August 9th, 2008
03:46 PM ET

I am neither black nor white. I'm both

Program Note: In the next installment of CNN's Black in America series, Soledad O'Brien examines the successes, struggles and complex issues faced by black men, women and families, 40 years after the death of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Watch encore presentation Saturday & Sunday, 8 p.m. ET

We devote several days on the blog to smart insight and commentary related to the special.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/24/art.whitfield.jpg width=292 height=320]
Editor’s Note: Lynn Whitfield is an Emmy Award winning actress famous for her role as Josephine Baker in 'The Josephine Baker Story.' Her other films include 'A Thin Line Between Love and Hate,' 'Gone Fishin’' and 'Eve’s Bayou.' Below is a response from her and her daughter after watching Black In America's 'The Black Woman and Family.'

Lynn Whitfield

My daughter Grace and I watched the premier of CNN’s groundbreaking "Black in America." I thought we would have lively discussions around many of the themes concerning black women in this country. However, when she saw the segments on interracial marriage and the children of those relationships, she had a visceral response.

I saw an activist being born.

Grace seemed ready to adapt James Brown’s black anthem to her cause: "Say it loud, I'm blended and proud!" I saw my daughter stand up for the equality of blended people like herself in all her olive-complexioned, big curly afro-like glory. She went immediately to the computer with dignity, passion and everything but a fist in the air and wrote the statement you are about to read:

Watch the 'Black In America' story Lynn Whitfield and Grace Gibson are reacting to
Watch the 'Black In America' story Lynn Whitfield and Grace Gibson are reacting to

Mixed in America
Grace Gibson (16-year-old daughter of Lynn Whitfield)

Although I found this segment of “Black in America” to be highly informative for the general public, I was disappointed that the interviews in the section on what it is like to be biracial in America seemed to focus only on the more negative aspects. With the eyes of the world now on Barack Obama, I had hoped for a more balanced discussion on what a positive symbol a mixed race person can project.

Obama’s candidacy embodies change and hope for so many in this country of all generations, genders, races and cultures. His message of bringing us all together as Americans is enhanced by his mixed heritage. The biracial person personifies the breaking down of racial barriers that so many fought and died for in the civil rights movement. It is what Dr. Martin Luther King stood for and what his legacy of equality imparts to us today. So one should feel nothing but pride to be mixed in America.

If parents of biracial children are too concerned about what race their children identify and associate with, the only outcome will be confusion. They should rear their children to have enough self-esteem and self-confidence to be their own persons - encouraging them to be strong children who can grow up to be strong biracial adults.

There should be no need for them to say “I am black” or “I am white” because they are neither, yet they are both. Trying to force a choice is often done just to accommodate the people around them. Why should it be so difficult to understand that a person can be and take pride in two races, ethnically and culturally? Those who cannot accept this are perpetuating the kind of ignorance that would only resegregate society by taking away a positive symbol of integration, the mixed child, and restricting him or her to an either-or status.

In a world where a biracial man may well become the next President of the United States, all that a parent should be trying to instill in a child is pride in his or her race or races.

I am proud to be a child born to two loving, talented, creative people – a mother and father who happened to be of African-American and English descent, respectively. I do not feel confused at all nor do I have an identity crisis. I do not feel lost in society nor rejected by any race because I am all races in one.

I am the melting pot, and in our global society, soon all the children of the world will be a mixture of races as well. So why should we try to pick and choose what we want and don’t want our children to be? Why can’t we just accept our common humanity and try to refocus our energies on more pressing matters such as Hurricane Dolly in Texas, infected children in flooded Burmese streets, earthquake victims in China, AIDS patients in Sub-Saharan Africa or those here in Washington, D.C.?

As the world confronts these and other serious challenges to survival, why add more complications by trying to reduce a living symbol of racial harmony to a checked-box identity?

Filed under: Black in America • Lynn Whitfield
soundoff (699 Responses)
  1. Kelley

    Very well said. I am the mother of a biracial son and have another child on the way. I can only pray in my lifetime more people think like this young lady. Society's eyes however, are what they are, but with people like her and the way I'm raising my son, hopefully that will change.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:24 pm |
  2. Robert

    Well put, well said.

    It's amazing how so much racial tension comes from people who are older, when the young peole are really moved/moving past the issue of race and are just being people.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:24 pm |
  3. Brian

    Enough! Why do you have to highlight one race over another..why can't we be americans? Why does it have to still be a Black and White thing.... Will you ever do a story about the difficulties that a White man has america today.... as a white man you have to compete with laws that make things un-"equal". We are americans and that is the way it should be treated instead of a black and white issue....

