Why Are You Obsessed with My Race? Chapter 5

21 min readAug 19, 2021


I’ve always been called names for as long as I could remember because I am biracial, but I never heard of the ‘one-drop rule.’ Since I was suspended a week before Spring Break, I am going to have a two-week vacation. My mom and Dad went up to the school to get my work for the week I missed. So, I have more than enough time to catch up.

Before asking my dad, I wanted to do my own research on the ‘one-drop rule.’ Speaking of my dad, my parents weren’t happy. My mom said she was so sick and tired of this shit. On the other hand, my dad was happy that I held my ground. My guard is always up because my dad warned me at a young age about how some people would treat me because I am biracial.

My face doesn’t look too bad. I have a bruise on my left cheek, but it will fade away. After so many fights all my life — I thank God that my dad put me in Tae Kwon Do, boxing, and jujitsu classes.

As I think about all of the names I’ve been called, I have never been called a cow before. I guess if something is black and white, they used those terms to try to define a mixed person. I am used to some of the black girls saying I want to be black to prove a point and most of the white girls saying I used my white side when I need something. I never understood why they would make those senseless comments. I mean, really, how can I prove that I am black? I don’t have to prove a point because I am black. How do I use my whiteness when I need something? I work for it, and, seeing how I am treated, there isn’t anything given to me. I have to fight for my life because I have a black Dad and a white Mom. I am judged everywhere I go because people are too busy looking at my color. Their eyes scan me up and down as they try to figure out what I am mixed with. So again, what sense does any of this make? What do those comments even mean? I never had to use my race to prove a point or get whatever I needed. Peoples’ minds are so fucked up by society to the point they are beginning to hate themselves. I am half black, and I am half white, and I will not apologize for my race.

I Googled the ‘One-Drop Rule. Basically, it says if you have one drop of black blood, then you are considered black. Again, I am not understanding none of this shit. I feel like if you have one drop of anything — then you are a part of that race. Why can’t it be if I have one drop of white in me that I am white? Why is black so defined? Is it a problem being black? Why are so many people color blind? I sit back on my couch, look out the window and say to myself out loud, it is sad that some black girls hate me because I am lighter than them. Whether they want to believe it or not, they are intimidated by my skin complexion. I do not think I am better than them because of the tone of my skin. As I think about it — to keep it real, some black women feel this way because some black men prefer light-skinned girls with ‘good hair.’ Therefore, the dark-skinned girl feels like light-skinned women are taking their ‘men.’ That is what Brooklyn was saying a couple of weeks ago.

Speaking of ‘good hair,’ what is good hair? I never understood that term either. All of our hair becomes tangled and unmanageable. I cannot do a lot of things with my hair that someone who isn’t mixed race can do to their hair. I wish I had the kind of hair that I could put in any style I admire, but that isn’t possible. When I braid my hair, it comes apart. I do not have any other options, and I am left with a messy bun.

Then there are some white girls who tell me to stay in my place when it comes to their men. I am like, what the fuck they mean, stay in my place? I am not the one to put in a ‘category.’ They think their white boyfriends want to talk to me because I am light enough and not too dark for their taste. I hate that I have to go through this all the damn time. If more people are comfortable in their skin and think for themselves, then I do not believe manipulation and hate would be so dominant in the world today.

My dad walked through the door with his suitcase in his hand; he laid it on the table near the kitchen, “Hey, my baby girl, what are you thinking about? How is your hand?”

“Hey, Daddy, my hand is okay. Still healing, thank you for asking. I just was thinking about yesterday. Do you know that yesterday one of the white girls at my school told me that I should know about the ‘one-drop rule’? I just so happened to Google it to see what it was about. I learned that if you have one drop of black in you, then you are black. I know I am black, and that doesn’t concern me. What concerns me is how Momma feels about what people say. Why do so many people hate that black and white people fall in love and have a family? I cannot wrap my head around the cruel things people say. When I was jumped, the black girl said she agreed with the white girl.” I paused and stared out the window, “Daddy, why do people hate my color so much? Why do I intimidate them? Why are they disgusted by me? What have I done to make them hate me? I did not choose to be mixed. Why can’t I be accepted for me? Why do I have to choose? I am a part of Mom, and I am a part of you. The abuse and racist treatment are becoming unbearable. While I am out in public, I have to be strong, and when I am at home, I am vulnerable because, after all, Daddy, I am human.”

My daddy walked over to me, “You are strong. You always have been and always will be. It is okay to cry and feel vulnerable at home. You are safe here.” He sat on the couch, “I understand how you feel. When your mom and I are out and about enjoying ourselves, the stares we get are unbelievable. You won’t believe this — there have been times some people run into things because they are looking so hard.” Daddy shook his head, “Crazy, huh?”

