I'm not invited = I'm not welcome?

Mezanie

Senior Member
Hungarian
Hello everyone! :)

This phrase comes from a person of mixed blood who talks about how he's not accepted (in many cases) either by black people or white people because he's not 100% just white or just black.
(I hope it's not politically incorrect to say white and black but I can't find another way to phrase it right now.)

And basically he says:

"I'm too white to be black, I'm too black to be white. So I don't sit on either side but in the middle. If I lie on the black side I'll cry all night because my white side is not invited and vice versa."

Can "not being invited" mean that someone is not welcome? I don't think it means a literal invitation here.

Thank you for any replies in advance! :)
 
  • much_rice

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Yes, you've got it. I wouldn't use "invited" this way, but the speaker clearly means that when he's in company with other black people, he feels they don't welcome his white aspects, and when he's among whites, they think of him as being too black.

    White and black are commonly used in the USA without offense, but it can be tricky. The most-neutral formulations are Caucasian (for anyone of European ancestry) and African-American for black people with roots in the United States — often because of the legacy of slavery. The problem is, you can't say African-American for people who aren't American, which is why for instance Kamala Harris, a current Democratic candidate, studiously refers to herself as "black": She's half-Indian, half-Jamaican, and therefore doesn't have "African-American" heritage.

    By the way: most African-Americans have partly white, partly black ancestry.
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    Re #2, weren't Ms. Harris's Jamaican ancestors originally from Africa?

    But isn't the speaker talking about how he feels about himself ("If I lie...")?
     
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    much_rice

    Senior Member
    English - American
    But isn't the speaker talking about how he feels about himself ("If I lie...")?
    Ain'tt makes a good point. This "not invited" or "not welcome" business could all be happening within his own soul. In that case, he means that if he acts black, then he feels he's disrespecting his own white heritage. But if he acts white, then the black part of him feels repressed.

    Re: Harris, my bit about how she studiously refers to herself as "black" is from a recent New Yorker profile. "African-American" carries such a strong connotation of "descended from slaves" that I've heard of many modern black immigrants being denied, or denying, the label. I knew a guy in high school who was born here, but because his parents were from Trinidad he refused to be called "African-American." He preferred simply "black," or "Caribbean-American" (if I recall).

    Depending on how far back in the family tree you go, all the royal families of Europe are partly of "African" descent (from a Moor who married in centuries ago). Not to mention that we all have "African" roots when we go back extremely far, but of course then "race" has no meaning whatsoever. Another issue: What about Australian Aborigines who make their way to the United States? Their ancestors may have lived Down Under for more than a thousand years, and so surely they'd be black but not African.
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    By the way, In My Opinion "Caucasian" sounds rather quaint or dated. Note also that when writing, it's preferable to spell "Black/White' with a capital 'B' or 'W' to avoid wounding anyone's feelings. (Political correctness and all that, don't you know...:rolleyes:)
     
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    much_rice

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Looks like your comment got cut off? I agree that Caucasian is a dumb word, but people still use it, alas. I think Texas has the most efficient system: they distinguish between "Anglos" and Hispanics/Latinos. An Anglo is any (white) person of European ancestry who, now in America, is a native English speaker. It's a quick way to avoid any of the complexities of deciding who is "really" white (Sicilians, Greeks, Turks?).
     

    Mezanie

    Senior Member
    Hungarian
    Re #2, weren't Ms. Harris's Jamaican ancestors originally from Africa?

    But isn't the speaker talking about how he feels about himself ("If I lie...")?
    I think he means that if he lies down on, let's say; the black side for example, then he's not invited by other black people there.
    And (I'm sorry, I forgot to mention this) later on he says that black people are fighting against the white ones (so to speak) and vice versa, but those of mixed blood are "attacked" by both sides. So whoever does the "not inviting" must be someone outside of the speaker, I think.
     

    much_rice

    Senior Member
    English - American
    Note also that when writing, it's preferable to spell "Black/White' with a capital 'B' or 'W' to avoid wounding anyone's feelings. (Political correctness and all that, don't you know...:rolleyes:)
    It avoids wounding some feelings, but it's also a bit like wearing a banner on your arm :p . It shows your allegiance with a certain brand of politics.
     
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