My friend Kola Boof never pulls any punches. Sometimes I just hangout out on her Facebook page with my popcorn and watch the show. One of her posts last week garnered 1,000+ comments because Kola has some seemingly controversial opinions about mixed race people identifying themselves as “black.” She posed an idea that I’d never thought about before. She expresses disgust that black people will let anyone with a few drops of black blood identify as black, with gusto. She specifically calls out Soledad O’Brien, who identifies as black, but doesn’t much look it.
Here’s what sparked the uh…spirited discussion:
A White Woman (Soledad O’Brien) is given the power to DICTATE to Blacks what “blackness” is….she of an Irish name, white skin & everything but the burden.
She is to define an entire race of people from AFRICA based on the 1 drop rule invented by the KKK and we’re supposed to listen to her and not our own continent. It’s so typically arrogant and AMERICAN RACIST.
I remember when some black folks were so offended that Tiger Woods rejected the One Drop Rule and claimed all his lineage, not just the one that was the most physically obvious.
But then, you have to wonder, who gets to be black? Here’s Kola’s take.
I admit I struggle with this. Not “struggle” in the sense that I’m staying up at night wringing my hands about whether or not three of my four kids are considered black, or will consider themselves black, or will fall into the “tragic mulatto” category. There’s not much chance of that. We live in Southern California, and there’s just too many kids that look like mine around for mine to feel isolated. My main concern is that they become productive members of society, healthy, whole and happy.
But at the same time, I can understand the concerns of people (like me) who are visibly black being included in the same group with people who can slip in and out of their blackness according to how it suits them. Mixed race people often have this privilege, which does lend to an unfair advantage over those who are obviously black. Honestly, I don’t see any viable solution to this conundrum except that the people of H.G. Well’s “Time Machine” hurry up and populate the world so that we can find something else to divide ourselves about.
Full disclosure: I asked Kola for her permission to post about this subject. She informed me that she will write a post to mixed/biracial people who thinks she hates them after Christmas.