I believe the moral salvation of America will be due to interracial relationships that produce multiracial children. If racism and slavery are America’s original sin, multiracialism and tribal liberation will be her ultimate redemption.
I started this platform stating as much. You can read about it here. That belief has filled my life with amazing experiences and made space for incredible people to give it texture.
Like a blind squirrel who finds a nut now and then, Yahoo finds a topic that resonates. But leave it to them to mistitle it in support of their angle. The positive news that should have been the headline was buried in the last sentence of the third paragraph, below the graphic.
Newly released census data shows that the United States has become more diverse over the last decade, while the white population is on the decline.
The 2020 census found that white people still make up the country’s largest racial or ethnic group, with a total of 235.4 million identifying either as white alone or in combination with another group. However, the population of people who identify as white alone has decreased by 8.6 percent since 2010.
The decrease in the white population is offset by a significant increase in the number of people who identify as two or more races, or multiracial, which grew by 276 percent over the past decade, from 9 million in 2010 to 33.8 million in 2020.
The number of people who identify as multiracial has INCREASED 276%. THAT IS THE STORY. As that reality manifests itself all around us, the narrative of division along skin color lines becomes increasingly irrelevant. But the power of that perspective propels many to publicity and profit.
(Major Caveat: As a white man, lest a reader think that I am bemoaning or complaining about a “shrinking white population” I am not. It stands to reason that if I am advocating for interracial relationships resulting in mixed race children I am not advocating for white supremacy. I believe it goes without saying, but I said it.)
NPR has discussed this issue in the past couple of weeks in two thoughtful pieces. Well worth taking a few minutes to read.
The authors, Connie Hanzhang Jin, Ruth Talbot and Hansi Lo Wang make some salient points, especially with their warning about the intentional misinterpretation of data to promote divisive propaganda.
In other words, there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies and statistics.
A careful read of the data and attention to the recent caveats issued by the Census Bureau illustrate that a simple singular interpretation is not intellectually factual, although statistically actual. Ironic.
Yahoo’s headline really says what? It’s a dog-whistle. Who is the intended audience of that headline? This is from the NPR piece asking, and correctly answering, whether the white population has declined.
While the 2020 census results show fewer people checking off only the "White" box compared with in 2010, there was an almost 316% jump in the number of U.S. residents who identified with the "White" category and one or more of the other racial groups. Their responses boosted the size of a white population that includes anyone who marked "White."
The data interpretation in this piece make it quite clear that the statistically lower number of white people could be attributable to those who formerly checked only “White” that now have a more nuanced understanding of their history and therefore check more boxes.
Or it could be that Hispanic people that formerly checked only the “White” box now check multiple boxes.
There was a 316% jump in the number of people that checked “White” and another box. That is another headline too, folks.
… while the white population is on the decline.
Interpreting the data to arrive at the conclusion above, and then making that perspective the point of the article is a damned lie, not a statistic.
Intentionally misleading the reader with a title not supported by the data perpetuates the “us against them” mentality. This mindset pisses off and threatens the psycho-fringe of the right-white and empowers and enables the psycho-fringe of the left-other. Headlines like that are meant to keep us divided.
The emotion those headlines generate are then used by some to instigate activities to “preserve the white race.” And it provokes a reaction on the other side to mount a resistance to “white supremacy.”
All for what? I think we know what.
Let’s focus on major American companies’ advertising strategy, and how they portray their intended consumers on TV.
According to The New York Times, a number of companies and brands like JPMorgan Chase, Humira, State Farm, Smile Direct Club, Coors Light, Macy's, Tide and Cadillac have recently featured multiracial couples or families in their advertising.
From that piece:
At this point, such advertising isn’t considered particularly groundbreaking, said Allen Adamson, a co-founder of Metaforce, a marketing strategy firm, “but because we’re a polarized nation, they still don’t sit at all well with some consumers.”
“It’s a cost-benefit thing,” he said. “Most marketers have come to realize that no matter what they do, a certain segment is going to be offended. But the upside — seeming inclusive — outweighs the risk of ruffling feathers.”
