Mixing It Up

Observations and ideas about race, ethnicity and mixing.

Month: February 2018 (page 2 of 3)

Slavery still exists.


Slavery. This word gives me chills. I find it incomprehensible that the ownership of other human beings was justified not all that long ago. I came across a very disturbing article, It’s the 21st century. Yet slavery is alive and well. Although the title is pretty self-explanatory, I felt obligated to read on. The article begins with a reference and a link to the State Department’s “Trafficking in Persons Report”. I encourage everyone who reads this post to please check it out. Although it is terrifying, it gives readers a glimpse at the large gap that still exists today between laws prohibiting slavery and the actual enforcement of them. There have been great strides in the effort to free those who are captive, and prosecute slave-owners. Organizations such as The International Justice Mission (IJM) focuses efforts on freeing women and children enslaved to brothels in Southeast Asia. “The prevalence of minor girls in the sex industry plummeted by more than 80 percent” (Burkhalter, 2017). Global grant-making foundations, funded by private investors and donor governments are being created. In doing so, the United States creates an opportunity for collaboration with governments in which slavery is still prevalent to rescue victims and put a stop to modern-day slavery.

Apprenticeship: Another Name for Slavery

“Where are you from? We have been here for 200 years. Our blood, our sweat is in this land, and we will not allow you to take it from us…Who sent you here? The white man. You came here to destroy us…We will defend [this land] with our very lives” (Guiana 1838). This powerful quote from the film Guiana 1838, The Arrival encompasses the enragement felt by the emancipated Africans at the arrival of the Indian indentured laborers. This enragement was towards the white man, and the Indians, and stems from the fears and doubts that were felt after emancipation. From the second that the African slaves found out that they were “free,” there were uncertainties.
emancipated African  Indian indentured laborer
Many believed that this was too good to be true; after centuries of abusing slaves, why then would Britain turn against slavery? One possible reason was the arising sense of social humanitarianism due to religious beliefs. A growing middle class that felt it had an obligation to right past wrongs, and there was also a sense by the English population that plantation owners were flaunting their wealth, which was brought to them by the forced labor and torture of humans.

Of course, the actual enactment of abolition of slavery was not as righteous as it should have been. Under the terms of abolition, the British government paid the British slave owners 20 million pounds as compensation for putting an end to slavery. The slaves received no compensation, but instead were forced back into the fields with the new title “apprentices,” and faced the same treatments, but this time around, with low wages.

Works Cited
Jagessar, Rohit. Guiana 1838, The Arrival . RBC Radio, 2004.

Identity in the Caribbean

In watching the film “Haiti & Dominican Republic, An Island Divided” in class, one scene in particular stood out to me. It comprised of a man from the Dominican Republic, who basically admitted to not realizing nor accepting his blackness until traveling to New York. This connects to the identity and race issue that divides this island, as the Dominican Republic has traditionally pushed back from their African heritage and identity. However, the simple notion of this man seeing himself as one thing rather than what he truly is, is something I personally can relate to. The majority of my life I saw my Grandmother as simply a white American, and similar to the man in this film, I believe the culture around me accustomed me to think in this way. In actuality my Grandmother was born in raised in Barbados, but is of a lighter complexion which would make many people who saw her quickly assume she is just white. It took me visiting Barbados and also entering college and learning more about race and other cultural issues, to figure out that I should also accept and appreciate the true identity of my Grandma. I think in The U.S. I am expected to see her as white, as in the Dominican Republic the man is expected to see himself anything but black. However, I know I must appreciate and understand that my Grandma is a West Indian Woman from very mixed and diverse ancestry, and does not adhere to the norms of the United States or even more specifically, white America.

More Than Race

“Man is more than white, more than mulatto, more than black. Cuban is more than white, more than mulatto, more than black.” -José Martí


How would life be if race was not a vital component to someone’s everyday identity? I can not help but put myself in this mindset when appearance is the first impression someone perceives you as. I walk around campus with my white friends and me as a brown girl. What people do not know about us is that we are all Mexican but I am the only recognizable one. José Martí statement in his writing is powerful for humankind. Society wants to order people in a category and sometimes that makes everything unorganized than structured. My life is not a box, I wish man was more than race. I am more than race. I am Bryana.

