I came across this clip from the Tyra Banks Show. The topic of the episode was biracial people who hate one side of themselves. This specific clip is about a boy named Roderick who is half African American and half Mexican. His features are dominantly “black features” and he does not like to be associated with his Mexican side. He says Mexicans lack etiquette and makes graffiti in American which isn’t even their country. He dislikes his mother’s Mexican family and is embarrassed of his own grandmother. He is ashamed that she doesn’t speak English and dresses like a “typical immigrant.” Even though Roderick hates his Mexican heritage and family he loves his Mexican mother. He does not see her as Mexican, he only sees her as someone he loves who raised him. He also does not see his father and mother as different races. He is color-blind when it comes to his parents yet he still believes the negative stereotypes about Mexicans.

                By discriminating on Mexicans Roderick is discriminating on himself. He is contributing to the racism society has created. This racism is what makes him dislike the Mexican part of himself. He believes every Mexican is a certain way (lacks etiquette, does graffiti and doesn’t speak English). He follows the standards society sets. He said, “Majority sees black people as ghetto. I don’t blame them because majority of them are.”  He believes that because he looks black to others that is who he is. He says,” If society sees me as black that’s what I’ll be.” He doesn’t even want to be seen as an individual, he wants to be defined according to his race. Since society is denying a part of him he denies a part of himself.  Roderick has been so influenced by the way society structures race that he doesn’t even want to identify with Mexican ethnicity. Black is only a color appeared on the outside but African American and Mexican are his ethnicity. This cannot be changed but since society emphasizes so much on the appearance of a person Roderick believes that race is what defines him not his ethnicity

                Roderick opens up more after hearing how upset his mother is at his denial of his Mexican heritage. It angers him that people do not see (on the outside) the Mexican side of him. Many times when he is standing right next to his mother he has been asked where his mother is. Since there is a difference in appearance between them no one assumes this woman is his mother. When a person looks a certain way they are accepted by a certain group. Since Roderick is accepted by the black race because he looks similar to them he feels safe with this group and identifies with them. In this group no one is judging him or his race. Hearing negative things about Mexicans must make him ashamed and so he doesn’t claim to the Mexican ethnicity for fear of being judged or made fun of. Instead of only associating with one group he should expand his circle of friends to multiple different races and ethnicities. This can show him that he is accepted by others and will hopefully allow him to accept different races and ethnicities as well. By closing himself to other groups such as Mexicans and discriminating against him he is allowing and contributing to the racism of society which should be eliminated.

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One response

  1. After reading your blog post I went forth and watched the clip, I must admit I was astonished at the things Roderick had to say. I am almost puzzled as to how an individual can be ashamed with their ethnicity. How is it possible for a biracial individual to make a judgment of what ethnicity is better than the other. Roderick is nothing but a complete fool instead of embracing two culture rich ethnicities he is ashamed by one. It’s kind of mind blowing that Roderick dislikes his mother’s Mexican family and is embarrassed of his own grandmother. The fact that he is embarrassed of his Mexican grandmother because she doesn’t speak English and dresses like a “typical immigrant” is very upsetting. I am quite perplexed with this notion of “dressing like a typical immigrant” what does that even mean. I know for a fact people that are economically stable in Mexico wear Nike sneakers and fitted jeans, is that what a typical immigrant dresses like? This whole idea of Mexican culture having lack of etiquette, and doing graffiti is pretty offensive because this is a stereotype that doesn’t apply to everyone. If that’s the case I think some individuals of every race have lack of etiquette and may do graffiti. I also find it rather interesting that Roderick prefers one minority group race over another simply because of his appearance, even though they are both minority races. In fact some of the readings we have gone through in class show that among minority groups Hispanics have greater privileges compared to blacks.