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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.

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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
Actress

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 (698 Responses)
  1. Michelle W.

    I have to say that you made a very good point in your blog. I enjoyed reading it and being bi-racial myself, I agree with everything you said. My mother and father raised my brother and I to embrace both our races and always encouraged us to mark both races if applicable. If not, then to check "other". I used to find it very frustrating when filling out forms because most only want one selection, but I've noticed more recently when filling out forms for my own children, that there are more web sites and forms that have the selection marked "more than one race" or "multiple races" which is very encouraging. It always takes time for changes to be made, especially when it comes to race and ethnicity and being raised in the 70's & 80's, I've seen a lot of positive changes made and I am very happy for that.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  2. Sarah Weil

    As a bi-racial chick in her 40's.......there are so many issues related to identifying as black or white – or not. I would say it's harder for bi-racial boys not to indentify as black then girls...it was in the late 70's and 80's when I was a teen. I learned the term high yellow from my father. Who told me that's what I was in a attempt to diffuse, with humor, my confusion as to why the black girls in a chicago fast food place were super rude to me. He was amazing as was my mother at giving us the tools to deal with this complex and wonderful way of being. I LOVE MY SELF! AND ALL MY MOCHA BROTHERS AND SISTERS!

    July 25, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
  3. Coley

    I am biracial (white, black, and native american) and I was very disappointed with the video of Black in America about biracial people. I am from Alabama, a place thought of as racist, and I don't care what any harvard black man says about a biracial child. If you are not biracial you have no idea how a biracial child is going to identify themselves. I am proud to be black, white, and Native American. When people ask me my color or my heritage I proudly stand up and say I am black, white, and Native American. I have never had a problem with identifying myself with any color, in fact, I as a human identify myself with people in general. I identify myself by my beliefs, morals, and standings. I am not a strong black woman, nor am I a strong white woman. I am however I strong PERSON. Regardless of color or creed, regardless or religion and gender, young or old, I see people for WHO they are NOT WHAT they are. In the end the character of the person is all that matters not the color or colors of their skin.

    I know alot of people out there do not share my same opinion but as a biracial child and now adult I CAN tell people how I felt and how I feel now. The point is I will never be one color, I am a great mixture with a very rich heritage and I am proud of my white, black, and Native American roots. I would never claim to be just one race because I would be robbing myself of the great culture's of my other races I belong to.

    I think America has confused itself with these professors and Harvard graduates who really have no idea what they are talking about because they are simply not. You cannot simply talk to 10 or 15 biracial people and say that all of them think that way and identify a certain way, its a horrible stereotype. Just like you cannot take 10 or 15 black people or white people and say that all black and white people think a certain way, it is a stereotype that needs to be addressed and people need to RE-LEARN that not all races think a certain way, talk a certain way, walk a certain way, are a certain way just because 10 or 15 people in that race are that way. EVERYONE is different in every race, gender, age, religion, and creed.

    We are Americans! I am proud to be an American- we need to focus on coming together as a nation and the only thing that Black in America is doing with this segment is showing our differences between race. I would love to see something positive come out that shows how ALL people are being brought together and loving one another for who they are. I don't know if I will see that in my lifetime but I strive everyday to know a person on their character not on their skin color.

    Sincerely
    Coley
    Huntsville, AL

    July 25, 2008 at 3:48 pm |
  4. walterrock

    To Geri..
    You missed the point. Your comment is sour and misaligned. This 16 year old will use the show to better prepare herself in a world that will always see color of skin shade as a test. It's amazing that in the old Egpytian and Roman world color did not mean one was less than a person. It started with European Christianity....

    July 25, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  5. Marc

    Being the son of a black man and white woman I have to say "thank you" to Grace for presenting an intelligent viewpoint on this topic for once. Too often, I read articles or see interviews with bi-racial individuals who either feel that they have to choose a race or cry out that they "don't know who they are." I have never in my life understood either of those viewpoints.

    I suppose that I'm fortunate to have two parents who never tried to put me in a group and never asked me to put myself in a group. I spent equal time with both sides of my family and was educated equally abuot both backgrounds and cultures. I have never identified with one or the other.

