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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. hex

    People need to start caring a WHOLE lot less about what "society" dictates. They're both. The past is the past, I won't say forget about it, but learn from it and move on already – for ALL races. Who really gives a u-know-what what the color of someone's skin is? The only thing it is – is wrapping paper. Beacuse your great-great-great-whatever was a slave, slave-owner, terrorist, murderer, whatever – it doesn't mean that you should bear the guilt, anger, hatred or anything else that they embodied – be your own person & move on!!! They're BOTH and should be proud of it!!! They're some of the most beautiful people in the world!

    July 25, 2008 at 1:50 pm |
  2. CB

    After reading the responses, at some point one feels encourage but then again it is easy to see the entrenched prejudices on BOTH sides.

    If American only had the opportunity to learn from our South American neigbors about racial integration, we could really make strides ahead.

    It is so apparent that most Americans cannot think outside of the "box", such a shame. If it is true that we are not judged by the Creator based on our skin color, why must we continually put so much emphasis on this characteristic?

    I believe we as a country will only move forward when our Christian leaders stand up untited regardless of color and tell it like it is; when prejudice is prejudice and to also remind people not to require the sons to pay for the sins of their fathers.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:50 pm |
  3. Santosh Krishnan

    America is going through changes that aren't unfamiliar to those who come from India. As much as it may not seem so, once upon a time, India, too, had a black and white issue. The remnants of those issues last till today, in the form of the caste system, and the clear distinction in the complexion of Indians. I am Indian – I am mixed – I am brown. But it didn't start that way centuries ago.

    In my society in India, my family is significantly lighter complexioned than everyone else. However, Indian society has come to a point where on a day to day basis, everyone is as they are – Indian – not back or white. On occasion, complexion does come up in discussion, and it's usually from genuine curiosity. Routinely in South India, from where my family hails, my mom, brothers or I get asked if we're from Afghanistan or Kashmir, due to our features and complexion. It leads to good conversation, and everyone learns a lot more about their fellow Indians.

    America today is dealing with the kids of mixed race marriages – who are neither white nor black – but brown. These brown kids are no different from me or like many other Indians, only, are from a much more recent mixture, and they're American.

    I theorize that in 500 years or sooner, America, in black and white, will be far more brown like India than you can imagine, with far more beautiful people all around. I look forward to such an age.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:50 pm |
  4. JT

    Ben,

    I think we can not assume that Grace has not been a victim of racism in her lifetime just because of her status. Racism and racist thoughts and ideology still exist in all walks of life. We forgot that the wealthy people of yesterday created the idea of race in America. They still thrive on the fears and ideals of it today.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:50 pm |
  5. Donald

    I am Gray!!! It is interesting when people state that you should pick one or the other. But too much in this society it is chosen for you. You should determine what is best for you and how you feel about something, not let others tell you.

    When I was in elementary school I was filling out a form for a state test that asked for me to pick a “Race.” At the time the choices were Black, White, Asian, and Hispanic and stated to “Pick One.” There was no “other.” I asked the person conducting the test if I could pick two boxes, because I was half black and half white. She innocently suggested that I pick one, so I asked her “OK, should I pick my father over my mother or vice versa?” She smiled and stated your right pick two. For a long time (I am 40 now) I have referred to myself as Gray (Black & White mixed). I am proud of my Black Father and White Mother and the sacrafices they both made to raise my brother & I.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:50 pm |
  6. Mike

    I think all of you missed the point! That special was intended for Ghetto America. Just because ur bi-racial, it doesnt make you special. And this is coming from a biracial guy. I thought the letter was ridic. People should find better things to do with their time. Cheers.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:49 pm |
  7. TSD, Houston, TX

    I adore the sentiment, but, unfortunately, in our world today you are asked which race you are. It's on applications for jobs, college, etc.

    Most people have a little of something else in them. I choose to describe myself as black because that's what people have seen me as my whole life. Even though I have some white and native american blood in me (like the misceginated culture we live in).

    Historically, society has always defined a person who had a drop of black in them as a black person. That's why there are two worlds. This is the way it has been for years and just over the last 2 decades has tried to change that.

    Bi-racial children should accept their heritages. That means that they need to accept the kinky hair that they have. Or the natural tan. But, unfortunately, society puts you in category's, so pick one.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:49 pm |
  8. Gary

    Grace,
    Thanks for having the knowledge and courage for just even writing the blog.
    America has a ways to go before we are "One" nation under God, but we have made some progress. I think everyone needs to just stop, listen to each other to try and better understand one another. Take time to strike up a conversation with someone of the opposite race or a bi-racial person and actually ask them what it is like to be white, black, hispanic or mixed. EDUCATION of each other is key.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:49 pm |
  9. Gretchen

    To Cheryl:
    I really enjoyed reading your post, I feel where you are coming from. I think it sad that a teacher "told" him he was African american because that is for him to decide what he chooses to be classified as. It is sad that you are trying to explain to your son (as a white mother) what it means to be black and I think this problem is rampant in our communities where the male isn't there enough. Continue to be the mother you are and show him both sides of the spectrum.

