August 9th, 2008
03:46 PM ET

I am neither black nor white. I'm both

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

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

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

Lynn Whitfield

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

I saw an activist being born.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Well said, Grace. Your words speak of a maturity beyond your young years and you speak volumes by your words!! Barack Obama has always disappointed me by saying that he is a Black man instead of a Blended or Biracial man. I was hoping that he would be a role model by saying that he was blended instead of black all the time. He has brought out his white heritage, but speaks about it very little unless race is brought up. He needs to admit that he is "Blended" , not just "Black" more often. I have a blended nephew who has been struggling with his identiy and he has had a very difficult time with it. Father was French and Jamacian and mother is Irish/mix. To me he is a handsome young man. But he said the other day that even Obama does not classify himself as blended, he identifies himself as Black, so what kind of role model is he for mixed children when he cannot but rarely admit he has a white mother? Especially when these children don't want to be classified as just one side?

    I hope we all come to see the light on this issue.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:59 pm |
  2. Joanne

    Right on! I am Hispanic, which means European, Mediterranian, and native South American Indian. My son is half black and half "brown", so he is multi-cultural. You are right about how others feel they need to place biracial or multi-cultural children in a box. People would do that to me, saying that I was just Hispanic, not understanding I was also white. We cannot deny children the pride in each race/culture.

    It's not like centuries ago where biracial white and black children were told they weren't white and they were a reminder of injustice against black women. We need to teach our children how to be part of each of their cultures. This is not only the obligation of parents, but of society. I would be hurt if my son only identifies with being black because there is so much more to him than just one beautiful culture.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:58 pm |
  3. K Wilson

    No, TESAP of Savannah, WE are Society, and change can start with those of us who see PEOPLE, not color. It's time we stopped sitting by and letting "Society" dictate our thoughts, time we took charge of our own views, and realized that this is a very small planet and we are ALL valuable, and none of us should be categorized by colour, it's irrelevant. Well done, Grace, you are indeed a melting pot, and beautiful inside and out!

    July 25, 2008 at 1:58 pm |
  4. Sandra Rios

    What about children of a white parent and a hispanic parent, or a white parent and an asian parent, a black parent and a hispantic parent, an asian parent and a black parent, a middle-eastern parent and a white parent? And I can go on and on. I think all the parsing of a person into this race or that race is fatuous. It is rediculous to be thinking to your self, "Look at Jane. Her mother is a white hick from Florida, and her father is a dark-skinned Hawaiian. Which makes Jane half white and half Hawaiian." I prefer to think, "Look at Jane. What a beautiful young woman. She has a gorgious smile and beautiful shinny brown hair and is a lot of fun to be with because she is witty and intelligent."

    We can choose how we want to approach people. Do we want the main factor in our interaction with them to be based on their racial heritage, or on who they are. Unfortunatelyy, who they are will be a product of race to the extent that you can not go beyond their race when you interact with them.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:58 pm |
  5. Chris

    I agree and applaude her comments. I am a mixed race man and have been rasied to be proud of both my heritages.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:57 pm |
  6. April

    As a parent of two beautiful and wonderfully unique multiracial children, I'm often taken aback by the comments of others. My older son has a darker complexion and my younger son is more fair. Yes, they have the same mother and father. This is basic genetics, and it should not be surprising to anyone who paid at least a little attention in middle school science class. Yet the ignorant questions and remarks about their parentage persist. I think it is high time for an addendum or two on this topic in our etiquette books.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:57 pm |
  7. Nicole

    Thank you Carol for your story. As a white woman pregnant with my first child, fathered by a black man, he and I have already had many conversations on once he's born, my side of the family will struggle with acknowldging his darker skin, his family will struggle with his skin being too light (although we won't know that until he arrives) and we still come back to agreeing that we will give him love and teach him how lucky he is to be him....no matter how light or dark he may be!

