriate to point out that someone has noticeably mixed ancestry, and she is one of those people. Calling her mixed in those contexts seems fine to me.

That's consistent with her being black. In one particular way, she is black, and that's because people will treat her as black upon seeing her. The same is true of Tiger Woods, which is why I cannot agree with you about him. He can't get away with saying he's not black just because he's mixed. He looks black, and people will treat him as black. That is what makes him black. It just does not mean he is not mixed.

I take issue with your claim that the one-drop rule is widely practiced in the U.S. I see this claim repeated by academics all the time, but I don't think it's true throughout the U.S., certainly not in the northeast where I am. The fact that people can call one twin sister white and another black, when they share the exact same ancestry, suggests to me that the one-drop rule is no longer functioning as it once did. Many of my students seem to think that some people of mixed race can be both black and white at the same time. That is also not a sign that they are following the one-drop rule.

I don't think many people would say that Beyonce is white, however, and that's why I don't accept your argument that considering her black and mixed requires also seeing her as white. I was also not necessarily suggesting that she is black and mixed in the same contexts, just that there are some contexts when one or the other might be appropriate (even in the U.S., never mind other places with different classificatory systems). And while it's true that the categorizations we have do not make sense (indeed are even thoroughly irrational and sometimes even rely on outright racism), the only thing that creates the categories to begin with is that people use them and think about each other through that grid. Thus the actual categorizations people use, even if they are stupid, are the ones our social practices will create.

My point about different racial classification systems is that we have racial classifications only because people classify people, and the fact that people classify people differently in different locations suggests to me that the racial assignments are different in different places. What race someone is might vary from place to place. The same person might be black in Georgia, white in Haiti (and apparently some parts of Africa, including where Shira's husband is from), both black and mixed in New York, brown in Brazil, and high yellow in Barbados.

I would argue that calling someone mixed race is the only way not to rob them of both heritages. Calling a kid black and not mixed when only one parent is black seems to me to rob that kid of the white heritage. While it's true that insisting on whiteness for the sake of white privilege perpetuates racism, it's also true that calling the kid black for the sake of not robbing the kid of black heritage and identification robs the kid of something true about the white heritage. That's why I think mixed is the most appropriate categorization, even if some other categorization is also correct. Some mixed kids are so dark-skinned that everyone will treat them as black, and it would be misleading to call them not black. (I think this is so with Beyonce even). The same is not true of my kids, who are so light-skinned that some people might not even expect them to have a black parent (maybe they would suspect a black grandparent or perhaps think they are Latina/o.

As for Creole, however Americans use the term is what it means in the U.S. It doesn't need to be an ideology just because it's a different use of the term. There's no ideology behind why Americans call the storage compartment at the back of a vehicle a trunk, while other people in other parts of the world call it a boot. There's no ideology why something is a truck or a lorry. (I've never heard of the verb "to hoover" for vacuuming, however.) The primary use of the term in the U.S., if my initial sense is right about that (and it might not be), is simply how the term has come to be used. That does not mean those so using it are doing so out of any ideology. It certainly doesn't mean it's a distinctively American ideology.

I am of haitian descent, and i can tell you for a fact that creole is not a race. Creole only means that you were, as a slave, under the french rule. Another point i would like to make is that most white people are mixed too from ancient intermixing with black east-indian's and later with mixed north-africans and arabs which explains the variations in eye color and hair color among white people and also exlains why the english language is classified as an "indo-aryan" language. So saying that Beyonce is not black because her mother has creole ancestors and has light skin, is just not accurate. I would also like to say that some africans do not consider light skinned black people as black just like some anglo-saxons do not consider italians as white even if they are, and even if they clearly have some mixed heritage, i don't think that it is worth mentioning because everyone is mixed at a certain degree.

Carl, I don't believe anyone in this conversation was claiming that there's some race called Creole.

Of course Europeans are descended from the same group as Indians if you go far enough back. Everyone alive today is descended from one African woman, as far as our best science tells us. But racial classifications nowadays ignore mixing that far back and pay more attention to more recent mixing.

The fact that some African racial classification systems do not match up with some American racial classifications systems doesn't tell you very much about those American systems. It just tells you that they're not the same classification systems.

Virtually no one today considers Italians non-white. Racial classification systems in the past are also different from current ones, but again that tells you little about one specific current one except that it's not the same one that was used in that previous time.

