The Meghan Markle Debate is still going on, and there are heated discussions on the new social media app Clubhouse. Clubhouse is a new type of social network based on voice—where people around the world come together to talk, listen and learn from each other in real-time. When entering rooms, discussing the Oprah interview with Meghan, Duchess of Sussex and Prince Harry, I noticed a trending topic. Did Megan have the right to claim her blackness?
Race, Class & Skin Tone
These rooms actually shocked me. I listened to countless sisters say,” she was not black until she felt racism” These words took my breath away. As Multiracial Women in 21st-Century, we have always been questioned about our blackness. Just because some of us have a lighted tone, education and can speak the queens English, it hurts even more, when the dragging comes from our own black brothers and sisters.
An issue in the community for centuries. More commonly known as passing. I see it as another way of dividing us. It is the uneasy existence of being black and passing for white or close to it. Most of my own ancestors passed the notorious “brown paper bag test,” used by social clubs within the black community to discriminate against any person darker than a literal brown paper bag.
Are We Black Enough?
My relatives were olive enough that, to people outside the black community, they might be confused for Latino or Native or mixed. But while genetically, they were mixed with a combination of mostly African, Indigenous and European ancestry, ethnically and racially, we’re black.
AFRICAN AMERICAN FAMILY STORIES of the distant relatives who ran away to pass for white have been a common part of black folklore since the 19th century. My grandmother did it when she arrived in New York City from her Island home in the Caribbean.
Which later influenced how she raised us. To the point where people would often comment on how “I sounded like a white girl.” Not an educated black girl, these stemmed from the race and class issues in our community. In the end, pushing me to leave my upper-middle-class life and search for answers in the hood and discovering hip hop. Because being from the hood gave you your black pass.
The ability to pass oneself off as white—choose between living with their existing identity or adopt the dominant racial identity—is the most extreme colourism privilege. It’s not an option to which the vast majority of black Americans has access. In an ethnic group in which “selling out” or being an “Uncle Tom” are major taboos, it’d be understandable if the discussion of passing focused on the act’s supreme selfishness.
I sounded like a white girl
Passing is, at its essence, abandonment of the group to better the individual. And yet, the intra-community discussion about passing tends to avoid the question of the act’s morality. Instead, within the black community, family passing stories often serve other purposes: as a way of emphasizing the absurdity of race; as an example of a family’s access to the privileges of colourism; as a trickster performance of the ultimate racial transgression. That also breeds jealousy or favouritism from our community and families.
The benefit of passing in American history was the chance to live a life with an American citizen’s full rights, social and economic—an escape from the threat of racial violence in all its forms, from powerlessness and political disenfranchisement. The price, however, was total transportation.
There have been people of African descent throughout American history who have used their ability to pass for white in ways that benefited the larger African American community instead of abandoning it. Walter Francis White, former head of the NAACP, joined the organization as an investigator. In his early years at the organization, he investigated lynchings of black men that were ignored by the national white press by using his ambiguous appearance to infiltrate white spaces.
Meghan Markle & Multiracial Women in 21st-Century
As a Multiracial Women in 21st-Century, I have actually used my power to bring other brothers and sisters up with me. Growing up, I was bullied by darker-skinned girls, yet it was not until my adulthood could I understand it. We women of colour have to fight a daily battle to be heard. And being taught that to be a shade lighter was better divided us even more.
For me, The Meghan Markle Debate Multiracial Women in 21st-Century Is she Black Enough? Has set us back. Whether she felt black growing up or choose to play the middle to get ahead should not be up for discussion. At the end of the day, deep in her heart, when she looks at her mother, she knows she is a black woman. Like if you are Jewish or Muslim, if your mother is of faith, so are you. So please Candace Owens sit down with your commentary: “Candace Owens slammed Meghan Markle’s Oprah interview, suggesting she isn’t Black enough to be of a victim of racism.
It is actually disgusting to me that people want to actually debate her race card. The bigger debate should be that the first black Prince of England does not have MI6 to protect him. Knowing he will live in the USA and how the system in America treats black men. Because we know being pulled over while being black is another topic of discussion.
Some of us just wanted to enjoy a love story about and Prince and his common Princess. We would love to hear your thoughts about this race and class issue. Leave a comment below.