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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. Chaka

    Very stated! Young Whitfield and her thought process is the future of and for America. It's time to think forward and not back. Not saying that we should forget our past, but more so embrase our present and what the future entails. Everyone knows the saying, "Forgive yet not forget". Let's start practicing that today.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  2. Lynn

    Thank you Grace for all you said. It is the person, not their skin tone that should be our focus.

    My neice is biracial, but if I have to identify her, I say "That is my neice." Nothing else is important. My daughter and neice attended high school together and when some of the staff found out they were related, they were surprised, responding "I thought you were just good friends." Well, they were right, the girls are good friends AND they are cousins and had never done anything to hide their relationship. Then I would make the girls laugh by asking the other person "Can't you see the resemblance, they both have naturally curly hair."

    It is obvious Grace that you have parents who raised you with the best of values and priorities for yourself and to look at your fellow man. And with the blessing of the Lord, you truly live up to your name. Thank you.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  3. Rhea

    People like Geri and Williams are part of the problem... always NEGATIVE. Nothing is going to change when you live with anger. It doesn't matter what color you are. Anger is anger. Just because Grace writes well you think she has been pampered her whole life, that she hasn't "seen" the things you've seen. How in the world would you know if she has been called "Oreo" or whether she has been judged or not? Of course she's been judged, WE HAVE ALL BEEN JUDGED, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, Oreo...

    Your life is the way it is because it is what YOU made it. Not what someone else did to you. Stop blaming other people, stop living in the past and most importantly stop judging.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  4. Monica

    Honestly speaking, this conversation about being black in America is getting really boring. I don't know about you but the theme is repetitive. This conversation – an offshoot of the black in America is as well. Her idealism is inspiring but really...haven't we heard this before. Now, what would really interest me is a story of being White in America. How about it CNN? Mexican American?? Indian?? Asian??? Better yet, an in-depth look at why the later two are going back to their native country's and building there instead of staying here in America and building America. My last suggestion would be very telling of our society. Who is leaving and Why?? That would be more interesting than this. No matter what people might think – this story and others like it has been told frequently. Let's move on to other communities.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  5. jay

    I congratulate this young lady for not allowing herself to be "loaded-up" and held down by SOCIETY'S baggage. Not to be critical of CNN, but I found that this whole series projected blacks as weak and incapable, you know "poor, pitiful negros". The problems discussed not only impact blacks in america but all americans. Each of us, regardsless of race, has an ability to overcome the obstacles we face in life and the power to positively impact the world we live in. The whole concept of making generalizations about people based upon race/completion is often times inaccurate and most definitely "tired" and outdated!

    July 25, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  6. Tony

    I agree with Grace and other views. We are all Americans but racism is alive and well in this country. We all come from different walks of life. I think the racism wound has never been healed but covered up with a band aid. I'm proud to be Black, one should be proud to be White or Hispanic, Asian, or mixed. In real life, some discrimination is so obvious its shameful. You have to address the issues, correct the problems, be positive and focus on the positives. I have been told we make a big fuss over nothing, to quick to scream racism. I think some blacks try to make whites feel guilty for the past. That's totally wrong. Racism from any race is wrong.

    My brother and sister are mixed (black and white). We have different fathers. They are very light complex, can pass for white. I'm brown complex. Here's my story. We came from a poor family. We are all middle class now. We have never been in trouble with the law. We have obtained our bachelor and master degrees. In school, my brother would select white, he thought it was funny. One day, a white teacher told him that he was mixed and should select black. The same for my sister from a black teacher. The reason was that any black blood in you makes you black. This is not all people, just a few.

    When we go into stores together, we would seperate. I would be followed by store employees, but my brother and sister never had a problem when we were together. We are in our late 20s and early 30s. The housing market has major faults. My brother married a white person (who is nice and wonderful). She's a stay at home mom. My brother makes $75,000 yr. His credit score was in the low 600s. There were two major mortgage companies that we applied for during the same month for the same loan in 2003. I'm an engineer, makes $90,000. My wife (who is black) is an analyst makes $85,000. My credit score was 690. My wife was 800. We had no debt, no college loans, money in the bank. My brother and his wife received the loan months before i did. Me and my wife went through hell trying to secure the loan, we finally went through anothe company and file a complaint against those companies. At least the president of both companies offerred apologies to us. It was so many examples.