    July 25, 2008 at 1:24 pm |
  4. Franchee

    I think that very well sums it up. I only wish more people in America could stop focusing on their complexions in the mirror and start focusing on our common challenges in the world. Biases will only change when attitudes change. That starts with the individual. As individual attitudes change, so will society's collective attitude change. Lead, and the world will follow.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:23 pm |
  5. Pat

    I wholeheartedly agree with everything said. My family is composed of asians, hispanics, black and white folks. They are the best of the best. We are family! That's all that counts!

    July 25, 2008 at 1:22 pm |
  6. Julie

    My brother and I are white. We each married people of other races/ethnicities. All of our children and step children are of various mixed back grounds. Each and every one of them checks off all the applicable boxes in the many forms we are forced to fill out. White, White Hispanic or White Latino (neither of which is actually fitting for South Americans, btw), Black, Native American and Asian. They are nothing less than the sum of all their ancestors. We don't ask them to choose. We value each and all. Too bad society is so slow to catch up. Brava, young lady! You are well named.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:22 pm |
  7. jack phoenix,az

    How you live your life will define who you are, not your color or national origin.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:21 pm |
  8. JW

    I so agree. American is not a race. It is a nationality. I am half Italian and 1/4 austrian 1/4 swedish. But born in USA. People label me white. We need to just dump all the "labels". I listen all the time to the labeling and I just want to scream. I hear people say Jewish-American and think, isn't Jewish a religion?

    July 25, 2008 at 1:21 pm |
  9. Jason

    Not only extremely intelligent and insightful, but wonderfully well-written for a 16-year-old. Grace has a very bright future.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:20 pm |
  10. NM in Bloomington

    Here, here!

    Ms. Whitfield and her husband have raised a very bright and well rounded daughter. My hats off to them...and to Grace!

    July 25, 2008 at 1:19 pm |
  11. Steve

    This garbage is pure CNN Racism at its best. When are we going to have Hispanic in America, Asian in America, White in America, Islamic in America, Indian (Dot-not-Feather) in America, Cherokee in America and the list goes on. Ask yourself one simple question. . . What is CNN's agenda behind this "story"? I'm sure there is an end point which CNN desires.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:18 pm |
  12. Betina

    Bless you, Grace! I am so pleased to know that there continues, in yet another generation, to be those of us who know what "mixed" truly means. I am multi-racial/ethnic (black, white, native american born of an American father and French mother).

    So many of the comments I have seen posted in other sections of this blog (as well as the general portrayal in this documentary series) regarding bi-racial people have been so disappointing and downright infuriating.

    I, like you, don't consider myself white or black because I am both. In my 40 years, I have experienced racism from both white and black (for simply being part black and for not being black "enough") and had I chosen to identify with one or the other, I certainly would have developed into a confused soul.

    My parents raised me to be a decent, productive human being–always acknowledging all of my “parts”–recognizing that my color/ethnicity is not what makes me whole.

    I only wish that those of us who share these beliefs could outnumber those that continue trying to place us into homogeneous categories and those that choose to live in those "boxes."

    July 25, 2008 at 12:59 pm |
  13. Nicki Davis-Young

    I married into the black community in 1979 and have 11 children(his=7,mine=1,ours=3); 26 grand/great children and was accepted warmly by my inlaws. Things weren't always so easy with my family. I can remember my dad saying, "well you know there may be some family gatherings you may not be invited to". This from a man who had taught me that ALL people were equal! There never was a family gathering that my family wasn't invited to participate in on my side. I still remember the hullabaloo that my mother raised when my black music teacher brought me home from Saturday music lessons in 6th grade, that teacher's name was Cyril Paul, a famous musician, She was afraid I was going to grow up and marry a "black man". Well mom, I did! I found my "soul" mate, and the love I found has seen me through the rest of my days. I lost this wonderful, loving man to alcoholism when our 3 were in 1st and 2nd grade. But now I have a wonderful blended family and I wouldn't trade it for the world. I tried to impart a pride in themselves as "special", an entrepenurial spirit to find their own way in the world, to get their education, to reach for the stars and that they can/could be anything they wanted to be. They've had their struggles, but what person doesn't! I'm only able to make it back to Minnesota every 2 years now but to see all the "children" , close as a family,working together, keeping in touch and helping each other through their struggles would make their father proud. 6 blended families, 5 different mothers, it took some doing, but it can be done. There was enough love to go around. Where there's a will, there is a way and never lose sight of the prize at the end!

