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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. Micki

    It's not race that divides us, its people's attitude about race that is the problem. A person can accept and label themselves as a certain race and be proud of it, and it doesn't have to be a problem when people are trying to get along. The different races, religions, cultures, and nationalities makes life more interesting.

    If someone obviously is not white they can identify themselves as mixed or as black or whatever but they can not say that they are "both white and black". They are "descended from both white and black people". Mixed people who are obviously not white are people of color and should be proud of that.

    I am very light skinned and am descended from black slaves and probably their white "owners". And I categorize myself as Black. I have had both white and black people give me a hard time about my complexion over the years but I also know that some job opportunities that I received were because I am so light. Especially when I see how others are treated.

    July 25, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  2. Chantel

    I am 1/2 Native American, 1/4 Irish, and 1/4 German. But according to society, I am white because I got my complexion from my mother. WHO CARES???????????? I was born in America, under the AMERICAN flag, which makes me AMERICAN. I don't run around claiming that I am owed something for what happened to my ancestors, or apologizing for what my other ancestors did. It's crap. I was not born or around during those times. Everyone needs to just realize we are american, and stop putting all the other names in front of it!!!!

    July 25, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  3. M.Richardson

    daniel = part of the problem. Why should bi-racial people consider themselves black; or white for that matter; we're oblivious to your petty issues. We're completely above that; we don't want to be categorized because like most mutts we can't be ! Like most mutts we have a little edge in our grey matter, because we've been discriminated against by black and whte alike and like most mutts we tend to be a lot more charismatic, individualistic and free than boring purebreds 😉 Let's wake up to what should have happened ages ago in our U.S. society: let's cease and desist defining races; all it does is brakes and breaks us.

    July 25, 2008 at 4:10 pm |
  4. katie

    to Geri- if you truley think that Blacks in America are the only ones with struggles; not only are you extremely close minded, but ignorant as well. Ignorance is one of our biggest issues right now in America. If more people would open their eyes and minds towards issues/concerns that our out of their boxes, as a whole, we would all be better off. I don't believe the program was made for me either, Geri. I am a caucasian women living in America dealing with struggles of my own, and all though they may be different struggles, who are you to judge the depth of them?

    July 25, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  5. Don

    I personnaly believe and live as colour blind as possible. I am in an interracial relationship with my Filipino fiancee and fully believe we all need to get over the "i'm black" or "I'm white" mentality. We are all people. From my perspective, that is all I need to know.

    July 25, 2008 at 4:09 pm |
  6. DMC

    Identify multi-racial as a member of the Human Race, birthplace Planet Earth and proceed accordingly.

    July 25, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  7. Duane

    I'm all warm and fuzzy inside.......Reality check…….most (70%) of black fathers do not hang out once the baby is born…..to a white or black woman. That’s a FACT. That includes the father of Obama (a black man). Until CNN has the guts to discuss this massive problem within the black community is just wasted print. Having no father figure helps create these glaring FACTS.

    1) Blacks are responsible for 70% of all murders (yet they are only 13% of the population).
    2) 9 of 10 of those murders are black on black.
    3) Hip Hop culture (degrades women, glorifies drugs).
    4) Doing well in school is acting white.

    Blacks need to lose the entitlement attitude and follow the laws and respect will follow. :

    July 25, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  8. Toni

    I knew it. I knew the second Obama won the nomination the mixed race advocates would start coming out of the woodworks.

    Look, in the United States we are entitled to our opinions. We have the right to our own beliefs.

    Please stop with the wishful thinking with regards to making all people accept these situations.

    In the U.S. citizens may think and feel as they wish.

    July 25, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  9. Patricia G, Houston, TX

    I agree. My nephew is much like the Rand Family in that he grew up in a blended environment, which was predominantly white. Very Upper Middle Class. He attends an ivy league university and has only dated white young ladies. We have had many conversations and he shared with me that he has only been around white young ladies his entire life.

    So naturally when he first discovered girls he was drawn to what he was around..

    I say this to say that he will get married one day and the likelyhood of his offsprings being bi-racial are very high. This child will be blessed to have the best of both cultures exposed to them. The world is changing in spite of the media's desire to continue portray racial tension as never changing for the better. The biracial or multiracial or whatever do not care...nor do human beings who accept the differnces as GREAT!

