Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Race in Caucasia

I read the article "What is Race, Anyway?" It talked about how interracial marriages have quadrupled in the last 20 years. The article was written in 1994, so there probably has been an even greater increase since then. It is because of this that many people have a hard time deciding which race to select on surveys.

This would definitely hold true for Birdie. She started out as a child, and did not really notice a difference between her and Cole. Throughout interactions with other people, she gradually realizes people view her and Cole differently. An example of this would be when they went to school. The other students made fun of Birdie for having lighter skin, while they accepted Cole because she was more black. Only after Cole sticks up for her does Birdie start getting any respect. After Cole and her father leave for Brazil, and Birdie and her mom flee, Birdie gradually starts becoming more white. She goes back and forth between being black or white, often questioning her past. She gradually decides that she is black. They settle in New Hampshire in a mostly white town. Birdie begins to drift away from her mother when she meets Jim. She becomes friends with Mona, and tries to become more of a white girl, even laughing at jokes degrading black people. When she sees Samantha, she thinks of Cole, and it kind of opened her eyes again. The family then goes to New York, where Birdie starts dancing along to rap music and defends the black teenagers who threw a rock at the car. She feels like an outsider to the white people around her, wants to get away, and eventually runs away.

Clearly, race is not just as simple as skin color. Many people would have considered Birdie "white," but she felt black. This brings up the question why do we even need these categories? The article suggested two ideas for the categories. First, they are there to protect groups harmed in the past. Once the groups are more even, the categories can be removed. Another idea is that the categories will disappear overtime when interracial marriage becomes as common as same-race marriages.


  1. I completely agree with you. Our society has evolved with a melting pot of cultures living together for more than a hundred years in such a way that we have all gain equal rights over time. In the past fifty years especially we have had people of every race being scholars, and marrying other races. At this point in time we can not justly categorize any people by their skin or appearance, because we have all been coexisting for more than thirty years. Therefore our stereotypes fail in most cases. The only thing we can do is categorize groups of people, not by race, but by how they live. Some examples of this would include: homeless people, felons, all of the social classes, hoodlums, gangsters, mobsters, and the list goes on. In general, race has virtually disappeared from our country.

  2. Kevin-

    I also read that article. I found that statistic about how interatial marriges have increase over the past twenty years. I Thought that was really neat. I agree with you on the fact that these rates will get higher and higher each year. Which is amazing!! I really hope that one day we will end all discrimination. Although I know that this will probably never happen. But I can wish right? I really liked your point about Birdie in the story and how she was so confused on her race. It was a good point to make that although she may not look black she is black on the inside. Nice blog Kevin!!


  3. This is was a pretty sweet article. It was very interesting. I can't believe the principal would cancel prom just because interracial couples going together. I also think that interracial relationships will keep growing and growing. I think its going to become a norm.

  4. I read this article also, and I thought it was crazy! What principal in this age would actually do that?

    I think the idea of getting rid of categories for race is almost impossible. Not everyone is just going to erase all the history and get rid of it that easily. I'm deffinately not racist, but I think it would be kind of hard.