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breakdown of the middle ground.

How many ways can you say biracial? Let me count the ways…

While celebrating a friends birthday one of the party goers pulled me aside to complain about a fellow attendee. “That mulatto bitch thinks she’s better than everyone.” First thing I thought was, really? I didn’t get that impression at all! I thought she was nice enough. Then the second thing that came to mind was, really? People actually call biracial’s mulatto these days?

I don’t hear the term “biracial’ being tossed all over the place, especially not amongst my peers. With all the multiracial individuals in America I’m kind of curious the various expressions used for description purposes. What I learned was shocking, sad and ignorant, technical, and all around interesting…

So are you “biracial” or “black with a white mom?”
Mixed
Mutt
Mulatto- refers to someone who has one white parent and one black. The original origin of the word came from the Spanish word mule. (A mule is the product of a horse and a donkey…hmm…)

Griffe: A person who’s black and American Indian. (Okay when I look at this word all I can think of is a giraffe! I am no giraffe!! haha)

Quadroon: someone who’s a fourth Black. (Really?? There’s a word for this? I would really like to hear someone say this…actually maybe not. I certainly wouldn’t know what they were talking about if they did say it.)

Octoroon: someone that’s an eighth Black (This is a silly word. I’m just saying.) According to howeverdictionary.com the previous two words, also originated from the Spanish when European colonizers were coming to the Americas. “While these terms have highly precise definitions, in actual practice they were often used based on impressions of skin color rather than definite knowledge of ancestry.”

Creole: someone of Black and European ancestry.  (This word I’ve heard before, but I thought it regarded a particular place someone was from. I just didn’t know where…I’ve heard people on dating shows say they’re Creole, but they just looked Black to me.) Mixedfolks.com explains that a Creole person in a particular definition is: 1.) A person of mixed Black and European ancestry who speaks a creolized language, especially one based on French or Spanish.  2.)  A Black slave born in the Americas as opposed to one brought from Africa. (Learn something new everyday.)

Metisse: (no matter no many times I try to correctly pronounce it to myself I keeping finding myself wanting to say Maltese. Such a cute little dog! But we’re not talking about little doggies though…) This is a person of White and American Indian heritage.

Half-Breed: (lets just leave this word at OFFENSIVE and keep it moving.)

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Filed under: bi-racial, Maggie Barnes, , , , ,

4 Responses

  1. Rita says:

    Maggie, I thoroughly loved this piece. I had no idea there were so many names for different nationalities, and mixtures thereof. I have bipolar disorder and am Italian. When I was a little girl, I was called a Dago Wop. I joke a neighbor often told me was, “What does a flat tire in Italy sound like? Dago Wop Wop Wop.” I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Italy and there I felt validated. They look and act like me. I love all nationalities. When I was in jail, one of the Black guards whom I greatly respected, said about me, “She is a Brown in White skin.” I was flattered. After all, Southern Italy is quite close to Africa.

  2. S says:

    I agree with Rita up there, this is amazing.

    Aboriginal is another word for Native people (:

  3. CS says:

    Aboriginal is specifically to do with the native Australians. If you want to see some horrible racism, read about the Stolen Generations. America and Australia are sister countries, if only because of the similar sad histories relating to people without a 100% white heritage. It’s just terrible.

  4. […] Bifactor.wordpress.com: How many ways can you say biracial? Let me count the ways… […]

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