    July 25, 2008 at 1:57 pm |
  8. Michelle

    As a totally white-bread ga-ma to four absolutely beautiful multi-racial girls, African-American, Caucasian, Korean, Thai, Indonesian, Chinese, Vietnamese, and as I high school teacher, I can only applaud the illumination, self-assuredness, and maturity of sixteen-year-old Grace Gibson. I would LOVE to have you as a student. Don't let anyone tell you that "society will categorize you anyway." I don't think you would allow that. I was raised in a household filled with bigotry and mean-spiritedness. It takes a lot of stamina to overcome how one is brought up. But it requires far less energy to accept people for who they are. Every day that I walk into a classroom, I see people like Grace. If you want to know why anyone would be a teacher, Grace is a prime example. The rewards I receive as a teacher far outweigh the speedbumps of the job. I can't wait for the day when all four of my babies play together on the beach, a mini United Nations building sand castles and chasing waves. That is a perfect world.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:57 pm |
  9. NadineBee

    To Geri at 10:47 am ET: Get over it!! You are one angry person. What "daily struggle" are you speaking of? The struggle brought on by a lack of education? (12 years are free here in the US) Or is it the struggle of being untrained, and living in a poor neighborhood (choices made not to pursue higher education)? Do tell, what struggle?? I am Jamaican of a medium-dark almond color, and I will admit that I DO NOT have a daily struggle being me. I get grief from Black Americans for speaking proper English "talking like a white girl" though.

    You obviously failed to re-read Ms. Whitfield's very bright daughter's piece. Or you may simply have issues with her as a fair skinned "Black" girl. Your very terse comment reaveals a whole lot!!

    July 25, 2008 at 1:57 pm |
  10. Canice G.

    I am not black (at least I don't believe I am), but I do relate to this topic. Recently I had to fill out a form for a gov't job; It asked if I was White, with no Hispanic origin, Asian with no Hispanic origin or hispanic. My mother is half Mexican and half Chinese, my father is White. As I sat and pondered the questions, I then notice "Please mark one".... So, I ended up marking Native American, I did this simply because there was no space marked "other" and I was born in America, so I figured I was a native. Nike shoes come in all kinds of colors and styles, and are still called Nikes..... As Americans, we come in all kinds of sizes and colors, why can't we just be Americans?

    July 25, 2008 at 1:57 pm |
  11. KAB


    I have been refused entrance in a store at closing time. I have been pulled over by state troopers. I have also been removed from my "date's" car and was questioned if I were being held against my will- (we were both white) I have been ignored at bars, I have gotten lousy service at restaurants, my white husband had his head smashed against a brick wall by a cop (for nor reason) He was even stopped while trying to pick up his kids from his first marriage, because he didn't look like he belonged in the neighborhood. He had a ten year old car, looked out of place with all the beemers and jaguars. The cops followed him and asked his ex-wife for her id to make sure she really lived there. These things happen to everybody. There are stupid people out there. Sometimes it is racial, sometimes it is just stupidity.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:56 pm |
  12. Michael

    Those who would take exception to what this young woman has so eloquently stated should turn their own lens inward and begin to deal with their racial prejudices and stereotypes.

    The world continues to move forward. Time to get on the bus and leave the past where it belongs, in the grave.

    Welcome to the human race.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:56 pm |
  13. Joan

    Grace is naive....When people see her they see either a young black woman, maybe spanish or maybe some other minority but they don't see her as white. I agree with what Raymond wrote, lighter skinned people have an easier time being accepted by whites.

    Grace seems very intelligent but lets face it, the only challenge she has had to face is what to wear the morning. Let's hear from a 16 year who comes from a middle class or lower middle class family and who attends a public school and lives in the real world.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:56 pm |
  14. Jim Samples

    Yes TESOP, Society does indeed put people into catagories. But please do not forget that "you too" are part of that society, and that "you too" put people into catagories. So when you make the accusation that "society" does this – do not infer that it means "other people" (as though you are pointing your finger outward).

    July 25, 2008 at 1:55 pm |
  15. Robert

    To read this young woman's post, you would think that biracial is some new ethnic group. African Americans come in a wide variety of hues so biracial has been with us for quite some time. However, cultural norms tended force a choice.