Gotta love the last line, such a marketing take — “…seeming inclusive…”— shines a light on their motivation.
Speaking of the ads not sitting well with some consumers may bring to mind the usual suspects. Cheerios and Old Navy had to shut down comment sections after the psycho-fringe right-white made their vitriolic, logic-challenged, racist hatred known.
In researching this post, I also found opposition from a surprising perspective. Article after article shared this theme:
One of the most emotionally touching and intellectually honest articles is this one on Medium by Carl L Lane:
Speaking of stats and how to interpret them, Carl does a pretty straight-forward job here.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of 2010 there were 390,000 married couples where the husband was black and the wife was white, compared to just 168,000 where the husband was white and the wife was black. Yet, in Hollywood’s portrayal of black/white interracial couplings, almost all of the couples are portrayed as being composed of a white male with a black female. It’s not even close.
Mr. Lane also points out a forgotten TV factoid of pop-cultural interest: Captain Kirk kissed Lt. Ohura in TV’s first interracial kiss in 1968. Complicating the matter, of course, was the back-story — Kirk’s mind had been taken over by an alien! LMAO!
So, is it just white executives making these manipulative depictions of racial unreality? Uhm, not really. Guess the chase for green complicates otherwise black and white choices.
African American film and TV producers have also taken part in this twisting of reality, featuring white male/black female couples in an effort to attract white viewers. Even in shows produced or written by African Americans, the white male/black female couple is much more prevalent, despite its opposition to reality.
These couples have come to be viewed as something of a carrot thrown to white males to try and get a broader audience for black shows that are often almost completely dependent on African American viewers.
I get off the boat a little bit when the comeback reason for why people of color “sell out their race” is that it’s a white ploy. There is a common explanation for why black people and other POC’s that make a buck doing something their tribe doesn’t like.
Lest you think it’s not happening now, LA Times came up with this beauty of a headline:
It is that those doing it (wrong-thinkers) are more susceptible (compared to the rest of the loyal tribe members) to exploitation, gullibility, naivety or a grab bag of a million other self-reducing, self-restricting thought-control infirmities. The evil white supremacists kidnapped another black mind. Smells like racism to me.
Or worse, the wrong-thinker is treasonous, toxic, and a traitor to the race. Logically and rationally, how can a Black man be white supremacist? Please explain that to me.
A group worth following on Substack is Persuasion, and a particularly thoughtful and pertinent post is the latest by Yascha Mounk speaking to Kmele Foster, a heterodox writer who hosts The Fifth Column podcast.
And it's not colorblindness as an aspiration. I've always thought that colorblindness didn't quite go far enough. Also, [it] sounds like a defect, like we're trying to ignore something, which I think is very different from recognizing racecraft for what it is, which means appreciating the ways that it sort of altered us and altered the way that we thought about the world and had an impact on people's actions.
Racecraft. That is an interesting term that may be an explanation for many intertwined ideas and attitudes. The whole piece dovetails into this essay about how race and racism are the wrong diagnosis to the wrong problem.
I’ve heard this term a few times before, but it never crossed my path on the way down a rabbit hole. It did today. Follow along and keep up!
The book Racecraft: The Soul of Inequality in American Life was written by Karen E. Fields and Barbara J. Fields. Just ordered it. I think Amazon invented rabbit holes.
An excellent review of the book is by Maria Bustillos and is titled “Coloring Outside the Lines: “Racecraft” and Inequality in American Life.” After reading the following paragraph, the vague feeling of isolation I felt growing up seemed to be in print, right in front of me.
All this by way of saying that my Americanness marked me in my family as much or more than my Latinness did in school. Nobody from an immigrant background ever quite fits in. This is a significant thing I have in common with my husband, an Englishman born in Malawi and educated in England; a lack of deep roots in the place and culture where you were born creates a distinct kinship between people, no matter where they’re from. What it really means is that you grow up something of a chameleon.
I’m not an immigrant, obviously. But I am a chameleon. I know the feeling of not belonging to a group and feeling uprooted from one culture — from one way of life.
I attended a different school each year from the 4th grade through the 12th, in five different cities in two states. In each culture, I was white, of course.