I wanted to provide an update on the Denzel Washington/Julia Roberts issue. It turns out I was right. The reason the interracial romance was left out of the movie was entirely because black women wouldn't have felt comfortable with it.

It wasn't the white producers of the film who initiated this change, however. It was the black actor playing the part. According to his own account, it was Denzel Washington himself who insisted that they not have that black man/white women romance.

See here for more information. So my suspicions turned out right in the end, and it was because the black actor involved in the situation was more in tune with what black women's reactions might be than the white producers would have been on their own.

It also mentions a role he turned down that would have been opposite Michelle Pfeiffer. I don't know if that would have been a romantic part, but it wasn't a romance that led him to refuse the part. It was the presence of the N-word in the film.


I would like to know if you have finished your doctoral dissertation on racial categories? If you have, then a Congratulations is in order. Before I say anything I would just like everyone to know that I have just read through almost 2 years worth of commentary. Now, with that said - does this make you an expert on race? I think that topic of "racial Categories" are a little more complex than you seem to know...I don't want to make any assumptions because you have done your research. I cannot speak for any other groups or for all Blacks/African Americans for that matter, however I will say that as a Black woman who also considers herself Creole, it does not seem to me that any person who refers to themselves as Creole is negating whatever they consider their race to be. It seems more that they are promoting pride that they are not just what people see on the surface, i.e. skin, hair, eyes - as this is surface assumptions is widely practiced in American Culture. I believe if Tina (Beyonce's mother) were asked to identify her RACE she would respond: "BLACK" Did anyone think to actually research the ethnic and/or racial backrground of Tina Knowles' parents? I highly doubt that they went around the bayou telling people they weren't Black, especially if neither of their parents was not what we consider White in this country. I think you will find that of the many ethnicities within the Black/African American culture, regardless of where we come from, we identify as Black or African American. That is why Beyonce' considers herself a Black woman - it is who she is and their is no denying it. My point Jeremy is that no matter how much research or reports or writing work ups that you may have done on the racial categories, you will never be able to capture all of the information because there are so many issues that are unresolved. Many of them are unique to each group and sometimes the individual. What you and your wife experience together may be so different that what she experiences when she is not with you, as well as your children - especially living in this country.

Finally I would just like to point out that someone who is aspiring to for their Ph.D should know not to quote or reference something they found in a website especially if there is no evidence or background on what is being expressed. I have been to some of the websites put togehter "for interracial people by interracial people" and many times they claim celebrities who have features that resemble that of a "bi-racial or interracial person" I believe that some of those who put these website up are very uninformed about many things so either knowingly or unknowingly make false claims. This may be because they have identity issues and feel the need to claim those who are already admired by the public and have claimed their level of fame and fortune. This goes along the lines of having "someone like me" to look up to... but that is another subject.


I haven't finished my dissertation yet, but I'm hoping to finish this year.

Also, my dissertation isn't on what racial categories there are, as I think you're assuming. My dissertation is on the nature of race and racial categorization. I'm not cataloging the racial categories. I'm analyzing what it is to be a racial category. So I'm not sure my research is what you think it is. It doesn't consist of looking at the details of which categories there are and when people apply them to which people. It consists of the very nature of the activity of assigning people to such categories. My dissertation will almost certainly contain nothing at all about the issue of whether the term 'Creole' is a racial category and what it might imply about what racial categories someone might belong to. So I'm not sure anything I'm doing makes me an expert on that issue. What I'm becoming an expert on is the issue of what race is. I think you're just working from a false assumption about what I'm doing.

As for complexity, I think the issue is exceedingly complex. I'm not sure why you'd think I don't. One thing I'm trying to argue is that the whole system of categorization changes in different contexts, and contexts can shift extremely easily so that the same racial terms can mean different things even in the same sentence (e.g. Debra Dickerson's recent claim that Senator Barack Obama is black but that he's not black, with the italics signifying emphasis on the second occurrence of the word).

As for Beyonce's mother, my guess is that she considers herself black. Her daughter certainly does. But what I've been saying all along is that someone who is technically mixed can be black, so pointing that out doesn't touch anything I've said. What I've said isn't a very strong claim anyway. All I said is that the site I took my information from called Beyonce mixed and apparently based it on her Creole ancestry, which does usually involve some mixing way back, at least in the popular mind, even if the people in question do not explicitly describe themselves in those terms (and maybe it would even be misleading to do so anyway). I don't think that's a very strong claim, and it amazes me how much resistance people have been putting forth against it.

