The rules of miscegenation were set long before I came along, and my self-determination to “be myself” was not going to change it. Race in the U.S. operates through hypodescent, meaning that children inherit the race of the parent who is lower in our socially constructed racial hierarchy. This is why President Obama, who is black and white, can refer to himself as a black man and never as a white man. It is a rule that was created to protect white slave masters from having to recognize the kin they made with black bodies, solidified by long-abolished laws, and still deeply permeating society today. . . .
The hierarchy keeps black, brown, red, and yellow apart so that they never unite against a common oppressor.