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

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. Lori Haney

    "You" "Us" "Them" People who have used these words in their posting are people I stay away from. Not even worth the emotional effort of trying to elighten their thinking...Many oppress their own race and ethnicity and are the worst culprits at perpetuating racism. They just don't get it. Why is the wife in the video so hell bent on raising her children African American, when her own son said he felt white and when their father is white? What is her agenda? Open-minded enough to have married a white man, but not good enough to admit she IS raising children who are also white? Enough to damage her own marriage with this thinking? Who is she to tell her son he is not white? He, and only he has that right to be who and 'what' he wants to be!
    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.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  2. Mike

    Beautiful! I wish I had that grace and keen mind when I was 16.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  3. LindaSue

    One of the men they inteviewed on BIA said it is because black people were slaves is the reason the men want to father babies with many different women and don't support the children. PLEASE.....

    July 25, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  4. Ben - DC

    I think the point of CNN's work was to spark discussion. They have achieved that goal. Some of you may remember a song from Vacation Bible School that goes "Jesus loved the little children. All the children of the world. Red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in His sight..." We owe it to our fellow American citizens to treat each other with respect (Love thy neighbor). I know that racism, prejudice, ignorance, etc. will keep America from becoming perfect. That shouldn't be the goal. The goal should be to rally around each other as American citizens, rally around our Constitution (not the 21st century liberally-interpreted version) and rally around our next president... regardless of whether it's Obama or McCain.

    Multiracial, biracial, blended... what is 100% black or 100% white? If you're born here, it's 100% American. Remember that show "Wife Swap?" Well, it's impossible to do "Race Swap." No white person could watch this show and then pretend to know what it's like to be black. But we all know what it's like to be American. That's the common denominator. Am I black or white, you ask? I'm a child of God... who could care less about my skin color.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:44 pm |
  5. Lawrence

    I have to disagree with the assertions of how socity will define you. My mother is from Turkey and my father from Alabama. Most would say I look African-American. But I refuse to be placed into a box and fall into there simple ways of thinking. I except neither race and both.
    If you don't like it, then to bad. I couldn't care less.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  6. Michelle

    I am a white American woman and my husband is black and from St. Vincent. Just what exactly does that make our daughter. She will never fit into the boxes that our government has given us to chose from except (Other). I chose to raise my daughter to be a Christian that loves all fellow humans as God has instructed us to do. My only wish for her is to love and serve the Lord, make an honest living and not be a menace to society. But that is probably not politically correct is it! Grace I am sure your parents are very proud of you as they should be and I thank you the my daughter who is only 4 will have young women like yourself to look up to!

    July 25, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  7. Angie

    I am also biracial and I do not classify myself as "black". Before we had the opportunity to "make more than one designation" I used to leave the field completely blank, OR would try to intentionally confuse the system and bubble in BOTH responses (black and white). It would clearly depend on what mood I was in when the question was asked. This was an absolutely wonderful piece to read!

    July 25, 2008 at 2:43 pm |
  8. Keith Henry


    It can't be stated any better, what you said should be heard around this country on a daily basis. For those of you who can't get beyond the color of our skin, her statement will make no sence to you.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  9. Terri D

    I agree with Ms. Gibson. Why should any deny his or her own parents?

    July 25, 2008 at 2:42 pm |
  10. Mike

    Half black/half white – how about "blite" or "whack"? For those who still define people by the so-called color of their skin...

    July 25, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  11. Sharon

    Personally I see nothing wrong with interracial dating or chosing to get married to someone of a different race. However, if you're just marrying someone of a different race because you don't want your children to have nappy hair and dark skinned or because you've reached a certain status; and you feel that marrying someone white will give you status, than you have an identity crisis. White america classify Obama as being African american, when in fact he is both african and white american; therefore, making him interracial. Regardless of your nationality, just be proud of who you are. Besides, many of us; whether African american or white many of us are not fully white nor black.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  12. Susan

    Grace, what a wonderful response to CNN's Black In America. My children are intraracial, African American, American Indian, Korean, & Caucasian. I don't believe not once in their life time did they ever get pegged for their ethnicticity, because I never made it a big deal nor their father. We brought them up to be strong, educated, loving, caring women, and that is what is important. Not once did I even have a conversation with them about their ethnic background. I agree with the other readers who stated that, too much time is wasted on matters that do not really make a positive contribution on society. Lets worry about education, the starving Americans, the global warming or the economy, why fight over color of skin. We as humans make the issue an issue, Why can't we just appreciate each other as humans, and help each other contribute to this life we have on Earth. Why make skin color important?

