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. Kuda

    As proud as we are of having two heritages there are those who have been forced to identify with the black side because no matter how light you are there are parts of the country that will not distinguish between you and your dark skinned brother or sister.
    While I applaud all the 'mixies' whatever your make up, for standing up for who you are, you have a ways ahead of you before you can be separated from the 'color' in you. While you stand for the voice of future 'neutrality' just like mixed folk before you, the mulattos, hi-yella brothers and sisters there will be situations you may not be able to escape..ever because of what you look like. My daughters are African and Caucasian (Canadian). They are a shade lighter than I am they appear black and I will never let them go out into the world without having them know who they are or what's out there.

    I think if mixed offspring looked predominantly white and not more black this would be a non-issue 'race' and situations' that come with being black , would be less of an issue

    July 25, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  2. Craig

    Phil, you are one jaded individual. The psycho-drama that you are implying is, I believe, misdirected. I don't believe for a moment that Lynn Whitfield or Halle Berry sought out white men to have children with in order to improve their socio-economic or ethno-cultural outcomes. I believe that the circumstances of their lives put them into contact with these men whom they just happened to fall in love with and desired to start a family with men that are white. You attributing some nefarious reason to their attachment to these men seeks to negate the quality and nature of their relationships. Of course people choose each other based on a number of different criteria, which may be inclusive of the potential positive outcome for their prospective children, but to base their choices primarily on their mate's race is pejorative to the extreme. I apologize for you, even should you choose not to apologize for yourself.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:04 pm |
  3. Susan

    How sad it is that CNN has to have a program called Black In America! Every time I watch CNN-and it has been less and less of late-I hear the pundits' evaluations about the election which almost always centre on one division or another...race, age,sex, income.
    The divisions in the U.S. seem to be growing every day. You (and we) need Obama!

    July 25, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  4. Sue


    I laughed at your comment:

    "2. Society can sense that the historical relationship between Black men and white women is pathological. White females are obsessed with Black men. Thus stirring up the wrath of white men."

    Really? Pathological? Seriously? Obsessed? ROFLOL

    I don't know if you actually know any couples of different ethnicities (I say ethnicities because we are all one race – the human race), but I haven't met any who were pathological or obsessed. Every mixed couple I have met actually dated within their own ethnicity and then happened to meet someone they liked in another one, dated and got married.

    I'm white and my husband is black. I always dated white men before. Not because I had any preference, it's just how it worked out. Then I met my husband. We started dating and became good friends and fell in love, so we got married.

    I wasn't looking for a black man. I wasn't looking for a white man. I was looking for a good, kind, loving man and I found one. His skin color was irrelevent. Same with him. He wasn't looking for black woman and he wasn't looking for a white woman. He was looking for a woman who was just right for him. He didn't care what color my skin was.

    Maybe someday you can look past skin color as well and just see a fellow human being who may or may not look just like you.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  5. Dwayne

    From all the intelligent white people on this blog


    You watch to much TV. Think about all the Black people in the military, black doctors and nurses, bus drivers, construction workers, police officers, firemen, school teachers and the list goes on. take all the black people out of your life who help support the society you live in and see what happens.

    Do you know how many black men are fighting for your REDNECK freedom right now?

    Real Whites with Common Sense and Righteousness STAND UP!

    July 25, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  6. Elizabeth

    Well said Grace. I think one should be proud to say they are of two cultures rather than defining who they are by how they look like. I'm a product of biracial parents and growing up, always found it difficult when people would ask what I was. My response was always "I'm American," but sadly, they were never satisfied with just this. Why must we still label a person as one or the other, why can't we be satisfied as living in a country (that is still relatively new in comparison to other countries), that is a melting pot and will continue to go down this road. Society's viewpoints need to change.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  7. Eva Bishop

