October 3, 2010

Defacing the Future

Allure magazine’s “Faces of the Future” article attempts to promote mixed race people as innovative and trendy. I found it offensive that the magazine labeled the concept of multiracial people and interracial relationships as futuristic, considering that they are present today. It just reminded me of how forgotten we are as a people. We are still here and have been here since the beginning. The model for the magazine had fair skin, freckles, straight hair, full lips, and Cleopatra like eye makeup. Although this was an artistic interpretation, it was still upsetting to me that not one of her ethnicities were represented. She is essentially what the photographer viewed her to be. Based upon this picture no one would ever imagine that she is actually Barbadian, German, Irish, Creole, Scottish, African-American and Blackfoot. I feel that in real life multiracial individuals are continuously misrepresented or mistaken for other races.

In my own experience, when people ask me the notorious “what are you?” question one of two things will happen without fail. The person will either be completely surprised as to what I have to say or will sound disappointed and say something such as “oh, so you’re just black and white?” In my mind I’m thinking, “No, I’m not just black and white; I just explained to you that I’m Portuguese, French, Irish, English and Liberian.” For the sake of being polite, I just nod and say “yes, I’m black and white.” What’s wrong with being “just that” and why do people feel unfulfilled when they meet someone who is “just black and white?”

I looked at the picture again, just shook my head and thought that this is the stereotype of my people. Exotic, intriguing, desirable yet clueless about their culture. Was this our contribution to society? To populate the world with as the article says “biracial super babies?” What happened to the importance of unity, interracial relationships, and cultural tolerance? A person could be mixed with ten different ethnicities, but what good would it do them if they are not embracing or practicing at least one of those cultures? Apparently that will not matter in the future. This article was sending the message that what the future is seeking is not cultural diversity but attractive people.