    July 25, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  13. Eva Graves

    When are we going to get to the point of it not making a difference what race you are? I have lived over six (6) decades and the mindset of individuals are the same as they were during the civil rights struggle. When will get to the point to treat and accept people for who they are in character and spirit and not by the color of their skin. Although I have found the series to be informative and enlighten, why not spend that money trying to educate and provide adequate housing and employment for these people that the world feels are not worth the effort. Stop looking down and talking down and start lifting up and encouraging our young people.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:41 pm |
  14. Liane

    Grace, your point of view was well said and for a 16 year old, I am impressed.

    I myself am a mix of caucasion and asian which has it's own challenges. I am also a mother of 3 beautifully mixed children. I am proud to say that my parents raised me to be an American first and foremost while at the same time exposing me to the values and cultural differences that I've learned to respect of my chinese and german heritage. I only hope that I can give the same to my children and to concentrate on raising decent human beings with a strong sense self worth.

    While I am not niave or unaware about racial issues – um, far from it being bi-racial AND having been a victim of racism myself – I find it sad and makes me a little angry to see comments posted that suggest that "this is how society is – and society will always put you in a box, etc.). While there may be some truth to that, society is made up of individuals. And, it starts with the individual to make a choice to change or keep the status quo of their outlook on race. Comments like these imply that the individual has "given up" and "accepted". While we are no way in utopia, can you imagine where we would be (All races in this country) if Marting Luther King Jr. threw up his hands and said "Face it, society will just always be this way!"

    July 25, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  15. AHerbert; San Diego, CA

    The US Government states that if you have 1/3 of African blood in you then your African American.... it is what it is... being mixed race is the majority of Americans especially the Americans of color ... the intermingling in slavery days... yeah that peculiar institution ... embrace who you are... don't get caught up in labels ... represent yourself as a female/male American ... however, the world will always judge you by the color of your skin ... be Proud there are a ton of reason for that.

    Thank you,

    Obama 2008

    July 25, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  16. Laura

    Congratulations, Grace, on your beautiful thoughts, expressed so eloquently!
    As an on-line elementary teacher I communicate with my 50 third grade students exclusively through computer e-mail, US mail, and telephone.
    Since my students reside all over the great state of Idaho, I have no idea the color of my students' skin or their heritage unless a child mentions it to me, or someone sends me a photo.
    What differerence does it make?
    Their thoughts, ideas, plans, and goals are still just as valuable and unique no matter what the color of their skin.
    And yet, since I work for a public school, at the beginning of each school year the United States government requires that I submit a report listing the racial background of each of my students.
    Some of the parents declare the race of their child when they enroll with our school. However, when the parents decline to identify a race, I'm required to guess in order to complete my report. *sigh*
    I'm looking to the day when the only box I can check on that racial background report will be:

    July 25, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  17. Jessica

    In my opinion, if you don't make your race an issue it won't be an issue. I am black and mexican and I had no idea to make anything of it until the Air Force moved my family moved from California to Virginia. That was the first time I didn't attend an on base school (lots of military brats are mixed) and a lot of the children kept asking me "What are you?" I went home and asked my mom. She told me to tell them I am a human being. If more parents of children would be more like Lynn Whitfield and my mom and dad, and teach pride in WHO you are rather than WHAT you are, and if society would quit forcing our children to make a choice as if it really matters then we could stop having this ridiculous conversation.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:40 pm |
  18. Jeanette R.

    While I respect Ms. Gibson's opinion, I disagree with it. I am what some people would consider "mixed." My mother is white, my father is
    black. Fine. But I consider myself "black" as does most of the world. What people don't seem to realize is that being black is NOT about color....it's much more. My World View is shaped in part by my experiences growing up as a black girl in the United States.

    And if we want to be technical about ones ethnicity...I believe that most black people in the U.S. could be labled multi-racial...even those with 2 black parents.