    Me and my wife both served in the military, contribute to society in a very positive way but my brother and sister faced much less discrimination because the color of there skin. Now, we all talk and laugh about those instances.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  7. Kelly

    Afro America is black and white. Within the community WE are a people who are biracial, multiracial, and if still possible, monoracial. The beautiful thing about African Americans is that we are ALL a people of many strands of blood from all over the world. Some of us just happen to have a white or yellow parent etc.

    Why are some singled out as being different and OTHER just because of the race of one parent within the African American community. This is the greater racism! You want to apply the one drop rule to the majority of African Americans–like white people of yesterday– but not yourselves. HOW IS THIS NOT RACISM!!!

    Propped up by liberals who have not taken the time to understand the various and handsomely diverse bloodlines within the African American community, you are praised for claiming all your blood while other African American are forced to deny their blood and told not to claim it simply because a parent is not white etc.

    Racism is Racism! This is just another example of how down low it can be within a ignorant politically correct atomosphere that has done more to encourage it rather than challenged it.

    Shame on you. Shame on CNN. Shame on Soladad O'Brian for NOT getting the story right about our shared biracial and multiracial blood making US ALL more the representative melting pot of this country.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:08 pm |
  8. kamaki

    Oprah asked Tiger: What race do you consider yourself to be?

    Tiger to Oprah: The Human Race

    July 25, 2008 at 2:07 pm |
  9. Charlotte Triggs

    Well said. I have three children who are all mixed race. They are ages 17, 21 and 22. They were raised in a very diverse community and have friends and family of many different races, cultures and religious backgrounds. There was no pressure on them to identify with any particular race and they feel proud that they can enjoy and participate in the culture of many races.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:07 pm |
  10. John

    What I don't understand about all of this is why the moniker of "African American" is used so much. Where the people that use that name for themselves and others born in Africa and moved to America?
    I am white, but have Irish roots, does that make me Irish American? If being called "black" is offensive to everyone, so is being called "white". It goes both ways everyone.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:07 pm |
  11. A Johnson

    All African-Americans are "mixed", our history as slaves dictates it. All black americans have white ancestry, and I imagine many white americans have black ancestry. I can point to the Indian and white heritage that my family has, but I have never thought that made me anything but black american. Which I am proud to be, with all the history that comes with it. Also, I respect the choices of others to call themselves whatever they like – so I wish Grace well and respect her right not to pick one or the other. What I do not respect is using her mother's fame to have her opinion published, rather than joining the discussion in comments, like everyone else.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:07 pm |
  12. Doc Holliday

    I consider myself a black male. I have dark brown beautiful skin. I do not personal date or have any interest in dating white women. I have a diverse ethnic and racial heritage, including white European through Rape and then again through incest. Some members of my family have chosen to separate themselves from the identity of "BLACK". The reality may well be that they have a different experience than I in America and on this planet because of their lighter complexion. If CNN does an episode on "MIXED or BLANK or YELLOW or RED in America" I will watch as intently as I have Black in America. I will say that if you are "lucky" enough to enter into "unrestricted race free agency" and choose the Race you want to belong then why would you choose to be BLACK. I know some who do but as we all can see from this response from Lynn Whitfield being black is a condition that can be cured with "a little WHITE you know what" or is something many of "US" can escape from. I would assert that the folks who identify themselves as mixed MIXED should find there voice from within the mixed community. There is little need to confuse the issue. The show was about being BLACK. I am BLACK and my reality is that of a BLACK man in America.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:07 pm |
  13. Kevin Smith

    As someone who has had the opportunity to meet and interact with Lynn Whitfield and am proud to have her has my homegirl from Louisiana, I am not surprise to read and appreciate this point of view her daughter, Grace. What's clear to me is the apple does not fall from the tree, so what if the apples are both red and green. They are still good fruit. Hats off to parents who teach, instill values, common sense and love in their household. We are not a dieing breed. Great job Grace!!!