    July 25, 2008 at 12:56 pm |
  14. Eddie

    Grace, well said. I read a few of the comments to your posts and there seems to be a wide variety of positions ranging from either extreme. We are suffering from those extremes because many of us are focused on them. The more sensible, reasonable and common-sensed positions don't exist at the extremes. Were common sense more common, many of our ills, race not withstanding, wouldn't exist. I really appreciate your fervor and level headed view on this issue. Your parents have done a great job.

    My wife and I are parents of 6 bi-racial children. I hate referring to my children as 'bi-racial' but for the sake of this comment I'll...never mind! My wife and I are of Mexican American and mixed black heritage, respectively. My hope for my children is that they continue down the track of becoming whole and confident individuals without any confusion concerning who they are. I tell them that 'what they are' is defined by 'who they are'. I can't imagine raising a family of confused children. My kids are constantly asked "what are you?" which irritates me. Trouble is, they usually get that question from the young black students more often than from any other race of people. We have taught them not to be framed by what others think, whether others think or not. Our children are defined by their understanding of WHO they are and not the way they look. Our children are also fortified by our unwavering love and support which makes a huge difference.

    My children have also suffered from threats of violence like girls threatening to cut my daughter's hair at school. Very young children (second and third graders) trying to use dark brown markers or black markers on my daughters to color them. Also being threatened with physical violence. Sometimes they are not Mexican enough and others times they are not black enough. I tell them they are more than enough and to remain true to who they are. You are correct Grace, you all are melting pots and walking symbols of love. Keep your head up because you can be an example for my girls!!!

    This argument is tedious and I understand that for some, necessary. The more we focus on who we are as individuals, the less we allow ourselves to be framed by our complexion. I believe that and I live it.

    Again, loved the post!

    July 25, 2008 at 12:53 pm |
  15. Wil

    Neither am I, I'm and American. If we stop using terms like "Black congressional caucus" and "Black entertainment TV" and other such nonsense, perhaps we will all come togther. Stop dividing YOURSELVES.

    July 25, 2008 at 12:53 pm |

    I have 4 children, 2 are fair in complexion and 2 dark, when my eldest went to high school for the first time in Louisiana she was told she is not allowed to talk to dark skin black or whites .

    I immediatley call the school and advise the principal and my daughter we are one people one nation and have one destiny( to be the best that we can be and to love other as we love ourselves)

    July 25, 2008 at 12:53 pm |
  17. Carol

    Absolutely true. My children are bi-racial and proud of it. I have to relate a cute story that literally shaped the way I raised my bi-racial children.

    Over 20 years ago when my son was a baby, I was at the grocery store and the teenager that was bagging groceries offered to help me take them to my car.

    As we were walking out, he asked me if my baby was mixed. The question kind of surprised me, and I just said 'yes'. He got a big smile on his face and said "That's why he's so cute .... just like me!"

    As we walked to the car, he proudly told me his life story about how his parents met and how lucky he is to have two cultures, and other people who aren't mixed are so boring...

    That "teenager" is probably 40 years old by now, and he will never know the impact he made on one of his customers. After that conversation, I knew that I had to raise my children the same way his parents had raised him.

    Pride and self-esteem begins in the home and when a child has that, he can handle whatever he has to face in the outside world.

    All these years later, I still think about that kid. I really should have given him a tip 🙂

    July 25, 2008 at 12:46 pm |
  18. Ben

    Very impressive ideals from one who has had many advantages i.e., receiving the best education by having the opportunity to attended the private schools, living in a beautiful and safe neighborhood, having both parents within your life, opportunities to travel has allowed you to broaden you perspectives, etc. All of which, you certainly deserve because, your mother has paid her dues. However, you are any example of what every parent wants their child to be. I certainly agree with what you wrote. However, it is always to easy to have a positive outlook if you have not been a victim of racism. Not to say you haven't! I just think it's hard to sell this to those who are doing the right thing everyday and are unable to get the job they want, individuals who get passed over for promotions, having been prevented from making a purchase because you came into the store just before closing and you are accused of writing a bad check, being stopped by the police and your date questioned, "are you being held against your will?" simple because she is not black. The question I would like answered is, "Why does the color of my skin intimidate White America? I also understand the pschology of those groups who are impotent in their own selfworth and confidence who find the need degrade and oppress others in order to feel good about themselves. Because I do not want to fall prey, I armor myself everyday before I walk out of the house by checking off my list by making sure I have such weapons of defence as, self confidence, alertness, cautiion, and eyes and ears open at all times! Throughtout the day, I am guarded until I reach my residence at the end of the day. It is unfortunate that I have to live my life this way.

