We’re a people who love to one up ourselves. It was good to have a Benz, then a Jag, then a Maybach. In the same vein, light-skinned girls were, for a time, the must-have accessory for any dude who wanted his boo to get the appreciative oohs and aahs of his homeboys. Then all of this racial utopia-chasing cleared the coast for brothers to date White girls, unburdened by guilt or racial allegiance because, hey, we’re all one in the eyes of God anyway, right? But we didn’t stop there, because now it’s bigger than Black and White. Being a quarter-this and half-that makes a woman just the right blend of desirable.
It’s the math equation of our ages: what do you get when you mix some Venezuelan with a touch of Scottish, a bit of Black and just a twist of Japanese? As far as I can tell, you get a gal who won’t stay single long or, at the very least, won’t want for dates and doting male attention.
It’s a win-win for the brothers because they get to stay on the right side of the White girl debate without getting their chops busted by disgruntled Black chicks, but they get the racial ambiguity and sexy 31-flavored blend that produces light skin, fine hair and—maybe, just maybe, if the benevolent gods who hand out genetic traits are feeling generous—those voluptuous sista girl body parts that bring all the boys to the yard. Memphis Bleek (remember him?) said it, and plenty of dudes are willing to co-sign on their desire for a chick with Chinese eyes, Indian hair, and a Black girl booty.
I’m not a fan of King magazine. Aside from 1,001 ways to masterfully execute the illustrious T&A shot, they don’t stand out in my mind as a pillar of journalistic excellence. Still, I try to be a girl about pop culture, so I flipped through the pages of a special issue a few months ago when my favorite Borders was closing. In between all the posing and pouting going on on those pages, I noticed an odd cultural phenomenon. Not a single one of those women claimed their African-ness in its entirety.
Instead, those girls got real creative with their heritage — which, for some reason, was listed along with the rest of their stats like hometown and body measurements. A quick look at one model’s beautiful chocolatey complexion and ample lips, and I naturally knew she was a sista. But when I skimmed the details about her, she listed her heritage as Irish, Chinese, Native American, Jamaican and oh yeah, African-American. All that? Really?
If ever you could slap a magazine page and have the person on the other side feel it, that’s what I wanted to do. I shouted her a mental holler: Girl, you are Black. B-l-a-c-k. You needed one line to sum up that information.
Everybody else followed suit. For the rest of the pages, they were Black and Welsh. Black and all kinds of Latino. And everybody got Indian in their family, ‘cause Cherokee was shouted out more times than a few. I mean, as many folks who’ve traced back to their Cherokee roots you would think that tribe started out 30 million deep. Can somebody please at least get creative and say they’re Sioux? Or Choctaw? Ease up on all the Cherokee-ing and surprise me a little bit.
Last week, I talked about women not being true to themselves because some of us feel this immense pressure to have a video vixen body—and if we don’t have one, we’re willing to build one. This week, it’s still a pity when what you are isn’t what you think is good enough. If we all shake down our family trees, we’re guaranteed to find a surprise or two hidden there, especially since most of our families survived the dark days of enslavement. Being Black isn’t an additive for a glamorous concoction and it’s bigger than being touted to add a touch of street cred. It’s a full experience. So experience it, already. It’s exotic and beautiful and unique enough all by itself without all the remixing.