Craven, Jim jcraven at clark.edu
Thu Jul 24 12:57:45 MDT 2003

> CB: Now I see where David is coming from. At first, I was thinking who
> is this guy on this list talking about race doesn't mean anything. But
> of mixed race is a difficult space to be in, because one is caught 
> between the conflicting worlds of whites and coloreds.

Welcomed to the world of the mestizos.

Erik Toren
Mestizo, pero con corazón indigina.


CB: Mullattos, Coloreds, Lightskinned Negroes - I said adios to that world
years ago. Now, I'm Black and I'll never go back :>)

Response Jim C: I think this is partly true in that being mixed "race",
defined in terms of physical appearance, and if one accepts such
definitions, can leave someone in "no person's land" unable to adapt to or
be accepted in either world; that is when one accepts--and allows others to
impose--identity based on the usual superficial criteria and constructs
vis-a-vis "race" and ethnicity.

Personally I have no doubt that some of my present situation is due to the
fact that I look more like my father than mother in physical terms; it is
not an advantage I ever sought, but was nonetheless conferred upon me. 
Further, my own appearance has effectively insulated me from exposure to
some realities--and therefore some concrete forms and levels of knowledge
and awareness--of Indian Country that I was/am not aware of and never sought
to be insulated from because "race" is a social construct and reality that
effectively shapes knowledge and consciousness even when not sought.

Among Blackfoot, and I am considered 100% Blackfoot because of how I live
and have lived for most of my life, my appearance--more like my father than
mother--is effectively used by Blackfoot as I am able to infiltrate certain
events and meetings in the service of my People. Once I was at an energy
meeting in Calgary convened to find ways to steal more Blackfoot land and
resources. I went in early, dressed in a suit and tie and carrying a
briefcase looking like a sterotypical "economist" and government
functionary. Sitting next to me, one of the Canadian (white) bureaucrats
said to me "Do you know what these fucking Indians want or are whining
about? I just don't get it." Imagine the shock on his face when later in the
program (I had been probing him for information for some time) I was called
up to speak as a representative of the Blackfoot Nation.

Yes, "race" and superficial concepts/notions of race can also be used to do
the opposite of what is usually intended.

Jim C.

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