    July 25, 2008 at 12:44 pm |
  19. Robert

    I completely understood this beautiful young woman's point of view. However, the reality is that if you have a drop of 'black blood' you are considered black by society. Unless you are able to 'pass.' I do believe that perception shapes reality and until the perceptions of those who make up this country and this world begin to reflect this young woman's perception, the harsh reality is that you can't choose a race, it has already been predetermined.

    July 25, 2008 at 12:44 pm |
  20. JC- Los Angeles

    Grace Gibson's comments reflect a person who understands the multi-cultural tapestry of today's America and embraces true integration rather than separation.

    Should a muti-cultural Barack Obama be elected President, I would suggest he find a position for the articulate, intelligent and grounded Ms. Gibson.

    After watching last night's feature "The Black Man," the recurring theme seemed to be a lack of role models for black men to embrace.

    Unfortunately, it seemed that for every positive example the show displayed, it was balanced out with a negative view of a black man.

    The show had 120 minutes that might have been better utilized outlining the successes of Robert L. Johnson, Colin Powell and Clarence Thomas; surely all people could learn a thing or two.

    The media asked if the American public was ready for a black President; after meeting Rev. Wright and after hearing Jesse Jackson, the appropriate question might be: is the black community ready to reach it's potential?

    July 25, 2008 at 12:42 pm |
  21. AM_Moo

    I disagree, I am biracial and I dont identify myself as black. I am just ME!!!!!!!!!!! Well said Grace, you go girl....

    July 25, 2008 at 12:39 pm |
  22. Nicole

    Thank You Grace!!!! h Im in full agreement. I just also want to state that perhaps it is the world that we live in that more children no longer fit the identity box. More and more families have become a large specture of the rainbow. I think the most troubling part about our country is our desire to want to belong to a certain ethnicity rather than belonging to the United States of America. I thought that was what Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Dream.....

    July 25, 2008 at 12:25 pm |
  23. bee

    Most integrated black folks are many years disconnected from the black community. The seperation breeds a neo-notions of identity, a sort of inclusive-exclusive atitude. I hear a many blacks saying they are mixed with this and that, especially if the mixture is not black, they are quick to accept it. If the male genes can be traced to the San bushmen of Africa and the female can be traced to ancient tribe in Kenya, I don't hear anyone claiming to be part bushmen? Lynn's daughter is bright and beautiful, however, a new race of people in America, we don't need.

    July 25, 2008 at 12:11 pm |
  24. Craig

    You wrote from your heart and did an outstanding job. I always respected your mother as well. I am of mixed ancestry (black, white, native american Indian) and have experienced a great deal as to everyone else's perception. Those of us with light/white skin, straight/curly hair get just as much abuse from blacks as whites. While we have been exposed to the ideal that is a "legacy of equality", it is often looked upon with disdain. Many wish to uphold the old ideas of racial superiority, whites as well as blacks. I applaud any who stand up and identify as they wish without respect to societal pressures. This is a positive view of life that is cognizant of the inherent desire we have for an acceptance devoid of ambiguity. Unfortunately, many do not look for a positive viewpoint as to our relative position as individuals and not representations of race or ethnicity. We need to constantly recognize that an increasingly positive view of our own image has power. Everyone must also understand that seeking to denigrate others only diminishes who we all are as individuals and collectively as human beings. You are developing a wisdom that belies your age. I applaud your growth and wish you much by way of understanding and success. Say hi to your mom for me. She always has reflected an inner dignity evocative of timelessness and grace.

    July 25, 2008 at 12:04 pm |
  25. Daniel

    most biracial Blacks view themselves as Black for good reasons. We were regarded as 3/5 human, Whites, comprising the dominant culture view biracial children as black, and scientifically speaking, Black genetics are dominant. In all fairness, if a biracial person does not consider themselves Black, I say more power to them. The African American world should stop trying to celebrate famous biracial people that have voiced there dissidence with the racial characterization of being Black. We should stop celebrating them in Jet magazine, etc....they have every right to be mixed. As for Barack Obama, it is clear that he is a Black man...his Black genetics are dominant and his disposition is clearly that of a Black man...that is what he identifies with and rightly so!!....And he is more than qualified to run America!!!