Also, blog posts and academic work are very different things. In blog posts, people regularly find online information, cite it, and then discover that there was an inaccuracy from a commenter. They then either correct the post or acknowledge the correction in the comments. In this case, I did the latter, because a number of comments would have made no sense if I had changed the post. Also, the general point is completely untouched even if several of the people I had listed turn out not to fit the description. It's a little strange to treat a short reflection off the top of my head as if it's part of my dissertation. Blog posts and academic work are very different things that must meet very different standards and have very different ways of dealing with errors.

Ok GUYS GUYS GUYS...i think that you guys are taking this a tad to seriously now Some may say that White people are obviously Jeolous that (Lets use beyonce as an example)A black woman is Excelling in what ever shes doing so decides to claim her as Mixed race! basaicly putting a bit of white in here...Lets just get this straight Beyonces Genes are clearly Black features i mean come on... Halle berrys features are Black... Rihannas features are black

Wite mum + Black dad : Black baby
Black mum + White dad : Black baby

Lets just face it the Black Genes Are Very Very strong so if beyonce wants to claim herself as Black Let her!! Afterall she doesnt look white does she lOl Peace P.s Please dont take this as Racism im Just trying to be Blut about this.

Some may say that White people are obviously Jeolous that (Lets use beyonce as an example)A black woman is Excelling in what ever shes doing so decides to claim her as Mixed race!

Not likely. It's the mixed race sites that are doing this. It's much more likely that they're over-willing to list someone as mixed race because they want their ranks filled out more.

As for Beyonce looking mixed race, I agree with you. I'm not sure why people think that. She looks just like a lot of people who are black and not mixed in any of their recent ancestry.

Wite mum + Black dad : Black baby
Black mum + White dad : Black baby

Now that's not so clear. It used to be. Blackness used to be assigned based on a black ancestor as far back as ten generations, but that's no longer the case. These recent cases of twins of different skin colors show that it's not as simple as you're putting it. People tend to call the light-skinned one white and the dark-skinned one black. That suggests to me that racial categories don't work the way they used to. My own kids have a white father and a black mother, but a noticeable percentage of my students didn't think it was accurate to call them black or white, and a noticeable percentage of them wanted to call them both black and white.

the Black Genes Are Very Very strong

If you mean the genes for skin color, then that's mostly right. If you think there are any genes that make people black, then you've got a lot of work ahead of you trying to reconcile that with what we now know from genetics. I'm not sure it can be done.

Yes i meant Black genes as in skin colour..Also Look at Mariah carey shes Mixed race (Ive read) Yet she claims to be white some may say that , this is what Beyonce is doing (claiming to be black) But really its how you put your self in society is there any mixed race people here that see themselves as black,white,spanish, blah blah whatever or do you see yourself as mixed..I think that the term mixed doesnt really identifie these "mixed people" Like the term Black people.. it basaicly rounds all black people as the race black which we are but cant they say (in the news papers or something) The african person or the British person ...Lol just voicing my opinions ...

Well, no racial term is very good as a description. But they're not descriptions. They're names for groups, and they're assigned in a way that doesn't exactly line up with what rational group-forming decisions would result in. But social and historical practices gave us the groupings we have, and since that's all that makes racial groups significant there's no reason to think the irrationality of any of it is an objection to using the terms. The whole system is irrational, but so much is based in it that it's also a social reality.

I am a bit confused in the area of an an african american a mix race person?? And if so do the West indians in america class themselves as African American? Because as Far as im concerned..Every west indian person i no denies being african..i no theres alot of History behind this But since i dont get taught this type of of stuff in history class i might as well bring my views and ideologies here Lol...wb xx

Lady Donner,

"African-American" is a polite term designed to remove the "racism" stigma of calling someone black. Problem is, it's use is completely wrong... in my opinion. It used to be when someone came to the U.S., they often called themselves American-"something".... many early 20th century european immigrants would upon becoming "American" would list their former country second... When the powers that be, decided that "black" and "negro" were no longer politically correct (funny cause "negro" is just another language for "black".... But the NAACP isn't gonna change their name to the NAAAA!) the term "African-American" was born.

This of course (again my opinion) actually creates a greater divisive term as it makes ALL "blacks" supposedly from Africa and makes they "Africans" first and "Americans" second.