    The only thing that is relatively new, is the willingness of an increasing number of people to identify themselves as biracial. I strongly suspect that most people identifying themselves as biracial didn't come of age in the turbulent 1960s where there was a serious attempt to have African Americans of all hues see themselves as one people. This biracial classification will be a setback to those efforts.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:55 pm |
  16. JIM from CT

    My wife and I adopted our Daughter as an infant. She is biracial(tan in color), and as she grewup(she is now 12 years old) she would always say that she is white, not black.

    I remember telling her "you're both" and more importantly, "you are a child of God who made you the way you are, "special" in his eyes and in ours."

    Society may place her in a category, who hasn't been placed by Society? But my wife and I never have and never will.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:55 pm |
  17. Gigi S.

    Grace, thank you for your wise words, pride and common sense. I am a proud woman who has mixed racial and religious background; I represent many cultures and stories in one body. One of my friends jokingly tells me that I have Mutli-Nationality Syndrome, which truly defines my blended life. We are special and unique humans, and for that I am eternally grateful.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:55 pm |
  18. John

    Congratulations Gerri! You are the winner of the "Closed Minded Thinker" award! Winning by a landslide. The whole Black in America piece was to expose ALL people to what its like being a black person today. Its especially important for someone of a mixed background, so they can learn more about a large part of who they are, and what cultures they come from. You totally missed the point... very sad. Hopefully you don't have many other forums to post your ignorance on.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:55 pm |
  19. Astrid S.

    At a ladies' lunch, I sat next to a well-known writer of "mixed" parentage. This woman identifies only with her Black heritage; refers to herself as a Black person, writes only about Black issues, and means them only for her Black readers (her words). I am of Scandinavian descent, blond, blue-eyed, with extremely pale skin (I never go out in the sun). Yet as our arms rested next to each other on the table, I noticed that this woman had paler skin than me! I commented on that and asked why she never wrote or spoke of her White parentage. She ignored the question.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:55 pm |
  20. Sita

    I love the article, my husband was married to a white woman, has two beautiful children. We are all Gods children and American.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:55 pm |
  21. Al in Dallas

    Look out world, this young lady has it put together! Can we vote for her yet? Seriously, the depth in which she explored her feelings is highly unusual for such a young age. Her mother should be rightfully very proud!

    July 25, 2008 at 1:55 pm |
  22. Leigh

    This young lady says it perfectly! My daughter is a 15-yr-old biracial young woman, and had some of these same comments after watching the segment. She proudly does not fit in any one "box" and is comfortable in her own skin, just as Grace says! Although people do try to "label" others as one race, it really comes down to the individual's mindset, and as Grace said- you CAN be both black and white.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:55 pm |
  23. Adam

    Brilliantly stated. Written by a 16-year old with more eloquence and insight than is usually found in writers twice her age. I'm proud to share a country with her.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:55 pm |
  24. Detroit Mom

    Grace...first of all you are a beautiful and brilliant young lady. As the mother of a biracial daughter, I echo your thoughts about identification. My daughter is 21 and was never subjected to prejudice because of her heritage. However, over time it seems she has outwardly adopted African American as her racial identity even though her father is of German descent; I think she chose a race because it simplifies her life and that's how other people see her. But in her heart I know she embraces both backgrounds. She attends college on the East Coast and recently said due to her color and hair texture most Spanish speaking people think she is Latina and immediately speak to her in Spanish. Everything about our world is becoming global and fused, so it's interesting that people still want to impose a specific heritage on a person solely based on his or her outward appearance. Senator Obama made an interesting observation, according to a newspaper I read. He said, "I am biracial, but when I try to flag a taxicab the driver sees black."