    July 25, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  10. Chris, Atlanta, GA

    Children of bi-racial relationships do not characterize themselves to be one or the other. They're not stupid; they know they are bi-racial. It is society that tries to box them into a category. If they look more like one or the other parent, that's what society categorizes them as. Our society is too hung up on race to think differently.

    I'm the product of a German mother and Indian (as in India) father. I have a little of both of them and people endlessly try to categorize me. My wife is Scot-Irish with some German ancestry. We now have a 4 year old daughter who is 1/4 Indian, 1/3 German and the rest is Scot-Irish. I always enjoy watching people trying to make sense of her. It is laughable and at the same time sad that our society is so hung up on this.

    Watching the younger generation, and their enthusiasm for Barack Obama, I have some hope that my daughter's generation will be color blind and will truly judge one another by the content of their individual characters.

    July 25, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  11. Terrie

    Affirmative Action, now that's a hot topic! I mean no disrespect to anyone, but would any hispanic, asian, african-american, pacific islander, or native american ever graduate from college, work for a Fortune 500 company, become a state legislator or an astronaut , own a company that bids on government contracts, buy a house, or operate any kind of business or earn a bonus or tenure or gain any other perceived school, business, or career advantage (except for in the post 1980's/90's sports arena) without the help of affirmative action? We'll likely never know. That's also somethin that Lynn Whitfield's daughter will likely never experience. She is a very smart young teen, but even with all that God has blessed her with, there are certainly things that life in the 'other' world will teach her, if as my friend says, she keeps breathing.

    July 25, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  12. Max

    For those that still think we need Affirmative action- What justifies a minority today? Is it African, Asian, Latino, Mexican, Indian, Israeli, Pakistani, Persian, Iraqi, Irish, Italian, etc etc etc? How about Best Man for the job- PERIOD
    If you worked hard for the GPA and SAT score, you get the acceptance letter. If you worked hard to get the job, you get the job. This law is archaic and served its purpose for the time but we are no longer in need of it.

    July 25, 2008 at 4:08 pm |
  13. Damien

    This is interesting for me being asian, white, hispanic and native but mostly appear caucasion. I know myself and others like me experience racism in a much more secretive way when people think they aren't offending anyone.

    While yes, I am not black, I do see some of the people whom they have to face who are far less obvious about their racism. I think things have gotten better over the years, but we're nowhere near done yet.

    July 25, 2008 at 4:06 pm |
  14. Jennifer Hampton

    Dearest Grace,

    I am blown away by the power of your thoughts and the beauty of how they were expressed! As a Baha'i, my whole identity is the oneness of humanity. I live to work for the oneness of mankind and the elimination of all prejudices, which I believe to be absolutely possible. I don't believe it's idealistic to live in harmony with each other and appreciating all of our differences. God bless you with your incredilble spirit and your journey through this obstacle course of life 🙂

    With Utmost Love and Affection,
    Jen

    Oh and BTW, I am of mixed race, but to me that's not my identity. My soul is.

    July 25, 2008 at 4:05 pm |
  15. rose m

    As a mother of three biracial children – I am white, my husband is black – I get upset with having to label my children as to what "color" they are. Everytime I register them for school I "HAVE" to choose what color they are. I always mark both boxes and I am told I have to choose ONE. Why. You are teaching a child not a color. Why do I have to register them as either Black or White?? Last week I enrolled at the local YMCA and again I had to chose what color we are.?!?!?
    It seems that they are always trying to put us in a box.
    Back to school. On our street are 4 different families going to 4 different elementary schools. We do not go to our neighborhood schools because we fit the black criteria for a more distant school. And our neighbor who wants to go to the school can not because she fits the white criteria for the neighborhood school.

    July 25, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  16. Jim

    Ms. Whitfield,
    You must be very proud, you've raised a smart, articulate young lady. I'm with her – we don't need to see people as any race, nor do people need to define who they are by the color of their skin. I have white friends and black friends, but they are all my friends first, and I don't choose them based on their skin color.