    I don't believe that I am hurting my mother's feelings because I see myself as a black woman rather then a "mixed" woman. This is who I am and no one can change that.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  19. kathy sport

    i was adopted by two american parents.I am columbian. born in south america.My parent are irish and german/swedish. my{adopted ] parents allways tried to hide my nationality.i wasnt allowed to sit in the sun when i was a teenager,my mother would make me cover my self so i wouldn't get to dark. when i asked her why she would say people will think your black. I could not braide my hair that made me look to indian. my mother told me not to smile that made me look chinese. so growing up i did not know what i was. than at eighteen my parent wanted me to find myself so the kicked me out .When i started dating and my family found out that i was dating a black man {whichby the way is the man of my life]i was told if i married him i was no longer apart of the family.Well that was 20yrs ago i have not spoken to my parents i have two wonderful kids and i tell them be proud of what you are and dont ever let anybody tell you any thing different! and i tell them you can be anything you want to be if you set your mind to it!! My duaghter asked me one day would you still love me if i married another person of color. my answer was no way i will love you and your family regradless. and thats the way we all should be!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    July 25, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  20. Ann Baldi

    Bravo to this sixteen year old "woman". Well said! I'm Latina (father Italian and mother Mexican) and my son's father is African American. We did not stay together, but I never disparaged my son's father and I wanted him to be proud of everything he is. When he was a child he asked why his skin and mine were so different, I told him that his father was black and just like when you pour milk in coffee, you get an in between color. I called it "cafe con leche". Even though he identifies more with my side, because I raised him, he was proud of his African roots and took some "Black History" classes in college. His friends were as mixed as he was. He had African American, Hispanic, Jewish, Asian friends. I agree that children of mixed raced need not be troubled by who they are. I always warned him that some people would never accept him, but I made it clear that that was not him problem or fault–it's clearly the fault and problem of those who cannot accept people who are different. I think that the more exposure this country has with people of different races, ethnic groups and religions, mainstream America will not be so affraid and resistent to anyone who's "different".

    July 25, 2008 at 2:39 pm |
  21. kandi

    I would just like to say that I totally agree!!! I have a daughter whom is bi-racial. She is light skinned with bright red VERY curly hair. When asked what color she is my daughter say's she is brown. Her father is African American and it does not seem that he can except the fact that she came in to this world with such a fair complexion. I try to teach her that she is her own individual and not to distinguish whom a person is by their color. I agree very SOON this world will be one big melting pot. Thank you very much Grace for expressing your thoughts I am truly trying to raise my daughter to feel the same way!!!!

    July 25, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  22. TD

    I'm so glad that a young women is actually wise & mature enough to voice her opinion. Great job grace 🙂

    July 25, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  23. Darcey, Toronto, Canada!!

    Grace, you got it going on!!

    One day, hopefully very soon me and the person next to me will considered ourselves equal based on the fact we're waiting at the same bus stop. Nothing more, nothing less.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:38 pm |
  24. Felicia

    This is the most intelligent thing I've read on this subject in a long time.

    She is 100% right.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  25. Reasie Lee

    You know,
    I am very sorry but I was very, very, dissapointed in the 'Black In America' segment and I am not the only one. Every time something is shown about Blacks it's always something like this and I personally do not agree with all the facts that were shown about us. There are plenty of single mothers bringing up their children alone and all the children are doing great.........I FOR ONE is an example. I raised six children on my own and all but one have good jobs and one out of six ain't bad and he can operate any big rig or heavy duty equipment when he does work.

    Whenever you do these segments you pick the worst places to start and I am sorry all Black people are not this way. I do not believe AIDS are more prevelent in Blacks, more of us just die because of lack of treatment as well as Cancer, Homicide, and anything else bad that is branded onto us. We as people are ALL guilty of these things but it is just not told. I just think this segment is going to make people look down on Black people even more than they do already. Why don't you have a segment on how BLACK people have invented so many things that we use today, how the buffalo soldiers did good with poor equipment to work with and ect; . I don't think these people are going to be helped by this Government by showing this because these things have been shown before and it is still the same every time.

    Other people can come to this Country and get what they want breaking the law to do it. I for one hope you don't show any more of these things about Black people because there are a lot of SMART BLACK PEOPLE who don't even know they are smart because they are too busy listening to what so-called experts on them are saying instead of thinking for themselves.
    Thank you

    July 25, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  26. Louise A. James

    In the end, there is no such thing as "race". It may be trite to say this, but it is genetically and scientifically true: we are all one race, the human race.