    I am the proud mother of two bi-racial sons; a 13 year-old whose looks society would catagorize as black (tan skin, brown eyes, black curley hair), while his 4 month-old brother would be catagorized as white (pale skin, crystal blue eyes, brown wavey hair). Oh what a blessing I consider it to be that as parents, my husband and I can teach both of our sons that they are not defined by the color of their skin, but by the person they are inside! Already the oldest is very aware and thankful for parents who help him embrace both sides of his cultural makeup, celebrating the uniqueness of both, and that he will never be forced to choose a side! Racism can only affect you to the point that you ALLOW it to affect you, and our family chooses not to let it affect us.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  8. Winn Todd

    That is a great speech but it is very idealistic. Just as Obama has faced criticism from Jesse Jackson whose remarks were clearly indicative of the fact that Obama wasn't "black enough" for him. Maybe being raised wealthy, it hasn't been an issue for you but the truth of the whole matter is that society-be it directly or indirectly-force you to choose a race. Even down to the paper work you have to fill out to go to school or get a driver's license. My children are bi-racial teenagers and they face the dilema of either not being black enough for black people or white enough for white people. They are beautiful because they are mixed with black and white but they DO face adveristy almost daily.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:03 pm |
  9. Todd Shaman

    It is a simple notion to all of us who are rational. We begin life so similar to each other that our differences are essentially meaningless. What we learn from our parents and other guardians or caretakers, and how we are allowed to think or not think critically determines who we become.

    We are all capable of the worst and the best that humanity has to offer. We all need to stop examining the insignificant differences between each other and to celebrate the obvious similarities to each other and our shared intellects and emotions. If we do that, the world as we know it will survive and prosper. If we keep acting like morons, we and all of our hopes, dreams and ideas will die with us.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:02 pm |
  10. Anna

    In response to Kathryn S.
    I am equally 4 races: black, white, Vietnamese, and native American, but people always see me as "black and something else." So I understand when she says that her nieces will be perceived as black, and therefore experience what it is like to be black in America. I am very light skinned, but my afro and other physical features visually identify me more as black.
    I am also adopted and have white parents who never pressured me to chose a race, and made sure that I was equally exposed to all of my cultural heritages.
    I don't identify as any race because people want me to chose, and I can't chose one of four. Someday I hope we can be identified by the qualities we have, not the racial background we have no control over.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  11. Danny

    Black/White, very interesting…
    I’ve read the entire blog here, and find a few themes. Some people claim both, and others claim one or the other. Isn’t what race you identify yourself as a personal choice? The initial post brings up a good point about mixed folks (the politically correct term I guess has transitioned from mixed, to biracial, an now to blended), but I’ll choose what I identify myself as.

    There are many reasons that go into why a person will identify themselves as a particular race or combination thereof. Once upon a time you didn’t have much of a choice, but now you somewhat do. There are certain government forms that you cannot select both black and white, but you can select other on certain forms.

    I am one of those folks you are talking about, my mother white and my father is black. My complexion is brown, but I am black. My sister on the other hand identifies herself as both, so there you go. I have two children from a white mother, one is almost as dark as me and the other is a pretty light. I will leave it to them to decide what they identify themselves as, just as was taught to me. If a parent is to choose what race their child will be identified as, who are we to question that?

    As one poster alluded to, the video as a whole was about Black America not about people of mixed race. Doesn’t Senator Obama identify himself as black?

    July 25, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  12. Timmerie


    We are a changing world and I love to see the views of the younger generation. It's children like Grace that will change the negative in this world to a positive. I am also bi-racial and look at myself as a true american straight from the melting pot and love it.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:01 pm |
  13. anita

    when my first "blended" child was born my husband was there to witness the birth... she was very light and could not distinguish she was racially mixed.. on her birth certificate under race was entered "black",,, when we had our 2nd daughter.. my husband was at work and didn't make it to the hospital in time... our daughter was darker complexion with a head full of dark hair.. clearly bi-racial.. on her birth certificate under race was "caucasion".... clearly this nation is based on race..... i believe that ms. whitfield also has to consider her socio economic status.... the upper class "blended" people are treated differently... which tells us that " money determines how one is treated regardless of their cultural background.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  14. Joe

    While I cannot relate to what it must be like to be black in America, I can tell you what it is like to be white and automatically suspect for discrimination.