    July 25, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  14. Elizabeth

    again, well said. As a Latina American (Puerto Rican decent) who has just given birth to a beautiful girl whose father is a black man IN AMERICA, but born in Haiti and raised in the great USA, I, too, feel too much stress is put on labeling people. My husband and I were just talking about the blogs spinning from Soledad's special. It is hard enough to FIND a great person to be your soul mate to begin with, much less putting restrictions on staying within your race. A great husband no matter what nationality is better than a husband of the same race who smokes, drinks and beats on you, or worse!!!
    I am a fan of Lynn Whitfield, and I am glad she has raised such an intelligent and well-rounded young lady. You go!!! Much success in your future days.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  15. Johnathan

    I am somewhat confused. Throughout history the cultures have merged even though it was through force, nevertheless, there have been mixed races since slavery and many Black Americans are products of the rapes and even the voluntary unions of various races so where is this new term "biracial" coming from. Now that it is accepted and is prevelant I guess it's ok to discuss it in the open forum.

    My wife's family is from Louisiana and many of her relatives could pass for white and they are eighty year plus in age so this concept of "biracial" is nothing new.

    Why don't we concentrate on the real issue " if you are not lilly white then we must have a discussion about the nationality of a particular group" in order to decide how we are to respect or disrespect that group. If doesn't matter if you are biracial, have 30% white blood or 100% Africian, the manner that you are treated is in the eyes of the beholder and that is the simply reality of it all.

    If I like you and accept you I will respect you and treat you accordially and If I don't accept you I will show it, so what does color have to do with it? Hatefred is the real enemy and until we deal with that and introduce a lost concept "love for one another" the whole discussion is irrelevant.

    By the way, don't forget the other old concept, "do unto others and you would have them do unto you", just something to think about!

    Johnathan

    July 25, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  16. Melanie

    I am a white middle aged woman married to a black man and I have mixed children. I always made it a point to write out on school papers "bi-racial" when asking race and i let my children know 100% they are mixed black and white, not one or the other. i tell them they are special because they are two races instead of just one. To talk to them about their race in a positvie light and not negative will only help boost their self-esteem and confidence that they will need in this hard world. when someone makes fun of them and it is usually a black child "informing" them that they are not completely black then i just let them know the child that made fun of them is the one with the problem, not them. there is nothing wrong with being bi-racial.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:06 pm |
  17. Renee Thomas

    All the hype, the build up the emails back and forth reminding one another to tune in to CNN's Black in America. Gathering our children by the television to watch what we thought would be an enlightening program on Black in America my husband and I were incredibly disappointed.

    Perhaps we've explored all of the negative nuances of being Black in America ad nausuem. If you're Black in America you already know the negatives. Nearly every Black family in America has the success stories and the failures within our circles. We know the stats, we understand the absentee father issues, we are familiar with the disproportionate numbers of our people rotting in jails.

    We are a remarkable, reslilient, beautiful, effervescent people. Our accomplishments to this society and our worth has not been applauded enough. Back in the 80's the Cosby show was such a phenom because it allowed America to see a side of Black people devoid of crippling poverty, crime and ignorance. The Cosby family was an exact replica of the majority of my black friends' upbringing.

    I want to see some time devoted to the goodness of our race, the magnitude of accomplishments obtained in the face of crushing negativity. The sounds of Black folk. Not the ignorance that has become some of Hip Hop now, but the Jazz, the Soul, the music that has enhanced America. I want to see more of our cultural influence on this world. The swagger of Black people that is unique to us. Our profound sense of fashion. The myriad shades of our beauty, and yes, we are fabulously beautiful (think tanning salons, butt implants and collagen injections).

    Each time I catch a glimpse of Michelle and Barack Obama I am proud. They represent to me our very best and guess what, we're not that scary or ignorant or unpleasant to look at. We can speak without rhyming, articulate thoughts, hold our own with dignity and pride. We don't need handouts and pity. We need to hunker down and help our own. Immediately! If you've made it out and enjoy the fruits of your labor then reach back. Help a Black person less fortunate than yourself.

    RISE BLACK FOLK! RISE!!!

    That's what being Black in America is to me.

