Rebecca Walker


Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Double Blood

Double Blood

Hot off the press. xo


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very cohesive, informative piece. I enjoyed reading it. I, too, am bi-racial. My struggle is that my mother has not and will not ever feel comfortable talking to me about my heritage. Do you have any suggestions on how I can trace exactly what my make up is? This has been a hindurance to me all my life because I feel like my identity is insufficient. I think I would be more confident if I knew where I came from.


Blogger Martine said...

(Rebecca, I think maybe you personaly filter these before posting. Take this down if it's too long/extraneous. I wish there was a link to respond to this poster directly. Sorry to fill up your comment space. I just felt compelled sort of...I struggled not to delete this all but I hope this person reads it and it may be of some use to know someone else, in my tiny way, felt the same. )

anonymous -mdw, i know the question is directed to Rebecca but the specificity of which you speak resonates/hits me and I've sat here stumbling and hesitating over writing a comment because you just mirrored something.

You said: "...I feel like my identity is insufficient. I think I would be more confident if I knew where I came from." I wrote nearly the exact thing to many people seeking answers, our blog host included.

I also don't have information on my heritage from either side of my family and no one wants to talk about it or me being mixed. Last week when I told my mother that a dear professer told me only the middle class care about being mixed and I was mistaken to want to write about it followed by an annoying day of again being made to check the "other" box, she laughed at me. Out loud. I'm very sorry to hear your mother is also not very supportive. My point in telling you the above snippet of a recent response is to say that suddenly it didn't hurt my feelings. At all! I realized that withholding or responding in gest is not meant maliciously but a genuine lack of understanding for which I suddenly had a really incredibly profound compassion for. I felt..sad that it made them (my estranged father, my mother, people who trivalize the mixed experience, society's fixed concept of race and power) so uncomfortable and sad that it made me want such a definitive answer for everything in life.

I'm really trying to not project and I know I'm still not far off from where you seem to be writing from - having questions and maybe needing community/support? It's just... the fact that you are asking, in my very small and young experience, does wonders for realizing you have valid rights, feelings and desires for self definition. I do understand wanting to know where you physically came from but beyond that there is something in finding your confidence in being here now for who you are becoming and the heart work you create. I really can't believe I'm saying that and I don't mean to sound simplistic/make assumptions about your experience and it is by no means a mutually exclusive process. There are DNA services and I've considered them myself but I wanted to decide where my confidence and sense of self came from before finding information like that because I was afraid that it would become an ego checklist. Some days I really want to know and other days I know it's completely irrelevant to who I realy am inside. The good days are slowly slowly outweighing the doubtful ones. Finding community seems key. Again I am trying to tread lightly because I don't know your situation and I know it can be painful...

Maybe Rebecca could say more about this more eloquently but I suppose my two cents is just that fact sheets on your heritage may or may not make you more confident - you do. As Rebecca seem to reference in this piece, it is not only the work of biracial people to build capacity but the larger society as well. I suspect that when we get that right, the confidence will be in the gratitude for living right now in a time of fluid transformation with new tools and language where this wasn't a solitary question but a question of where we weren't being met by the containers we are apart.

Again I apologize if I am making broad assumptions. I just know that you are more than sufficient and actually outstanding because you are here right now. So as I'm just jumping in, I'll toss the admiring embarrassment aside and just go ahead and quote Ms.RW when she said something like "you are who you say you are whenever you say you are." That was a magic key for me- along with a little Pema Chodron and my friend Heidi's writing & podcast. We're all still on the road and there's the ebb and flow but I just feel strongly that in your asking there is growth. At least there was for me. Be well. I hope I wasn't intrusive to give my two cents from when I had the same questions and what has helped me.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rebecca, this article is a well that I will return to often; I have learned so much about myself (and a community that I did not previously know existed). Thank you for speaking of my experiences, and for framing them as 'our' (community) experiences.

I am biracial but make a habit of distancing myself from everyone (with tendencies to one or the other as I grow older) - which is a neurotic way of saying 'take me for me, as a whole human, not two halves of one'.

The acceptance by many groups is charming, but not healing to me (although your experience gives one hope); it highlights one other group to which I do not belong. Honestly, I am beyond belonging to anyone but my friends (a situation that I am content with).

As always, thanks for your insightful comments from another continent.

(After 18 months, my therapist replied to a comment I made about my mother: 'I thought your mother was dead'! What worlds we create with the words we wield!)

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Martine--I admire you for writing with such honesty and having a sincere desire to help me overcome my insecurities. It shines a light on a place inside of me where hope and love are struggling to reside, sidy by side. Thank you for taking the time to share your experience with me and offer advice on how I can realize that I am really already enough, regardless of my racial make up. I think more than anything, it's a matter of discomfort and lack of confidence when I meet new people and they inevitably want to know what am I "mixed with" and I can feel myself drawing away, suddenly becoming a wallflower. But, as you suggested, it could very well be a matter of my ego and therefore not as crucial as I make it out to be. (Rebecca--thanks for allowing us to communicate on your blog).



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