I-Dentity: The Biracial Woman as a Bridge In Third-Wave Feminism

I-Dentity: The Biracial Woman as a Bridge In Third-Wave Feminism

Erica Jackson
Fall 1993

This is by no means intended to be an exhaustive discussion of the biracial experience in America, which is in no way monolithic.  In fact, it is inspired by the belief that race (whether singular or plural)  is an outdated concept and so it alone does not determine self-image, and if it does, not necessarily in the ways we stereotype each other, nor to the degree of signifigence generally attached to it in the mass media. 

Toward that end, this paper will suspend disbelief in the concept of race, in order to explore the dimensions and constructions of race.  If nothing else, I hope it raises questions about the assumptions we  carry with us.  A biracial person is first and foremost a person, with all the shared and unique qualities of any other.

Assumptions about the biracial become self-fulfilling prophecies. Like all assumptions (regarding women, or blacks, for example), they limit the possibilities of both the person making them and the person about whom they are made, and in their ability to connect.  While mixed race people are a natural link between the races of which they are a part, images of them have  instead been used for divisive purposes.

This is especially disturbing as it applies to relationships among and between white, biracial and black women.  Rather than connecting on the basis of interests or other shared experience, the relationship between blacks and biracials is often predicated upon the latter’s partial denial of heritage.  This illustrates a basic problem in race relations.  By viewing race as a fundamental identification, it becomes defined in very narrow terms and experiences, alienating blacks both from non-blacks with whom they might share profound experiences and from other black/part black biracial individuals whose experience is very different from their own.
Theories aside, the author questions the ability of one so tied to the issue as herself to be objective.  Are my assertions and reflections simply based on the idealism with which I judge events?  Could I be reinventing my experience to accommodate my beliefs?  Am I nit-picking or merely whining about realities I should simply accept?  Perhaps objectivity is overrated and empiricism does not always apply.  After all, if we don’t tell our own stories, who will tell them for us?  So far, no one…

Read the entire article here.