My name is Nicole Leopardo and I am African American, Swedish, Italian, French, Native American and Chinese. I identify as multiracial.On April 18, I picked up the Daily Nexus endorsement issue. You can imagine my surprise when I picked up the Nexus and saw the [left] image that was intended to depict me. The skin tone of the image is much darker than my own, and there is absolutely no resemblance to my own facial features. I felt very offended by this image.
But as a multiracial person, these thoughts are silenced by various critics. Some will say that I do not want to identify as black at all or that I have a problem with being depicted darker because I do not like dark skin. Some will suggest that I should just take the endorsement and shut up.
But what exactly is the problem with darkening the skin substantially on my endorsement image? First, the image did not look like me. Second, this image is not representative of my multiracial identity, and actually distorts my image in such a way that delegitimizes it. By depicting me as this darker image, it denies my multiraciality, and instead, emphasizes a monoracial identity that simply seeks to construct me as black. These notions reflect racist notions, such as the “one-drop rule,” in which a person is designated as black if they have any amount of African ancestry. Third, this image shows complete disrespect for how I identify as an individual.
I am tired of society at large telling me and other multiracial individuals how to identify. Thus, I feel it is imperative that I be able to declare my multiracial identity as it is, and have this identity respected. If you are mixed, or an ally of our community, join us in the struggle to claim our own identity in any way we please. Join Mixed Student Union at UCSB.
Nicole Leopardo is a third-year political science and black studies major.
It’s a cartoon in a student news paper. There’s no racism going on, maybe they made the mistake because you look a little darker than an Irish woman or perhaps they just made a mistake. And explain exactly how a cartoon is supposed to represent your multiracial heritage? Tiny flags behind its head? What if the caricature is supposed to be of mixed racial background? People with dark skin come from more than one place. And as for, “there is absolutely no resemblance to my own facial features”, it’s a caricature, not a portrait. Also, you take care to list… Read more »
And why is this out after a month of elections? I feel like there is a personal agenda here.
“The skin tone of the image is much darker than my own, and there is absolutely no resemblance to my own facial features. I felt very offended by this image.” Why would you feel offended? I can understand if you are upset that they didn’t get all of your features right. It’s understandable to be upset if someone doesn’t properly depict you in an image, but to take offense? What’s so offensive about being black? Usually one takes offense at being falsely accused of being or having done something negative. Is being black a negative? “By depicting me as this… Read more »
“Indeed, this opinion piece says more about your backwards way of thinking than it does about the cartoon depicting you.”
On the nose.
Gonna take a wild guess and say you’re majoring in something in the humanities department.
Oh whoops it says so at the end of the article. Well, carry on. Submit this as an essay for an A-.
It’s funny cause it’s true!
Ethnicity studies majors are such bullshit. As the UCSB regents chop away at our budget, they should target those departments first before anything else (especially subjects that actually matter here like the majors in the science and engineering departments). Our school needs to commission more people who can truly contribute to society, not PC police officers.
I meant UC regents, lol.
Political Science and Black Studies are in the Social Science department, bro.
Skin tone aside, that cartoon looks exactly like you!
I’m wondering why you are offended by being portrayed with more of a suntan than you normally have. Are you saying that’s bad? Are you indirectly exposing your own racial aversions to dark skin? I sense a combination of racism and vanity in your editorial. Note also that most cartoons of white people are shown as white as a sheet (the KKK color), when in reality, their skin is varying shades of pink, beige, tan, etc. Would it be reasonable for a white person to complain about being portrayed in too white colors as an exaggeration of their whiteness? I’m… Read more »
Sister, you come across as racist.
I am half African, half Japanese. I have traveled to many places around the world and see nothing unusual about this cartoon. In many African countries, you’ll see “black” Africans portrayed in cartoons as completely black. These cartoons are drawn by black Africans who don’t hate themselves.
There are many struggles in the world already, so why make new struggles with imaginary racism?