    On another note- I'm not biracial, but I can only imagine how it must feel for some that find it hard to identify with one race or another.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:48 pm |
  10. gary

    I think it is ridiculous that this girl has such an opinion,according to her the world will be nothing but a bunch of muts and that is insane.I personally would like to see all races succeed with out having to be inter-racial.I do not want my great great grandchildren to be mutts,but Americans.white.black or other,but Americans first.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:48 pm |
  11. Evelyn

    If that letter had come from a regular bi-racial girl living down the street from me, it may have been more credible.

    Sorry Grace, no disrespect intented....but it really is a DIFFERENT WORLD you live in.

    That segment on inter-racial relations represented the norm. You may be the exception to that norm... I'm sure we can all come up with one or two exceptions to any kind of norm. That doesnt mean it has to be part of the show...

    If that were the case, Soledad could have also had a segment entitled, 'the former skinhead who fell in love and married a black lady"..... Now THAT would have been really interesting.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:48 pm |
  12. J

    We're all mixed genetically (except for a few small groups on isolated islands). It's just that some of us know the details better than others.

    Our cultural associations must be personal decisions – there is no truly logical way to categorize people.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:48 pm |
  13. Pandora

    Regardless of how mixed children feel..if you have one drop of black blood then you are considered black period! Get over it..it's not that serious!!!

    July 25, 2008 at 1:48 pm |
  14. John

    Impressive commentary for 16 years of age. Outstanding. Unfortunately, what it actually represents is not racially relevant. The intelligence and self-worth projected in this is a reflection of healthy, hard working parents and a likely priviledged upbringing. Which I'm very happy for you.

    The psychological health and economic viability of any given individual or group of persons is what determines one's acheivements in life. Not race, not "culture" (unless it's one that values education, hard work and reason).

    If a child is born into either an unhealthy or unprepared household of poverty (or both), then the only place to look is to for answers is the childbearer's narcissistic needs to "have a child". This perpetuates more "poverty" just so they can "feel" good about themselves, yet turn to friends/neighbors (taxpayers) for their existence.

    Grace is a monument to Ms. Whitfield and her husband's moral and ethical values....yet tshe is the extreme exception – rather than what should be the rule.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:47 pm |
  15. Eddi

    If only Obama considered himself "both" instead of black, white America might feel like he would represent us all.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:47 pm |
  16. Donna, Bremerton, WA

    "Geri July 25th, 2008 8:59 am ET

    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."

    Geri, you are wrong. The program was about what it means to "Be Black in America" and those affected by it. It is not "all about (the collective) you."

    Those who are having issues need to take steps to improve their self-esteem and their children's too and stop letting other people define who you are, this includes the so-called "popular" entertainment industry and take corrective measures. Start learning how to edify yourselves.

    I can emphasize with Grace, being a true hyphenated American (my mother is English and my father is American) who is a Military/Civil service Brat. In the United States, I proudly call myself a Air Force Brat and when I go to England, I am a Mersey Girl. I am also a Third Culture Kid, having lived in a foreign country for two years in the mid-sixties.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:47 pm |
  17. bill

    I think the best part of this is the fact that we are seeing such thoughtful and sophisticated commentary from a 16 year old. Not knocking young folks at all, I'm just pretty sure I didn't have my act together as well when I was Grace's age!

    As a Republican, my support for Obama is first and foremost based on my firm belief that he's the best person for the job in terms of talent and judgment, but the fact that he is a personification of the potential for America doesn't hurt one bit. Not to put too much on his shoulders, but it young people here and across the world see him as proof that "yes, they can", I don't think you can overstate the importance of that fact.

    Let's face it, there's a lot of symbolic import in the position of President of the US. Reagan was good for the US in the sense that he made folks feel like it was ok to be proud again, and hopeful. Obama, to borrow from Grace's generation, is taking it to the next level. Sigh, old white dudes should not try to be hip.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:47 pm |
  18. Lynn Milwaukee

    Good job, Grace. I wholeheartedly agree with your message.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:47 pm |
  19. Michelle Dedeo

    Bravo!!

