Tag Archives: ethnic

Neither White Nor Black

I would like to extend a great big WELCOME to the newest subscribers to “Caffeinated Catholic Mama!” I hope I can continue to enlighten and entertain and welcome to the family!
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They met at a jazz bar in Los Angeles, California. The year was 1941. Billy was a ranch hand who dabbled as a singer. Lisa was a secretary.

It wasn’t long before young Billy and Lisa crossed a line which, for most Americans, was unthinkable at the time.

Lisa was white. She had roots linking her to William Clark, the explorer who traveled to the Pacific Coast of the United States with Meriwether Lewis. Billy was black, the grandson of a former slave who had moved to California from Texas in the 19th century. They wanted to get married.

Curious to read how this love story ends? Read the rest here. Thanks for the link, Shannon!
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Read My Letter to my Daughters, as featured on The Feminist Breeder, for my personal story about living Neither White nor Black.

Pax Christi!

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Filed under family, life, race, Tuesday

Who gets to decide if it is a choice?

No, no, this isn’t a pro-life post (sorry to disappoint!) But I was listening to The Diane Rhem on NPR last week and they were discussing the proposed ban on face-covering veils in France. The discussion got a bit heated among the panelists and I found myself yelling at the radio at times.

I can understand the worry of the French Parlament, burkas can be used to conceal explosives of suicide bombers and face-covering veils can obscure the face rendering facial recognition software inoperable but does that still make it right for a group of politicians to dictate what a woman can and can’t wear?

Let’s be honest here, for the most part, the Western World is not known for being the most modest place, especially for women. I mean, here in the US, we seem to have a HUGE problem with breastfeeding in public but we don’t blink an eye at a 12 year old traipsing around wearing a belly bearing halter top and booty shorts a la Lolita. In talking to some people about this, I’ve heard a lot of comments along the lines of “If they want to wear the covering, why don’t they live in a country like Saudi Arabia where it wouldn’t be so obvious? Hmmm.

Additional arguments for the ban take on a “feminist” perspective in that for some women, the wearing of the burka or hijab is forced upon her by male relatives. While that is true, what about the women who choose to wear the burka or hijab? Should they be forced to shame themselves in the sight of their God because of the laws of man? Why don’t we address the treatment of women by radical Muslim men instead?

Where would the line be drawn? Would nuns and religious sisters be required to dress in short shorts and tank tops because “everyone else does?” What about priests? Should we ban Roman Collars because the collar is a clear religious symbol that is unduly pressed upon our non-religious brethren? Would we have to restrict the wearing of saris and buddhist robes because they too are long and could be used to conceal weapons?

I personally love wearing my veil to Sunday Mass and I have been known to take a long, black pashmina and wrap it around my head, hijab-style, on particularly bad hair days. Now granted, the proposed ban does focus on face-covering veils, but who is to say that the ban will not become more far reaching and attempt to secularize all types of religious dress?

I don’t know the answers to any of these questions, but it does make for an interesting discussion. Should governments mandate what can and cannot be worn by its people? Or is it better for society to exert the pressures?
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What’s your opinion? Thoughts? I know you have one!

Pax Christi

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Filed under breastfeeding, Catholic, feminism, life, race, wednesday, world

Identity Crisis

I am a black woman. At least, according to the State of Missouri. This either came as a surprise to you or it was a “yeah, so?” moment. But I am also a white woman. Over the years, I have had sort of an identity crisis and that crisis usually comes about when someone first meets me and eventually the converstation turns to “So, what are you?” I’ve had my number of snarky answers: Human, Female, American, etc but eventually I settled on the old standby: Multi-ethnic. Besides, that sounds much better than “Other.” But the problem with being multi-ethnic is that you really don’t belong to one group or another, you just kind of hang out there, looking for someone, anyone to accept you for who you are and that is hard to come by.

Growing up, my elementary school was more of a melting pot… there were Blacks, Whites, and Others but, you know, as a kid you don’t really notice that sort of thing. You more or less base your friends on those you like and those you don’t. And the person you like one day you may not like another. Middle School was pretty similar but a common thread through both of those existances and still remains was that while I had some ethnic friends, my best friends were… white.

My family moved to the suburbs for my high school years and I attended the University of Wisconsin-Madison and you would have thought that college would have been the best time for me to “re-invent” myself and really embrace my Black heritage… Nope. By the time that I got to this point, I was so ingrained in White culture, that I was afraid that I would not have been accepted by other black students. During the 2008 Presidential Campaign, there was the thought that President Obama wasn’t “black enough.” I get that. So, instead of joining the Black Student Union or taking advantage of the services offered though the Powers-Knapp Scholarship, I shied away and further repressed the ethnic side of me.

So now where am I? Living in the suburbs of St. Louis, I can count on one had the number of black girlfriends I have. As I explore my varying sub-sets of community (La Leche League, St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, YMCA, MOPS) I find it over-flowing with white girlfriends but a drought for black. There are times that I really feel as if there is part of me that is lost and yearning to be found and this struggle is compounded by my raising two daughters who are categorized as Black as well. What kind of issues will my blonde haired, blue eyed, fair skinned elder daughter and my dark haired, dark eyed, olive skinned younger daughter have? Will they be the same? Will they differ?

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Filed under mothering, political