    Thank you, Grace, for having the grace to speak the truth. Do not shy away from your beliefs simply because some people, Black or White or whatever, think that you are being naive. You are right, and they are wrong.

    One day, America will finally deal with this whole "race" thing and discard it on the trash heap of history, where it belongs.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  27. Erin

    I am going to say what no one else will say here. Black people know and understand this..but I will share with everyone. The dirty little secret in the Arican American community is that we have a sad history of not wanting to be perceived as black...not wanting to be too dark skinned, not wanting to have hair that is too kinky. Those were not considered standard elements of beauty and we hated ourselves for it...and worse we hated each other. Even Oprah tells a story of having to sleep on the porch while her lighter skinned cousin slept in the house. There are many stories like this. Every black person as seen evidence of preferential treatment to lighter skinned blacks even in their own families. But then a movement came in the 70s where we could finally rejoice in being black...the blacker the better. It was a happy uplifting time for blacks. Our collective self image got better. In the 90s, we focused on the motherland..Africa...and we continued to feel good about what being black means...the black skin, the kinky hair..it was no longer so ugly.

    So here is the deal, when biracial children make the decision to not be considered "black" it strikes to the core of something that many people outside of the African American community cannot understand. It is not the intention I am sure...but as the saying goes "it is what it is".

    July 25, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  28. Shawna L. Kent

    Grace your comments were well written and thought provoking. I am biracial as well but mine is not of the European culture. I am Native American (Luiseno) and African American. With that being said I personally consider myself A black woman that had a Native American mother. I grew up in the Black community, when people see me they see a black woman although I am often asked.."what are you mixed with?" I do believe you can be ethnically of one race or many and culturally of another. You are the future. You are the promise of where we are headed. You are correct, with Obama running as the first "black" president we should all view his cultural and ethnic diversity a plus. But many will only see a black man. But if you continue to be active and militant in your views we one day will be a well blended society ethnically and culturally. I do hope that your views are embraced so that one day we can do away with the checked box. In the meantime we still have to be aware of the challenges of the black family, as well as the challenges of all people. I guess we can only pick the battles we are most passionate about. May you win the war!

    July 25, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  29. syed m karim

    America is a nation with people from all over the world . Although at present majoriry of population are white 65% other natinality ,colour ,race,religion,ethnicity are coming in this country and joining this american culture, society ,education and job .Lot of children are being born as American including mine and other close relatives . Some of them are in love or getting married ,raising families although they are of different race,religion or ethnicity. These young generation do not really care what others are saying .Of course we are all same Human being <HOMOSEPIENS, But it is most disturbing when children born from one white and another black parent - some of them US S

    July 25, 2008 at 2:37 pm |
  30. Ann

    She must be an only child. Skin-tones vary within families.
    It would be quite humorous to see her standing near a dark sibling making that statement "blended". This is strictly about complexion, hair texture and education.

    Society will categorize you whether you agree or not.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  31. Mashanka of Shona

    I was duly impressed by this 16 year old young lady that writes so eloquently, is so unjaded, and highly optimistic. Her issues are valid though, america needs to wake up. However, I do realise that for a 16 year old she probably has not encountered the racism (blatant or subversive) that goes on in this country, THAT would make her more guarded with her commentary. I hope she never encounters it, I hope she only lives through anecdotes and the malignant truths of others. Unfortunately the real world USA is not so rosy and DOES define, pigeon hole, and marginalise people based on the hue of their skin.

    As a very privileged black man (rich educated parents, excellent education etc) I came out of a top ranked college thinking the world was my oyster, that I could do anything. I dwelled in this ivory tower where I thought my friends (white, black, brown, yellow, whatever!) and I were going to rule the world one day. Alas the real world has it's share of petty, insecure, self absorbed, bigots and they are usually the bosses and decision makers. Some do an amazing job of masking their true colors. The honest truth is that privileged or not, it is VERY difficult to be black in this country. Black men especially are constantly being marginalised and undermined. So let's not pretend.....WE ARE NOT THERE....We are not even close to being there. However it is better than before.....phew.......thank god for that! .

