Each year, I find it more and more difficult to learn enough about the biographies of the historical figures to have it make sense to include them. This year, I was disappointed with the lack of diversity of the profiled figures' ancestral roots. Many of the profiled figures have some African-American or African ancestry--as strange as it is to say: I found it easiest to learn more about their origins and their relationship to the Mixed experience.
I also found it interesting to profile someone like architect Louis Metoyer who was also a slave owner. Do I want him as part of the history I own ultimately? What I decided is that stories and particularly history is complicated. I claimed him too.
But what a thrill it was to claim writer Audre Lorde whose mother was mixed race and who had a number of interracial relationships. I have felt a kinship to Audre Lorde since I first read her words about claiming one's complicated identity. She spoke specifically about her own identity of being a black lesbian, but she was also speaking about mine as an Afro-Viking. And to claim Etta James too? Well, I had to. I miss her!
I would really like to write a longer, more well-researched piece at some point about the ways in which light-skinned privilege helped these figures become who they were--and how that privilege might have factored into their own psychological imagining of themselves and their possibilities.
And finally, for next year's celebration I hope that I will be able to uncover more about what the profiled figures think about their position in the "Mixed experience"--what, if anything, did it mean to them? And what was it allowed to mean to them.
I hope you've enjoyed the posts. I will go back to my regular blogging about my mixed thoughts on a mixed up world, the creative life, books, and travel! I hope you'll stay tuned.
BTW: The lady in this year's Mixed Experience History badge (designed by the wonderful Zerflin) is my literary mother, Nella Larsen
Mixed Experience History Month is the annual blog post series created by writer Heidi Durrow celebrating the history of the Mixed experience. Established in 2007, Mixed Experience History Month is an effort to highlight the long history of folks involved in the Mixed experience. Please look for more profiles of people, places and events of the Mixed experience every weekday of May at Lightskinned-ed Girl, the blog! Thanks for reading. And check out some of the previous year's profiles: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011. Copyright 2012.