    I have been mistake for Mexican, Egyptian and everything in between and it has never bothered me at all. I people want to know my background, I just tell them. The only thing that has ever bothered me is being forced to put myself into a category on administrative forms. Even "other" has a slightly degrading ring to it. Fortunately, I see more and more forms that allow you to "check all that apply"

    July 25, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  6. Tara

    I think that Grace's self-perception and pride are to be commended. She worded her feelings intelligently, articulately, and in a positive tone. In reading some of these posts, there are some really angry people, some really ignorant ones, and some really idealistic people, too. I am a white woman married to a black man with three beautiful children who are of course bi-racial. Yes, I'd love them to feel like they do not "belong" to any category, but the reality is that they are black in the eyes of society. My oldest is only 10 and she has already had issues in school about this. Of course we celebrate the fact that our kids carry two cultures, and we emphasize the equal importance of each culture. But I am also realistic and know that we need to prepare them for life as "a black person" in American society, because no matter how they categorize themselves, they are black in most others' eyes. And you know what? That's great! I hate hearing people say "I don't see color". That is insulting. Of course you see it, if you are trying not to see it then you are implying that it is a bad thing. Like "I look past the fact that you are black and like you anyway". I see that my husband is a handsome, dark skinned black man, and that is who I love. I didn't overlook his color to love him, nor did he overlook my color to love me. Those are just things that make us who we are. I don't like that our society categorizes, but it does. All you can do is teach your children to be proud of themselves and their heritage(s), and make sure you instill it deep enough to withstand the ignorance of other people, because it is out there, head in the sand or not.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  7. Tara G.

    As the parent of a mixed child – THANK YOU! My son is still young enough not to see skin colors yet but views everyone as a person. I hope and pray that he carries this approach with him on through his life. Yes, society will still place labels but only the individual by accepting them as incorrect can move beyond them, and eventually, redefine society.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  8. AP Chicago, IL

    A response to TESAP:

    Believe it or not, it is already happening. There are areas in this country that need a lot more exposure and acceptance, but the trend is there.

    She hit it on the spot! As the world becomes smaller through globalization and technology, problems of the world will become everyone's to solve. Issues of white, black, etc will be replaced by intelligence and resourcefulness.

    Its time to follow the trend, however slow it may be.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:47 pm |
  9. Deb

    Wow, can that girl write. Good writing typically connotes good thinking, and it's equally apparent that Grace is an excellent thinker. World, look out!

    July 25, 2008 at 3:46 pm |
  10. GregC

    Hello! I am a desendant of the HUMAN Race! That is the only RACE Distinction that should be made. We are all Humans. I think all these LABELS of being WHITE, BLACK, Yellow...etc. only work to divide and not unite. I think that when people from European ancestory (please remember we are all from Africa) started inter-marrying between cultures, i.e., Italian marrying an Irish desendant, that we had issue with that among WHITE people. I speak from experience in that my ancestors are from Italian descent and one of my mother's brothers married "outside" the fold so to speak. He married an Irish descendant from Ireland! Now, when people start realizing that life would be very boring if all people were black, or all people were white, or for that matter if all people were green, and that we are on this planet together as ONE, then can we move to higher levels of understanding. I might be one of the few who will tell you that I don't see the persons color...I see what they contribute as a human being to society and to the overall human family...of which ALL Humans are a member. Now, if there are any Venuzians or Martians who married into or bred with our race of HUMANS, then we can talk about racial issues. Until then remember the rest of the world is living in a wonderful colorful rainbow of reds, tans, beige, caucasean, black, yellow and other wonderful colors which HUMANS come in. I am almost tired of hearing about racial issues and divisive rhetoric. We are all humans...get over ourselves collectively and love diversity. That is the big issue here. I am not naive to note that there are many racial issues that divide people. I pray that more people get educations and see the world as plainly as the persons contributions to society no matter what shade we come in! AMEN!

    July 25, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  11. Bob Killebrew

    Excellent; we've worked too hard for too long to let social pressures push us back into boxes. If you've visited a high school recently, you've probably noticed that a larger and larger percentage of kids are of mixed-race parentage, and it shouldn't matter a damn, one way or another.