    July 25, 2008 at 4:04 pm |
  17. Suzi

    I also take issue with the idea that just because I am white that I must be racist and/or that my ancestors must have been slaveowners. My northern ancestors fought for the North in the Civil War, while many of my Southern ancestors were trying to avoid being sent to Oklahoma on the Trail of Tears. Most of my ancestors before the Civil War were just struggling to put food on the table, not living in Gone With the Wind-type houses. While blacks in America have experienced a lot of racism over the years, so have other races/ethnicities. But these other groups of people have been significantly less vocal. My own great-grandfather was beaten up so badly by Finnish Americans that he was left blind in one eye because he was Swedish and refused to move from the town. And that was in the early 1930s. Also, Hispanics now make up the biggest minority group today at about 14% with blacks at about 13%. Hispanics are estimated to grow to be about 24-29% of the pop. by 2050 with blacks still at about 13%. Everything is not a black/white issue like so many want to make it out to be. We have many races and ethnicities and EVERY group has discriminated and been discriminated against.

    July 25, 2008 at 4:03 pm |
  18. Pat

    Racialist categories are indeed "false," so the ideal solution is to identify "culturally" not racially... or with any color From that viewpoint, saying that you're *both* black and white is still pandering to the same old beast! The same goes for choosing one side of the coin, as long as privileges are attributed to one of the colors by society at the expense of the other...

    Then again, "culture" too can be used as an extension of that same racial hierarchy which is the main culprit in this game, rather than who or what any individuals actually think they are... We should try to abolish those social hierarchies of ethnicity, race, and "culture" before individual "beautiful" visions like those of Grace can become fully meaningful..., Otherwise, it will just be a beautiful but futile exercise in blowing chaff against the wind!

    July 25, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  19. Chuck

    I've always been amazed at how people will look at a half white, half black person and say they're black – why – because their skin color is apparent?

    It makes as much sense to say they are white.

    In the end it really only makes sense as to what that individual feels, and that would be based on their experiences.

    After all a white person could be raised in the black cultture and feel black, a black person could be raised in the white culture and feel white.

    It ain't what's outside that makes a person!

    July 25, 2008 at 4:02 pm |
  20. Nahco_Libre

    So basically your a HALFRICAN...

    July 25, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  21. Rich S

    As the father of two bi-racial (African and Caucasian American) boys, we’ve made a decision (unconsciously for the most part) not to focus on the racial difference between their mother and I. As such, my boys have no hang-ups about who/what they are – they're Americans.

    July 25, 2008 at 4:01 pm |
  22. Nassiar

    Touche Grace touche!!!

    July 25, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  23. Anthony, Columbia, MD

    As a parent of bi-racial children, I am proud to say that I appreciate this article. I want my kids to not only be very proud of their African-American heritage, but their Pacific-Islander heritage as well.

    July 25, 2008 at 4:00 pm |
  24. cj

    I think people are totally missing the point here. First of all, if any of you know anything about your history, most Blacks that are in America have ancestry of different origins and different backgrounds, which would make us all biracial despite the skin complexion. When whites were lynching blacks in the south, I didn't hear anyone calling those attacked as biracial!! Its almost a complete joke now. Let's forget about Blacks like they do in the history books and branch out and embrace being biracial because some idiots happen to be infatuated with a skin complexion. Wow, you people really don't get it!!! Blacks are proud of MLK, Malcolm X, George Washington Carver, Dr. Charles Drew, W.E.B. Du Bois, Marcus Garvey, Frederick Douglass and others not because of their skin complexion!! But because of their accomplishments against all odds!!! It's amazing how people today want to embrace being biracial as if its some new fad! If you think you are truly white and black, go try and live in certain areas and see if you are truly accepted as being both white and black. Quite often, many biracial children are not so well received among their white family members, yet they still want to continue to think of themselves as being white? When is the last time you read about or witnessed on t.v. someone who was in trouble with the law or barely surviving on the streets referred to as biracial? NEVER!! Your considered biracial as long as society considers you the new fad, but get in trouble and their is no question about identity, your black, period. Wake up people, there are whites just as well as blacks that have intergrated blood lines, it only seems topic of conversation for most blacks that are confused about their identity, want to be considered "other" until some race decides that you aren't one of them. The whole issue is a joke in itself, just another reason to keep blacks from loving themselves and aspiring to be something that they are not! The beauty of Black is that it comes in so many different shades. White Americans have defined beauty and once again many Blacks have no individuality other than buy into what someone tells you defines beauty, it should come from within and not be based on skin tone. It seems clear to me that Blacks want to be anything BUT Black! How sad, I feel really sorry for a lot of you. If you truly want to embrace something, embrace your ancestry and their accomplishments, not be infatuated with skin complexion. It's really sad that so many people on this site know nothing about the true pioneers that have made Black Americans proud. This discussion borders on being both shameful and completely ignorant. Do your research about evolution & HISTORY, you just might learn something.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  25. Andy

    How about a different issue altogether – why must race in america be reduced the Black/white binary? There are many continued struggles for Asian-Americans and Latin Americans today that can be traced to the discrimination and bigotry of America's white-dominated past.

