Rebecca Walker


Monday, January 21, 2008

Double Blood

Thanks Ayo, who wrote yesterday that she's transracial. Even though the term has primarily been used to describe of color adoptees adopted by white famillies, I love the potential for the term and I've been pondering it quite a bit in the last year. It's much closer to how I feel than biracial. I belong to many "races" rather than feeling an outright, pure allegiance to one or two. And isn't that the future we all want, one that's fluid, one that identifies with struggle, but with the transcending of that struggle as well? This, fundamentally is a discussion about home. Where it is and how we define ourselves within it in a way that is empowering rather than disempowering.

On a similar note, at one of my lectures in Amsterdam last month, many in the audience were part Dutch, part Surinamese, and when I spoke of being "mixed" they shared their term: Double Blood. And when the daily paper in Amsterdam, Het Parool, did a spread on me, that was the headline: Double Blood, and I was thrilled by the shift. I feel we are finally at the place where our two or three or four sided identity can be seen irrefutably as a place of power and not victimization. Why not claim it all?

We have two traditions, we are not half of anything; we are transracial, we are not bifurcated. I like too, how transracial is different from postracial; it doesn't deny that ideas of race exist, it just chooses a different position towards those ideas. I also like that the term is open and inclusive, all people can embrace it, not just people of color or of many backgrounds, thus allowing allies to use it rather than feel perpetually on the outside. I really think transracial is a term of the future.

Thanks Ayo and all of my Dutch Afro-Surinamese sisters. You've given me a new way of seeing myself. The best present of all.

Check out both Ayo's blog: and also the blog for Outsiders Within, an important discussion regarding adoption that I find especially relevant as I have received so much criticism for my statements in Baby Love about the desire of some adoptive parents to erase the reality of biological parents by denying the difference between the two.

And of course, this seems a particularly important discussion to be having on Martin Luther King Jr.'s official birthday. I'm sure he would approve.

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Anonymous Ayo said...

Thank you!

"Trans" words intrigue me lately- transgender, transhuman, transcendent, etc. Maybe has something to do with energy and how everything in the universe is in a constant state of motion, not static. Size is only development, says Walt Whitman.

I think that we are more than the sum of our parts. We are becoming whole, and we are going to carry the world with us.

Blogger Miriam said...

Could this have to do with by passing or transending the man made creation of race?

Anonymous Artemis from Jamaica said...

Hi Rebecca
I excerpted from your post and pasted it in the discussion of my biracial-multiracial-transracial book group on Shelfari. Check it out:

We also have an amazing group called Shades of Love that features "diverse" books for children. It's where I find titles for my avid reader two year old daughter.

I hope you don't think I'm advertising! I don't have anything to gain from all this -- just thought you might be interested to know about them.

Blogger Rebecca Walker said...

hey artemis, thanks much for sharing shelfari with me, and as long as i'm credited, you can pull anything i say or write and post anywhere you feel it will do some good. thanks, too for sending me to the kids' bookshelf. i am always looking for good books for tenzin, and am also going to be blogging for on motherhood, so will def need as many resources as possible! aloha!

Anonymous Artemis from Jamaica said...

Of course I credited you! And the group members really liked your ideas on double blood, transracial, etc.

Blogger Revo1 said...

Biracial as a term itself can only be temporary as with the invention of the concept of race in the past few hundred years humanity will only continue to become more complex in cultural heritage. The average so called biracial person is in fact much more racially mixed, especially in the African-American community. You yourself are at least quad-racial, as Alice Walker has said she is black, Cherokee, Irish & Scottish (if my memory serves me). Thus, you are even more racially mixed with your Jewish father. To me, the idea of race has a very beautiful chance at uniting rather than dividing if we could only let go of the barriers of negativity. Perhaps "Trans" is a step in the right direction. Although bridging the gap had to start somewhere and biracial identity has served it's purpose for common ground, ultimately it still plays into the two cultures at a clash. Having a much steeper heritage from around the world puts culture clash at a stalemate, as it is harder and harder to "choose sides" as racial purists would have us all do. I agree, "Trans-racial" sounds more and more inviting the more I think about it.


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