    Renee Thomas

    July 25, 2008 at 2:05 pm |
  18. Kat

    Just wanted to say how beauftiful your outlook is and how it touches my heart that you had the desire and drive to articulate your feelings. What an amazing young woman you are; your parents must be very proud.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:05 pm |
  19. Ruth

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!!! You are brilliant and I am so happy to hear your voice. I am the white mother of 2 bi-racial children. I have become very upset to hear bi-racial celebrities claim they are black leaving out a very important part of who they are. We shouldn't have to choose our race when filling out an application for work or any other entity. It shouldn't matter what you claim your color of skin to be. My skin quite frankly is peachy pink but that is not on any application i have filled out. I am going to allow my daughters to grow up knowing they don't have to choose a race, that they are in fact both and above that they are intelligent, funny, beautiful and fabulous!! Which doesn't come in any one color, but in a multitude of colors.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:05 pm |
  20. Jeffrey

    I've noticed that the majority, if not all, of the guest columnists that CNN has featured under the topic of "Black In America" are in the arts and or major media. I'm sure we all know that the experiences of those who work in these fields are not readily comparable to the experiences of those in other lines of work and walks of life. They are members of a specialized microcosm of America, and therefore should not be taken as an accurate representative sampling of the American black experience.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:05 pm |
  21. ps

    How brilliant – at 16 years old, you are more worldly-wise and sensible than most of the people trying to run our country! Great insight and obviously a wonderful product of two beautiful people who see beyond barriers. They have raised you well and you will become a perfect adult with great potential because you are not stymied by the parameters put around most of us.

    My grand daughters are also 'mixed'! but don't realise it. They were raised by a Spanish gentleman from Spain and a mother from England but have no problem dealing with who they are and are proud of both their heritages. There are no parameters in their lives and I am delighted to hear that there are none in your short life.

    You will go far...thank you for a really inspiring article.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:04 pm |
  22. HOLLY

    I think series like this are stupid in the first place. It further divides us! I am neither a black woman, white woman, or any other race. And I am married to neither a black man, white man, or any other race. Our children will be bi-racial in physical terms because mine and my husband's skin have different colors, however we choose not to claim a race at all. I am a woman of God, my husband is a man of God, and THIS is what IDENTIFIES us. This is the "arena" of acceptance we've chosen to live in and it's a place that isn't a "white church" or "black church" but just a church of unity.

    STUPID series like this and stubborn people like Jesse Jackson and that other "reverand" is what helps PROMOTE division. I've always been taught that if you want to STARVE something, STOP feeding it!

    We ALL have difficulties living in America. We've all had tough lives, suffered, cried, felt rejection and discrimination, and some have had it worse than others and most certainly someone had it worse than you...so get over yourself and just LIVE.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:04 pm |
  23. Mike Lintz

    Please don't allow yourselves , be you black , b-racial , yellow , red or white to be catagorized or judged by racists , whatever color they may be , and they do come in every color. We must rise above them & continue to worship the dignity that exists in all live . Unfortunately perverse religons feed poison to there adherents & teach that THEY are above , or better than other religions , therefore not teaching " every man & woman is created equal" It's time that people realize they have been mistaught & poisoned into having very misguided views of how life really works.For some it's a much harder road than for others , but don't let THEM drag you down into the hole that their in. Keep seeking truth & living with dignity & know that evolution will eventually produce a much more enlightened Golbal Citizenry. I would however re-examine where your faith is being placed . If your religion separates you from one single other human being , it may be time for a change. {for the record , I myself have been a practicing Buddhist for the past 31 years]

    July 25, 2008 at 2:04 pm |
  24. Kathryn S

    I appreciate Grace's perception of what being in America means to her. Yet Being "Black " in America is what Soledad's documentary is all about.

    While I'm glad you are having the "Blended" perceptive on things, my two nieces are coping with being "Black" in America . One of my nieces have a White mother and Black father (my brother). My brother is a dark skinned African American and my niece's mother is from White (Irish descent). Due to my brother's darker skin tone, my niece ended up with a nice brown skin tone. Therefore, when people look at her, they don't see a mixed child, they see a black child and thus she can attest to what it means to be 'BLACK' in America.