    July 25, 2008 at 1:55 pm |
  25. jack,

    wow a celebrity i bet she has it rough ...
    not...the only color i see is green.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:54 pm |
  26. Charles

    I applaud her statements. The ideal of not choosing a side is great, but like TD Jakes said in the program, we have to face reality. The reality is in a racist society it the difference in your physical makeup is judged not your racial makeup. If your skin is brown, if you have features in common with black people you are black in the eyes of some in this society and vice versa. Racism is not personal, it is full of ill feelings, uneducated prejudices, and unbiased ideas about a group of people based on how the other group looks and racism goes both ways. I have seen racist people accept someone that goes against their distorted idea of a norm for a group but still shun the entire group as bad as a whole. I can say I am not black because my great-grandmother was Native American, my great great-great-grandmother was white, my great-great-great-great-grandfather was a white slave owner, but people wouldn’t hear a word I say and continue to see my black skin. It's not about choosing sides. If you look black, you can't wake up tomorrow and be looked upon as neutral. Even if you don't claim a race (by the way black is not a race), you are still subject to some of the issues that face the group society identifies you with. You could look like what some people may think is a Muslim and be labeled a Muslim. Society loves labeling and is having a hard time trying to plug mixed people into one group and I enjoy watching them struggle with it because it shouldn’t be an issue. So I say continue to not choose sides, but know that if society labels you, nothing you say can change it. I read a lot of posts that sound good, noble, and great, but what action will change the hearts and minds of society at large. That is the discussion I would like to see in a neutral and non-biased forum – the show should be “A Divided America”. It has probably been done. At any rate, how do we inflict a positive change on ideas of race, gender, religion, sexual orientation and any other line that divides us? Is it possible? If it is possible how do we do it?

    July 25, 2008 at 1:54 pm |
  27. Kate

    Society categorizes all of us. Too dark, too short, too fat, too skinny, too butch, too femm. Very few of us meet the ideal that society dictates. We can choose to embrace that ideal and break our hearts trying to emulate it, or we can step forward like this young lady and say I don't care what you think, this is who I am. Sadly society has worked really hard to stigmatize – if you are young, black and male you must be headed for a life of crime; young, black and female you are going to be an unwed mother/welfare queen. If you are bi-racial, you had better pick which side you want to be on.

    No one should ever have to "pass" for anything. Yet we as a society continue to uphold that piece of folklore. Society will not change until we as individuals change, speak out, accept and look past something so surface as skin color. I have been guilty of this, I probably will commit this sin again. It is hard to overcome a lifetime of cultural programming. Yet I see so much hope in this young woman, in many of the young people who were portrayed in this series. Be who you are, be the best you can be at it. The world will only be better for it.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:54 pm |
  28. Allison

    "What ARE you?" Us mixed-race kids are used to getting rude questions about our heritage. Not fitting neatly anywhere makes us comfortable everywhere and forces us to define ourselves rather than depending on already-constructed assumptions. We can't afford to be afraid of what we are not because that option is simply not available. Instead, we take strength from everything that we ARE.

    And soon, we'll have our first mixed-race president.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:54 pm |
  29. Tara

    What an interesting discussion! My children proudly identify themselves ethnically as Swedish, Scot, African, English, and a little bit of Italian. When they were very young, our family was beige, dark brown, and medium brown–no one was 'black' or 'white'. And yet, it is only in last two years that most forms–for school and everything else–have allowed them to accurately 'code' their background. And–despite efforts to keep them on 'neutral' ground–schools and other agencies are quick to identify them as 'African-American'. Both of my children go to a predominantly white, upper middle-class suburban high school where their friends routinely tell them how "white" they are–as if they should be something else. Fortunately, both are well-grounded, and find it somewhat ironic. And, both clearly understand that how society defines them has very little to do with how they define themselves...just like Grace.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:54 pm |
  30. Larry WI

    People can manipulate & justify bad things to good in their own minds, we see it every day. Look at the Homos, they call themselves gays. If what they are was not so bad why try to change the way the disease is perceived. Being a homo is nothing to be happy about. If it wasn't for this girls famous family things would be differant for her as well.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:54 pm |
  31. Tommie

    I think Grace's comments are wonderful and insightful. Having said that, we live in a world that defines who we are by race. Forms we need to fill out for school, surveys constantly asked our racial identity. I realize that more and more people are finding love in many different people, black, white, asian, etc. and their children are considered biracial by their families, but unfortunately not by the rest of the world. I'm proud to say we have several bi-racial children in our family and we are just as proud of them as the single race children. Maybe one day, race won't matter, but the character of the person.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:53 pm |
  32. Wendell

