He appeared to be an African migrant because he was selling beach gear draped from his body, much like other migrants I had seen who usually sold knickknacks or knockoff purses on the street.
We stared at each other for what felt like a full minute and his eyes seemed full of sympathy. Several weeks later, as the weather cooled enough for me to wear one of my favorite oversized sweaters and a beanie hat, I was walking along a street lined with cafes and shops in Florence, making my way down one of those impossibly narrow sidewalks, head bent over my phone.
As I passed shopkeepers setting out signs and sweeping storefronts that morning, I noticed a short middle-aged white woman with a pixie cut walking a couple feet in front of me with her purse on her shoulder. She quickly stopped and turned around. She looked at me and screamed then pressed her back against the wall. She screamed again, and this time, she fled the sidewalk.
At this point, I could see the shop owners staring. The woman continued to look at me and shrieked once more. She then shielded herself behind a parked car. I was dumbfounded. So I kept walking, trying to leave my embarrassment on the street behind me. I wish I could say that was the first time someone had avoided me on the sidewalk in this world-famous city full of international tourists and students.
It was not. But it was, by far, the most blatant. After that, I was hyper aware of the stares and comments as I traveled around the country, from the chocolate festival in Perugia to sightseeing in Milan and Venice, and visiting the Colosseum and the Vatican in Rome, even tossing coins for good luck in the Trevi Fountain there. On my last night in Florence, I was supposed to meet a few of my friends at a bar for farewell drinks.
Earlier in the evening, I had a lovely dinner with a group of Italians to whom I had been introduced by a mutual American friend. This was the first time I had truly felt accepted in Italy, and I regretted having to leave them to go to the bar. In my passable Italian, I walked around trying to ask for directions in the same favorite outfit I had worn on the day the pixie-haired woman screamed on the sidewalk. I was taken aback when a group of white men brushed past me as if I were asking for money, not the location of a popular bar.
After even more attempts to get directions were ignored by passers-by, I gave up looking and went back to the apartment where I was staying that semester. The next day, I had an early flight back to the United States and I now just wanted to go to bed. Why do multiracial children so often function as the antonym for racism? What is the political value of an interracial relationship? The notion that cream-colored babies will save the world is a popular one. An increasingly multiracial America begs a question about how racism will adapt in the face of people who do not fit in neat racial categories.
Where does prejudice, antiblackness especially , go in the face of racial ambiguity? This evidence, of course, relies on the heteronormative assumption that these couples will produce genetically diverse children, and the children really are future. The Race Card Project , a digital collection of six word essays on race, has many submissions on interracial relationships.
These submissions often refer to conflict with social attitudes too antiquated to keep pace with a progressive relationship. The subject of multiracedness in turn has a similar theme of being out of time, for better or worse.
Despite the fact that the children of interracial parents may emerge looking indistinguishable from children born to parents of the same race and many people born to parents of the same race possess traits associated with mixed-race children, the shades of tan and curl patterns associated with multiracialness conflate a political ideal with an aesthetic one.
And when we closely examine how we talk about multiracial people in comparison to black people, antiblackness certainly seems to be in play. Blue Ivy has been subject to misogynoir since birth — literally — including a Change. When it comes to America, cream-colored babies are as banal as they come. The frequent and permissible rapes of enslaved black women, these endlessly repeated brutalities, have afterlives in the form of transgenerational trauma and the ways we currently talk about race.
This crisis, that white men would fuck themselves into obsolescence, became the creative fodder for liberation in American fiction. That legacy is still entrenched today in film and TV casting, as such actors as Viola Davis among others, have noted. But contrary to popular narratives, interracial heterosexual relationships and their result, multiracial children, are not the antithesis of white supremacy, but can be easily co-opted as the glittery mask behind which racism and antiblackness continue to thrive.
To be clear, though, interracial relationships themselves are not under critique here. The danger, rather, is in how we value interracial couples as something radical and disruptive to our current racist environment. The future, we assume, can all too easily elide necessities in the present. Pop culture loves repurposing the aesthetic of a multiracial future, especially during times of political strife.
What began in the Bush years and intensified in the age of Obama now seems banal. One series of ads features an interracial couple hugging, laughing, and sharing a bite from the same apple.
Meanwhile, all the women of color — in color, this time — mostly look like this. These optics animate that warm, feel-good liberal confidence of being on the right side of history. They allow viewers to safely feel antiracist without necessarily venturing into pro-POC territory.Racism is evident not only in hateful actions but in silence and inaction. This seems to run counter to the hopes expressed by Martin Luther King Jr. The desire to distance oneself from Trump fits perfectly with the American insistence that we not see ourselves for who we actually are. While racism is certainly seen in hateful actions and words, it is also seen in our inaction and silence regarding the larger social problems that stem from our racist history and continue because of our indifference. Despite many laws and legislation attempts to eliminate the evils of racism, the problem focuses on the cultural differences of race, color and biological supremacy.
Try again. Anne Cheng has written about the race card and its meaning for persons of color. Chapman, eds. They believe in integrated schools and reject segregated public transportation and the like. Chrissy Teigen snubs the nose of a professed white supremacist and flounces away with her superstar black husband and multiracial child; Pompeo calls up her black husband and children to deflect criticism. What has for so long been hidden — or willfully ignored — is now in the open.
Unfortunately, most of us will face racism in our lives in one form or another. Inequalities has impacted every level of humanity on this earth. Democrats and Republicans appealed to the interests of these voters, and many turned their backs on the agenda of the civil rights movement.
The man in the swim trunks was hurling the contents of his bottle on me and the other black female — only droplets landed on the women he had argued with. Jan 2, issue Another way of framing racism as our problem is to identify the advantages white people may experience.
Unlike the United States and South Africa where legal and de facto racism led to deeply segregated societies, Brazil prided itself on its open, integrated, and mixed racial heritage. Blacks continue to be undervalued in society. She called the police instead.
The subject of multiracedness in turn has a similar theme of being out of time, for better or worse.
Surprisingly, though, Trump has provided us another choice, another chance. My hope is that by the end of this speech you will try to put an end to racism when you hear it and when you see it. God created the many diverse races and ethnicities and esteems them all equally. My engaged friend is getting married in Lamezia Terme, a city in southern Italy. Lawrence Katz Betty J.
One might ask; how do we know that racism hasn't ended?
Throughout the history of this great nation people of the U.
Trump only cites the numbers to deepen the illusion and to justify the dismissal of claims of racial inequality as simple cries of victimhood. Even if we have been educated in liberal schools, it does not prevent us from operating out of our unconscious biases.
We must confront ourselves. Jan 2, issue Another way of framing racism as our problem is to identify the advantages white people may experience. The first is that it assumes that we are the best judges of whether we are racist or not.
When we are children, we are taught not to try a book by its cover, but for most of us this is easier said than done. In , the U. We must finally reject the lie. They believe in integrated schools and reject segregated public transportation and the like.