José Martí was a leader in Cuba but his message resonated with other islands like Hispaniola. When I was learning about the Dominican Republic and Haiti’s relationship in my first-year of college, I did not know about the brutal history that island had. As a person with Mexican descent, the Caribbean were only perceived generally as a multi-mixed region that looked normal. I was unaware that there was such a thing as limpieza de sangre that meant a blood cleansing which the Dominican government wanted its people to clear any Haitian blood. This is problematic in so many ways because it represents an attempt to erase the black race and the history attached to the enslavement of a people. It ultimately leads us back to what is race and why it is important to our society? It only adds to people having to choose what they are in terms of race rather than who they are as a person.

Race Politics Everywhere!

So when I was 5 my family moved to South Africa, that was the first I had ever seen white people in real life. I remember being amazed by their skin color and hair texture, but then I learnt about apartheid in SA. I mention my time in SA because as I was reading about race politics in the Caribbean I could not help but be amazed at some of the similarities between these two places. White minority in parts of Southern Africa (Zimbabwe and South Africa) and the Caribbean is what first stood out to me as the most striking similarity. Whenever I learn about all these racial inequalities it is hard for me to separate my emotions because I always think to myself that these are my people who have been so unfairly treated. So back to white minority rule, it baffles how foreigners can come take over a people’s land and then end up governing them for centuries.  Not only governing them but setting up policies that are meant to strip them of their humanity (SA and Zimbabwe). I find it interesting how this is something that is so common to all the places that white people decided to “settle in”. I remember last semester I was taking an international relations class and one of the  presentation in class was on Robert Mugabe the former president of Zimbabwe. He is credited with ending white minority rule in Zimbabwe however he was also a dictator that had been in power for more than 30 years(let’s not go into that). However, my point is that the whole class presentation was on how he was such a horrible president and I sat there thinking well darn is no one  going to recognize what this man did for black Africans in Zimbabwe in 1980? My question after the readings on race in parts of the Caribbean that are still under the rule of white elites, who is going to be their Mugabe and will there ever be end to white minority rule in some of these places?

Not His Celebration

In the New York Times article, it is mentioned that President Trump has pointed out that the unemployment rate for black Americans has been the lowest since 1972. Trump has used Twitter to state the fact, but he does so in a way to brag that it is because of his presidency and policies that the rate has lowered. Trump has addressed this racial issue as if it is one of his main concerns to help increase the black employment rate. Meanwhile, there is no mention of any other race. It is as if only two races exist in the United States. I personally believe no one deserves credit for the recent statistic, but the hardworking people obtaining the jobs. In addition, it is quite clear that the unemployment rate for blacks has been in the work for years due to past history, however there is no need for Trump to act as if it is a celebration that he is responsible for.

I Will Not Be Buried, I Will Grow

“They tried to bury us, they didn’t know we were seeds” -Mexican Proverb.


I resonate with this quote deeply and and it ties into my class of Race, Ethnicity, and Hybridity concepts because even after all the oppression, we are still thriving as marginalized groups. I hold myself to a higher degree especially being at a predominately white institution (PWI) where the system favors the superiority of white people. I always try to reward myself however, when I have achieved a certain level of difficulty or fear of reaching a goal at college. I recognize like DuBois that the resources I have been exposed to growing up, I am not going to win the war but I will win battles. In a W.E.B DuBois piece he says, “particularly the Negro race-have not as yet given civilization the full spiritual message which they are capable of giving” (112). His recognition of what the world may never experience due to other factors of discrimination towards the black race as its full contribution to humanity. It is almost crazy to think what could have been if major and minor instances of people’s ideologies never existed?

Leopold Senghor’s writing in “What is “Negritude’?” had an impact on me in so many levels. He touches upon some of the anxieties I have had with the hegemony of white America in trying to assimilate but always preserving one’s own culture. He comes to an understanding of how one must assimilate but for the sake of their own well-being. If a person is regarding or is a erasing their culture in an effort to seek acceptance then they will never truly be successful. At this point, I must add race is part of culture. “We could assimilate mathematics or the French language, but we could never strip off our black skins nor root out our black souls” (Senghor 136). I cannot and will not hide who I truly am as a brown Chicana but even when I am feeling frightened by society, I will never lose who I am.




  1. E. Burghardt Du Bois. 1897. The Conservation of Races. The American Negro Academy

Occasional Papers, No.2. Washington, D.C.: Published by the Academy.