    July 25, 2008 at 2:36 pm |
  32. Lawrence

    I am the father of 4 bi-racial children and think what she wrote is very touching but being a white man and knowing my race, that will never happen. My wife and I believe that we have to raise our kids black because they will face adversity in the future. If anyone thinks that the(white) world has changed so much to were they accept all races you have another thing coming. The only that has changed in the last 50 years is that people hide there racism very well because you can actually get a slap on the wrist now. So if your a parent of mixed children you have to emphasize the black race because society will, and it may be to late to educate your child at that point. Finally, all baby's are born with a clean slat, do you want society to write there future or do you want to supply the pen(knowledge) so they could write there own.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  33. Lauren

    This article really sheds light on a lot of issues mixed children have. As a mother and Aunt of a mixed child i would like to say Thank You!

    July 25, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  34. Cindi

    Great comments ! I am a mother of three handsome multiracial men and I can so relate to "I am not Black or White". During the 90's, in high school paperwork, my middle son refused to categorize himself as one or the other, in the category Other Race: __________ my son always wrote in "the Human Race".

    July 25, 2008 at 2:35 pm |
  35. Barbara

    Thank you, Grace, for your compassionate and intelligent statement. In Hawaii we have a term, 'hapa,' for those who comprise more than one race or ethnic background. Barack Obama is 'hapa,' as are you, and as are most of my wonderful grandchildren. 'Hapa' is considered a good thing, and we celebrate the beauty and gifts of our hapa children. Let us continue to tear down the walls that divide us from one another, and build bridges of understanding and love. Again, mahalo (thank you) for speaking out with such eloquence!

    July 25, 2008 at 2:34 pm |
  36. Eric S.

    I certainly identify with Grace. I, too, am of mixed racial heritage. My mother is half Dominican/half Dutch and my father is Chinese. Growing up I never knew what to put down as my race. Now, I'm proud to put down "other." Some may view that as derogatory but I view it as something special since I don't fit nice and neatly in the other groups. I'm different and I love it!

    Well said Grace.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  37. Bill

    How about just saying I am human? Thus, regardless of race, creed etc just say "I am human am entitled to dignity and respect"

    At the end of the day is the content of my character and not the race creed etc. that defines who i am.

    I think somebody said that once, but we humans tend to forget (I know it was MLK)

    July 25, 2008 at 2:33 pm |
  38. KM

    I actually thought that the entire series focused on the negatives, both in terms of black and blendeds. Unfortunately, in America, anything Black that is positive is considered an "exception" rather than the normal reality.

    I work and pray for a time when we can all just "be," but I fear that we will always be judged through the prism of negativity (whether the behavior feeds into the negatively or seems to be contrary to the negativity).

    Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed the series, but it only confirmed my belief that as Black Americans, we need to stop focusing on getting non-Blacks to understand us, because their understanding will always be viewed through the prism of negativity.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  39. Ahmed

    I do appreciate what Grace conveyed. Geri has no right telling Grace that the documentary did not have her in mind. If it didn't, they wouldn't have focused on being biracial in this country as being a sub issue under the umbrella of the struggles of being black in this country. Biracial children, I can imagine, are torn because they can identify with white and black people as they are made up of both. I think it's a very prevalent issue. It definitely needed to be addressed because biracial children may be just that, but they are condemned in this country just because they LOOK black. That's all that matters to ignorant people in this country. They don't care if you are half-black, 1/4 black, or maybe 1% black, if you look black, you get discriminated against just as much as every other obvious-looking black person in this country. Even moreover biracial children are discriminated by BOTH white and black people for being too black-looking or not being black enough looking, respectively. And I won't even get started on how we are all mutts anyway since we all got other races in our blood apart from the race we check on all our standardized tests.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:32 pm |
  40. JerryP

    Well Said!

    Me being of mixed race as well.

    Mom is Japanese & Chinese
    Dad was African American, Cherokee, German, French & German.
    They were happily married until Dad passed on 22 years ago.

    So I look like Latino, HA! Yes it's true, me being the baby and the shortest & darkest of 5 children.

    This production was well over due, since no one aside from the minority community wants to discuss this well needed conversation.

    On a added note, me again, being of mixed race, and gay. My partner of 2 years, is white(Danish/Welsh), let me tell you my mom was not happy about that either..... not the gay part, but the difference between my partner & me.....rather the color of his skin.

    Thanks CNN!