    Ever since I was a child in a racially mixed school I've been told everyday that I must try to treat everyone equally despite our differences. The irony is that race made no difference until everyone started saying it shouldn't make a difference. I was taught that simply because I'm white I needed to be more sensitive in my thoughts and actions toward blacks. Isn't this exactly what we are hoping to end?

    Everytime we say things like "black pride" or the "first black president" or point out how a black person overcame the odds we reinstill the perception of a difference requiring our sensitivity thereby continuing the cycle of inequality. The end of racism will begin once each of us can truly stop pointing out how the color of our skin defines us (not someone else) as human beings.

    July 25, 2008 at 3:00 pm |
  15. George

    Great now what are we going to do say mixed-american, or blended-american? Just be American.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  16. Andrea

    I completely understand what she is saying, and I applaud her. Being bi-racial should never be a choice of black and white, they are both. I feel very sad that Mr. Obama does not acknowledge the other part of his being, and for that I am very leary of him.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:59 pm |
  17. Wayne TX

    I to was disapointed in the presentation of the biracial discussion episode I saw a night or two ago. I sit here a white father to a half white half black pair or ranbunctious boys. My wife and I rarely if ever discuss race with our sons. There is no universal label suitable for what they are other than "our sons".

    When seperation and discrimination is the disease , you don't feed it more discrimination. Our sons are not white, they are not black, they are smart ,handsome, happy, love flowers , dogs, playing with friends, and reading books. THAT describes them both far better than any of these petty USELESS racial labels.

    What race are my boys? they are the future race, and we won't burden them with all the baggage blacks and whites both seem to want to heap on them.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  18. B-in Ga

    Job well done, Grace. I am the proud parent of two bi-racial boys(8 and 4). My husband and I don't define them as black or white, we just identify them as BEAUTIFUL gifts from God above.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  19. dee

    I glad a young person saw this program. I agree that they did not expand on the discussion on the interracial unions and biracial children, but it did open this discussion which is good. Lynn Whitfield's daughter has a lot to be proud of, but there are those who do experience prejudice from both blacks and white society. I believe no human being has to be pigeon hold to a category of race if they are biracial, that is your choose. But please do not put blinders on and expect to be accept and that all people will go along with your preception of you. Just remain Proud!

    July 25, 2008 at 2:57 pm |
  20. Danny B

    Are we not a product of our generation? I am a white male. I love my grandpa more than anything but the fact is his views began forming the day he was born in 1924 and they differ from mine when it comes to race. I was not around during the generation of slavery and segregation. I would know anything about the ways our society mis-treated others if it was not for the school systems or hearing about it from my elders as a young boy. All i know is my friends' skin colors come in all diferent shades, some are as close as you can get without being blood related. We are of the same generation and as long as we respect each other from this day forward why should we dwell on what happened in the past. The past is the past, i'm not saying forget your heritage but time is on our side to change for the better as the future lies before us. We give to much exposure to those that try and keep us seperated. Some of our countries leaders (of any race) were exposed to racial issues and carry with them much heartbreak and baggage from decades before. I wonder sometimes if it is our elders who keep us from moving forward, who instill in us some form of bitterness which we could do without.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  21. Cassandra