I shook my head too, “Yeah, that is crazy.” I folded my legs together on the couch, “I do not understand why. We all should love ourselves, right?”

“You would think, Stella. However, some girls have a lot of insecurities because of other men’s preference.” He got comfortable on the couch, “As a prime example, there are a lot of black women who stare me down because I am with your mom. Their noses turn up when they see me holding your mom’s hand. Sometimes I hear them say, “Ummm,” while rolling their eyes. When I was in high school, I dated beautiful black girls, but when I met your mom at the vegan stand at a park festival, we had a good conversation while we waited for our food. It was like we instantly connected. I loved her vibe and her company, and from there, we were inseparable. We fell in love, and within a year we were married, and a couple of years afterward (he tapped my nose), we had you.” He held my hand, “Your mom gets a lot of stares too from black and white women. It is like she is hated by both sides, but your momma is something else. When she gets those looks, she hugs and kisses me to let them see that there is no shame or hate here — it’s all love, and love only.”

Sadness took over my daddy’s eyes, “I know it gets to your mom at times … and just like you, she comes home and lets it out, but in public, she is strong and confident.” He paused and looked me in my eyes, “I was asked by a black woman one day why did I marry a white lady? She said, “What, a black woman isn’t good or strong enough for you? Or do we have too much of an attitude?” I was taken aback by her comment. I answered her and told her I always dated black women, and I just happened to meet my wife randomly, and we fell in love during a conversation over vegan food. I reassured her that my wife has her days when she has a bad attitude. She most certainly has her days when she is strong and takes over while I step aside and let her handle business. I ended the conversation and let her know that this world is a woman’s world — because men cannot do half of what a woman can do. I think all women are strong, wise, loving, and independent. Color is not what I saw in my wife. It was love, nothing more or less … just love.”

I smiled, “Daddy, that is so sweet.” My eyes begin to water.

“Talk to me, baby girl. What is on your mind?”

“Daddy, I feel like I am paying the price and it’s kind of like a sin, being mixed. I love the skin I am in, but at times it is too much to deal with. For some, I am not black enough, and for others, I am not white enough. Where do I fit in, Daddy? Where?”

My lips trembled, “Daddy, I feel dead inside.” Then, drowning in my tears, “Daddy, I do not fit in. At times, when I am at school, I struggle mentally to find my place in this world, and most of the time, Daddy, I do not know who I am. It is like being multiracial is a double edge sword.” I wiped my tears, but they keep falling, “I have the right to go to school and not be attacked.”

Daddy hugged me, “Baby, it takes all types of people to make a difference in the world, and you are a start. We are a start. Love is stronger than hate.” He lifted my head up, “Who are you? You are my and your momma’s baby girl.” Tears formed in my daddy’s eyes, “You are our sweet, Stella.” He hugged me tight, “I know it has been hard. I know. However, you are a fighter. You are strong, and you are a part of your mom and me. You do not have to choose what race you want to be — you are part of the human race. You are Stella Chapman, smart, beautiful, and wise.”

I felt my daddy’s tears soaking my shirt. He rocked me from side to side as we both cried, “Stella, nobody, and I mean nobody has the right to pick your race or color for you.” He lifted my head as my cheeks rested in the palm of his hands. With moist eyes, my dad choked on his words. His tears became a waterfall of emotions, “And I mean, as this world keeps turning, nobody, Stella, nobody gets to choose your race for you. You embrace where you come from. You embraced both sides of your heritage. You embrace yourself because you are a wonderful daughter, and we love you!”

Tears continued to trickle down our faces. “Daddy, what is your definition of the ‘one-drop rule?”

He paused for a second and looked at me, “As always, it was and is a man-made saying. It was created in the south, I believe, in 1967. For example, as I told you when you were younger about Juneteenth — the ending of slavery. Black slaves worked their asses off to build this country that we call the land of the ‘free’ for over 400 years, and we still are working our asses off more than ever. When slavery ended, blacks were left with nothing and were denied the right to own their land and, needless to say, the right to vote. When you think about it, when slavery ended, blacks should have been rich because blacks were the ones who worked the land, crops, cotton, and everything that came along with it. Instead of African Americans owning the land, they worked countless hours for nothing. The European immigrants came over to the states and effortlessly bought the land owed to the blacks. Not given, Stella, owed … because African Americans earned their keep and so much more.”