    I also believe Grace's comments are very good and true. I also agree with Marcia about blending. My heritage is hard to nail down, Irish, English, Dutch, German and American Indian, so for all practicable purpose I'm white. My Irish family name doesn't have anything to do with being Irish having been raised as American. All of my heritage came here before my documented family tree. My wife is Asian and we raised our daughters to be proud of both heritage and look at other for what's inside, not appearance. Both of our daughters suffered from some prejiduce for being "mixed" race when they were younger. The man our oldest daughter is marrying just happens to be black. He meets "dads" criteria of honest, hard-working and makes his own way relying on his ability, not any other issue. My Amer-Asian daughter was raised in a bi-cultural home mixing both Asian and American cultures to what worked for us. Her children will be raised with tri-cultural heritage (for lack of a better term). And they should be better for it learning more cultures and being of more cultures. Society is already blended, just no one wants to admit it and live like it. Why must we be of something.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:53 pm |
  33. Esse

    Someone should fix the typo in Ms. Whitfield's comment: "Blank in America" should be "Black in America"

    July 25, 2008 at 1:53 pm |
  34. Kree

    This commentary was well written and I believe all of Ms. Gibsons' points are valid. However, I have both slave and slave owner blood running through my vains. My mixed heritaged didn't come from some made up Hollywood love story (Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings). It was as simple as a white man taking advantage of female slaves. End of story. For those of us who happen to be older than 16 the hurt that arises from the knowledge of the atrocities committed againt relatives, the splintering of families (e.g. whole families owning half siblings who have no human or civil rights) is unbarable. My light skin and blond hair was not created out of love but human struggle and survival. My point is we have come a long way with respect to inter-racial relationships/marriages but not far enough. Love is love no matter what color you are but the pain from the history of slavery, the fight for civil rights (which wasn't long ago) is so great it's hard to move forward. I don't belive you should have to choose what race you are but clearly this country will make the choice for you.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:53 pm |
  35. dave

    While I applaud Grace's essay and agree that in an ideal world what she says should be the norm, I also believe I see where Geri is coming from in her comments. The fact remains that there are many challenges to being black in America today that bi-racial people may have to face as well. Those challenges and stories of people who have both succumbed to and succeeded against those challenges was what this series was all about.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:52 pm |
  36. Fernando F.

    wow! nothing to add! why doesn't she has a TV show to talk about this things? She could be the new Oprah. I'll tape her everyday. I think kids at school should have a new course: "Personality". Teach them to be different, to not follow the so called "leader of the pack". To be themselves. To ignore color stereotypes. To ignore stupid criticism (somebody is not going to like something about you at any given time), doesn't matter what you do).

    July 25, 2008 at 1:52 pm |
  37. Jose

    Well put. If only others would see it the same we probably wouldn't even be discussing it.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:52 pm |
  38. Stephanie Wallace

    I completely and wholeheartedly agree with Grace's passionate statement about being biracial in America (only 16 years old! Amazing!) As a fellow "blended" American, I can say that the only 'confusion' I ever felt growing up in the 70's and 80's was when other people felt the need to categorize me as either/or. My parents did a beautiful job in letting us know that we were whole people, not just 'parts' because of who we come from. Keep up the good work, and please, please please keep righting. I have never, in 33 years, read something that was so accurate in portraying what it is TRULY like to be 'mixed' in America!!!

    July 25, 2008 at 1:52 pm |
  39. Kara Medeiros

    What Grace has written is so beautiful and admirable. My fiance and I are pregnant with our first child- a son who will be Portuguese/white and black. We regularly discuss how we want him to be raised to never be ashamed of either race and to embrace the beauty in each, to always know his history and where both sides of his family have come from and what they've been through. He should not be looked down at or viewed as disadvantaged because he fits in the "other" category but he can enjoy the best of both worlds and be doubly proud to be a symbol of love which sees no color.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:52 pm |
  40. Emily Burgess