    The second niece has an african american mother (my sister) and a hispanic father. While my sister's skin hue is very dark, the hispanic father is considered (white/hispanic). This niece ended up with hue of her father, thus can "pass" to be hispanic or white. When anyone sees her with my sister, they immediately think it's "not" her child. My niece is now confused ,at 6 years old as to why people "ALWAYS" ask her if that is really her mother. The niece has to identify as African American since her mother has been classified as African American.

    While both of my nieces are beautiful "blended" children, unfortunately, they will have to be subjected to being 'BLACK' in America; either by the color of one of their skin ,or by the color of the parent's skin. Either way, the experince will be there.

    We keep it real in the "Black" family, we tell our nieces that they are both beautiful black young ladies and no matter where they go in life, be the best at whatever they do and know–THEY ARE ALWAYS LOVED!

    Sometimes "blended" children are often treated differently based on their places in society. If the parents are of a wealthy or well known status, I'm sure it may not be readily noticed.

    It would be a great idea for Soledad to add a segment of "Being Black in America" from a Biracial Child's perspective in her documentar. Then we can see the disparities among biracial children of wealth and poverty.

    Just keeping it real.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:04 pm |
  25. Pam

    I am not surprized that Ms. Whitfield's daughter would turn out to be so strong. I believe it is the result of good parenting. I have a bi-racial niece, a black nephew, and a white nephew (all siblings): Mom is White, one dad white, one dad black. The children grew up in a poor inner-city neighborhood with parents that dabbled in drugs and were pitiful role models. All three children attended a predominantly black elementary school. White nephew was picked on by black classmates because he was white, and bi-racial niece and nephew were picked on by classmates because their mom was white (white nephew was the only white child in the whole school). All three are non-productive adults now (and all three have children out-of-wedlock) and not sure of their place in the world. One daddy drove these kids around when they were little with a lumper sticker on his car that read:" I don't need to be dead to donate my organ" and he practiced that.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:03 pm |
  26. Willzaway

    I come from a background that encompasses many racial and socio-econonic groups. It occurred to me when I was a child, when I already had more than enough troubles in life, that it would be easy to hang the blame on this reason or that. I saw so many people doing it. I also saw that it got them nowhere. As I grew and matured, I learned that I could, if I so chose, bite the tempting cheeze of political specialists who made their living by catering to, and actually in causing, anger and feelings of self pity. Then I saw the nuclear type destruction caused by throwing money on the smoldering embers of Watts, as Johnson milked the legacy of a fallen leader to not only guide us into Vietnam, but into the ironically named "Great Society". My hope rests with Obama, who has not played to the themes of woe, but instead to those of personal strength and triumph. He is ready, as I see him, to defeat the evils of both black and white self thought. I am ready to follow him.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:03 pm |
  27. Anu

    Well done! young Grace, as you all can see, division is power and not nessersarly good for all. We should all take a serious look at how our young veiw life because "this will be the future"! Unity for Humanity!

    July 25, 2008 at 2:03 pm |
  28. E

    I think this was an intelligent, well-worded opinion. I am disappointed with Geri's comments that this program is only made for those who identify themselves as black. I thought the point of CNN's "Black in America" was to promote discussion cross-culturally and cross-racially. Saying that something is just for "us" and not for "them" halts productive discussion and self segregates. I do enjoy the discussion and insight others have to offer.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:03 pm |
  29. Mac

    This woman deserves a standing ovation! I's not about color, it's about people! The black vs white is in the past and we all know it wasn't right then nor should be now! I'm a caucasion male 58 years old and I have seen and heard enough hate to last me a life time. To me it's not a matter of resolving differences because there shouldn't be any to begin with. Be happy to be alive!

    July 25, 2008 at 2:03 pm |
  30. VAMOMMA

    I was really floored when I read such an eloquent response from a teenager regarding race. It makes you wonder whats wrong with the 'adults' in this world that are ignorant and harbor hatred. I am a mother of a bi-racial child and I too am teaching him to embrace both as well as teaching him all of her heritages

    African American, Native American, German, Irish, and Scottish on my side

    African American, Native American and Australlian on his father side

    Anyone in this worl that thinks they are better then someone else based on race is a moron. There are no "pure" races left, we are all of mixed heritages and we are all Gods children.