    July 25, 2008 at 11:58 am |
  26. Williams

    I think your insight was great; however the fact that you were able to write your thoughts for CNN and have a picture and blog attached too it shows you come from a different world than those who do endure prejudices from the black and white race.

    A little insight for you....
    Please know how blessed you are NOT to hear comments like "Oreo" or proper white #$^& or you talk white, you must think your white. Be glad you are not being judged before you even open your mouth because you have curl long hair and light skin and that automatically means you are stuck up. Continue to grow in your "the world is beautiful" spirit, love life and be you. Because IF these things occur later in life, you will want to look back on how you think and feel right now and that will have to be your saving grace.
    Take it from someone who knows


    July 25, 2008 at 11:50 am |
  27. Matthew

    Again it seems to be an issue of complexion and not race. Race is the issue and no matter how much discussion the real idea is not producing anything fruitful. There are enough dark people in this world to frieghten those who may not want to see them make to many stands and movements toward social, political, and economical progress. Mixing races is a way of trying to break down a world class of mainly a dark race of individuals who will be demised even further into second class citizenship. Yes, biracial people have been the "American" exception to the extent of a mafia blood dipping kind of agreement. Although the many dark leaders who were realist such as Malcolm X back from a world visit saw different. This is a time of revolution where the western (not American or even French) power structure is under attack even from ranks within its power structure. So Obama is the one who will unite the nations again under this blunder. Let's face a real black man no matter how dark or light his complexion is a threat to this nation.

    July 25, 2008 at 11:45 am |
  28. KAB


    You have said it all. Be proud of who you are – all of who you are. Raise your children well, and concentrate on universal matters -HIV/AIDS, children that need help or medical care, wherever they are

    I would say you should run for president, but you seem far too smart for the job.....

    July 25, 2008 at 11:40 am |
  29. Gary Chandler in Canada

    Look at those eyes, those smiles, that figures! What color did you say they were? (:+P
    Some women in Thailand take pills at night to 'make themselves whiter' and 'whitening cream' is a huge seller along with talcum powder, which they splash on.
    They all adore the King over there. He should come out and outlaw these 'whitening' attempts. They love him and his skin color; they should be just as happy with their own.

    July 25, 2008 at 11:39 am |
  30. Sharbob

    I was inspired by the strength and courage that Grace portrayed. Having watched many of Lynn's movies, I can see she got some of that from her mother. However, I would be remiss if I did not point out that Barak Obama identifies himself as a black man – not biracial. Society sees Obama as a black man even though he is biracial. I also remember reading that Halle Berry's mom told her in no uncertain terms that she is a black woman. The problem lies not with the parents but with the society at large. In the past the black culture was more willing to embrace biracial kids than the white culture. In fact, I have not heard of any biracial child that was accepted in the white culture as white. It is indeed a matter of acceptance. In Jamaica where I am from we are almost all biracial but we have one culture – we are all Jamaicans. We eat the same food, love the same music and attend the same churches. I am sure that with time and vigilance, biracial children like Grace will probably change the minds of many; however, I believe society has to first recognize that we are all Americans. Whether we are black, white, brown, yellow or some mixture of the above we are all Americans. Only then will we have a true melting pot in this country.

    July 25, 2008 at 11:29 am |
  31. Stacy G

    This subject as always been a sensitivesubject to talk about. Especially in the Black community, but everyone and I do mean everyone is part of the America "melting pot." No one is just in one category because everyone is or have relatives that is biracial and even triracial if you look further in your family tree.
    But to actually see people getting along like Dr. Martin Lurther King wanted will again take time to heal.

    July 25, 2008 at 11:18 am |
  32. Marcia

    I am a mutt and I’m darn proud of it. I can see in the near future that we will all become a melting pot of pure healthy and beautiful humans. Every day I see more and more mixed couples and their beautiful children and it makes me smile.

    I myself am mixed with Indian, American Indian, Black, Scottish, and Chinese and my Husband is white of European descent. Pure bloods are slowly but surely vanishing out of existence. Can’t you see the more we mix the better chance we have to survive.