    July 25, 2008 at 2:31 pm |

    I am a 42 year old white women who has 3 grown children they happen to be black and white. They have never mentioned in there lives how hard it is to be of mixed race, nor have they ever used it for an excuse for anything negative in there lives. I want to know why do people make such a big deal out of race?

    July 25, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  42. Mrs. Davis

    Well said, Grace! I was kind of surprised that Soledad O'Brien, being biracial herself, wouldn't have put a more positive spin on biracial couples. Maybe she was trying extra hard to be objective.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  43. Keri

    This is a very well-written intelligent statement and I am so thankful to hear it. As a mother-to-be with a biracial child in my womb, I have been going through some doubts and anxieties about how my children will identify themselves. After reading your thoughts, I feel confident that with our love and support as parents, my child can grow up to identify themselves as just what they are, biracial. I know it's not going to be easy, but raising a child of any background is anything but easy. Thank you for putting your thoughts out there!!

    July 25, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  44. Chris

    These comments should apply to all multiracial people – Black/White, Indian/White, White/Asian, Asian/Black, and all kinds of combinations possible. I am not a specialist but I have a feeling that very, very few nowadays could claim they have "pure blood". And even if they do, what does it really mean? Don’t they ever disagree with anyone else on something?
    It is time to accept our differences on color, race, religion, opinions, etc and accept ourselves as human beings. Yes, we have differences. Thanks! What a boring world would be if we were all the same! Let's face our differences constructively. Let's work together to accept them, find compromises, respect each other. Let's quiet the ones that want to make our differences what set us apart as they are in reality what make us the same – humans! Lives, marriages, friendships, … could be saved if we could only see how much we are all alike. Yes, it takes work but it is worth.
    Bravo, Grace!

    July 25, 2008 at 2:31 pm |
  45. Johnathan

    I am somwhat 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 years 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. It 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!


    July 25, 2008 at 2:30 pm |
  46. Jerry

    This thing we call "society" – the hybrid of community – is like a computer which understands nothing outside of its programming language. Hence human beings are resigned to 'pigeon holed characters' lifeless idols.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:29 pm |
  47. Ron, El Paso, TX

    Thank you Grace for your honesty and insight. I am the white father of a biracial teenage daughter. Her mother and I try to expose her to the good parts of both her parents' heritage. We have always allowed and encouraged her to be her own person and to think for herself. As you mentioned, being biracial, gives her a unique perspective on the world. One that is sorely needed during these times. We have taught her to embrace who she is simply as the product of two parents who love each other unconditionally. I'm sure she doesn't consider herself as either, but as both. It's a conversation that hasn't come up. As a parent, I am glad she is living in a time when there are plenty of biracial role models for her to look up to and be proud of. Still amazes me how the inextricable histories of hatred between black and white people in this country can produce such a beautiful and kind spirited future generation. There is hope after all.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  48. Rod Walker

    The thing that bothers me about people of mixed heritage identifying only as black is the the very idea that anyone with any African bood at all is black is one that originated with the Jim Crow segregation system. The "One drop rule' as it was called made sure that if there was mixing of the races that all of the black genes would remain on the black side of the color line, thus keeping the white race pure. It's time for all people who are mixed to stand up and refuse to be put in a box by the ideas that brought us seperate bathrooms and drinking fountians. Don't allow the legacy of Jim Crow decide your identity for you.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:28 pm |
  49. rodney

    My daughter is of mixed race and we make sure she understands both of her heritages. We believe that is very important for her as she grows up and mature. She is currently 7 years old.

    I wish the presidential candidate Obama would do the same. He seems to be riding the wave of only one of family's background and to do it for political reasons just makes it much worse. I have trouble trusting his ethics and judgement because of this.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:27 pm |
  50. Kenneth

    I am multi racial and loving it. Both my grandmothers are white, French and Cuban, and both my grandfathers are black, African. The idea that somebody who is biracial is black is just base on ignorance. I can not be black, nor can I be white, therefore, I am none of the above. Both of my parents are multi racial, I am not an African American, for my family is not from the United States, in our home country, that was acknowledge, multi-racial people are known as Creole and Mulattoes.

    My grandparents although they where different races, black and white, enjoy a life time of marriage and companionship. Their children and grandchildren was understand to be of multiracial. Lets please stop categorize mix, and multi racial people as being black, because they are NOT.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:26 pm |
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