Saturday, April 08, 2006

a response to a father's talk of hybridity re: his son.

I would like to offer:

Even those of us who are in the US, who live as "B/black" (i.e. "black" as a signifier that points to both an ethnic *and* racial identity) are often hybrids (albeit of culture, but also blood) as well -- and some of us are "racial" hybrids that are never recognized because it is all reduced to "black" or that which marks us as people of African descent.

I mention this because it would be a mistake if, in this moment of having to take an active role in showing your son how to survive on this terrain, you paint us all as people without hybridity (what Reid-Pharr calls "metropolitian"), however I think B/black people, in a sense, are the very definition of hybridity. Before culture, look at blood. My known ancestry includes Haitian, Lumbee, Scots-Irish, as well as African. Also, my culture is a hybrid as well as I fully recognize what is African-American (Black) about my culture and what is white about it as well (via white supremacy). However, I am a part of other cultures that futher "complicate" my identity as a hybrid... the least of which being some form of African and Hindi spiritualities, but also being a gender deviant/transgendered person who can sometimes, "pass," a percieved man who loves men, even a person involved in an interracial relationship and semi-open relationship (-- there are rules and he doesn't want to be a party to it) -- I join different aspects of myself and my identity in ways that could make anyone's head spin!

But B/black people are more diverse, more various and to paint us as being without hybridity is to paint us with one brush and one color, ignoring what else is there.

To say your son is not like you is to deny the ways in which your son IS like you. How you, as a hybrid yourself by blood and by culture, can hold onto cultural purity and authenticity is *laughable*. Is symptomatic of this idea that there is some "pure" cultural or racial (I have to assume you are using them interchangably because you aren't making distinctions between "culture" and "race") expression that leaves out the fact that "race" is NOT real (although an experienced reality) and treats race as if it is indicative of culture which deadens the spirit of being a hybrid in the first place.


I am not sending it because I am old enough to know that sometimes, on certain topics, people feel I am just out of line -- and that is a-ok.


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