    Truth is, many Americans who appear to be "white" are in fact inheritors of a very complex mix of races; my great-great grandmother was an American Indian, and I suspect - somewhere along the line - I have an African-American cousin or two, as does my wife. It's the American experience, pushed back behind the curtain for generations by ignorance and fear. We don't need to to that any longer, and I sense that the kids coming along have already figured that out. Good for them.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:45 pm |
  12. Jude

    White, black, green, yellow etc. These are colors. Humans are not to be defined by color. Being black in America is an experience. It's the systematic discrimination and parents inductrination of their kids about races that has gotten America to where it is today. When parents start teaching their children to look at everyone as God's child and that we are all created equally, only then do we see the difference of being black in America. Remember charity begins at home.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  13. Amber

    For those of us that have a common goal of a united America (truly)....color/race does not become an issue in our lives. Ignorance and up-bringing have a huge influence on this topic; however we all have it with in us to change this. Stand up to the occasion...take a stand and make that difference, show people the good inside....give them something positive to think about. This goes for any race....we all have stereo types.....it is up to each and every one of us to change it not just roll over and accept it as a way of life. I am a mother of a bi-racial child and he is beautiful inside and out. We had to overcome not only my family, but the people we did not even know. B/c of my son, my family sees things much differently. As for the people that called my son a Zebra....this clearly does not need to be address....do you recall the earlier mentioning of ignorance???? We all know what a Zebra looks like...don’t we???? This way of thinking did not happen over night......it’s not going to just go away over night. Those of us that see the person not the color and believe in equality need to keep chiseling away so the beauty of individuality and people becomes more important than where you came from. Bottom line....I completely agree with Grace! You go girl.......

    July 25, 2008 at 3:44 pm |
  14. FELICIA

    I think that this is a very positive young lady! Ms. Whitfield has raised a very strong young lady! I applaud the both of you.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  15. JOM

    I agree that Grace is talking about Biracial which she is entitled to say. I am black. Personally, I do not care about some other blood that may or may not be in me or my family. We never benefied from it nor has it ever stopped us from being discriminated against. so who cares when people come up with this "you are not pure". Who cares. Heck I feel PURE black and that is what I am (black). At the end of the day, most people do NOT care. I look black, benefited from black, which make me black. I have NEVER benefited from NO other race but BLACK. If a cop stops me right now who is racist, that cop is not going to care one bit if I have one drop of blood in my veins.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  16. Nicole

    My only problem with this is that she seems to imply that it is somehow a problem if a "biracial" child chooses to identify him/herself as one or the other race. My husband is black; that's how he identifies himself. His mother is white (German) and his father is black. By saying he is black he is in no way denying his German side of his heritage. We have a German Chrsitmas Eve dinner every year among other things. His expereinces are just that of an African-American male so that's how he chooses to identify himself. Just like it's ok for a biracial child to say I am black and white or white and asian or whatever, it's ok for those same people to identify as one or the other. Race identification is a personal choice.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:43 pm |
  17. Hillary

    Jamal Conrad – I completely agree with you. So much time is spent blaming people (whether it is whites on blacks or vice versa). It is time to stop labeling and blaming and start living! Just accept who you are and who others are and don't try to qualify/group anyone...just get out there and work on being the best human you can be without attributing your successes or failures to the color of your skin

    July 25, 2008 at 3:41 pm |
  18. Akinyi

    I have been very dissapointed with the whole black in America Series.
    It would have been nice for Soledad to take a look at the diversity of Black America as opposed to focusing solely on the African American experience. What about the African, Haitian, Carribean and South American black immigrants? They are black in America too but their stories were not told at all. Soledad, reach out to the ethnic press next time and PLEASE....include the diversity that is today BLACK AMERICA.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  19. A - NYC

    Why are all of these posts devoid of the history of how racial categories came to be. In the United States, unlike other countries in the world, if you are mixed with a person of african-american descent(and when I last checked, atleast 1/16 "black" ) then you are "BLACK." Black people DID NOT invent these categories . . . WHITE PEOPLE DID. Up until desegregation, even if you looked white (or were of mixed descent), you could not drink at the "WHITE" water fountain, eat at the "WHITE" counters, or go to "WHITE" schools. THESE WERE WHITE people's rules and you had to abide by them if you were half white or 1/16th white. This is the LEGACY of the racial categories we STILL HAVE today. When white/black /any people see people of mixed descent, they assume they are BLACK, unless told otherwise.

    So let's stop jumping all over parents who raise there "mixed" kids as "black" kids . . . this is how the world will see and treat them.