    Chineese, Filipino, and Mexican immigrants have been forced into slavery and exploitation, yet the issues of these people have not seen a drop of coverage in contemporary media compared to the flood of information on the plight of those with African heritage.

    A prinicple ingrained in contemporary journalism is the idea that journalists should try cover all sides of an issue. Information is readily available about more than just African-American issues; why ignore the stories of the faster growing United States demograpics?

    July 25, 2008 at 3:59 pm |
  26. Morgan

    I only wish that Grace Gibson were the one running for president, not the man who constantly states that he is an African American. Apparently there is no place in his world for us white folk, and because of that, he will not receive my vote. He needs to be "for" all of the people and I have never gotten that feeling from him. Enough said.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:58 pm |
  27. Sandra Johnson

    I am a decendent of slaves and slave owners and I am just as proud of my father's side of my family (slaves) as I am of my mother's side (slave owners), it is because of their union that I have life today and to deny either side would be to deny who I am, my heritage and the blessings and appreciation of cultural differences. It does not matter the pigmentation or lack thereof of my skin, it only matters that I am an American. Travel abroad and you will find that you are not a white american nor an african american you are simply, an American.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:57 pm |
  28. Jane

    I may be all wet but I suspect that multi-racial individuals who opt to identify themselves as African American do so, in large part, because that is how they will be seen and treated by white America. Ideally we would all be in the melting pot but until the racism, prejudice and just plain hatefulness disappears anyone who even looks a little bit African American, especially men, is going to be treated as "less than". We are kidding ourselves if we think that there is equality in the good ole USA. And just in case you are wondering, I am a white woman.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  29. Debi

    This young lady is probably one of the smartest individuals in this country! She identifies with her heritage on both sides and made a choice not to ignore one parents race for the others. She is proud of who she is and that is what this Country is lacking. Enough with the "you owe me" forced upon society in general. I owe nobody anything except my parents, period!! If more people adopted the attitude that they are Americans first and stop tryng to make others responsible for their bad choices things in this Country would be very different. I don't see a person's color or race unless it is forced in my face in anger. I see people for who they are and how they treat all others. Instead of placing blame and making excuses people should take responsibility and bribg out their inner strengths in order to succeed in life. We make our own reality and learning to get along and not force someone to choose one or the other seems to be a pretty smart start. If people force difference on others people will always resist and will resent them for that. We are all part of the human RACE first. Let the idiots be idiots, aspire to be better within ourselves before we try to force others to change.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  30. Da'Nyia J.

    Thank you, thank you, and thank you! I also share the same perspective, reasoning and passion in this regard. Growing up, I was lead to believe, by society, that I had to choose, and as a child, that was very confusing for me, especially with my parents still being married and my being exposed to both cultures as apart of my livelihood. Later, as a young woman I decided to choose ME and embrace both cultures, equally! I am black and white . . . the best of both worlds!! I love who I am and what I am. Again, thank you so much!!

    July 25, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  31. Angie

    This comment by Daniel: you may need to read my statement a little more carefully. I said that bi-racial people that do not consider themselves Black are fine with me. If you do not consider yourself Black that is just fine. Some biracial people do consider themselves Black. I merely said that for those of us “Black” folks in America, we need to stop giving free press to biracial people that don’t want to be considered Black. In general, I don’t consider biracial (50/50 mix) Black….unless the Black genes are quite dominant."

    This comment exemplifies my point! "Free Press" to biracial people who don't want to be considered black?!?! OMG! They are not black and that's point. Do you do the "brown paper bag" test also when you're judging a bi-racial person's "dominant black genes"?

