Why are white people always talking about a “half” sibling? What is a “half” sibling anyway?!

My, my sister, and niece. Or, as some of these white folks in the media seem to think, “Me, my half sister, and my third of a niece.”

I was just reading an article and all I could do was shake my head. I’m always amused by the cultural differences between black and white people. The writer was talking about a “half sister” and I just kept thinking, “Why does that matter? What is a half sister anyway?”
It was many years before I figured out that there was a difference in naming conventions for siblings if you didn’t share both parents. I didn’t grow up calling my sister a half. She was my sister and we just had “different daddies.” If you had to explain siblings that didn’t share a parent, you just said which “side” they were on, but that didn’t make them any different. We weren’t counting blood ratios.
Actually, once I even understood the term, the only time it was used was if somebody in the family wasn’t liked. It was an insult. “He only your half brother, anyway!” was somebody’s way of dismissing the connection, PERIOD. If you actually grew up with somebody calling you their “half” anything, that person does not fuck with you. PERIOD. But deep down, are they really thinking about you not sharing both parents? Not really. They just don’t like your ass.

In addition, I was an adult before I knew which cousins were blood relation and which weren’t. And some, I still don’t know. Nor do I really care. Unless you’re trying to date someone, it’s all pretty irrelevant. And I can tell you right now, even if he “isn’t your blood” you’re going to get the side eye for a while because you’re dating your cousin. Play cousins are real cousins! 

See what I mean? There is no paper bag test (thank God) for how much family you are. You just are. Family is family. Lord knows there are issues in the black community, but even at our worse, there’s a universal sense of togetherness that is unwavering. We don’t do that “half” shit. Your folks is your folks.

And that’s how it’s supposed to be. Half sister. What in the hell is that? That’s my whole sister. Everything we went through was a whole situation and anything that happens to us happens to our whole selves. Hell, when she borrow money, she don’t ask for half! If ever anything is written about me and my siblings are mentioned as “half,” I’ll be incredibly offended. I will never understand why it matters, or why it should be mentioned that two siblings don’t share a parent. Your brother is your brother. You don’t love them any less because of parentage

I know everyone likes to talk about what makes us all the same, but when it comes down to this “half” sibling crap, I’m happy for the cultural distinction. Like I said … your folks is your folks.

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