June 16, 2012
Topic: “As Black as we wish to be”
The general opinion of the author was that, with the increasing rate of interracial marriages and mixed race children, mixed race blacks have an obligation to identify as black. This led to a rich, complex ERACISM discussion with several personal stories related by the 4 black and 5 white folks
Some of the issues discussed included:
Personal stories of mixed marriages and mixed race children and grandchildren.
The difference between biological ethnicity and cultural self-perception.
“By the way, President Obama is white, too”
The New Orleans history of discrimination between lighter skinned blacks and darker blacks (“the brown paper bag test”).
There are still clubs in the city that use the same test for inclusion, or exclusion.
The historical legacy of the Willie Lynch Letter.
The global history of discrimination against darker-skinned peoples.
“Things are better now but we still have a way to go.”
The history of the police department’s non-promotion of blacks practice that was overturned in the 1970’s with the
Consent Decree requiring promotion of blacks by use of quotas. “All of a sudden, light-skinned blacks who had been listed as “white” were requesting their status be switched to “black”.
A very rewarding experience and I learned a lot from folks there, as well as how I feel about my own biases.