    Kudos to Lynn for raising an amazing, mature,beautiful (inside & out) well adjusted daughter

    Kudos to Grace for being such an amazing human being

    July 25, 2008 at 2:02 pm |
  31. Steve in Boiling Springs PA

    The old saying "Out of the mouth of babes"...Young lady, as a fellow American, I am proud of you.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:02 pm |
  32. Jenny

    Upon reading the first few lines, I had to admit that this young woman lives in a fantasy world. She lives a very privileged, sheltered life and is not amond the "commoners". You will always either be black or white. You seem to be afraid to admit that you are black. You should be proud to be black. There is no such thing as being both. That is the real world the rest of us live in. If I were bi-racial, I would know that I woulld always be considered black and be proud of it. What's wrong with being a proud black African American? You perpetuate the very thing you say you don't want to exist. You deny you're black because you really want to be white so you call yourself "both". Being bi-racial in this world is still discriminated against. You're in denial. You mention Obama. He is living in a fantasy world. Hollywood should hire him. He's clueless to reality.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:02 pm |
  33. Shan

    I watched the program and I thought it was a very good program. I didn't see anything negative about it at all. The program was not just talking about bi-racial issues, it talked about being Black in America. What we go through and what we have to accomplish. Now no matter how you look at, if you are bi-racial with black, then you are considered black according to society. Please let us not focus on just one issue of the program, look at the entire picture.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:02 pm |
  34. Demo Joe

    BUT, Grace you MUST remember when white people see you they see your exterior only. And I must admit you sound a bit like the old folks in my family with the "She can pass" attitude. You are a rich girl, you will always have friends and may always be accepted. But that doesn't mean if you are poor and biracial that you will blend in as well. Green is the new color. I am a 60 year old Black women from Louisiana and we are all blended in Louisiana and have been for generations. Some of us so light it's even hard for them to tell, but the one drop clause they placed on us still applies. That blend did not help us get into better schools are better paying jobs. We were just called COLORED. I hope we are all blended by the time my grands are grown, but the folks will find somethings else to hate. That's what they do best. And NO I am not better because I am Green!

    Demo in Lafayette LA

    July 25, 2008 at 2:02 pm |
  35. Dora

    Wow. What a perfectly eloquent beautiful statement. Well said. I cannot belive this young lady is only 16. Wow.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:02 pm |
  36. Victoria

    I have a wonderful little girl who is biracial. I tell her she is both black and white because her mom is black and her dad, my husband is white. She likes Hanna Montana and Raven Simone.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:02 pm |
  37. Jack

    What would happen if there was a program about being white in America? Such a shame...This double standard we have. All "AMERICANS" have issues to deal with. Why is Obama imbracing being black and ignoring his white side, unless it is politically usefull. I understand he was raised by his "White" grandmother.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  38. Jacqueline

    Wil makes the comment, "... If we stop using terms like “Black congressional caucus” and “Black entertainment TV” and other such nonsense, perhaps we will all come togther. Stop dividing YOURSELVES." I can no longer hold my peace!

    I am thinking about the countless number of sitcoms, sopa operas, television dramas, documentaries, etc. that have no African Americans in them at all!! If the words Black Congressional Caucus bother you, are you equally bothered by the fact that in the 10+ years that shows like Friends, Seinfeld, and Roseanne, (to name a few) were on the air, you can count on 10 fingers the number of Blacks on those shows combined? We defintely can't count on these networks to cater specifically to our interest, so TV One and BET have taken on the task. But when its done in our interests, it's called division.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  39. Louis Gesthon Abraham

    Yes, very impressive but unfortunately this is and will be always an ongoing question that has no answer. Why? Because we all always care about things that will end up dividing us.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  40. Becky - Memphis, TN

    Ms Gibson's response was right on target. I am raising a bi racial daughter in Memphis, TN. The program showed only the negative. The key to raising any child is to make them feel good about who they are. My daughter is 6 and just starting to think about her differences from the people around her. But when she mentions that her skin is different from her cousins, I remind her that we are all different. Different eyes, ears noses and hair. But that is what makes us all special is that there is no one in the world just like us.