    Grace is definitely an intelligent young woman. I agree with the idea that biracial children should not be forced to identify with a particular race. I do however, feel that she has ignored the fact that currently society will categorize you one way or another regardless of how you self identify and fee. Societal views if truth be told can have serious implications. The silent racial classification of individuals affects your job opportunities, financial and legal matters as well. I don't know how many studies must be done to illustrate just how disparate the experiences are in America for Blacks. This series is great to bring those things to the forefront. It is presenting a long hard look at were we are not were we want or should be. It is great to retain the ideal/goal that as a society race should not matter. But unfortunately it still does and for those who are not afraid to admit it it goes well beyond which box your check.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  22. syed m karim

    usa is a country with diverse people ,culture,religion ang religion. people from all over the world are coming here in this country for education,opportunity better life .all of our childrens are going to school ,getting education,job and some of our childrens are getting married to a white girls or boys including in my own family.Lots of them are living happilly ever after. well this is their own choice of course. What is the fuss about. But it is probably most diturbing when children born from one white and one black parent - some or most of children are known as BLACK ,why is that .why they are not called WHITE . what is the big deal being White. Sen Barak is running for President of America this fall Nov,4 and might win and down the road lot peoples attitude will change too. Thanks to USA

    July 25, 2008 at 2:56 pm |
  23. Crystal Callwood

    I agree with the statement that SOCIETY will place you in a 'box', but aren't we the people that make up this society? If we always go back to that "well, society says..." then it will NEVER change. I have a 2 year old biracial child and I never want him to feel like he has to choose between his white heritage and his black heritage, because he is equally a part of both heritages! Why not be proud of that? As long as we allow Society to dictate how we feel about ourselves and what "box" we fit into, it will always be that way. Obama is (hopefully) going to be the first biracial president and when that happens...WOW...America, watch out, because change is coming! He is going to reunite this country like no president before him! I certainly hope and pray that in the years to come, we will see a more unified America and not even more segregation amongst white/black and now bi-racial people.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:55 pm |
  24. Danny

    This young lady has it right. Too bad we older people don't get it. In America we are Americans. Not African-American, Mexican-American and so on. Until we get rid of the hyphens we'll never get past this stupid stuff. You go girl, if you were my daughter I'd be proud of you just as your parents are.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  25. Angie

    We give social norms to much credibility and validation. "SOCIETY" says that if a person has " drop of black blood" that person is black. "SOCIETY" once considered 2 slaves to equal one vote. "SOCIETY" at one time held that blacks could not eat at the lunch counter. "SOCIETY" once held that women should not be allowed to vote. I agree with Miss Gibson in that no one should have to choose one side of his/her heritage in order to accommodate these antiquated and ridiculous notions about who is black and who is not. The problem is that we still give meaning and validation to the "one drop rule". I admire her as a beautiful, mixed-race woman who refuses to accept being categorized by some B.S. racial definition and who is proud of her heritage.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:54 pm |
  26. Matt

    It appears to me that the bulk of our nations citizen have begun to believe that they, personally, have been seriously wronged either by someone or some entity controlling their life; a general feeling of being discounted or debased as a human. There are vast majorities in every cross-section of the American public which now feel that their life is out-of-their hands.

    Why? Because a house divided falls. This is not random chance. This is a plan. Blueprinted by Marx. If you don't believe me. Check out a few books at your library and do some research. Don't take my word for it. It won't take long to see for yourself.

    Don't get me wrong, there is a real thing called racism. It's sick and wrong. It's also doomed and dying as our nation grows, integrates and matures.

    Oh yeah, while your at the Library pick up a book on the origins of Liberation Theology and it's different names for different people with different struggles on differerent continents. You might want to sit next to the bathroom though. It may literally make you physically ill when you learn what's been done to the masses of all continents.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  27. CJ

    What I find interesting about this whole debate is the way identity is shaped as it pertains to biracial (actually black and whatever else) men and women. Historically, the one-drop rule applied making anyone with black in their genetic makeup classified as black. But lately it seems as though it's okay for someone to be 'bi-racial', so long as they are successful. This smacks of the same institutionalized racism that has replaced the overt racism of the past.