Daddy looked out of the window and laughed slightly, “Your great-grandmother was a person who meant business. I remember one day coming home from school. I was singing a song we had learned in music class — it was called Pick a Bale of Cotton, and I was dancing like, as my grandmother called it, ‘a mad dog.’ She asked me who taught me that song and where did I learn to dance like that. I told her from school. She marched down to the school and scolded my teacher without fear in her bones. My grandmother told me never to sing that racist song and to never dance like that damn clown, Jim Crow.”

Daddy looked at me, “Stella, the dance my teacher taught the students was the jumping Jim Crow or jump Jim Crow. He was famous for painting his face black. He said the black man ‘inspired’ him.” Daddy glanced out of the window, “My grandmother sat me down and talked to me. She taught me about our roots, and from that day on, I always had my head in a book.”

He stared into space, “My grandmother was a strong woman. I admire her strength. I admire how brave she was.” Still looking out into space, my daddy balled his fist, but he didn’t blink, “Blacks have been through so much. Good God, we have been tested for so long. White supremacy tried to break us by breaking up our family, taking everything from us, and limiting us to the things we need to survive. But we made it through, we survived, and are still making it.”

A tear fell from my father’s eyes, “My grandmother took my hand and walked me through her life. It was like she was the light that kept me safe while I was in her shadow. I remember when she told me that as a little girl, she saw things a child shouldn’t ever witness. Unlike your grandpa, who was raised by his white father, my mother’s mom did not have the privilege of a tad bit of peace. As she would say, slavery ended, but the cost they had to pay was a steep fine that lasted for one decade after another. My grandmother witnessed Ku Klux Klan (KKK) ceremonies — burning crosses, men and women hanging from trees. She even witnessed a black man’s body being roasted in a bonfire. Blacks were tortured every single day. They lived in fear because the 14th Amendment was passed, stating that all who were born in America were free. My grandmother used to say, “We are black people in this white man’s world of lies.” She told me a little white girl who was younger than her told her that she would never be equal and a dog would have more rights than her.”

He relaxed his fist, “Freedom came at a price, and that price was terrorism by the white supremacy. You cannot rewrite history with a lie. You sure enough can’t cover it up. I remember watching a movie called Birth of a Nation. It should be called the Death of a Nation. They made it seem like the KKK rescued Americans. I couldn’t believe it when I saw that they painted the black man as a rapist and murderer. There was a white lady who jumped off a cliff because she thought a black man was going to rape her. However, did they forget, they created the term and actions of rape! They use to rape black women who were their slaves. When you look at all of this mess, they are the reason for the hate in America! They are the reason why America is at war with coloreds. White supremacists say they are first class. Yeah, they are; first-class for hate. Everything about them is hateful!

He shook his head, “You asked me about the one-drop rule. That came from white supremacy. After they raped a black slave, she would have a ‘black’ child. The baby had ‘one drop’ of the mother’s blood. The child didn’t work in the field, but he or she was light-skinned enough to work in the house as a servant. White supremacy always tries to find a way to make themselves look good. The only thing they haven’t done is tell the truth and face the facts that they were the cause for everything that went wrong in America.”

Daddy walked over and sat beside me. “Think about it. History is repeating itself. In the 1900s, when blacks protested peacefully, white supremacists would allow dogs to attack blacks of all gender and age. Blacks were being fired at with water hoses, beaten with batons, stomped, kicked, spat on, dragged in the middle of the streets, and there was no mercy shown. Nowadays, when people have a peaceful protest, it is law enforcement that disturbs the peace. They are quick to shoot someone, pepper spray them, or subject people to physical harm.”

Daddy shook his head, “Nothing has changed. Many say there is a new system that was born in America. Nah, it is not new. The system never died. It is more of a shady renovation, if you will. It reminds me of a reality TV show; however, it has been renewed with over 400 new seasons. It is now what I call the new Jim Crow. In 1963, four Black schoolgirls were killed in a Birmingham church bombing. In 2015 there was the Charleston church massacre. White supremacy killed nine African Americans.”

