I am biracial, and while I love it, I've struggled with it throughout my life. Biracial identity is very complex, and it can really be difficult to solidify your identity when you feel like you sort of fit into multiple categories but don't fully fit into any. The song "Everybody" by Logic is one that I recently discovered and have fallen in love with. Robert Bryson Hall II, better known by his stage name "Logic," is a rapper, singer, songwriter, and record producer. Logic is also biracial. Breaking down the lyrics to this song, I found a lot of parts that I related to, even though I am half White-Hispanic and half Asian, and Logic is half Black and half White. This song truly is a biracial anthem. Here are some of the lyrics with messages that stood out to me the most.
Disclaimer: these interpretations of the meaning behind the lyrics are all my own, and are in no way meant to be malicious or discriminatory toward anybody.
"Okay now picture little Bobby just a youngin' runnin' 'round
With his mans, hammer in his hands, feelin' like the man
Run, mothaf***a, run
'Fore the popo get the gun, put it to your brain like goddamn!
Everybody know you ain't about it
Everything you talk about I know I can live without it"
Little Bobby is just running around, and as a small child he is already aware of police brutality against people of color. He is acknowledging that he partially will have to deal with police brutality as a Black male, but he also knows that as a partially White male he may not have to worry about it as much as if he were fully Black.
"Red light, stop, green light, go!
Everything ain't what it seem like
Mothaf***a I know!
Hold up, what you mean, where you been?
B**** I been in
This is merely the beginning again
What you been living in?
A box, under the bridge, like Anthony Kiedis"
These lines serve the important reminder that everything is not as it seems. Being of mixed race is no longer a crime like it was in the past. Only in 1967 was it made legal for interracial couples in the United States to marry. My parents (my dad, a person of color, and my mom, not a person of color) were only married 27 years after it was legalized here, and I was born 31 years after the decision that my family and existence was no longer a against the law. It has been 50 years now since interracial marriage has been legal, so when people question whether or not it is correct or okay - it feels off.
"Looking for something to complete us
And maybe lead us, f*** an elitist
Hell of a long way from equal is how they treat us
Body of a builder with the mind of a fetus
Turn on the television and see the vision they feed us
And I wish I could erase that, face facts"
The idea that by being of two races you are not completely anything - that idea is extremely detrimental, but a reality that biracial individuals have to grapple with. A biracial person is whole and complete. Being treated as though they are not is so isolating. I know that I am not fully Indian, for example, but just because I'm not completely Indian does not mean that I am not Indian at all. I've definitely been pushed out of my Indian identity a lot throughout my life, and that has definitely caused me to identify with it less than my Spanish identity or American identity. If we are denied the membership to both of our ethnicities because we are not "complete," where do we go? Where is our space? Where is our community?
Media representations of biracial people are also not where they need to be. In television shows, I have not felt like I have found a biracial character who I can fully relate my experience to. I feel as though biracial people are asked to pick a half in order to be viewed societally as a whole. Barack Obama is viewed as the first Black president of the United States. He is the first American president to be Black, but he's not just Black, he is also White. Barack Obama's mother was White, and his father was Black. Barack's half-sister, with whom he shares a mother, is half White and half Asian. So, if Barack is solely Black, how can he have a biological half-sister that is not Black at all? I'm not hating on the Obamas at all - I actually love their family very much. This is just one example of how the media took a biracial identity and shifted it into something that seemed more "whole" or "normal." This is one example of way too many.
"Everybody people, everybody bleed, everybody need something
Everybody love, everybody know, how it go"
This is just a reminder that we are all people, and we all deserve to be treated with love, because we are all built to love.
"If it was 1717, black daddy, white momma wouldn't change a thing
Light skin mothaf***a certified as a house n***a
Well I'll be God damned, go figure
In my blood is the slave and the master
It's like the devil playin' spades with the pastor
But he was born with the white privilege!
Man what the f*** is that?
White people told me as a child, as a little boy, playin' with his toys
I should be ashamed to be black
And some black people look ashamed when I rap
Like my great granddaddy didn't take a whip to the back
Not accepted by the black or the white"
This chunk has a lot to discuss. It's quite an intense thought that one person could have the blood of both a slave and a master, since those two categorizations of people are viewed as polar opposites. That's one of the things that is so challenging about biracial identity; would he be the slave or with the master? The answer, in historical contexts, is that he would be treated more like as if he were fully Black, but a little less horribly. In terms of slavery, the song says that he would be a house slave, interacting with the master and family and doing slightly higher-status jobs like housekeeping. Having that bit of master in him would help him escape from the hard labor of the fields, that's the White part, but the fact that he would still be a slave is the Black part. Biracial identity is so complex, and it takes so much analysis, on both racial and personal levels, to fully grasp. Each person's situation is different, and each combination of races is different. It's all really complicated.
He denies that he has any White privilege, which I guess I both agree and disagree with. I think that he has light-skin privilege, which is different, but he still is partially Black and has to deal with the oppression that comes with being Black, no matter how much of a part of his racial makeup it is. There is an aspect of partial privilege and partial marginalization. I really relate to the part when he talks about neither group wanting to claim him. I've struggled with that a lot, and I think the way that he put it was so simple, yet illustrated the struggle so clearly. Too White to be Black, and too Black to be White; as simple as that. The line where he talks about his great grandfather taking a whip to the back really resonates with me as well because people often tell me that I am not Indian enough since my complexion is lighter (like my non-Indian mother's), but my Indian grandmother was a refugee during the partition, and my family on both ends have dealt with struggles that their country or race often use to identify themselves with. It's my family, my country, my history, and my identity too.
"I don't give a f***, praise God, I could see the light
Everybody talkin' 'bout race this, race that
Wish I could erase that, face facts"
This last part is the one that I definitely both agree and disagree with. I like the part that acknowledges the struggle but gives thanks that he can see the light regardless. However, saying that he would like to erase race is a statement I have mixed feelings about. In an ideal world, nobody would have to deal with any form of discrimination, ranking, or judgement based off of their race. It would be lovely to not even have to look at race. However, we do not live in that ideal world and people do face oppression based off of their racial identity, whether it be on a micro or macro level. We need to acknowledge the racial identity of others, because it has often shaped who the person is. I'm a firm believer in the fact that your struggles make you who you are and who you grow into. It would be unfair to look at a person and judge their character without looking at one aspect of their life that they have either faced privilege or oppression with. A color-blind world would be ideal, but it is not realistic at the moment. He's saying that he wishes he could erase race, and that wish is valid in seeking a color-blind world free of racially charged conflict. However, that wish is one that I do not think can come true.
These lyrics have grown on me a lot, and this song is a really special piece of work to me. I hope it can evoke a similar emotion in you. If you'd like to listen to this bumpin' jam with a fantastic activist message, here is the lyric video.