I have met several people from the continent of Africa. When I was in the Marine Corps I knew a guy who was born on the continent, moved to the U.S. as a child... he was as black (in color) as could be...but would not be considered "African-American" by any "African-American" I know of when I grew up in Detroit. He had no sense of the "American black" culture. I later knew a guy who was lilly white, born in South Africa, and also moved to the U.S. as a child.... and could not use the classification of "African-American" on himself even though he was from the continent (and actual country) because he was white. He was an know, like the white South Africans in the "Lethal Weapon 2" movie. Speaking of that, what does one call Charlize Theron, born in South Africa and English as a second language? Is she not an "African-American"?

The point? Labelling races of people by things such as color is absolutlely ignorant, labelling them by ancestral lands and religion is even more so. With the global mixing of know the "human race"... we just all need to grow up. It's all about seperatism and elitism, of one "rage" or "group" being able to distinguish themselves from another.... Hitler was good at that, and we all remember where that led us. I mean c'mon, a short dark haired, brown-eyed, power-hungrey despot convincing people to follow his plan of blond-haired, blue-eyed, super "race".

For the record, I'm white....and am simply claiming American. With my ancestry being Canadian, then previously French, and if evolution theroies are correct that Homo Sapiens started in the lands later to be known as the continent of "Africa"....then by the definitions provided by the people posting here, I am of "African" descent and therefore should be able to claim "African-American" status... cause if a drop will do you... I'm sure there's a drop at least within the last 1000 generations.

Oh and a closing note, if American "blacks" will force a person to be considered black because of a parent... like my neice (black father, white mother) regardless of features and skin tone, are they not just perpetuating the racism that the one drop rule was created with? I mean, Mariah Carey is attacked by blacks for calling herself "white"....I mean, can't you use the reverse analogy of one drop of white makes you white? Heaven forbis, I mean Reverends Jackson and Sharpton would never accept it.

Oh and a closing note, if American "blacks" will force a person to be considered black because of a parent... like my neice (black father, white mother) regardless of features and skin tone, are they not just perpetuating the racism that the one drop rule was created with?

Actually, no. Racial categories are not a matter of how we should divide up people into groups. They are a matter of what actual groups are created by the social and historical processes that created the racial groups we have. To find out whether the one-drop rule functions in creating the racial categories in current operation, we need to find out if people would tend to classify someone with just one black ancester 10 generations back as black. Certainly where I am in New York the answer is a resounding no among most people. But in the South that may not be so still, even if it's changing.

can't you use the reverse analogy of one drop of white makes you white?

Do you know of any currently existing social practice that does that? If not, then it's irrelevant.

"can't you use the reverse analogy of one drop of white makes you white?"

Erm no i dont think thats possible.. because as i said before the "Black Genes" are strong and practically take over the " white genes" so if you saw a mixed race person you cant call them white because it wont sound white i mean you will have to look at the texture of their hair ,skin tone and so on.. what do you think?

Lool i meant it wont sound " right " now "white" sorry .. actually its like you Jeremy..if you had one drop of black in you you will black..but light like your hair will be immdiatley Kinky...what do you think

Actually, genetics does not bear this out. Are you familiar with the several cases of recent twins of mixed race heritage? I talk about one case here. Look at the two kids there. One looks mixed race, and the other looks white. The one that looks white has as much black ancestry as the other one, since they have the same parents. Each in fact has two black grandparents, if I remember correctly, just as my kids do (who you can see here; there are darker-skinned kids in those pictures too with two black parents; the ones with lighter skin are ours).

There is no such thing as black genes and white genes. There are genes for skin color, hair type, and other characteristics associated with race. But I don't think there's any general truth about which genes take over which others. Our kids have skin much closer to my shade than to my wife's, and that's common enough.

Besides, the one-drop rule was not based on which characteristics were more common to manifest themselves among mixed race children. It was based on an unscientific and immoral view about racial essences, with a black racial essence that was supposed to contain lesser intellectual and moral traits remaining in someone of mixed race even if its presence was less clearly shown. Since the black essence was supposed to pollute the white essence, those not purely white would count as black. It was pure racism that motivated this. You can see the same logic in Nazi Germany about pure-blood Aryans, half-bloods, blood traitors, and all that. J.K. Rowling has also captured the logic of it very nicely in the Muggle, Mudblood, Half-Blood, Pure-Blood, Blood Traitor schema in the Harry Potter books, where Muggle-borns can be just as good at magic as purebloods, but there's still a sense of dirtied essence in such Mudbloods among those with this sort of view.

bottom line is this. There will be no black or white in 300 years. Everyone one will be brown. 1 blood, 1 love..... That's that....