But in each culture, I was expected (by other whites) to be the kind of white of that culture, not of the white culture I left behind the year before. One year a redneck, the next a surfer. Stoner one year, new-waver the next. Cultural whiplash, if you ask me!
One particularly upsetting name I was once called in 5th grade was “City-Slicker”. Brand new cowboy boots and hat will get you that. Still, that name was the ultimate insult. Mind you, this was the era when divorce was the “D-word'“. Times change.
I have discussed my family in prior posts, and I strive to keep their lives private. I approach their identity only as guideposts on my journey. I have had a front-row seat to their trials, tribulations and triumphs as they relate to racecraft.
The Wife is 3rd-Generation Mexican-American. She speaks fluent Spanish. The Sister-in-law does not. The Wife’s appearance causes confusion in some people. On more that one occasion, Chinese women have spoken to The Wife in Mandarin.
Sometimes, Spanish speakers don’t realize her linguistic fluency. Pejorative comments like “the coconut needs to be with a real man, not a wedo” were typically retorted to in a sing-song Spanish lyric impugning the insulter’s ability to satisfy "la Patrona Real”. I pity the fool!
After The Oldest was born, a new set of mistaken-identity ensued. She came out looking like her dad (thankfully much better looking, lol). Auburn hair and ivory skin.
Black security guards and white women at the mall would ask The Wife when shopping with the redhead “ Where is the baby’s mother?”
At the park, Latina nannies spoke to her in Spanish, asking the same question. That really fascinates me, and it seems to validate my belief that we are all more similar than different.
The Oldest served over two years in The Peace Corps, living in Guatemala. She speaks Spanish beautifully. Her Abuelita Jennie (RIP) would be so proud. She just started her Master’s program at a prestigious university. She works her ass off daily.
Her whiteness has been held against her. Which really sucks because her life’s focus is serving disadvantaged communities of color. She hardened herself to accusations of using her “whiteness” to her advantage. As if she has a choice? Seriously.
The Youngest came out colored like her mom, olive skin and brunette hair. She is fluent in ASL, but not Spanish. A college softball player that has spent over half of her life bonding with and relying on teammates of all colors.
Sadly, her appearance leads many to speak to her in their native language. After saying she doesn’t speak Spanish, she is frustrated and hurt by the disapproving looks in return. She is a senior this year at a prestigious college. She works her ass off daily.
As solid middle-classers living in a predominantly upper-class white city, the overt acts of thoughtless racism were easy to notice. Other white parents, in the absence of the POC members of my family, would openly talk of the “increasing problem of Baja-Glendora”.
Baja-Glendora is the section of town south of Foothill with a high concentration of nannies and gardeners in the apartment complexes. Then my brown peeps showed up. Awkward.
Others were more subtle. But still easy to notice. Black or White PTA leaders buying dozens of donuts for most of the students and a few pan dulce for some others. Maybe it’s me, I know.
Racecraft (the book) and Maria’s interpretation of it are useful tools that can be employed to get to that place MLK dreamed about.
Racecraft (the concept) explains why and how race and racism are part and parcel of the totality of human experience.
Racecraft is something each and every human being has engaged in since the dawn of time.
Racecraft recognizes and, I would say, legitimizes candid discussions about skin color and the baggage it hauls around.
Racecraft IS the answer to the tired trope, “Can we start a conversation about race?”
Uh, we did. And many of us have been having that conversation for quite some time. It’s usually those in power rhetorically asking the question.
I wonder if it’s because they truly have never had a deep and meaningful conversation with a person from outside of their tribe?
And, despite the ugliness of our current times, it is impossible to deny that human civilization has progressed.
My default position has long been that anyone with enough to eat and a clean, safe place to sleep is already privileged in all the ways that matter most. Each of us walks around with some kind of baggage, so we all have to let some things slide; to make too much of personal slights to oneself is a distraction and impairs your ability to put your shoulder to the wheel. Giving other people the power to disturb your equilibrium to such a degree is not empowerment, it is weakness: thralldom, even, to the good behavior of strangers, an uncertain quantity at best.
That is an honorable and completely holistic default position, and one worth adopting.