    I want my child to be a well educated, well rounded, productive member of society. I believe that most parents want the same for their children no matter what race they are.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  41. Rodney

    In my humble opinion I believe that there are those in society that would rather wallow in the negative. That's all they know or that's the sickness that they choose to hold close to them. Yes, there are those who are still going to discriminate against you no matter what. So use your brain, ignore them, and move on. This country has come a long way since the 60's and prior to that. Anyone can make it if they choose to persevere. Barack Obama is a great example of that.

    Some need to get over themselves and stop playing the victim. It gets really old and impedes progress.

    One more thing. Get rid of affirmative action based programs and you won't have to be judged categorically as much anymore.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  42. Jeff

    I thought we all belonged to one race: the HUMAN race?

    July 25, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  43. Rebekah

    I think this is a very well put together opinion from a 16 year old. Way to go. I am not black, but I do have many friends who are, and they were always taken aback when I never brought it up. If we could convince more people in this country that we are all AMERICANS, not black, white, European, Asian, African, whatever, things would be, I don't know, way easier. Parents need to raise their children to see people and not skin color, or religion or any of that. It is a very idealistic view, I understand that, but the only way to get there is for the generation having children now, my generation, those of us in their 20s and 30s to raise their children "right" People are people, end of story. Grace, thank you for voicing your opinion so well and so openly.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  44. Olivia James

    At 16, I never had that much of a grasp on life and "the bigger picture". It was pretty much me me me. Her mother must be beaming with pride.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  45. Hanns Gruber

    Grace Whitfield is right one can be of both races. One can have many ethnically and culturally diverse backgrounds. People in the past had to indentify with a group for support. Today, being human is enough. Sadly, for this to be universal everyone must think this way and for people to do so they must be in a strong position economically, socially, and physically. In the future will be all mixed- then only the insane will refer themselfs as a monocolor label.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:01 pm |
  46. Albert

    Well thought and written by young Ms. Gibson.. However, in this world we live in – and I mean the entire globe – she will be forever viewed as Black, African-American, or "lady of color"...

    Hey – she is beautiful, articulate, intelligent and has a beautiful mom. Enjoy what God has blessed you with, and move on... I think worrying about what is "black, African-American, blended, bi-racial, etc., is trivial during these times.

    America has problems / issues that are much more important than one's bi-racial culture: Gasoline prices, two wars, Iran threat, economy, housing foreclosures, our failing education system, etc..

    CNN – since it's entry in the all news market – has been my favorite television station, but I think this is really a non-news item. Nothing personal against Ms. Gibson or Lynn Whitfield, I always enjoy seeing her on screen.

    I watched several segments of the "Black in America" series, and Soledad did a wonderful job...

    But there are real issues that are much more important now..

    BTW – yes I am African American and bi-racial, but I have always proudly considered myself to be African American...

    July 25, 2008 at 2:00 pm |
  47. rhonda

    we are human, I am american, I am mixed with native american, french, scotts Irish, now this is the truth, who is pure race, that day is gone. I am myself, happy,proud of my life. thats it

    July 25, 2008 at 1:59 pm |
  48. mark

    you would figure after 150 years of freedom the blacks would have more than just king jr.,all they do is cry racism all the time instead of moving on and being productive citizens,all they want to be are gangsters.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:59 pm |
  49. Alvin

    This is so right on the money! I too am Both and I have always check other on any application that I had to fill out. Maybe we need maybe we need to stop the black Vs White thing and just be called American's

    July 25, 2008 at 1:59 pm |
  50. D-Ray

    While I agree completely with Grace's point of view, the show deals with the complications of being "Black in America". I think the show should have shown more positive aspects, however, that is not reality. Reality is, you're placed in a box from the moment you are born. In this case, black or white, not black AND white. I am certain you are very proud of both your backgrounds, however, I am sure there are an equal number of people who are not so proud. One of the people being interviewed said it best, "When you're born of mixed race, it's kinda like 50/50. You're accepted by 50% of the people from one race and 50% of the people from another race". You're never truly, according to society, fully accepted as being black AND white. It's either or. I made a decision to marry and procreate with a black women (I am a black man) because I know how hard it is just being plain, old "Black in America".

    July 25, 2008 at 1:59 pm |
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