He stared at the floor, “1800 and counting, they lynch black people. Now, they are putting their knee on their necks. Either way, they find a way to cut off a black person’s circulation. Many black young men were hung from trees by ‘private citizens’ who hated that the black men were free. They hated the fact that we had the same rights as them. However, in the private citizen-state, county, and city, they made the rules. They did not abide by the Amendments that were put in place, just like the private citizen didn’t abide by the law or make up an excuse to feel threatened when they were the ones who caused the friction. One of many stories in 1955 was a 14-year-old African American. As they say, he ‘wolf whistled’ at a white lady. He was kidnapped, butchered, and dumped in a river by two white supremacists. Three days later, he was found with his knees and feet poking out of the water as his body rose to the surface. His mother was brave; she insisted that he had an open casket funeral so the world could see what America’s white supremacy had done to her son. As we all know then and now, the killer was set free. Not to mention, the white lady lied about him ‘wolf whistling’ at her. Decades later, she admitted she lied; however, she too was never held accountable. Here and now, as I said, there hasn’t been a change. One of many stories of the now; a young man walking from the store, minding his business, not knowing his life will end minutes later. A ‘private citizen’ caused static as they always do and followed this young man, even as the dispatcher told him there was no need for that. This innocent young man was judged by his skin, and the ‘private citizen’ said he was being threatened. How was that when he was the one who followed this young man? He just wanted to have a black man’s blood on his hand. Sad to say, moments later, the young man who was minding his business was shot and killed in cold blood. The state said the ‘private citizen’ had the right to use the Stand Your Ground Law. He, too, was set free for killing a young black man. If you ask me, The Stand Your Ground Law was put into law to have an excuse to kill black people of all gender and ages.”

Daddy was in a daze as he carried on. I was engaged with the comparisons from the past and the now. My daddy is right; nothing has changed. White supremacy has found another way to traumatize and kill blacks. Daddy put his finger in the air, “Here is another one … the white supremacists were known for kicking in people’s doors and killing them in cold blood. A Black Panther by the name of Fred Hampton was assassinated in his home. The white supremacists shot him in the head while his pregnant wife was lying beside him. Sound familiar? Yes, it does. A young lady peacefully sleeping shot in cold blood with her boyfriend in the house.”

Daddy’s face was flushed with anger, “White supremacists were the mobs then and are the mobs because they can get away with it. They have traumatized blacks for generation after generation. Did you know that, back in the 1800s, the currency had enslaved people picking cotton on them? Slaves and black people always represent the wealth of America. The rich get richer, and the poor are getting poorer. You know, after my grandmother walked me through her life, I had bad dreams at night. I thought to myself, if I had bad dreams just from hearing about what my grandmother went through, I could only imagine what it was like to live through it.

Daddy looked at me, “Speaking of white supremacy, we have to know where it comes from. I apologize, honey; I know I’ve been all over the place with my stories. I am just trying to tell them as they come into my head. Jim Crow laws were created by white southern politicians who stripped African Americans of their rights, power, and wealth.” Daddy shook his head, “The Jim Crow laws lasted for about 100 years or so … hell, if you ask me, it is still going on because blacks are still limited to what we can do in today’s society. Blacks are getting shot down like stray dogs on the streets …” He paused, “All because of the color of our skin. Today’s era is like the new KKK.”

My daddy balled his fist once again, “If you asked me, the KKK is the definition of white supremacy. The KKK was and still is a hate group that tried to instill fear in black people. They did not and still do not want black people to be successful. They burned down the black established communities such as Black Wall Street in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The KKK and white supremacy destroyed the black community of the wealth that they worked so hard for. Not only that, it was a bloodbath, and so many blacks were killed all because they worked hard together to help each other to better themselves.”

Daddy walked towards another window, “White supremacy is good for fucking everything up to benefit them. 1982 Ronald Reagan declared that there was a war on drugs. His wife fuelled the fire in a commercial: ‘Just Say No.’ Basically, what she was saying was just say no to drugs. They put fear in America. They painted Blacks, Latinos, and Hispanics in general as criminals, murderers, drug dealers — and dangerous. They tore up the black households by planting drugs on blacks to give them long sentences in prison. Once again, the prison system made billions of dollars on blacks — once again, we were slaves. They used the blacks to further their campaign. Once again, too familiar. John F. Kennedy won the presidential election because blacks voted him in. He put us on the back burner until Martin Luther King Jr. called him out on it in a speech and told JFK to live up to his promise and live up to his word. So, there you have it — presidents like Richard Nixon and Reagan used blacks to win because they called us ‘super predators’! Wow. Then later, you have President Clinton. Blacks put his ass in office too. However, I think he was the worst of them all. Blacks trusted him, but he turned his back on the blacks and came up with the ‘three strikes, and you’re out, rule’ — as if he was playing a baseball game with blacks’ lives.”

“Daddy, what is the three strikes rule?” I asked.

“Honey, the ‘three strikes’ rule was made for the blacks. They won’t admit it, but yep, it was made just for us, to keep us down. If you commit a third violent crime, you will be put away for good. Now think about that … I mean, they invested billions of dollars in prisons because they were making money off black people — used them as free labor — and when inmates called their loved ones, their families were charged an arm and a leg to accept a call from prison. They put more officers on the streets to lock up more black men. They left the black mother to raise her children, and nine times out of ten, her son would meet his father coming out of prison while he was going in.”