The whole idea on the right to “ban CRT” is ludicrous. Coined as “180ism,” the knee-jerk reaction to any opposing thought is to ban it. By both sides. Once again, medieval thought passes as social activism.
I think a lot about, and write of, my experiences in prison. Prison is a tribal society structured by skin color. Living in a society like that, one is acutely aware of how skin color is a significant decider in most activities—but not all.
From my upcoming book
In prison, I met a dude called Island. His skin was the color of a chocolate covered macadamia nut. He was from Hawaii. And he ran with the whites. Another dude called Ghost ran with the Southerners, the Mexicans from SoCAL. An albino guy with yellow eyes. He said his mom was Mexican, and his dad was a dog. Whatever that meant. I observed that there were different sub-cultures of same-colored inmates. And, occasionally, skin color was not the deciding factor in a race-segregated society. Ironic.
It all boils down to that. Two groups of people are at opposite ends of the spectrum, each with a different political belief. But both with the same racial essentialism. Extremists are extremists, no matter what color they are. And their goal is to achieve absolute power for their tribe at the expense of all other peoples and tribes.
We need to recognize the simple facts as they are, not as we wish them to be.
That seems to be the mindset of another group—not an extreme position by any means. But certainly not aspirational in the slightest. It feels comfortable to say and it’s not overly threatening. Just weak as hell.
I have a dream …
The fourth group could be called the dreamers. This group recognizes the current racial divide but aims for a society in 50 to 100 years wherein skin color is insignificant as a deciding factor in the outcomes of lives.
I believe the only way forward is through multiracial persons over the next two generations. Imagine the complexity of checking census boxes in 2030 and 2040. Not to mention 2050.
One grandpa was white. One was black. An Asian grandma on one side and a Latinx-Jamaican on the other. A Mexican mom who’s Jewish and a Muslim dad from Sudan. Is the prospect of checking every single box on the horizon? How silly is that?
If we can imagine how silly that would be in the future, why in the hell can’t we recognize it now? At this moment? What on earth is the endgame for this segregated way of thinking? How can it move the human condition forward?
I posit it cannot. Too much friction. It can only drag us backwards, as these divisions already have. The 33.8 million Americans of mixed race are the ones to guide us forward.
There are probably a thousand varied reasons for people that previously checked only one race box to now check two, even aside from the fact that multiracial box checking only became an option in 2000.
One reason we are seeing this change is the increased focus on multiracial communities. There are many young, eloquent and socially active members of this community raising awareness.
Share any links to causes or people that you would like to shout out that talk about this …
What do the Census race boxes look like anyways?
Another reason could be the tremendous advances in genetic/ancestry tracking. Some people will never voluntarily submit their DNA to anyone. I get that. I have already involuntarily submitted mine. So, it didn’t really matter if a private company had some of my spit.
Greece and France I can see, must be the FOOD element gene! Italy and Spain (ART & CRAFT) were the previously unknown origins of some distant ancestor of mine. The Slavic (HISTORY) is definitely from my biological father’s lineage.
The rest looks pretty white bread to me (MUSIC? From Germany, the UK, and Scandinavia - ugh, another rabbit hole!)
This is the DNA story my genes tell. According to CRI, this data reaches back five generations. But, true to the title of this piece, statistics need to be interpreted.
The percentages do not mean I am 37.9% German. It means (as I understand the tech data, please help if you know more than me) 37.9% of my DNA matches reference panels for the Germanic Europe region. Uh yeah, that clears it up.
British Isles 19.3%
Southern, Central Slavic 9.7%
So where does all of this put us now? Hopefully, with a modern understanding of an ancient problem to achieve future goals. Science goes out of its way to say that race is not genetic. One’s genes do not tell us anything about skin color.
Human beings created this system, and human beings can dismantle it. It all depends on how we see ourselves and how we see others. We have learned to live with racecraft. Let’s create a new life by learning to live without it.
I need feed back on my attempts at graphics design. I use Canva for designing. It is super easy to learn, has a powerful and feature-loaded free trial.
Unsplash is use for photo and imagery sources. They have a gazillion stock photos.