Racial Dating Preferences

A lot of people may argue that racial issues have improved prior to the 1960s but I really don’t think so. A lot of has changed politically but socially in our lives, not that much has changed. If you have met and gotten to be around me, you will notice I don’t talk much. I am a very observant person, therefore I love listening to people and try to understand them. I have friends who deem themselves as progressive /open minded as what we would call today as being “woke”. They are quick to call someone out if they made a racist comment or joke but won’t call them out about types of people they would date based on skin color. I was at the cafeteria not long ago in the beginning of the semester sitting at a table with close friends of mine eating. We were spending time sharing what we did over the break and one person at the table shared out loud that he has finally gotten a Tinder dating account. We all cracked up and resumed to whatever the previous conversation was. Later on the person with the Tinder account saw a notification from the app on his phone that he has matched with someone. He opened to find out who it was and he reacted saying something like, “Eww no!”. We were all curious to see it was and quite frankly, it was a nice looking person. We all in an agreement said the person he matched with is a good looking person and doesn’t deserve that reaction. All he said was, “But I only date black guys.” I immediately asked why and he replied saying, “It’s just my preference”. This had me thinking, “Is it really okay for people to have dating types/dating preference based on skin color?” And this is not the first time I have heard this. I have a couple friends from my high school who have also said something as dating only white guys and asians only. I am really interested in finding out why they have preference based on skin color. I wonder if it is because of their surrounding or what they have been exposed to growing up.

Entry #1


A tear sheds.

And I continue to write the name of yet another European man who thought it scientific to  prick, poke, and prod the insides of my mother’s, mother’s, mother and put them on display. Her skin tears. He knows that I too feel the pain. How could I not when he has sliced and diced my mother into a game that he calls Life. That he calls Fair.

A game that he has constructed, game that he has mastered over, beat Fear into. He is the only one that plays. Makes the rules himself and for everyone else who cannot play but be played with. He. decides who is fit, who is desirable. Bases every image as other and every other as savage. He. makes sure that when he goes, his legacy will live in infrastructure, live in customs, and live in law. Long live the worthy he says. And destroys all that he sees as degenerate and fixes us into boxes he’s checked before we’ve understood ourselves by our names and not the ones he’s called us. And though his voice haunts me, still, I will tell my children the same words my mother tells me: You are Strong. You are Beautiful. You are Intelligent. You are Divine. You are Love. You are Power-full.

The “Genetic Basis” of Race

It’s a reasonably obvious concept that offspring resemble their parents. The question that scientists had been trying to answer for centuries was: how? In his work on pea plants, ‘Father of Genetics,’ Gregor Mendel observed that there are environmental factors which influence the expression of certain traits (Saraswathy and Ramalingam 14). This was an important discovery because prior to Mendel’s work on pea plants, it was widely believed and accepted by scientists that inheritance was described by blending.


The relationship between race and genetics is relevant regarding the multi-century long controversy which concerns race classification. In the PBS TV Series Race: The Power of an Illusion, race is interpreted as “a concept that was invented to categorize the perceived biological, social, and cultural differences between human groups” (Episode 1). To sum this up, race is a human invention. However, as a concept, race does categorize biological differences. For example, there is a mother and father, both of mixed race, and they have twins that visibly appear to be different races. However, as dizygotic sororal twins, they share 50% of their DNA. Nonetheless, they would be categorized as “white” and “black” due to their appearance.  The problem with the relationship between race and genetics is that the concept of race being manipulated as a form of categorization is inherently fallacious. This manipulation is advanced by bigotry and social structures which served as the basis of scientific understanding of race.

Works Cited

Pounder, C C. H, Larry Adelman, Jean Cheng, Christine Herbes-Sommers, Tracy H. Strain, Llewellyn Smith, and Claudio Ragazzi. Race: The Power of an Illusion, Episode 1: The Differences Between Us. San Francisco, Calif: California Newsreel, 2003.

Saraswathy, N. and Ramalingam, P.  Concepts and Techniques in Genomics and Proteomics. Woodhead, 2016.

Wade, Lisa. “”Black and White Twins” and the Social Construction of Race.” Sociological Images, The Society Pages, 1 Aug. 2014, thesocietypages.org/socimages/2014/08/01/black-and-white-twins/.

Older posts Newer posts

© 2020 Mixing It Up

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑

Academic Technology services: GIS | Media Center | Language Exchange