I am 3/8 black, 1/8 Hispanic, 4/8 Caucasian, and 0/8 African-American.
How can you be 3/8 black and 0/8 African-American, Lena?
I’ve heard that question lots of times. The answer is that my father is an immigrant — and not from Africa, which would make me African-American in a different sense, like President Obama. My father is Jamaican. I’m sure that if you went back far enough you’d find a place where my dad’s family history intersects with African-American history. Since we’re descended from the Moors of Spain, I don’t have a clue where that intersection point is. But that intersection point is nowhere near today.
African-American history is amazing. The black people living in the United States have, as a race, overcome many obstacles throughout the course of their history. They’ve developed a rich subculture, with its own music, styles of dress, and linguistics. African-American culture is part of the greater American culture, yet distinct from it.
My dad was mostly raised in New York City. Between him and my 100% white mother, my culture is very white American. I have too much respect for African-American history and culture to claim to be African-American just because it’s politically incorrect to call me black. I usually just choose “other” for my ethnicity when filling out paperwork, but that doesn’t address the gap in the ethnic classification systems. I mean, I’m 1/8 Hispanic, too, technically… but why would I officially claim that when everything I know about Hispanic cultures is stuff I learned in college?