I still consider myself African-American, just mixed African-American.

“I’ve got a piece coming out for Buzzfeed about the word mulatto. I think that’s a good word to start using more often. People don’t like the word, but they can’t point to why, or they think it’s a reference to a mule. But the word is actually an Arabic word referencing people of mixed heritage. It predates the word for mule. Historically, it’s the word we used for people of mixed race in this country. And the thing about words like mixed and biracial is that they’re completely vague. They don’t make much sense. Most black and white people who consider themselves biracial, their race is listed legally and socially as black. Plus bi- doesn’t work because there are other races mixed in there, too. Part of the thing that worries me about the biracial movement is that it can be ahistoric. And as I said the vast majority of African-Americans are of mixed racial descent. So by the definitions they’re using, every African-American is pretty much biracial. It would be a miracle if they did a test and there weren’t some European poking in. In my view, mulatto acknowledges that there’s a larger history. And for me, the black and white mixed experience is part of my African-American experience. I still consider myself African-American, just mixed African-American. It’s like, if you have a Dad whose Irish, you’d be Irish, and nobody would debate that just because your Mom was Italian. But for African-Americans, we have these rigid ways of looking at the issue. We’ve inherited these preconceived notions.” —Mat Johnson

Dwyer Murphy, “Pitching Chaos, an interview with Mat Johnson, author of Loving Day,” Electric Lit, May 26, 2015. http://electricliterature.com/pitching-chaos-an-interview-with-mat-johnson-author-of-loving-day/.

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