I doubt 300 years is enough time to overcome the racial categories we've got, although they will certainly adjust to some degree. I expect we won't have a category "brown". We might get more people refusing to identify, or we might develop a more fine-grained classification system. But there will most likely be people in 300 years whose ancestry and culture match up with what we call white now, with no intermixing with anyone black. There will probably be people in 300 years whose ancestry from now until then is all of people who we would call black now. There's very little chance that everyone will be the same color. There's too much variation, and mixing patterns would have to be completely random to achieve something even remotely like that. There's still a lot of resistance to interracial marriage, even if people's reasons are less ideological and more residual lack of appreciation of wider standards of beauty. But those are significant obstacles to the strange goal of making everyone look alike (which I have to say is extremely strange as a hope for the future).

CAN I JUST SAY WHAT IS THE POINT IN ALL THIS...WHO REALLY CAREEESSS!!!!!!>..WERE ALL HUMANS...ITS LIKE HAVING A DISCUSSION ABOUT WHETHER DOGS SHOULD LIKE CATS THAT IS VERY WEIRD BUT IT MIGHT HAPPEN...I WONDER IF PRINCE CHARLES MARRIED A BLACK WOMAN OR AN AISAN WOMAN IF IT WILL SPARK UP RACISM AND WE WILL SEE THE TRUE COLORS OF ENGLAND Hahah lol.. but yh i hope it happens ..THERE WILL BE LOADS OF SPARKS in the Media ....But this is a well known fact the media are racist..any way this is off the Topic..Yh but hu honestlty cares about interracial marriages COLOUR DONT MEAN NOTHING!! what did martin luther king say " one day my children will hold hands wit a white man or white woman" some thing along those lines.. You see Jeremy these kind of discussion just bring racism and tension..You are practically saying that there is a problem with interracial couples now..i honestly think there isnt but yh...i mean to sum this all up GUYS WERE ALL HUMANS! NOT FRICCIN AILEANS WHO CANT MIX WITH OTHER AILEANS FROM OTHER SPACES LOL

You are practically saying that there is a problem with interracial couples now

Pauline, my wife is black. I am white. That much should be very clear from the above discussion.

Now think a bit about what you're accusing me of in this comment. Do you seriously think that I've got a problem with interracial couples? Maybe you need to think through everything I've said without coming from whatever grid of assumptions you're working with.

No jeremy im not accusing you of bringing racism into this discussion or anything..ok fair enought your wife is black...And i now understand why you will want a discussion about this. I have read through all the Blogs and erm Maybe this mixing is probably being ignored..It is good that you have brought it up. So we can see everyones views..But honestly what do you think of Prince Williams marrying a black woman what kind of tension will this spark in the media? LOl im just curious..And sorry Jeremy if i wrongly accused you of anything .. i just read one Blog on the page and assumed something else..Muchluv xx

What exactly are you suggesting about my views about Prince William marrying a black woman? I'm not sure what you expect me to believe on that, never mind what would be problematic about it.

For the record, my interest in this subject isn't just because my wife is black. I was interested in racial reconciliation before I even knew my wife. My closest friends from college are not white, and I think racial relations are one of the biggest failings among Christians in the United States, something I as a Christian have always wanted to be a part of helping make progress against.

But racial progress requires thinking accurately about what race is and what moral issues race gives rise to. I'm working on a philosophy Ph.D. dissertation on the nature of racial categories because I think it's very important to get to the bottom of what's really going on in how we think about and talk about race. That's what's leads me to think about questions like this in the way that I do.

Jeremy --

Firstly - in your article above, the Kristof quote is specifically referring to black-male/white-female pairings - whereas all your examples bar one run in exactly the opposite direction. Insofar as the quote has a central point I don't think it's addressed by your response.

I think it's a question worth asking, and one that is likely to have a number of explanations. It would be somewhat suprising if it is always due to the intervention of the actor involved - not every actor is likely to be Denzel Washington Jr.

Given that at a primitive level *all* communities have problems with viewing women as property, it would be rather unlikely if it was never a problem. Given the history of the US it is likely that at the very least it was a problem in the past, and which may have resonances if only at the level of perceptions today. On this note, a recent quote from the Economist "And yet by 2003, 59% of white southerners were telling pollsters that it was “all right for blacks and whites to date”." - which still leaves a significant and probably aging minority.