    Signed,

    Bi-Racial woman raised as African-American

    July 25, 2008 at 3:40 pm |
  20. Michelle

    Well said Grace!

    I am a Louisiana Creole; my heritage is extremely diverse. I was taught by my parents at an early age that I cannot allow society to put me in a racial box. Nor should I do so to anyone else. I am married to an anglo man and have two happy, beautiful, children. Our children will be taught that they are AMERICANS through and through, with a long and proud heritage of ancestors who were, slaves, settlers, soldiers, cowboys and immigrants who built and fought for this country.

    In one of the previous posts someone said "in the world we live in...the entire globe she will be viewed as...Black, a lady of color". This is categorically untrue, outside of the US we are Americans; not hyphenated. It's only here in the US that we are so overly concerned with our categories and ethnic boxes.

    Being mixed or bi-racial is such an advantage. As a mixed kid interacting with kids of different races I was able to really change kids minds and undo any negative stereotypes they may have grown up with about other races. I got the comments and questions about my hair or why were my siblings lighter than me or why was my dad dark, whatever. Those questions never offended me because I always had a ready and friendly answer about my creole heritage. My dark skin, my bigger nose, my curly hair, they made me different and they made me the center of attention. Fine by me because my parents instilled great pride in who I was mind and body. They taught me that the sum of who I am was more than my exterior; trite but true!

    The sad irony of it is that most of the negativity I received growing up was actually from other African American kids, upset with me because I didn't say I was black or because I talked and acted "too white", whatever that meant.

    The truth is we are all American. The labels of "white" and "black" are a sad legacy of slavery. To say a person is white tells me nothing, to say a person is black tells me nothing. It's time for us to stand up for our kids and to give them the tools they need to stand up for themselves against societal definitions that mean NOTHING and minimize who they are!

    July 25, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  21. LL

    "Unfortunately, no matter how you define yourself, SOCIETY will place you in a category. "

    I agree in the short term, but disagree long-term. Change begins with one voice, and Grace, in her youth, is not naive. She does reflect the experience of countless biracial individuals, including myself.

    Well said, Grace. If we continue to show how behind the times the current idea of "race" is, perhaps people will start to focus on what really matters.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:38 pm |
  22. JWilson

    Obama identifies himself as African- American. And his Muslim upbringing only adds to the confusion as to what he "is". Maybe he should ask Bill what the meaning of Is is.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:37 pm |
  23. Jeff L.

    Racism is alive and well....on BOTH sides! Just look at some of these comments.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  24. Miranda

    To Geri: So you think this young lady's not "black enough" to have experienced racial discrimination. As a matter of fact, yes, the piece she is referring to IS about her and the millions of other biracial people. How can a race of people find equality among other groups when so many like yourself prevent equality amongst yourselves. Your statement was rude, and indicative of why there are still so many probelms. That and the fact that you seem to feel that you belong to the only group in America who faces hardships and discrimination.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:35 pm |
  25. Simcha-Yitzchak Lerner

    Grace's comments are wonderful, insightful and well written. I just wish that all Americans shared in her wisdom.

    As for TESAP's comment above that society will force people into a category, I strongly disagree.

    Individuals can and will pigeonhole people in their own minds. But as long as you don't let the narrow mindedness of these people influence you into starting to categorize yourself, in the end you will prevail.

    I thank G-d that I live in a country that allows people to break out of all stereotypes and imposed roles, and become who they want to be and do what they want to do.

    Yes, there are sad individuals who have not overcome their own limitations and who insist that others must fit into one category or another.

    But, thank G-d, these people do not and can not set the rules of society, as long as we don't let them.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:33 pm |
  26. Carol

    I agree with Grace as far as her statement that the program shows too many negative aspects. I am a white woman, age 66, who spent many years living in deep south Georgia. My experience with the African-American families I know doesn't seem to agree with the view shown in the Black in America program. I know quite a few families who are wonderful, motivated, and highly educated and accomplished. These people, residents of the Simmon Hill community in Brooks County, Georgia have distinguished themselves with their accomplishments, and have proven that the American dream is available to everyone from whatever background.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  27. Raphael

    Nona...I think it's so funny how everybody seems to know what God wants. "Race" only exists because people migrated from the heat of Africa and had to adapt to other climates. In the 21st Century world of aviation and travel, the practical, biological reasons for racial diversification no longer exist. Of course, that's if you believe in the science of evolution, which is fuel for a totally different debate.