    July 25, 2008 at 11:06 am |
  33. Beverly

    This young lady really has heart. I too, experience that dilemma daily. I am the child of two African American parents. As fate would have it, my complexion is whiter than most Caucasians, yet I feel great pride in my Race, which I proudly claim to be African American. In an ideal world, we would just be "Americans"; unfortunately we do not live in an ideal world. We should all make a concerted effort to work to dispel the myths and stereotypes that have long existed to disparage the hopes and dreams of African Americans. This responsibility lies within each one of us to make sure that our children value who they are, and to the extent possible, ensure that we work as volunteers in our communities to help other children who may not be as fortunate.

    July 25, 2008 at 11:03 am |

    I agree with TESAP; SAVANNAH, GA. It is true. Depending mostly on the hue of your complexion, society WILL categorize you. YOU may not accept their categorization, but their initial attitude towards you will be determined by how dark you are. Thus, the many mixed-race people of lighter skin tone often find little difficulty in being accepted by whites. Those that are "light-damned near white" can even "pass" as white. Other mixed-race people of darker skin are treated just like any other full-blooded black person (if there IS such a thing in America). Strangely many people of India in this country are often much darker than their black cousins, but are treated as "honorary" white folk! I wonder why? In any case, Lynn and her daughter Grace are both beautiful people. I completely agree with her that at some point we must begin to think of each other simply as fellow "Americans". After all,what threahens one from abroad threatens us all. We all realized the tremendous unity, as Americans, during the Oklahoma bombing and during 9/11. It's so sad that it takes a catastrophic event to pull us together.

    July 25, 2008 at 10:53 am |
  35. Amanda

    Geri, why the hostility? I think Grace was expressing a very mature and thoughtful commentary on her experience as a mixed-race child. She makes an excellent argument for recognizing the common humanity in all of us. So why antagonize? She did not demean the struggles of racial minorities or mixed-race people, yet chose instead to focus on the positive - that she embraces both cultures of which she is a part.

    In my humble opinion, the negativity is what is such a huge obstacle. Here's to hoping that we can all be a little bit more like Grace - focusing on the positive!

    July 25, 2008 at 10:52 am |
  36. Cheryl

    As a white mother of a blended child, I couldn't be any more affected by Ms. Gibson's comments. Her parents must be so incredibly proud that she is comfortable in her own skin.

    My son was in the 2nd grade when his teacher told him he was African-American. He had no clue what that meant. The only thing he knew was that his dad was black, mom was white and he was brown. He was perfectly content in knowing that. I answered a thousand questions on what being "African-American" meant without any actual knowledge. His father is a marginal figure in his life.

    I was trying to figure out if we were passed that the other week when I asked whether he thought Obama was more black or white. He shrugged his shoulders and thought for a minute, then he asked me if Oobama was married to a black woman or white woman. I told him his wife is black. He asked if he had kids. He then told me Obama is black because his kids are black. Originally I thought it was a weird answer but the more I thought about it, the more I realized that in his own 8-yr old way he was telling me it wasn't about what anyone else said or thought. Racial identity is a personal and private, but it is not nor should it be what defines a human being.

    July 25, 2008 at 10:49 am |
  37. Geri

    Apparently everyone is missing the point. Interracial marriage and children is just a minute part of this program. I believe it was to highlight the problems of those who know, believe and state that they are black americans. For those who don't believe they belong to either only the white race or only the black race. You don't identify with the black race so....this is not for you!

    You could suggest CNN doing a piece on what it feels like to be of mixed heritage. There you go.

    July 25, 2008 at 10:47 am |
  38. Melissa, Los Angeles

    That's what I was saying in an earlier post and was quickly put down for it by two other bloggers. Thank you for eloquently making the point that I was trying to make. You are a beautiful AMERICAN.

    July 25, 2008 at 10:37 am |
  39. Nicole

    I agree with Grace well said, couldn't have said it better myself. I feel that the matters of race are just a waste of time. Why focus on the difference, which are not much, and forces more on the common ground. No matter what color your skin is or the language you speak...we are all human. We all have the same concept of life and family...to live and love. The world is not perfect but why contribute to what "society" thinks and live by their standards…let’s educate more our common interest so this segregation won’t continue.
    I’m not black nor I’m white...I’m an American, with a Hispanic culture (white and Spanish). I’m proud of where my family has come from and the little difference of my culture but that does not define who I am as a person. What define me is how I carry myself, what I have done with my life, and how I treat people. That shows people who I am... a loving person. If you really think of it no one is really a pure race...if you’re American and did your research you'll find someone on in your family tree is a different race.
    Sadly, I have seen in my generation, our properties are not set in the correct order. Let’s make this a better world and learn from our history...let the following generation live in peace and grace.
    We all have the same color blood running thru our veins... we are a human race. This is what needs to preached.