It would - after all - be somewhat suprising if the *only* groups Hollywood was ever afraid of annoying were black and asian women.

Chris, the conversation that ensued has dealt with the first issue fully. I have nothing more to say that I haven't already said above.

As for cases besides Denzel Washington's, as I've said I think it's possible that some producers are like what Kenny above (around Ocotber 2006) says. I also think producers may factor in exactly what Denzel was factoring in, and I think some black male actors are in agreement with Denzel on this issue. Why can't there be some truth to all the explanations that have been given?

You don't have to view women as property to have a problem with women of "your" people going off to marry or have relationships with those of some "other" people. It could entirely be based on considerations that don't involve thinking of them as something you can control but merely out of worries that your group is headed for dissolution, that your culture will die off, etc.

I think these are bad arguments for opposing intermarriage, but they are at least arguments, and they involve no assumptions about women being property. In fact, one worry has black women's interests in mind to the exclusion of black men's. If black men go off with white women, and black men are at least a little more easily able to land a white woman than black women are to land a black man (due to differences in the general ways between how men and women see physicality in a relationship), which is a plausible assumption, however good, bad, or morally neutral its causes might be, then it follows that black women are going to be left without as many candidates for relationships. This is compounded by the unfortunate fact that disproportionately many black men of the usual marrying age are in prison. Altogether, it seems as if there's an argument for considering it immoral for black men to marry black women that's based on concern for what's best for black women. As I said, I don't think such arguments should be convincing, but it is indeed an argument that doesn't assume women as property.

I would say that some of the 59% of white Southerners who think it's ok for blacks and whites to date might be more hesitant to say it's ok for blacks and whites to marry. I would wonder what the percentage is among blacks, too. I wouldn't be as surprised to find a similar or even higher number of blacks, particular when it comes to black men and white women, a particularly sore spot for many black women.

Certainly Hollywood is afraid of offending more than black and Asian women, but I don't think their fear of offending white people is anywhere near as high as their fear of offending others. Hollywood is very much into the popular mindset I find common at universities and colleges, where offending those who are disadvantaged or marginalized is a much greater sin than offending anyone else. This isn't true everywhere, but I think Hollywood is one of the places where it's set in most strongly. Any charge of racism or homophobia, even if it's unfounded (e.g. because someone mentions a word rather than uses it) leads to that person having to go into rehab. The entertainment industry goes way out of its way to avoid any accusation of racism or anything in the area of it. Catering to the overprotective concerns of aging white Southerners doesn't seem to me to be on the same priority level for them.

Jeremy --

There might well be truth in all those explanations - something I allow for in my post - and I suspect that all of them would have been true at least once.

Equally, yes - you don't have to have a view of women as property to take the view that certain forms of mixing are undesirable.

However, I'd be suprised given history if the particular fear of white people for a particular form of racial mixing had *never* been major factor - especially given the way in which that form has been used to rabble rouse in the past.

As for those southerners 59% or otherwise, they still make decisions as consumers, Hollywood has to make money - and the preferences of a majority aren't likely be dismissed easily.

Of course - regardless of whether it is a minority or majority that they aren't try to insult, they could still be overestimating the amount of offence likely to be taken.

I am Creole. From Louisiana where Beyonce "grandmother " is from. And we are Black Creoles. Not biracial.

and Creole is an ethnic group.
It is an ethnicity!

Yahti, what sounds stupid is yelling at someone whose actual words you can't be bothered to read.

Consider the following three claims:

1. Beyonce is black.
2. Beyonce is mixed race.
3. It's not entirely inaccurate that Beyonce is mixed race.

I originally took a website that purported to know her heritage at face value and listed Beyonce as mixed race. That amounts to saying 2. I was corrected, and I acknowledged that. In passing, I also said that because her mother was creole, 3 is true. So 1 is true, 2 isn't quite right, and 3 is true. That position is entirely consistent, as I've pointed out (and argued for) above.

Now you come along and say I sound stupid. Your evidence? Black creoles are black. But all that shows is that 1 is true. Since I've already acknowledged 1 to be true, you haven't actually given anything that counts against my position. Then you say I sound stupid for saying something that you haven't been able to pinpoint precisely as against anything you've said. I don't think I'm the one who comes out sounding stupid. If you could actually give an argument against the position I've taken and show why my own arguments are bad, then I might sound a bit more stupid. But until then it's merely shouting without argument, which doesn't come across as the sort of thing smart people should need to do.