    July 25, 2008 at 1:47 pm |
  20. Michael K

    It only needs to start with one person. Thank goodness she is 16 and has many years ahead of her. Her mother should be proud, I know I would be.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:47 pm |
  21. Joe

    First thing is the Blacks should stop addressing themself as Black or African Americans. The Whites never say White American. Is either you are an American or not. Once you are born in the states then you are an American.

    Been born in a biracial relationship is not a course. We are all human being and we should see one another as having red blood in us.

    We keep bringing divisions when our ideas are still as in 40's. We should teach our kids about equality and our leaders have got lot of contributions to make.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:46 pm |
  22. Julia Brown

    I am 51. I am neither black nor white. I am mixed. I am a woman and I identify more with that then anything. My children are mixed. My ex wants them to know they ARE BLACK. He drills it into them like it is a curse. We are mixed. Too dark for white and too white for black. Neither accepting us. We are our own people. We need to accept ourselves and stop worrying about "fitting in" with a racial group. It is like not being enough Italian, not chinese enough, not enough jewish. My grandfather was a wonderful man born in 1901. He was mixed, black, Indian and white. He simply told us to be proud of ourselves and never do anything to bring shame. Ironically, he had bright blue eyes. Do you know how many "white" people will say today in 2008, black people can't have blue eyes? They are mixed but they are not black because the eyes are bright blue, that is a white characteristic. I have a child with each color of eye: 1 green, 1 blue, 1 brown and the grandkids have hazel.
    Accept who you are. I AM A PERSON. I AM ME. I accept me and that is it. I am happy with me. No one will go before me to show me the way. It is a road I must carve out for myself. Obama will not change my life. Bush will not change my life. If I need change, I have to do it myself. The "community" can't do that for me. People need to stop worrying about race and worry about fixing themselves. Put down the guns and stop the anger. One person stopping their anger and stopping violence in themselves can stop the need for "anger control" that does not work. Accept yourself and learn to be happy with yourself.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:46 pm |
  23. Victoria

    Thank you for writing and posting this intelligent blog.

    CNN needs to do a Biracial in America report. Seriously!

    July 25, 2008 at 1:46 pm |
  24. Stephanie

    Amazingly well-said. As a parent of an almost 16 year-old, I am very impressed!

    It would be my hope that one day we would take pride in being Americans...period. Not 'hyphenated' Americans, just Americans. I am not a 'Scottish-American' just because in my family my great-great-grandfather came from there, nor am I a 'Greek-American' because my great-grandfather came from there.

    It's the 'hyphens' that divide us. We are Americans – we should continue to work through our difficulties, continue to focus on our similarities, take pride in our heritages but more importantly, take pride in being Americans!

    July 25, 2008 at 1:46 pm |
  25. Chaiah

    I am mother-in-law to my multiracial son-in-law (black, white, native american) and I applaud what Grace said, and in an ideal world I agree with it 100%. Unfortunately, society makes those of mix race choose. It is sad. It is unfair. It is wrong. A person should be able to identify themselves and not have society suppose it has any right in placing that identity upon them. My son-in-law has chosen the more "white" road. I hate even typing that.. We had a discussion a year or so ago about his having to make that choice. His sister has chosen the more "black" road. They both are absolutely wonderful, loving, incredibly talented and intelligent people. They both are looked down upon by their respective white and black relatives (not their parents as their parents are terrific people).

    Barack Obama, Grace is right, is such a beacon for children/adults of mixed race. it is okay to embrace it all...

    I hope that in the not too distant future I have grandchildren. They will love who they are and know that they are very blessed to have so much richness in their heritage. I hope that this world stops making people choose sides and just lets them be who they are, period.

    Grace, your parents have raised a very wise young woman and are, I am sure, very, very proud of you. This white woman celebrates you! You go girl!

    July 25, 2008 at 1:46 pm |
  26. Frank

    Damn Straight! I am half-Mexican and half-white. I identify with both. When I see government forms that want me to choose one, I write in American.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:46 pm |
  27. Katie Hall

    Grace, what an amazing statement. You are obviously a very smart, observant, and thoughtful young woman. When I kept hearing the press, my in-laws, and others call Obama 'BLACk', I kept thinking- hmm. He is just as much WHITE as he is BLACK. Why are we calling him 'the first african american presumptive nominee'? Why was he called the 'First african-american president of the harvard law review'? I think the best point you made in your statement above is that bi-racial people often try to identify with one race or another to make those around them more comfortable- and that's a shame. Like you, I hope that we can make this country a place where i am not a 'white girl' and you are not a 'black, white, or bi-racial girl'- but just a GIRL. I don't want or need any other qualifiers.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:46 pm |
  28. Kim

    I am so tired of the excuse that "Society" will do this, and do that. Who is Society? Isn't that all of us? "Society" only does those unfair things because we as individuals allow it, and just go along with the crowd we call "Society."