    July 25, 2008 at 10:30 am |
  40. bee

    Interesting yet an ideal that can create division

    July 25, 2008 at 10:24 am |
  41. Nellie, Orlando

    Grace, you are absolutely right. I watched this series for the past two nights and I was very disappointed with the negative portrayal of biracial children. Why can't we move past forcing a child to choose which race he/she is? We as a society need to move past labels and accept that America is very diverse. We should be proud of diversity and mixed race children. There is no pure race on this planet anyway. Our bloodlines have been mixing since the dawn of man.
    I am Black, and my boyfriend is White. We plan to have kids in the very near future. I know when they are confronted with ignorant individuals in their daily lives, they will have the tenacity and self esteem to withstand everything. We as people need to get over our diabolical need to categorize people and focus on the content of their character.

    July 25, 2008 at 10:15 am |
  42. JN

    Wow. I am blown away by your deep insight at such a young age. You are blessed to have such wise and loving parents. You, young lady, will go far and do much with your life.

    July 25, 2008 at 9:59 am |
  43. Tamra, Pittsburgh

    WOW! Ms. Whitfield is one of my fave actresses and she has raised an intelligent, articulate young lady. I know she is proud of her daughter and so am I. I have mixed race relatives and friends and I have never heard it put so eloquently. You go on girl! Be yourself!

    July 25, 2008 at 9:57 am |
  44. lola

    Loved this . The things you are saying at 16 , are things that I as a Mid western, caucasian woman took twice as long to realize. I do believe that children of mixed race or ethnicity are able to see the common humanity that others often are blind to.
    Thank you

    July 25, 2008 at 9:54 am |
  45. alex

    As a parent of biracial children, it feels really good to read such an article. That's exactly the way I want my children to be about their heritage: proud of both!
    It is definitely unfortunate that you have to make a choice between different races. There are still a lot of administrative papers which do not have an "Other" section. Very confusing for the parents and children.
    But after all, aren't we all from Africa anyway?:)

    July 25, 2008 at 9:51 am |
  46. berta

    Lovely! Well done Grace and I hope that readers will give it some thought.
    Taken back far enough in our own individual family trees, most of us are melting pots and that for me is a wonderful thing.
    My grandmother from Budapest with her dark skin and curly hair was very different in appearance than my Canadian-born grandmother with her red hair and freckles. When I look in the mirror I see them both in my reflection and can only smile at the beauty of the my own little melting pot.
    I worked hard to raise my own two sons with the realization that each of us is a unique blend of all who have gone before us. That we represent the latest blend in our family and that it is something of joy and beauty. Though society would like to class my children as 'white' they don't seem too stuck by that. They date young women of many heritages and I look forward to grandchildren one day who represent the next generation of our family. Beautiful, unique and ever closer to the time that we are all of one race- the human one!

    July 25, 2008 at 9:06 am |
  47. Kristen- Philadelphia, PA

    I agree with Grace. I don't see why it’s so important for someone of mixed race to have to identify with one or the other. I wish the documentary had spoken to younger people who had parents of different races. I feel like the younger generation looks at race than the older generation does.

    It was interesting to see how that couple could not agree on which race their children would identify with. If their own parents could not accept them for what they are children of two different races that just may identify with both then how is the world supposed to?

    July 25, 2008 at 9:04 am |
  48. Geri

    Well, Grace Gibson, obviously the program was not made with you in mind. It was made for us, the ones who have to go through the daily struggles of being Black In America.

    July 25, 2008 at 8:59 am |
  49. Sam Johnson

    Well said!!!!!!

    July 25, 2008 at 8:46 am |

    I love Lynn especially her role as Josephine Baker. Unfortunately, no matter how you define yourself, SOCIETY will place you in a category.

    As the world confronts these and other serious challenges to survival, why add more complications by trying to reduce a living symbol of racial harmony to a checked-box identity?

    Great thought however I truly believe I will never see this happen in my lifetime.

    July 25, 2008 at 8:26 am |
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