    EXAMPLE: If TIger Woods wants to be Cablinasian, it's okay. But if Tiger Woods is Eldrick Woods the bank robber or working-class wage earner trying to get a loan, he becomes black. I can't claim to know what Tiger's life is like, but being someone who's makeup isn't 100 percent black, I know what Eldrick's is like

    July 25, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  28. Neil - Long Beach CA

    Very well said. Though my personal situation is less complex than the author, those of my children are not. I hate that I am constantly asked to reduce their persons to a check-box. They are neither white, nor black, latino or anglo, Texan or Californian. Their racial and ethnic backgrounds are too complex to ever find a box that would encompass themselves as anything other than a small part of the melting pot that will ultimately save our country from itself.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:53 pm |
  29. Mark

    This is turning into a soap opera. These stories keep revolving around celebrities and highly paid individuals. 99.9% of my life as a black man has not been spent around these folks. I dare say 99.9% of all black people can't relate to their lifestyles. CNN,...if you want to do a story on Black in America then you should quit focusing on celebrities, athletes,...and all those other folks you accuse black people of being too influenced by. Seems to me you're a victim of the same influence you report that we are too.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  30. James

    Grace has a beautiful perspective on her life. She is proud to be who she is and rightfully so.

    As a white, English/Scotch-Irish baby boomer raised in Maryland and North Carolina in the 50's and 60's, I have to say that no one in my entire life has ever suggested to me that I should be proud to be white. everyone that I have ever known that made a big deal out of being proud to be white was at least somewhat racist. There assertion always seemed to be that being white was somehow superior to being of any other race. If you start with such a premise, it becomes pretty hard to have equal respect and regard for those of other races. The same applies to nationalities and cultures.

    Heritage, culture, family, education and achievement are elements of our identities that we must accept and respect, but no one should demean, or disrespect another person because of their race or heritage. Grace should be very proud of her mother as a wonderful mom and a successful and dedicated acctress - just as I am very proud of my (recently deceased) mother who was a wonderful mom and a successful and dedicated third grade teacher.

    Race, nationality, ethnicity, and even gender should be a long, long way down the list of the important factors that we consider when evaluating ourselves or when we evaluate others.

    Perhaps the more wonderful examples of 'blended' individuals like Grace, Sen. Obama, Tiger Woods, Derek Jeter and the many, many outstanding young people of mixed heritage who are moving ahead into careers as doctors, lawyers, bankers, actors, athletes, teachers, professors and many others will all finally teach us just how little race matters. Then we can truly celebrate Dr. King's Dream.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  31. Dale

    Your parents named you appropriately. I have always felt the same way as you and I am in complete agreement with everything you said. We are to embrace ourselves and all the races/nationalities that make up who we are. I am seven different nationalities and embrace each one with pride. I am confused with Barack Obama, when he says he is African American. I think to myself, yes, you are part African American and you are also part caucasian, but when you see his myspace, it says African American. Stand tall and be proud of any race/nationality you were born into, after all , we are all human beings first.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:52 pm |
  32. Raphael

    VERY WELL SAID, Grace. I'm a black male in an interracial marriage, and the parents you described are models of the parent I want to be.

    I will never forget that when I proposed to my wife and "asked her hand in marriage" to her father-in-law (something I think is old-fashioned, but I did it because my wife asked me to), the first thing out of his mouth was "Are you sure you want to do this? Won't your kids have to deal with a lot of prejudice and misunderstanding?"

    My response was "There is nothing they will be given that I have not already experienced." I may not be interracial myself, but I know how it feels to be discriminated against. I ALSO understand that you don't have to be black to understand discrimination either. My wife is of Irish heritage, and I know that her people suffered a great amount of persecution by the British throughout the centuries. For that reason, it is something that binds us together and gives us the understanding that hatred in ALL FORMS is the real problem.

    Once humankind can evolve to the point where we as a whole understand this, many of the problems in the world will cease –but like Tesap, I also don't believe it will happen during my lifetime. In fact, I think we will be lucky if we don't destroy this world and each other very soon.