    July 25, 2008 at 1:46 pm |
  29. Sara

    Grace, I loved your thoughts. I definitely agree with you that people like you and me (white, native american, black, ??) and Senator Obama are going to become more and more common in the future. If our culture (not just black or white culture, but US culture in general) can ever grasp the idea the mixed race people can't be squeezed into one category or another, maybe it will also finally comprehend just how artificial those categories are to begin with.

    We've let race define us for so long, it seems we don't even know how to understand ourselves or others without using the lens of race. I guess the reason some people get so upset over mixed-race individuals is because they can't get a clear picture of who we are through that lens. They have to step away from that point of view, even if only for a moment, and I think the vision they see then is too new and frightening for them to accept yet.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:46 pm |
  30. T-Bone

    BRAVO!
    Race should not ever be an excuse to fail, do harm or a reason to discriminate - in any way. Those who want to perpetuate the motto "it's a black thing, so we'll say what we want" only perpetuate segregation.
    Good for this writer for speaking up!

    July 25, 2008 at 1:46 pm |
  31. Robert

    Geri
    you remind me of a guy I knew, he wouldn't let anyone forget for a second that he was different, but always wondered why he was treated differently. You can't have your cake and eat it too. As long as you feel like you're not a member of a group, how can you expect others to respond any differently?

    July 25, 2008 at 1:45 pm |
  32. Kelly

    As a mother of a bi-racial young lady, I am SO proud of you Grace. You're message was beautifully spoken and important! While I am a single mother with minimal involvement from her father, I have raised my daughter to embrace the many things that make her who she is. When she was younger, she would ask if she were black or white. I would simply reply, both. I wish more of the parent's in this situation would do so. The sooner the children can come to terms with and embrace all that embodies them, the better off this country will be.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:45 pm |
  33. Mike

    I recently had DNA testing performed and it came back that I had African Ancestry. I'm white but one of my great-great-grandmothers was said to be Black Dutch which is a term used by non-whites to allow them to vote and own land. Am I white or am I black. I say neither. In fact I use the term afro-european on forms now. One writer above said it quite well about stopping catagorizing by race. It only divides us not bringing us together.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:45 pm |
  34. ClaireNYC

    The only reason that mixed black and white folks in America are required to identify themselves as black is due to the historical "one-drop rule" in the US. The Dred Scott decision, which legalized Jim Crow, is a good example of this.

    That "rule" has had a significant cultural impact. Most other countries are not that stringent, except of course for South Africa under apartheid, where everyone had to be classified as something in order to assign/deny rights. (No coincidence there.) Slavery, of course, is the American elephant in the room–if slaveowners could not acknowledge the children they bred with slaves (and make no mistake, anyone who is offended by that last verb, many owners did that specifically for breeding purposes), then they could not be "biracial": they were black; they were property, they were 3/5 of a person. Period. If you want to enforce Jim Crow or apartheid efficiently (please note I am being sarcastic here!), no one can be allowed to cross lines or ask for special treatment; the system would break down and oppression would end.

    If there is a movement towards multiracialism and education about how EVERYONE in the world is of mixed heritage in some way (even if it's just Irish-Italian or Catholic-Protestant), then there will be no need for rigid classifications for those of us to who do not fit into "little boxes". At the end of the day, we are indviduals; we are not made out of ticky-tacky and we do not come out all the same. (Thanks, Malvina Reynolds!)

    July 25, 2008 at 1:45 pm |
  35. Michael, Chapel Hill

    I belong to another race by categorization, but I always belong to the race of "Uman beings." If we fall prey for prejdiced leaders, business men, artists, etc..., we will promote hate and discrimination. Anyway, I belong to the "Human race!"

    July 25, 2008 at 1:45 pm |
  36. Tom

    Well said Grace! I hope that one day all Americans can see themselves as Americans with no wedges in place between ethnic or racial groups.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:45 pm |
  37. john

    Good for you, grace! I'm also multi-racial and am tired of people trying to catagorize me as black or white. Whenever anyone asks me – I just tell them I'm American, and think we should all look at ourselves as Americans, no matter what the skin color. I grew up in this country, and it is my ethnicity, just like a person who has Mayan and Spanish Blood is a Mexican.