I don't want to repeat arguments I've already given, but I can direct your attention to where they are in the discussion above, since it's a pretty long comment thread at this point. You can see my comments from July 25, 2005 and August 11, 2005 for the most important points, but the Nov 14, 2006 comment clarifies some things that may not have been explicit enough before that. The Nov 15, 2006 comment ties a lot of these points together and makes my position quite clear in a way that careful readers might have seen before but nevertheless hadn't been put together all in one place. The comment on Jan 28, 2007 is also an important clarification. I can't see how anyone could look at even just some of those comments and then attribute to me the view that you're assuming me to hold.

i was mistakingly routed to this website while researching interracial background, etc. i must say, everyone's opinions and point of views were quite interesting.


I think its intriguing how STRONG everyone feels about their opinions.

I personally never really paid attention to race and the only reason i was researching interracial relationships is because i am an african american woman (i am 110% sure i have a little bit of everything in my ancestry), and my husband is 1/2 hispanic and part japanese and irish. he REALLY favors japanese samuri in his physical appearance.

HOT! but thats irrelevant.

i am one of prolly few african american women married or even dating a man with japanese blood.

the discussions above have brought me to one conclusion, why does it matter what you are. just be good with who you are.

race shouldnt make u uncomfortable in your own skin.

if you're black, white, japanese, latino, etc...why cant you just be all of these, why must people subject themselves to having to chose. I strongly feel this is a slap in the face. As if it were okay to say, "mom, i have to chose so dont be offended, im not disowning your side but im chosing to be black..or white....or latino...or asian...etc....."!

as far as my 5 yr old is concerned, he knows what his cultural backgrounds are, i tell him, "if anyone asks honey, you're BLAXICANESE-ISH. (black, mexican(latino), japanese, and irish.

just thought id comment, but all this is good stuff none the less,

accept for the person(s) referrencing other websites before researching...

oh yeah, by the way.....

Bee, thats what i call her, too,

is a fellow houstonian and she is Black.

there, hope thats enough clarification.

" a strong black woman..."


For the record, no one said Creole is a race, and I didn't say Beyonce isn't black. I said she's got mixed ancestry, probably more than usual for blacks in the U.S. If she's Creole, she likely does.

As for the website with the faulty information, I must reiterate that people often end up with faulty information from web searches, and one of the whole points of the blogosphere is to write out one's thoughts in order to have them examined by those who might correct them. The important thing is admitting when information is wrong, and I did so.

Race is a social construction. Meaning that you can not look at someones dna to tell if there "black", "white", or whatever you want to call it. If you look at the population of latin america they run the gamut of blue eyed/blond hair to dark brown hair/dark brown skin. They are all deemed latin american not "white" or "black". America has painted the picture that having the slightest trace of African American ancestry makes you just that, African American (black). People who have mixed ancestry are told to disregard there heritage because they will always be identified as "black", as if because you have mixed ancestry your blood has been tainted. There is no such thing as a pure "black" race, because physically our features including skin tone encompass such a wide range.

Actually, lots of people in Latin America are deemed white or black, in addition to many being neither white nor black.

On the one-drop rule, I think that's on the wane, at least among large sections of the U.S. For one piece of evidence, see the information I discuss here.

Just from someone's point of view whose mother is white and father is can't really say what nationality somebody actually is. I have people ask me if i'm Dominican, Puerto Rican, Indian, and some people get it right on the spot. I really disagree with the comment "people who have mixed ancestry are told to disregard their heritage because they will always be identified is black" me thats bull s**t. Actually, there is a standarized test that students must pass at certain grades and my racial profile is marked under "white." And I would just like to add if you call somebody of latin heritage black or white, they will be extremely offended

I'm curious where you are. One of the things I'm interested in for my own research is to what extent the one-drop rule is no longer operating. If people mark you as white when they know you're ancestry, this is a sign that it's less operative where you are.

People of Latin American descent can easily be black or white, but many consider themselves neither.

Thank you for this. Having the conversation is extremely important. The person accusing you of stirring up racial animous perpetuates the problem of fear among different groups in talking to each other about the very real issues we all face. In the current climate, you are very brave for even being willing to study the subject, much less talk about it.

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