Identifying as Mixed Race vs Identifying as Black: I Choose Both

Identifying as Mixed Race vs Identifying as Black: I Choose Both

Mixed Race Feminist Blog

Nicola Codner
Leeds, Yorkshire, United Kingdom

I recently watched an interview with the UK rapper, writer and academic Akala. I usually really enjoy hearing him speak and generally find him to be quite faultless in his views on racial issues. For those who don’t know of Akala he is of mixed race and identifies as both mixed and black. In the interview I am referencing he covers many topics including veganism, internalized racism and Obama’s presidency. He also briefly mentions his thoughts on people with some black heritage who identify solely as mixed race. I’d long been wondering about where he stood in terms of his thoughts on mixed race issues. Please note that for the purposes of this article when I mention ‘mixed race’ I am referring to people with both black and white heritage…

…I have to admit I was actually quite upset about Akala’s comments in the interview on those who choose to identify as mixed race. He gave the usual spiel that is frequently heard in the US, about how many of those who describe themselves as mixed are problematic and are disassociating themselves from blackness. It’s quite common, particularly in the US, for people to view identifying as mixed race when you have black heritage, as anti-black and evidence of self-loathing/ internalized racism. I was shocked in some ways to hear Akala endorsing such simplistic views given that he obviously has such a good intellect…

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