Honestly, I failed to think about what to put on the census form. There was no question I consider myself both black and white. So this article Black Or Biracial? Census Forces A Choice For Some about people in a similar situation to myself only identifying themselves as black was curious. The best quote:
“Put a hoodie on [President Barack Obama]Â and have him walk down an alley, and see how biracial he is then,” said [Leila]Â McDowell, vice president of communications for the NAACP.
“Being black in this country is a political construct,” she said. “Even though my father is white and I have half his genes, when I apply for a loan, when I walk into the car lot, when I apply for a job, they don’t see me as half white, they see me as black. If you have any identifying characteristics, you’re black.”
This “one drop rule” description seems like a poor example. The hoodie example isn’t about biracial or black, it is about how much of a threat the person seems. Dress a white person like the stereotype of a thug in an alley and see how much of a threat he is then. White, black, asian, persian, or biracial, the person’s dress gives the warning sign to be careful. If you have to dress the person the part of being a threat, then it is the clothes not the race.
Like my father taught me, dress the way you wish to be treated. His advice was correct. Wearing a polo and slacks, upper administrators dismissed my advice. Wearing a suit, the same upper administrators chose my advice over higher ranked employees with fairer skin.
People transitioning into different classes know there are other things beyond clothes one can use to mitigate the identifying characteristics such as how one talks, gesticulation, body language, etc. Mixed people used the same techniques to “pass” as white. Many people look at me with my mannerisms and assume foreigner not black. By Leila McDowell’s standards, I guess that makes me not black enough.