    July 25, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  32. Angie

    As a bi-racial person, you grow-up never quite fitting in anywhere. Honestly, I have had many encounters with all kinds of people. Racism is in every race.

    In fact, as a kid most of the people who were the most hostile toward me and my family were black. I can't count the number of times that someone accused my mom of "stealing one of 'our' good men". I was told that I would never be accepted by either race.

    While the program may not have been directed at bi-racial people (but I think by saying that you are perpetuating some of the racism that I felt as a child), I think it did a disservice to us. It is so encouraging to see that Grace feels so strongly. We've come a long way since the late 70s and early 80s.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:56 pm |
  33. djak

    I look forward to the day when there are no white people and no black people. Just people. Hopefully a whole generation of Miss Gibsons will help bring that about.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  34. tommie

    If most black americans knew their family tree they would agree with Grace. I acknowledge the mixture of my race and I am proud of who I am and grateful for the pride that was instilled in my family, for it is what they instilled in me. Our family reunion looks like a collaborate rainbow every 4th of July in South Carolina, located on Sullivans's Island, the Ellis Island of slavery. Still love is our bond,education our goal and committment to family our strength.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  35. Margaret, California

    Grace, if everyone in the world had your widsom and compassion, our world would be a better place. You articulated ideals that we all should be striving to achieve. It saddened me to think that the couple on Black In America felt they had to choose to raise their children either as Black or White. I came to the realization long ago that to live in a peaceful and just society we each can help by being kind and generous with our words to those in our family and community each day. We do have an impact on those around us and hopefully more people will be touched with the spirit of humanity through our own actions. I am an eternal optimist and am idealistic, two characteristics we could use more of in our world. Your parents are truly blessed to have you as their daughter.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:55 pm |
  36. Carla

    Grace,

    At this very moment I wish my daughter had access to a computer so she could respond instead of me. Since we're so close however; I believe she would share the same comments about your article as I am about to. She is also biracial and has been very fortunate enough to experience both of the cultures/races equally and with both her dad & I being on the same page – our main concern was to raise her well, period. Into a confident, mature young lady that is comfortable in her skin and knows who she is without having to classify herself as either black OR white, she's both, knows it and carries it well if I do say so myself. Way to go Grace for speaking out and having such wise words of wisdom on the subject. Thanks from all of us.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:54 pm |
  37. robbie

    I truly hope there will be a day when we can all stand as ONE. It’s crazy how we can be so smart and so stupid at the same time. We have sent men and women into space, built phones that connect to the internet, yet we can’t get past the fact that people have different colors skin. There will be time in history when people look back at the past couple of generations and laugh at how stupid we are. I have a good feeling that things will change in the future, but for the mean time just PLEASE do your part and show the world that not everyone is closed minded.

    PEACE FOR ALL
    r.ray

    July 25, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  38. Jason

    I agree over the last 100 and some odd years, it has been very tough for African Americans to live in America. The racial tensions, slurs, the unfairness, etc.

    Then came Martin Luther King Jr. who's main purpose was not to just liberate the "black" person, but to unify all races. He was the "true" civil rightsman. He was compassionate, loving and wanted for people to see other people for who they really are past the color of their skin. It is a pity we don't have any civil rights people like Martin Luther King anymore. Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton represent just the "bitterness of the African American." They don't represent the human race as Martin Luther King did. These guys are pretty much as racist as any "white" skin head in my opinion. Some of the things they say are very hurtful and offensive to any person that is not African American.

    I work for a Fortune 500 company and we have made "tremendous" strides for minorities to get management positions. It has become a very competitive place. However there are people who will always use the race card when not promoted because it is easier to make it in life that way instead of working your butt off and making it the right way. I know many African Americans in our company that are in executive management because they "busted their tail", in school, and on the job. That is why they are where they are at as well as they should be. However we still have those few who think because they are "black", they are not getting promoted. It has nothing to do with their of work ethic or character. I believe everybody makes their own future and in the present time everybody, if they want it bad enough, can be whatever they want to be.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:53 pm |
  39. Judith

    Way to go! We all belong to ONE race, the Human race. I am 'classified' as white, but I do not answer the question, "What is your race?". I have five children, thirteen grand children, and one great grand child. My family is typical American, we have so called mixed race children through out this family of mine. Americans wake up! America IS a blend of the world's people, and I, for one am extremely happy that we are. We are truly a symbol of all of the world's people.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:52 pm |
  40. OH

    There will come a time when the "Whites" will not be in the majority. Whites in this statement are meant strictly for those who think only white are right. It also means those who are ignorant or hate people of other races.