    BRAVA! I hope many people read the words of this well-spoken, self-aware young woman. The words of Miss Gibson could teach the leaders and the general public of our country a great deal about something that desperately needs to be learned.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:52 pm |
  41. GF, Los Angeles

    @ Geri that was the most inane comment I've ever read. Grace is bi-racial and because she's not choosing one side over the other but embracing both you are judging her as less than black? She is black and she is white – she's America. It's attitude like yours that continues to breed racism.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:52 pm |
  42. elynn

    I am so sick and tired of hearing about race! And what it is like for people who are not white to live and how hard it is. We as a nation need to get over this issue of race. We are american, this ignorance needs to stop not in certian communities but ALL. I dont' go around calling myself a german, hungarian american...so why do people have to ID with one or the other. Nobody should get special treatment or benefits because of the color of their skin NOBODY! As for you who say mixed races don't know what it is like to go through the daily "struggles" of being black...or being labeled as accting white or talking white i say bull! don't let yourself be brought down or pigoned into them...DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Get a better education, job etc. Just because someone gets an education, or SPEAKS PROPER ENGLISH does not make them less of their race...i applaud them for taking the initiaitve to be a better person and not have the woe is me attitude. You need to be the change you are looking for, otherwise you are just contributing to the stereotype.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:52 pm |
  43. Sarah

    Grace you are a breath of fresh air and a very well-spoken young lady. As the parent of 3 beautiful and successful biracial young men, may I say your opinion was refreshing and true to my own experience. Raise them with love and family and they will embrace the whole of their humanity and culture. No one should have to choose a culture just because the obvious shows on the outside.

    It would be very interesting to see a follow-up piece on CNN, with a full and fair representation of the story.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:52 pm |
  44. Erica, Atlanta

    Can anyone tell me were there any solutions to all of these "problems" that we faced in "our" community were presented? Don't you think that if we stop feeling sorry for ourselves and start progressing and moving forward and realize that no one owes us anything...they'll be doing these "specials" 40 years from now. When you accept the names that people call you..you'll start believeing them. Stop accepting them and move forward.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:52 pm |
  45. Patrice G. Chicago, IL.

    Grace Gibson,

    Kudos to you sister! But, the fact of the matter is society in & of itself is to blame for this misguided notion, just like, I hate that certain people of color are considered minority! What's up with that! & who thought of majority/minority anyway! SOCIETY!
    I'm glad to be living in a time that any man of color is running for President of the U.S. I thought I'd never live in all my 40-something yrs. to see this happen.
    One step for mankind!

    One Love,

    July 25, 2008 at 1:51 pm |
  46. lori

    There are many biracial children in this world and they should be proud of the content of their character and embrace whatever racial or ethnic backround they have.
    Its like a child who is italian and Irish. They are probably beautiful with brown eyes and blonde hair or just the opposite.

    Grace Gibson has the progressive and positive attitude that we all should be comfortable with and embrace.

    My niece is white and she grew up with many children in school , who were Hispanic and German, Jamaican and Irish , etc these children commonly called themselves mixed . The kids never had a second thought about it. To them is was ethnic backround , interesting for a moment but then on to playing and laughing. We should all take a clue from that simplicity.

    Grace is living up to her given name.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:51 pm |
  47. Linda Bailey

    Ms. Whittfield should be proud of this young lady. As a school teacher I wish more young people shared Ms. Gibson's ideas and passion.

    Keep up the great work!

    July 25, 2008 at 1:51 pm |
  48. Lynn

    As a blue-eyed blonde, I never personally felt the effects of racism until I had two Caucasion children - one with blue eyes and light skin and one with dark skin and eyes. Believe it or not, the darker-skinned child seemed to have to prove himself to people in a way the lighter-skinned child did not.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:51 pm |
  49. Nordon

    About time I read more people like me. People who are biracial, who thinks segregating us to one ethnicity is a ignorant step backwards.

    I am both Asian, and Caucasian.

    I'm not Asian-American, ethnic-American, I'm just an American.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:50 pm |
  50. Judy Holman

    Never judge a person by their color. Remember, we all bleed the same color so that makes us all equal.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:50 pm |
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