    The truth is, in a few centuries race will no longer be a factor - like it or not. But don't worry...I'm sure we'll still figure out plenty of other creative reasons to kill/maim/persecute/hate one another.

    You'd think THAT would be a littler higher on God's priority list...

    July 25, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  28. Mary

    Ok, time to inject some humor into this thread. This reminds me of one of the funniest sketches I've ever seen: The "race draft" from Dave Chappelle's show. Check it out if you haven't seen it yet.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  29. patricia

    Amen!

    I am bi-racial and never questioned who I am. The confusion does come in to play when parents worry about our identity.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  30. kevin

    I am very disappointed that people have to worry so much about how they are identified. "Blacks" seems to be the only group that bi-racial people want to distance themselves from. The negative connotations that come with being part black has caused this. Bi-racial people didn't begin recently. I would guess that 95% of black people have white relatives in their background. Hell, everybody could be bi-racial.

    I am always skeptical of those who work so hard to down play their black heritage. I'm mixed, I'm bi-racial, I'm french-canadien-english-and a little black. Sounds like insecurities with being black.

    Where does bi-racial start? with you...your parent ....your grandparents???

    July 25, 2008 at 3:32 pm |
  31. Bruce

    I am occasionally asked to fill out forms that ask me to identify my ethnic origin. They usually look something like:

    A. Caucasian
    B. Black
    C. Hispanic
    D. Native American
    E. Asian
    F. Other

    I always answer: Other: American - no hyphens.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  32. Keith

    Instead of "black" or "white", how about "American"...?

    I'll be glad when the day comes that so many people are "mixed" that we won't pay attention to race anymore. Too much emphasis is spent on ethnicity and not enough on regional culture.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:31 pm |
  33. Sue

    I applaud her for encouraging people to look past race. However, her support for Obama merely because of his mixed heritage completely contradicts her message. I understand what she is saying about him being the personification of the world coming together. That may sound wonderful for a high school essay, but we are talking about the most important office in the world. We need an experienced, tried and true leader who has a two decade record of truly bringing together the two parties that run this country.

    Also, I am happy for her that she has not had to struggle with her identity while being both black and white. I am sure it must be easier with a famous mother and well to do parents. Personally, growing up, it was not easy constantly being asked what race I am. Why did it matter? The answer is, to the rest of the world, apparently it does.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:29 pm |
  34. Melissa

    Her article is a great start. However, she too uses the word "race." Soledad O'Brien, others in the "Black in America" documentaries, and our mainstream media continue using the word "race". NEWSFLASH: We all belong to one race-the Human Race. Until we stop using this word, to separate ourselves from each other: black, white, latino, asian, etc. we can not move beyond where we are today. Let's take the next step and acknowledge all that is said in this article, plus move beyond the word race because it is simply an illusion created many, many years ago. We are all in this together, we are all human. We must treat each other as we wish to be treated, as equals.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  35. e-squirrel

    As one respondent stated, "this program is not for you". Grace is passionate about her ideas and feelings, and she is correct. Somewhat. She lives a charmed life in the entertainment field where she can be somewhat shielded from the realities of being scion of mixed parentage. She doesn't truly understand. She may not believe she should label herself as "black or white", but others will try. She will be stung when the first person calls her the N-word; whether that word will come someone white or black the effect will be the same. She won't be able to ask daddy, Momma Winfield will have to explain. Other things may come up, why did Lynn marry this Englishman? Wasn't a black man good enough? Etc. I hope she never experiences that. But if she does, I hope she has been raised to be self-aware of her unique status in the "great" country of ours.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  36. Knox

    After President Ford extracted American troops from Vietnam, news began to trickle out of biracial children and the prejudice and hardships they faced. I advocated bringing them here, to the US. It did not matter if their parents could be identified or not. They could easily be identified, and they belonged here. Bring them. We would give them homes and grant them fast tracks to citizenship. If there was a nation on this earth where these children would be accepted and given the opportunity for a fulfilling life, it was the USA... It should have been. It should always be. Bring to us the world's unwanted children of mixed racial, tribal, or ethnic heritage and we will welcome them and nurture them as our own, as Americans. Truly, this is at the heart of our nation's character. It's who we are.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  37. JOM