    In the meantime, I will teach my children to love themselves for who they are, cherish and value all aspects of their heritage, and treat others with dignity and respect.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  33. Karrie

    I am a white mom of 3 biracial children and a bonus mom to 7 Haitian young adults. My husband and I have made every effort to introduce traditions and beliefs from both our backgrounds and have taught our children to respect every individual based on their actions and not on looks, accents, type of worship or background.

    Grace sounds well-rounded and is obviously looking at the big picture. I look forward to her involvement in the country's future when she finishes college.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:51 pm |
  34. Pauline

    Obviously far above that of many "adult" maturity levels. Bravo!

    July 25, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  35. Angela

    I enjoyed your take on the subject, Grace. I will tell you as a mother of a bi-racial son, age 21 and a bi-racial daughter age 20 that my husband and I instilled in them at a very early age that they are bi-racial and have the best of both cultures. I had to fight even with ER nurses at the hospital because they would always mark my children as black on the medical forms! I would feel the same if they had written them down as white. They are what they are, bi-racial and we want them to be proud of that! I have a friend who has 2 bi-racial kids and is totally on the opposite end of the spectrum. She has told her kids they are black and never acknowledges that they have white blood also, and this woman is WHITE! I just think there are so many trials that these young adults have to face, and its good to know at least they know they came from the best and I will never be ashamed of what our love for each other has created!!!
    One love...

    July 25, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  36. Stefan

    Great piece!!! As a person that is of mixed race growing up in the north and moving to the south to experience the racial and social divide. I have felt very strongly that a person is not defined by their race but the beliefs and value that the individual posesses. Being a former division I athlete gave me the platform to create awareness amongst a number of different ethnic, racial and socio-economic levels. The fact of the matter as Lynn expressed so well, is that education and awareness will lead to understanding and then acceptance. Working in an industry dominated by white males I am extremely motivated on creating change and beleive that the first step is to identify the challenge and create a game plan to address that challenge.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  37. Danny

    I heartily commend this young lady’s comments. I am a mixed race person who was raised in Harlem in the 50’s and 60’s with my 4 sisters. Our parents taught us that we were of both races. I attended schools in Harlem and in sections of the city that were predominantly white. I do not ever recall anyone questioning my race, or even asking me about it (of course, those in our neighborhood knew that we were mixed). Throughout my life I have embraced both races, and I have never been all that concerned with what “society” thought I was.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  38. Debra

    I agree with Grace, be proud of who you are, I a person that is black, white and hispanic. When people asked what is my race, i simple explain that I'm a other. To me this covers everything, I can be proud of being a part of everything, and loving it,.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:50 pm |
  39. rj

    we're all mixed race, and this program is getting extremely tired. let's make excuses and pity-parties for just "blacks" where every race that has existed on this land we now call the USA has been suject to persecution. i'm sure "asian in america" or "white in america" would be inappropriate of course...since there's obviously no negative actions against to those "races". tired of excuses. tired of "but we were oppressed for centuries", tired of those "proud" minorities who skulk and hide only to bicker, backstab, curse and chastise anyone different from them.

    just tired.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  40. Travis

    As a mixed person I believe the best part about it is being stripped of a culture. You come in with no history therefore you have nothing to be proud or ashamed of. You are in turn forced to search ALL different cultures and in doing so you find your SELF not your race. But the girl has very good points and I'm sure they will continue to grow and mature as her generation leads us to a more enlightened future.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  41. Yas

    Thank you Grace!!!! And to your parents: Thank you.