    It's time we replaced our outdated views of race relations. Viewing mixed people or anyone with one drop of african blood as "black" was based on the outdated laws of slaveholders and segregationists. Continuing to think that way denies us of our ability to take pride in all our ancestors.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:45 pm |
  38. donna

    Excellent article. There is only one race: The human race! May God bless us all.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:45 pm |
  39. francesca hampton

    Well said by both mother and daughter ! I applaud LYNN for a job well done instilling pride and self confidence in her 16 yr old daughter. She is wise beyond her age.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:45 pm |
  40. Ronald

    i hate segments like this. As a race we have wanted to be treated equal, but this just sets us back. You know what its like to be black in america? The same as being mexican, chinesse, or even white. This stuff bugs me.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:44 pm |
  41. AB- South Carolina

    I greatly appreciate the intelligence that you have shown, Grace. It is wonderful to see that at 16 you have such insight. I agree that mixed raced children, should be taught to appreciate their cultures and ethnicity. However, I also believe that a child that has a black parent should be taught about how others in the world view them. I don't believe that you have to explain to a child about the racism that they could possibility experience because of the color of their skin. While every mixed race child should accept, identify, and know their heritage, one also has to know that others will see you for what they want to see you as and you have to know that people are not as open about race as you would think.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:44 pm |
  42. msindiePA

    What a wonderful outlook!! There will always be those who are prejudiced against various ethnicities (mixed or otherwise) and genders. Again, hearkening back to MLK, I judge people by their actions, by how they treat and guide their children, by how they show empathy for their fellow man and by how they take the initiative to make their own lives better and more productive.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:44 pm |
  43. Serena

    I fully agree with Ms. Gibson's comments. What makes me angry is why in the country, those who are bi-racial are forced to chose. I know many people who are proudly Irish-Italian, French-Russian, Agentinian-Bulgarian and they never chose which one they are. They come from two different cultures and heritages and are proud of both.
    The racial hypocrasy of this country is overwhleming and only with people like Ms. Gibson can we work to end it.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:44 pm |
  44. Michael, Chapel Hill

    I belong to another race by categorization, but I always belong to the race of "Uman being." If we fall prey for prejdiced leaders, business men, artists, etc..., we will promote hate and discrimination. Anyway, I belong to the "Human race!"

    July 25, 2008 at 1:44 pm |
  45. pj

    Amanda, I couldn't agree with you more! The negative comment by Geri earlier definitely shows that people are STILL missing the point of UNITY daily! Grace IS Black in America and ALSO White in America, so she has every right to watch a program that has something to do with one of her two heritages.

    Grace, keep those positive, constructive thoughts out there! We need more people like you out there, especially in Washington, D.C.!

    July 25, 2008 at 1:44 pm |
  46. LP

    Beautifully written, beautifully stated. Thank you for sharing this.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:44 pm |
  47. carol_okc

    Lest we forget – it wasn't that long ago that 'biracial' or similar terms included anyone with a 'mixed' heritage – many of society's adjustments to those people, over time, should apply here. The difference, as noted any number of times, is the perceived need to identify with/as one heritage or another.

    My 'baby' brother is Japanese-American, and he joined our family when he was 9 weeks old, not all that long after the end of WWII. The animosity from some family members, let alone some friends,was heartbreaking. This was a baby, for heaven's sake, and he was (and is) my brother! Yet these people harbored anger and even hate for this infant because of some of his genes!

    We are so slow to learn, so slow to adapt.. but Larry grew to manhood as a PERSON, and now his sons and first grandson are following the same path – aware of but not dominated by their genetic diversity.

    We can only hope that with time, all children blessed with that far healthier and diverse gene pool will recognize it as the gift it is: quite possibly the single most important contributor to our adaptability as a species.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:44 pm |
  48. J E

    I've believed for years that we need to stop pushing people into categories; at the same time, people should be plenty ready to put themselves into the category they feel they fit best.
    It's very difficult for some people. My daughter's two best friends were African American, but had been adopted by a white couple. They had a hard time deciding who they were. Both girls have adjusted over the years & have become comfortable with themselves.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:44 pm |
  49. Will

    I am mixed (black father & white mother happily married 30+ years). My parents never forced me to identify nor did they care what color my friends were and we attended a church that was pretty balanced racially. I have always corrected people when I have been referred to as being one or the other letting them know I am bi-racial. Despite my caramel complexion I am constantly told that I am more white than black because I speak and dress proper. It offends me to hear that because that's still sterotyping however I consider my style to be that of my own. I am a leader not a follower. I don't look down on blacks or whites but I do look down on the division that exists between them and have always considered my race to be a symbol of unity. I love that the bi-racial population is increasing and hope that some day it can help mend the problems that have plagued america's past.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:44 pm |
  50. Douglas

    To Wil, who say Black this and Black that divides us...

    Please remember that this division was forced on Blacks in America and not the other way around.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:44 pm |
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