Activity #4


The article I chose is a New York Times article entitled America’s ‘Postracial’ Fantasy, by Anna Holmes. Holmes talks about personal experiences. One experience she shares in her article is a meal that she attended with friends where she asked the question whether or not her friends considered their children to be biracial. Before the parents could respond the grandmother answered that her grandchildren were white. She goes on to discussing how is can understand what the grandmother said because the boys physical charateristics were brown eyes, olive skin, and brown hair and that these features would be considered the features of a white person.

Later in the article Holmes reveals that she is mixed and that she has always felt the pressure to define her race. Then Holmes introduces the term postracial and it history. Holmes describes postracial more clearly as being post-racist-against-blacks. She explains that blackness is the alternative to –- the ideal—whiteness. Next Holmes states a sentence that I found the most gripping part of the article. She says that,” Sometimes it seems as if the desire for a ‘‘postracial’’ America is an attempt by white people to liberate themselves from the burden of having to deal with that legacy.” I don’t know if it is me being naïve or my lack of knowledge on racial tops and history or my white privilege but I have never thought of the debate of postracial as a way for whites to “put to bed” their historical past. I don’t believe that most white of my generation even think about our ancestors actions. I believe that we acknowledge our racial past but my generation does not tend to dwell on the past.

8 thoughts on “Activity #4

  1. Your summary of “America’s ‘Postracial’ Fantasy” by Anna Holmes was very interesting to me, and may prompt me to read the article. I too focused on “postracial” America for this activity. As Holmes mentions she is mixed and has always struggled to identify with a certain race. I could see how that may be difficult for her, especially if she has culturally ties to both sides of her family. I have a few friends and some family members that are mixed, and not just of white and African American, but of Haitian and Mexican. I think it would be interesting if I were to ask them if they considered themselves to be biracial. For instance, my cousins are half white and half Mexican, but they look more like an individual of European decent instead of having the bronzed skin that many people associate with Mexicans. To me that relates to the question if parents consider their children biracial or not, but the grandmother interjects first stating that they are white because of their physical features. In America today, I think it is very quick for everyone to simply see someone’s physical appearance and to place them in that box of what they know and characterize by. However, we need to stop and think; just because an individual may have certain attributes does not mean they necessarily identify with that group you’ve placed them in.

    You also mention that our generation (of whites), might not think about our ancestors actions and that we acknowledge our racial past but don’t dwell on it. I think that’s a valid point to make; we are Millennials seeking the next best think and always progressing; though there can be a few outliers. It is a little naive to say that we don’t think about it. ‘Postracial’ America does not exist, and cannot because no matter how hard we try racism has been engraved in us and our society as much as we view ourselves as not being racist. Being colorblind is only an idea when it comes to race, but does not exist.

  2. I think this piece does sum up the normal discourse of ‘post racial’ in American society; however, it did bring something to mind, why don’t we ever hear about asian/white children, hispanic/white children etc. I believe the author is correct that their is a sense of guilt among some Americans (and some rejection because of how great the historic moral burden is) and desire to move beyond slaveries legacy. But, as I mention, I have yet to see any discussion of how an Asian/Asian-American family might feel about this. So perhaps the author is correct, post racial is really about post black-white conflict and guilt. But I think that also reflects how narrow the conversation is. I acatully have a very real example of this, my cousin married a man whose parents were from China and Japan. There is no discussion “what” those children are, they are successful academically and well adjusted socially. On the other hand, my sister in law adopted a dark complected baby whose parents were from Brazil and the Dom Republic. She wants her child to have a sense of self in America and makes an effort to take him to African American history museums etc. Interestingly, this make my mother in law very uncomfortable and makes comments about how “he what remember any of it” or “don’t talk about that stuff publicly”. Point being-the author is correct, but shouldn’t we be opening up the discussion to really get a clear view of where we are as a society?

  3. I find it so interesting that she felt uncomfortable having to define her race because that is something that I have never had to go through. I live in a world where I am white and I don’t have to explain myself, people don’t ask me “what race are you?” or anything of the sort. That almost makes it seem like white is the “normal” race to be which I know is not true, but we live in a world where white has ran the world for so long it is time for us to all unite and for there to not be just one race who thinks they are superior to other races. I believe that no one should feel uncomfortable due to their race and we should all unify as people who are equal!

  4. I took some time to read your article online and I found it very interesting. I actually wrote about the same article so I liked to see another individual’s perspective about the same article. I didn’t write about the same part of the article that you did but I found this statement interesting as well. I agree with you and don’t think that you are being naïve when you state that. I think that our generation has been taught not to distinguish ourselves based on race. I would hope that her thinking this means that she does not see individuals distinguishing themselves by the color of our skin. Someone who is not dwelling on his or her ethnicity may think that ethnicity does not matter. Everyone should be respected. I think that we all know what happened in our past and that certain races were not treated well. We as a generation are working to change that and I think that is a step towards a postracial America. We are not there yet and have a long way to go.

  5. Hi! I loved your article selection! I find it extremely important to reference personal experiences when discussing race because that is primary catalyst to change. When someone can relate to a feeling or emotion, they are able to put themselves in another’s shoes, regardless of technicalities of race, age or gender. I found your article very enlightening because it opened my own vision of race even more to different perspectives that I might not have related to as much before! Thanks for the share!

  6. I found your post about the article to be very interesting. I find it really interesting that the grandmother considered the children white, which is half of their ethnicity, instead of biracial, which is the correct term, I think. If children are biracial, they should know about their complete culture, not just half of who they are because others prefer this race over the other. I also found it interesting that she wasn’t comfortable defining her race, I’ve never been uncomfortable with who I am and defining my race. I’m a proud African American and I don’t hold back about anything, I’m very confident in myself, no matter what race I am. No one in this world should feel uncomfortable defining themselves or their race because they think this race is more acceptable than the other. Everyone should be proud of who they are and their background. We all are equal!

  7. Hey,

    I can relate to the article in the sense that I cannot really define my race either, but have always felt the pressure to do so. But I think the idea that this is an attempt for white people to rid themselves of white guilt is absurd in that most of us dont have ancestors that own slaves or lynched anyone. My family almost entirely came here in the 1940’s, and the ones who came earlier did so well after slavery. America has been such a consistent destination for immigrants, I think most Americans don’t even trace their lineage back to the time of slavery, and if they do, they were probably mostly related to poor immigrants who were also discriminated against, like the Irish or Catholics in the north.

  8. Your post about the article you’ve found reminded me a lot of my own life. I’m biracial and always identify myself as just that. However, growing up in a predominantly white school others identified me as just black. Maybe it was because my skin was a little darker and hair more coarser but I always felt out of place. Even being with my black peers I felt out of place because they made it a big deal that I was mixed. I always remembered wishing that there was no such thing as “black or “white” because If there wasn’t maybe I wouldn’t feel so out of place. Even though I don’t have a hard time defining my race, I feel like others do.

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