    Although I agree with Grace and she is entitled to feel however way she wants; but lets be real, race matters. Race mixing is NOT going to solve nothing (race mixing is ALREADy done. ALso look at the black community where colors range from light skinned v/s dark skinned. Guess what? there are race issues WITHIN the black communty). Even though many blacks are voing for Obama, there were blacks who do not consider him black enough (some does not look at him as black). To me, this is a deep issue and there is NO one answer. And yes, some people can talk all of this nice talk (which is nice and you are right) however when the doors are close and everyone goes back to thier spaces, the race issue ALWAYS come out because RACE MATTERS (heck the world degrades and make fun of Michael Jackson because of his skin. Now if race does not matter, why does the media and blacks and whites degrade Michael IF RACE does not matter? The reason, RACE MATTERS. This debate is discussed evern few years and you still see the same things where race matters.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  38. Tony

    Pandora, is there a "black blood"? I know about red blood only. Oh, white and red blood cells. I would love to see black blood. Life is in the Blood.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:28 pm |
  39. Linda

    Well said Grace, however, it amazes me when whites are face with the same challanges as "others",all of a sudden race doesnot matter....SORRY people......your systems has set it up, that RACE does matter, oh yeah.......Brian.....welcome to "OUR" world, strap on....buddy, it is gonna be a bumpy ride

    July 25, 2008 at 3:27 pm |
  40. George Hurtt

    Grace's comments were articulate and represent her experience and generation. The latter two aspects are also the weakness of her comments. Being interracial expands further than her and the bliss Barrack Obama’s modern day successes. She is blessed to live in a time where being interracial is more accepted, be raised by parents who are financially and socially secure and have a media outlook live CNN to air her and other people experiences in America. Mommy loved your thoughts and others of your similar experience, yet the truth is that you are a young and privilege. This is nothing to be ashamed of and does not suggest that you have not had real struggles. It is to say that the program, Black in America, aim to address of broader angel of being of mixed ethnic decent. Every time we see Obama, which is a lot, on television it testifies much of what you wrote of. Soledad and her staff did a wonderful job of giving a voice to people and issues that often do not get a voice. She should be nothing but congratulated for that. Let’s trace your actions. You watched and informed show about being black in America. Then you went to your computer to write about a perceived weakness related to your experience that ended up on CNN’s website. Grace! Your life is great. However my friend, I believe when you live a little and walk a while you will see that life is more complicated than that. In the next months supporters of Barrack, as those who are watching closely will see now (i.e. the cover of The New Yorker), will see even his pursuits are not as simple as advertised. Be proud of who you are, but do not discount what others have experienced, experiences and will experience that is different from yours.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  41. Paul

    geri, get over yourself. She was speaking about the biracial segment in the program. Just because she's got some cream in that coffee doesn't mean her opinion isn't valid.

    As a biracial person myself (half Palestinian half Anglo-American) I can appreciate what she is saying. By being two things at once, we can transcend the simple tags and labels placed on many others with a single ethnicity. This is the wave of the future. 100 years from now CNN will be doing a segment on the disadvantages of being of only one race.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  42. D.S.

    Kudos to that talented and courageous young lady for speaking her mind. But the reality is that this woman doesn't look especially bi-racial. She looks like a lot of other black women. There are many, many shades of African American. I think some make up company once said there are actually 32 distinct shades of the black skin. My only problem with young Grace's comments is that she projects this same superiority that you hear from some, not all, mixed race people that some how they are the "better than" because they are mixed race. "I'm not one or the other, I'm neither, but both." That's another form of racism. I once heard a song that said, "red, yellow, black or white" they are all precious in HIS sight". I believe that song. We should NOT have to be bi-racial or multi-racial to be acceptable. Until we accept the fact that beauty and intelligence and creativity can come from someone with the palest white skin to the blackest bluest skin, we'll never get this race thing right.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  43. John Forbes

    ....a very passionate, articulate and inspiring response from a young woman who is already impacting the world with a unique perspective. Not surprised, coming from the talented family that she does.

