Happy Black History month!
Even though it’s the 9th of February, I’ve been seeing lots of support and conversations starting around the idea of celebrating black excellence. It’s makes me happy to see black small business owners and creatives be able to promote and find success right now.
It's also got me thinking about my own ethnicity and heritage as a bi-racial girl, mixed with Caucasian and African American genes.
My most recent piece. I loved the Blacktober Cardcaptor Sakura characters so much that I drew them again!
As someone who is bi-racial, I have had both favorable and unfavorable experiences growing up that I wouldn't have had if I were white. However, as someone who could potentially pass for a white person (or Latina, some people have no idea) I feel as though I have a sense of privilege that someone like my mom wouldn't have. She is much darker than me, and so is my sister.
As you can see, my mom and I share a lot of features, but skin color is not one of them. My sister being somewhere in between.
One thing that I think about now, especially during Black History Month is, "what if I don't 'pass'?" Am I "black enough" to exist with other black owned small businesses and creatives? I definitely pass in the biological sense, that's for sure, but if you see me walking down the street, you wouldn't immediately say, oh, she's black.
When I see threads on Twitter of "Black Excellence" or black-owned businesses promoting, I love them and want to participate, but I'm worried that because I'm so light, that those looking would not accept me. I have been promoting my art on social media for years now, and it doesn't pass my mind to use hashtags like #blackowned, #poc, or #blacksmallbusinessowner to my posts.
This is a topic that I don't see a lot of other light-skinned or bi-racial women talk about, and it reminds me of a camping trip I went on during college where we explored the topics of race, privilege and other things like that, and one of the exercises we did literally brought me to tears.
We did a game where you stepped forward if something applied to you, and the topics were things like, are your parents still married, have you been discriminated against because of your skin, class, grades, etc. Or harder things like if you grew up skipping a meal because your family couldn't afford it.
When the questions were done, we all looked around the room, and the majority of people who were further back were people of color, minorities. I was somewhere in the middle, but that exercise definitely left an impact on me. The exercise allowed us to literally see the impacts of white privilege. I'll never forget that trip.
Anyways, the topic of "white passing" is very interesting to me. I never though about the impact of it until I grew up. I'd like to do more research on it this month. I'd also like to put myself out there more and accept the fact that, yes, I may have lighter skin, but I am still black. I'd like to try using more hashtags like the ones I mentioned above, and promote myself under those Twitter threads.
Because gosh darn it, it's Black History Month!
How are you using Black History Month to educate yourself? Do you have anything to add to this topic of discussion? Better yet, do you have any experiences as either a light-skinned black person or bi-racial person that would be interesting to talk about? Let me know! I'd love to start a conversation.
This is just a short post for now. I had some thoughts I wanted to share, so this is more of a personal post. I would like to make another post about my art and Etsy shop this month, so expect another post in the next few weeks!