    I have met, loved and admired white people my entire life and I know many who saw me as a human and not a mixed person.

    The race issue runs deep in this country and the time will come when there will be no more racial tension but that time is not soon enough.

    Anyone who travels to England and to the West midlands area will attest to this fact. I have not seen a society as mixed as I have seen there. For a black person, it is like heaven and for the white people; they welcome people of color with open arms.

    The United States of America is but a young country and will take time to grow up. Its people for the most part have not learned to tolerate differences.

    I am Black and Jewish and will not accept anyone placing me into a racial profile. I am not an African American; I am an American!

    This African American thing is crap and for what it's worth; no one born in America can or should be call an African American. If a person has dark complexion, he/she is dark or black, not African but American.

    Why not call a Jewish person Israeli/American? Or an English person English/American? I think this racial thing is just baloney spewed on people so as to keep them within an inferior class AND it is only mental. We are all human beings and not one of us is perfect.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  41. Dan

    "Race" needs to go away! It doesn't actually exist in nature. We are all the same with varying degrees of height, weight, nose size, feet size and color of skin. "Race" was invented by ignorant people who were uncomfortable with some people. We ALL evolved from the same place...the earth. Skin color is nothing more than exposure to the sun. It is very simple yet we supposedly intelligent creatures make it difficult. We are all part of a species not a race and until that is understood in the simpliest form it will always be a problem. Ignorance is not a valid excuse to keep it alive!!

    July 25, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  42. Kat

    I went to a highschool (many many years ago) that was very racially mixed. And in that mix, there were mixed teens. In this time when so many of my adult theories and thoughts were being formed, I truly envied those of mixed race. They were first and foremost astoundingly beautiful–talk about the best of both worlds! Their parents' relationship was founded in a cruicible and based on so much more than parental approval or social expectation–and therefore not cast asunder at the first real test of commitment. These children were taught to see the world for what it was and love it any way. Now I know that what I saw at that time through my innocent eyes does not apply to the whole world. But how much better would we be if it did?

    July 25, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  43. Dawn V.

    As a mother of two "blended" children, I hope society begins to see a new light; or a new SHADE rather. I have son that has blonde hair & blue eyes like I do. However, his sister of the same father has dark hair, dark skin & dark eyes... without change in our society I can already hear the remarks once they enter school.

    I hope to raise them both to be proud & independent people. My wish is that they are well received and accepted. My son does point out that his Daddy is "brown" and that his Mommy is "white"... but he is openly accepting to both sides of our family as well as all children he's come across at the playground, etc.

    Peace.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  44. Corinne

    Well said. I am bi-racial and its funny because I think this every time I have to check off a box on what ethnicity I am. I was born to a Mexican mother and a European (White) father. I grew up in San Jose, California where we have such a diverse population, that sometimes you get lost in your identity because there's so many people of different backgrounds that you don't see things the way they are in the rest of the country or world. I'm not saying that by being biracial that I haven't had my share of problems. I've been told that I am being too White for Mexicans and being too Mexican for the Whites but that is what comes with being biracial. I've learned over the years that I should embrace both cultures and be proud of who I am, regardless of what other people think. Yes, it will be awhile before our country, our world, can get past this but I think we are heading in the right direction. I don't see Barack Obama as a Black man or White man, I see and know he's biracial and he WILL take us into another chapter in the history books that will eventually pave the way for biracial Americans and HOPEFULLY one day the issue of race will disappear from here and we will all just be one race.....A HUMAN RACE.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:51 pm |
  45. Lisa

    i have been doing my family tree for the past 3 months now after reading an article about geneaology. 15 years ago, i was proud of being black, thinking i was completely black...only to find documents showing that my great grandmother was an immigrant from mexico, who married a native american who was half black. on my father's side, they were biracial, having white fathers and black mothers. later everyone married someone else of mixed race. what exactly does that make me? i dont much care.

    people forget that in this country blacks are not purely black...whites are not purely white. all of us, no matter how dark or light we are come from a mixture of peoples and societies. even if we are "black", we are a mixture of different tribes and peoples, who later mixed with others. people who are "white" are made up of different europeans.