    peace
    jf

    July 25, 2008 at 3:26 pm |
  44. Gina

    I am so happy to see this message I ahve been saying this for years I am a product of a bi racial marriage. I have for years felt happy with who and what I am and have also felt the pressure to chose sides...which to me always seemed silly. I got called imitation of life. I got called a zebra. But I never let it tear me down. I always knew there was ignorance on all sides.
    But to chose a side meant that I was denying some small part of myself. Giving up my irish father or my black mother.
    I am so tired of all the separation that I see out there
    All the talk of black and white, and who has had a more priviledged life
    I was raised to be me. I was raised to see people for what they were good or bad not black not white I mean yes of course it was obvious if they were one or the other but I truly grew up color blind I just feel that the more we point out or differences and continue to hold onto the hate and resentment we will never be just people trying to make our way in this world. Trying to live a good life and be good people. Being there to help those that need it regardless of their skin color.
    But maybe it is just me Maybe I am the only one that feels this way

    July 25, 2008 at 3:24 pm |
  45. mike

    Grace,

    You are not all black or all white but you sure are all...HOT!

    Mixed beauty is what will tear down racism. Hate can't perist in someone's eyes when they see a truly beautiful face in front of them...that's when even the most racist of people will lower there guard.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  46. Corey from Canada

    I totally agree with Grace. My wife is from the Caribbean (black) and I was born in Canada (white). We're the best thing that ever happened to each other and all of our friends and family feel the same way about our relationship. We take from each other's cultures and our lives have been greatly by enriched this exhange. People need to realize that the color of your skin means nothing. It is NOT who you are, regardless of what people say. It's only your packaging. That's not to say that there isn't racism, there absolutely is, but the sooner people change their mindset racism will start to disappear. I am not a white man. My wife is not a black woman. We are both human beings who happen to be male and female, and we happen to have different color skin. So what? If we can all start thinking of ourselves and each other in this way, racism and gender bias start to appear even more ridiculous that they already do. This may sound politically incorrect, but I truly believe that racism can be bred out of humanity. If everybody starts mixing then race begins to lose it's significance. Call me naive if you want, but I'm not part of the problem. Even the fringe elements that shout "white power" and use the dreaded "n-word" are not the biggest problem. It's the people that say "not in my life-time" that are the bigger stumbling block. I'm glad people like Barack Obama and Grace Gibson chose to ignore these voices.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  47. SteveO

    I applaud what Ms. Grace Gibson had to say. I hope that our society is moving quickly toward one of respect for peoples of all races and blends of races. Unfortunately, as we blend more and more, some of the cultural things that make a people unique tend to become diluted. For instance, my ancestry is a mix of four different European cultures, none of which survived fully intact within our family. But, I think we gain far more than we lose as we move toward a world population that is blended, and proud of it, rather than isolated from each other within the color of our skin or the culture of our ancestry. We gain the ability to look beyond skin color and other unimportant issues. We learn to see with our brains and our hearts, not just with our eyes.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  48. Brad in Canada

    Unfortunately there will always be division between Blacks and all other cultures be it blended or otherwise because there will always be a need for some to use being Black as a reason for them not to have succeeded in life. Being Black will be used as an excuse by those addicted to failure.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:23 pm |
  49. KSH

    unfortunately, regardless of how she view herself, black, white, blended (lol), most of White America will look at her and see NOT WHITE or better yet BROWN.....where is the reality here!!! Embrace all of the of cultural aspects of both your races, but please know you will be categorized and often marginalized because your skin is brown....smh @ the super p.c. comments....

    July 25, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
  50. Kathy

    Good for you Grace. I myself am of mixed heritage. While I have no african heritage That I am aware of, I am Cherokee, Blackfoot, Chocktaw, Black Dutch, Irish, German, and English and it can be confusing when your young and people try to lable you. You fill out an application they ask you your race and you think ok......what do I put? I have to pick one humm........ Well I look more white but am actually more Native american hmmm....I can pick other but there is never enough room to right it all down. Dang it.... cant I just pick American and forget it. At least now days you can just refuse to answer the question. it didn't used to be that way. i guess my point is (like a few others have said) Americans for the most part are of mixed race and thats a good thing. I just wish people would stop trying to classify me as something other than what I am. I am not a White American;I am not a Native American. I am simply an American

    July 25, 2008 at 3:22 pm |
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