Sunday, May 31, 2009

Been musing a lot about bi-racialism since the Channel 5 panel discussion was aired recently ... .

Find myself wondering why that discussion continues to have resonance into the 21st century when humankind has been creating mixed race people since before recorded history?

We continue to talk about us as though we're some dire condition that will befall the human race in some future millenium when we've been here evolving all the time! Certainly since tribes invaded other tribes has this been true. Any place on the planet where armies have occupied lands and dominated populations, mixed-race children have been the outcome. Since long before the Trojans Wars to the present this has been true. The Eurasian and Amerasian children born of WWII and Vietnam can be seen everywhere throughout Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia. In this country the slave trade produced millions of us; some from obvious sexual exploitation but a great many from courageous and often defiant young people willing to cross unimportant lines of separation for the sake of love and being together despite societal taboos.

The wonder for me is just why we continue to be seen as an aberration rather than the natural outcome of mobility and social progress? Though tanning salons are still the ultimate in luxury and bronze skin tones most desired by many Europeans, those of us without tan lines are suspect. When cosmetic surgeons are artificially thickening lips to emulate black features there is cause for wonder. At a time when there are actually lip puffer-uppers on the market for those unable to afford silicone treatments. This proved silliest when one day recently I purchased what I thought was lip gloss and got one of the lip enhancers instead. I stayed in the house most of that day -- laughing at myself -- while waiting for the swelling to go down and the slight tingling to dissipate.

Yes. There are some conversations that need to happen in order to free ourselves of some of the hypocrisy that marks our lives and may be preventing the normalizing of relations between the races.

My awareness was sharpened this week when I underwent some comprehensive blood work in connection with my annual physical. When the results came back there was one that gave the results with a racial designation (something called glomerular filtration rate, African American). At this point in my racial complexity how in the world does my physical body make that political distinction? How does one read that test result? Now that's the kind of conversation that we need to be having with our physicians, right? For the sake of my beautiful polyracial grandchildren, I'm planning to do that soon. My politics do not follow me into the examination room, nor will theirs.

Photo: Two of my grandchildren, Tamaya and Alyana, who exemplify our world as it has always been; made up of beautiful mixed children born of love and grace.

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