    and i think its wonderful. some are more mixed than others. doesnt make us different or better. i think it makes people more united. i get a kick when i walk into a store and people look at me, sometimes speaking to me in a different language because they assume i am mexican, ethiopian, or east indian. when i explain my heritage to people, they are amazed. and quite often they tell me that i am beautiful. sometimes i get followed though by people who think i am going to steal. being a different race in this country is not easy because you will always have the select few that are ignorant. i often remember that people who are racists dont just hate because of race. they hate because they can, and some are too ignorant and scared to be able to think otherwise.

    and anyone who thinks that they are completely "black," should do the research. you would be completely amazed at what you find.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  46. Lee McLaurin

    The interesting thing is that, typically, those who go on this "I'm not black or white" crusade are only being politically correct. They wouldn't be offended in the least if society referred to them ONLY as white. The offense comes when someone refers to them as African-American or black only. When you look at Grace, nobody would ever call her a white person and if they did she wouldn't have a problem with that, but call her black and she's instantly on the "I'm both" kick. These also tend to be the same biracial people who end up ONLY dating or marrying white spouses. This is not a coincidence. It is a choice. Whether they accept it or not, it's not the problem of accepting one race over the other; it's more that they've been "accused" of being black that they consider insulting.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  47. Loren

    WOW, this is getting ridiculous. Why must we be either black or white??? Why must we acknowledge whether or not we are 1/2, 1/3 or even 1/4 black or white? What’s intriguing is how you are basically 'nothing' in the eyes of the media, politics, or social context if you are neither black nor white. I'm Hispanic. I’m Second/Third generation born and raised in Texas and I’m part of the LARGEST growing minority in the United States. I’m college educated, live in the suburbs and make a good living. I am THE target demographic for 99% of all advertising. My children are biracial. Half Hispanic and half white. But when people ask me what it’s like being a Hispanic American I let them know that I’m not sure, but I can sure tell them how it is being a proud American. Are we Hispanics wrong for not raising political and social commentary issues by not having our own Jessie Jackson in our corner or have we already won the battle by realizing that we are all ‘equal’ to whites already? Sure, Hispanics get called derogatory names and are teased and ‘known’ for doing kitchen yard work, but why must we all continue to dwell on the past and how our ancestors were treated? We don’t need to. The only way to avenge those hurt in the past and ‘win the battle’ of today and tomorrow is to move forward another day with success. My neighbors don’t know me as their Mexican neighbor. They know me as their neighbor as I do you.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  48. Max

    This young lady touches on something I truly believe about this country which is if you were born in the US or obtained your citizenship you are an American first. Thus race should not even come into play in this day and age. This country fought a civil war and went through 100 odd years of civil rights movements to make it so that regardless of race you can be ANYTHING you want if you work for it. I can not stand that we even have shows where the subject matter is "what its like to be black in America". The race line no longer exists in this country as almost every American is not of one race but of many. . This country is so diverse now that it is not a matter of Black vs White. While can sympathize that some people alive today lived through some of the struggles of race in this country their is simply no place for this line of thought in modern day America. For those that still insist they pull the race card out to justify actions or what they didn't get need to look at men like Obama before they speak-

    July 25, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  49. Joan

    How many of us are not of more than one race here in the US? I have so many different nationalities in me that I am not even sure of all of then – but I am called black/african american because of the dark color of my skin and the kinkiness of my hair. I too am proud of all my races (at least the ones that I know – Black, Indian, English Descent, Scottish) and always have been.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:50 pm |
  50. Gina

    Being bi-racial is what being a black american is all about. Black americans generally are a mixture of different races. When slaves were brought to America, Euopeans mixed with the Africans and called the bi-racial offspring slaves. No desendant from slavey in America has a truely African (meaning pure black) background. But we are all called black never the less because it was those darker blacks who accepted the lighter blacks with the lighter skin, the curlier hair and the lighter eyes. The blacks of different shades married and reproduced with one another, which is why black americans are so diverse in the spectrum of skin color, hair color, eye color, etc. So just by going on history for today standards if you are an American black and have a child with a white your child is black. If you are an American black and have a child with whomever, your child is black.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:49 pm |
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