Friday, January 2, 2009

Can we get a moratorium on all "amazing" black-and-white twin stories?

written by Tami, crossposted from Anti-Racist Parent

Jan 2nd, 2009 LONDON -- A mixed-race British couple has defied the odds -- twice -- by producing two sets of twins in which one sibling appears to be black and the other white.

Dean Durrant's newborn daughter Miya has dark skin like him. Twin sister Leah has fair skin like her blue-eyed, red-haired mother, Alison Spooner.

Their older siblings Lauren and Hayleigh, born in 2001, also have strikingly different skin tones and eye colors.

"There's no easy way to explain it all. I'm still in shock myself," Durrant, 33, told Sky News on Wednesday. Read more...

Today, all over the news, folks are talking about the Durrant twins, the second set of multiples born to a white mom and black dad in England. In both sets of children, one twin has dark coloring and one light. And the world is inexplicably amazed.

Everytime a story like this pops up in the news, it makes my blood boil. It demonstrates how little we know about the genetics of racial characteristics vs. the lines that society draws around race. "There's no easy way to explain it all." Really? Doesn't the randomness of dominant and recessive genes explain it pretty well?

These "OMG! A biracial (usually black and white) family has children that appear to be of different races!" stories also underscore how little attention society gives to the broad range of physical characteristics apparent in people we view as wholly African American. Due to the multiracial backgrounds of (I would say) most black Americans, you can find stark differences like those found in the Durrant children within families including two African American parents. Anyone who has attended a black American family reunion has witnessed a gathering of dark and light skin and hair, straight and curly tresses, keen and broad features--within immediate (brother and sisters) and extended families (cousins, aunts and uncles).

The birth of the Durrant twins is only exciting in that they are surely a wonderful gift to their parents this holiday season. Their skin color is not amazing or, for that matter, important. And our fascination with it demonstrates how little we know about the realities of "race" and how much we want people to fit into racial boxes by "looking the part."

Ugh.

Old School Friday: "Wake Up Everybody" by Harold Melvin and the Bluenotes



First, for the serious...

This song shuffled around on my iPod yesterday and I thought it was the perfect tune to kick off 2009. On Jan. 20, this country officially has a new leader, and there is this fervent hope that the new historic Obama administration represents the "waking up" of America. I hope that our hopes turn out to be well placed. Whether a President Barack Obama lives up to our expectations or not, it is a mistake to put all of our hopes on his or any other government. WE have a role to play. So, yeah, Teddy Pendergrass is right when he croons: "The world won't get no better if we just let it be."

Then, for the snark...

I love old "Soul Train" clips. They illustrate--for good or bad--how the music industry has changed since the show's hey day. Can you imagine one of today's R&B stars giving a performance in a cheap-ass powder blue tuxedo? I've seen Usher and Rhianna and Kanye perform on recent awards shows and there has always been plenty of spectacle: strobing lights, slick dance moves, special effects and Auto Tune a plenty. Personally, I miss the simplicity of old school performances a little.

Also, who the crispy heck is the guy introducing this song? This must have been some sort of "Soul Train" flashback segment, because my brain can't reconcile Teddy Pendergrass' style with that of the emcee in this clip. I always associate Pendergrass' hirsute manliness with the au natural 70s, but only in the 80s could a brother rock a skinny suit with rolled up sleeves, plus a perm and assymetrical cut. I guess there must have been some moment in style history when these looks collided, but I don't remember it.

Anyhoo, enjoy...

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