Daddy stared at the wall, “Then President Clinton tried to clean his shit up when his wife tried to run for President. Once again, they wanted to use the black people to get votes. He admitted that his bill made the problem worse. Hell yeah, it did. Because of him, imprisonment was at an all-time high for blacks! He knew what he was doing. Was his apology sincere? Hell no, it wasn’t. He wanted his wife to get in the White House by any means possible. Hilary Clinton had the nerve to say they wanted to reform the criminal justice system and rebuild trust between the black community and law enforcement. That is never going to happen. These folk ride black people’s backs to get ahead. Our feet are worn down while theirs are soft as butter because their feet were never dragged through the dirt, mud, concrete, or standing for hours in the hot sun without shoes.”

Daddy cleared his throat, “Malcolm X said it best. ‘If they can’t have their equal in the house, they will burn it down.’”

Daddy shook his head, “The system is so messed up. It is overwhelmingly biased towards people of color. The white supremacists killed my mother. Daddy worked so hard, but he couldn’t get ahead to save his life. They always pulled him over when he was going to work, coming home, or whenever they felt like it.

As you know, Stella, my daddy was killed by the police as well. All because he had failed to yield getting on the expressway. I know my daddy yielded — who doesn’t yield getting on the expressway? They are the reason why my mother had a stroke. I remember when Momma and Daddy tried to get a house and were told they would have to stay within the ‘red lines.’ The bank and realtors didn’t want to mix the colored and white communities. My daddy stood firm, and we moved into the community. The neighbors complained that the colored people would be the reason why their property taxes would go up, and their homes devalue. The whites moved out quickly, and our home was a part of the red line on the map.”

He took a deep breath, “Stella, hate and jealousy are real. The fight you got into yesterday and many times before that is because of pure hate and jealousy. The bottom line is, it is how their ignorant parents raised these children.”

He paused, “You asked me about the ‘one-drop rule.’ Like the Jim Crow law, KKK, segregation, and racism were made up by white racist people. The sad part is that our own kind uses the terms as well. When we mix our food with several sauces, spices, veggies, etc., we do not define our food. There is a name for everything we mix together. For example, when you put carrots, cheese, cucumbers, lettuce, or whatever you want or dressing in a salad, what do we call it? A salad!” He put his hands in the air, “We call it a salad.”

His eyes widened a little, “Just because we put one drop of olive oil in it should we say oh, since it’s one drop of olive oil, it is 100% olive oil?” Daddy shook his head, “If they want to keep it real and tell the truth of their pathetic and senseless saying, the ‘one-drop rule’ history comes from the history of America. I say this once again; they raped black slaves. That is the fact of interracial history in the United States of America. Yet, the white supremacists didn’t see anything wrong with that. Of course not; they covered up the mess they made, but they never tried to fix it and most definitely do not own up to their shit!”

Daddy closed his eyes for a second, “If people would only listen to themselves, they would realize how naïve and ignorant they sound. Just because the term was created doesn’t mean it should be used.”

Daddy scooted up closer. “That is why people should be leaders and not followers.” He calmed down. “The ‘one-drop rule’ comes from slavery and later, the Jim Crow laws and segregation. If a mixed-race person has a ‘drop of black’ in them, they are considered black.” My daddy laughed, “How the hell can a person have one drop of black in them? How is that possible? You cannot even put one drop of black blood in someone — it is called DNA.”

My daddy was really getting heated.

He continued, “Don’t be surprised if someone calls you a ‘mulatto’, ‘half-caste,’ ‘quadroon,’ ‘quarter-caste,’ ‘octoroon,’ ‘aboriginal,’ one-quarter, mix-breed — the list goes on.” He paused and stared at the wall, “There were times when your mom and I use to go to the store, and we use to hear people saying those things as we walked by. They use to say, “They are going to have a mulatto, etc.” It stressed your mom out for a little while until she realized that her physical, mental, and emotional health were important in order for her to have a healthy baby.” He balled his fist, “Stella, we were called so many disrespectful names, and some of them I cannot remember.”

Once again, he paused, “Segregation and institutional racism are alive and real in the world today. It is pathetic how people attach value to race. Some people say race is real and that race doesn’t matter. The fact is, race shouldn’t exist — it is not real. It is made up, but race does matter.” He looked at me and said softly, “Race shouldn’t matter, but it does. In society’s eyes, race is stubbornly real.”