Friday, February 19, 2010
Mixed race can be a good thing
I gather that all references to mixed race are these days regarded as taboo. So when Obama referred to himself as a "mutt", you could almost hear the gasps. But blacks themselves take it very seriously. Among blacks, a lighter-skinned black tends to be more prestigious and more complacent about his skin color. So a brown black cruises, if that makes any sense.
Whites, on the other hand, are less sensitive to such differences. For political correctness purposes, all noticeably pigmented people are "black" and, as such, a privileged class who may not be criticized. Why the least competent segment of society is treated as a a privileged class is a question that I had better not address here.
But I want to say that being of mixed race is in fact a matter of some significance. I myself am of mixed race: Mostly English but with plenty of Irish and a bit of Scots. And that stands me in good stead. The English in me means that when I am in England I am quite reserved and hence qualify as "a nice quiet chap" -- which is a term of praise in England.
But when I am in Scotland the Celt comes out in me and the emotional, sentimental attitudes of the Scots are ones that I am entirely comfortable with. And even when I am back home in Australia, I do sometimes play sentimental Scottish music (is there any other kind?), which I greatly enjoy.
And I also have blood kin who are even more mixed than I am. My vivacious cousin twice removed -- Michelle -- is half Han Chinese and half Anglo and I am mightily impressed by her good qualities. She is still as yet in High School but she will go far. Her blue-eyed father is a very knowledgeable academic and a former Assembly of God minister so that helps.
So mixed race can be a good thing. American blacks are right. White racists will hate me for saying that but you can't win 'em all.
The Celtic sentimentalist in me, however, gives me a liking for the blue eyes that characterize all my close blood kin. But the fact that my tall blue-eyed son has a firm relationship with a lady who is half Han Chinese and half English will most probably mean that I will not have blue-eyed grandchildren. My son did however meet his lady when she was studying rocket science (I kid you not) so she is pretty smart. He is a mathematician and the Chinese are pre-eminent in mathematics so I am very pleased by the intellectual potential of any grandchildren that I might have. As an academic myself, I hold intellectual achievement in high regard. Iris pigmentation is a trivial matter if other things are good.
Mind you, genetics can sometimes spring surprises. Someone I see often and admire greatly is an Italian man with the usual Italian black hair and dark eyes. Yet he has recently fathered a gorgeous daughter who has blue eyes and RED hair -- two colorations that are recessive genetically. But he does have a blue-eyed, red-haired Anglo wife so that helps.
To forestall cynical comments, I might mention that Vincenzo does have a blue-eyed sister and that his mother is a Northerner. And there is a lot of Germanic blood among Northern Italians. Germans have been invading Italy for over 2,000 years -- since the days of the Roman republic, in fact. No wonder that Italians find Germans very alarming to this day.