    I'm 44 and wish I'd been able to speak to friends and associates in such a concise and elegant way about this subject. [ I don't do concise well 🙂 ] . My mother is Afro-Cuban/ Irish-American Indian; but she calls herself African-American; And she actively bristles when I say that I'm mixed. (My father was UnknownWhite/Black Cherokee), People see the mixture in me and always ask...usually guessing if I'm hestiant to answer.
    In one case I remember vividly, two co-workers I barely knew came over to me demanding that I clear up the argument over "who was right". Of course the African American co-worker was angry that I didn't declare myself African-American. I frankly do not care about the "one drop rule".....people never talk about American Indians that didn't go on the reservation being forced to identify as Black, NOR do you see much information on WHITES who choose to identify as Black so they could marry whoever they chose. Now that's a discussion that should be added. I will say for the record....I consider myself black...just not African-American....I'm black Cuban/Black American Indian and Black Irish. And every portion of my black has had its persecution.....out of that came a beautiful family that strove to work together for a better future and THAT is what is of the utmost importance! That is what makes me stand up for the underdog and do what I can to fight inequality. I'm saying it loud I'm Blended and Proud!!!!!!

    July 25, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  42. Carrie

    I wanted to address Geri:

    Geri July 25th, 2008 8:59 am ET

    Well, Grace Gibson, obviously the program was not made with you in mind. It was made for us, the ones who have to go through the daily struggles of being Black In America.


    People like this prefer to be negative. Instead of focusing on how to make it more about being human, more about helping our fellow man and making everyone color blind, this person prefers to make it another "pity the poor Black Man/Woman" piece.

    Grace is a wonderful example of how many of us are trying to get along in today's America. Embracing the fact we are a racially blended nation and working towards a future where we are more concerned with matters other than the color of our skins.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:48 pm |
  43. Jo

    It seems the group of people who have the most trouble allowing a biracial person to be proud of their two dominant cultures are African Americans. Why is that? If you are white and black and people tell you that you are black, who cares? Injustices come from both groups, not just white, like, "you are not black enough". As African Americans, we need to be okay with the fact that, not all biracial children want to be just black, they want to be both, and its their right. Things won't change if we keep our minds in the past, and while they are not perfect now, we have to keep working towards a more accepting world.

    Don't look down on biracial people who want to be known as both races, otherwise, you are bigot.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  44. AC

    I am Black. My sister (over ten years younger than me) is both Black and White.
    I always told her that she is best of both cultures not matter how people try to classify her. SHE only has to classify HERSELF on a application and if it has other then that is HER OPTION.

    We as a society need to define ourselves and not let others define us.

    I love my sister....

    July 25, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  45. FYI

    Great article from young Ms. Gibson. My child will be raised to embrace her mixed heritage (black/white and American/Caribbean) and not chose 1.

    I keep hearing/reading those (WIL above)who talk about why "BET". Well, people in ethnic groups have certain culture that is different from the main culture, hence the need. (it was 1984 when MTV started showing Black music vidoes). I have no problems with BET, Telumundo and Christian Broadcasting Network or the Black Caucus or Hispanic Caucus or Rock Radio Stations, R&B Radio Stations, and Caribbean Radio Stations or Chinesse Food, Italian Food and Indian Food. My comment may sound simplistic, but think about it.

    July 25, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  46. Terri D

    I agree with Ms. Gibson. Why should anyone deny his or her own parentage?

    July 25, 2008 at 2:47 pm |
  47. Professor Griff

    Rodney your mention of getting rid of affirmative action based programs and Barack Obama is an oxymoron.

    Would Barack Obama have gotten the education and opportunities if it were not for affirmative action based programs ?

    July 25, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  48. Richard

    It's about time folks embrace multi-ethnicity. I hope someday society can drop the false categories, saying you are either black or white. That change would be a great step towards ending racial discrimination.
    Why let the racists set the agenda?

    July 25, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  49. Daniel


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

    July 25, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
  50. Jamie Dover

    I am white and my ex-husband is black. Our two children our nothing short of physically beautiful and extremely bright. They are raised to be proud of both of their heritages and encouraged to be educated and productive young people. Their friends come in all colors. Neither of them are confused about their identity, they are comfortable in their skin and it reflects positively from them. I am proud of them!

    July 25, 2008 at 2:46 pm |
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