I’ve included this section because I want to be very transparent about who I am and where I’m coming from in terms of my racial identity and my background as a mixed person whose ancestry isn’t visible to most.
I’m okay with answering questions about my racial identity, but I am not really interested in engaging with racism or bigotry related to how I was raised and who I am. I am not appropriating anything by practicing traditions that are part of my own heritage. So if you take an issue with my racial identity, please do not contact me and unfollow my site and blogs.
I identify as mixed race black and biracial black because I am a mix of two different races, but I also always add about being white passing, because I understand that I’ll never even truly fathom how much privilege I have because of that. I don’t post pictures of myself for privacy reasons, but I wrote this piece on my appearance and how others perceive me.
A white passing person is inherently a person of color, they just are a person of color who is generally perceived by most people as “white” based on their appearance and/or other factors. I have white passing privilege and do not experience colorism, but it’s important to understand that white passing privilege is not the same as white privilege. Race is based on ancestry and heritage, not just skin color.
In terms of genetics (since I got tested), I am technically somewhere between 20-25% of African descent and my mom is genetically somewhere between 48-50%. Race and genetics are definitely related, but they aren’t the same thing. This is why all the big genetics testing companies even including AfricanAncestry (the one black-owned one) emphasize that you can’t determine somone’s race solely from their genes. Percentages that are meant to express one’s race or ancestry don’t speak to one’s life experience including how someone’s been raised or treated.
Personally, I’m really uncomfortable with the term “quadroon.” I did try reclaiming it for a while, but it was partly because people would try to corner me into calling myself “only a quarter black” to make sense of why I look so white to them. Calling myself that was more about making white people comfortable than it was about me expressing my racial identity or the experiences of my upbringing.
It was actually my mom, who is visibly black and only usually identifies as black not mixed or biracial, who encouraged me for years to see myself as biracial and mixed – not as “oh, just a quarter.” It really transformed my whole perspective and helped me to understand how damaging percentage politics as a white narrative can be for people of mixed heritage. So I please ask that you do not reduce my identity to a fraction or a percentage or refer to me as a “quadroon.”