An Open Letter To The Authorities On Blackness: Get Over Yourselves

December 7, 2012  |  

By Jada Gomez-Lacayo

This morning I came across a tweet that stopped me dead in my tracks. As CNN anchor Soledad O’Brien prepares for the next installment of Black In America, “Who Is Black In America?”  airing Sunday night,  someone tweeted that Soledad wants the “whole world to know (think) she’s black,” and that she she’s taking a black person’s job because she’s Latina. Wow.

This is disrespectful to me in so many ways. First of all, Soledad is a journalist, and the Black In America series is her entire concept. If she didn’t pitch the ideas and pour her heart and soul into it, the black in America and Latino in America specials wouldn’t even exist. Secondly, what right does this random person have to define her ethnicity? As a Twitter user who describes herself as the “Black love Queen,” that’s a very un-unifying one love idea. You think that would make Bob Marley proud? The user even went so far as to mention that she has a white grandmother. That defense makes the entire call-out ironic and frankly, moronic.

We see it time and time again, everyone wants to be black without the responsibility. There was a time when black actresses were only accepted by black media, a reason why biracial stars like Alicia keys and Paula Patton identify strongly with their African-American side.

And I’ve never bought into that “my black has to be stronger than yours” idea that many mixed race people adopt when describing their pride in their black side. My black is mine, it does not have to be louder or stronger than anyone else’s. I don’t have to dress a certain way or speak a certain way. My blackness is my birthright.

The same woman who is trying to quiet Soledad was proud to pull the lever and vote for the first Black president, an extraordinary man raised by an inspiring white woman.

In discussions, it comes up that multiracial people have rooted issues that are “all in their mind” once they hit a certain age. But what you fail to understand is that we’re constantly bombarded with messages as to why we’re not who we are. And don’t think we don’t have a strong sense of self. Ask a mixed race person (respectfully) about their identity, and you’ll get a well thought out response, for the simple fact that we’ve had to have a soundbyte all this time.

As a black woman, I’m sure you deal with people coming up with conclusions about you based on stereotypes.  So from a multiracial woman, get over yourself. Dream your own dreams before trying to tear down others. And enjoy the show Sunday night.

Jada Gomez-Lacayo is the Entertainment Editor for Follow her on Twitter at @JadaGomez.

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  • Guest

    Black folks come in all shapes, sizes and COLORS!!!! This notion that black isn’t black unless its blue/black is ridiculous. We all know that there are many people out here who are actually black but deny who they are and refer to themselves as different ethnic groups. This is really due to ignorance and in many cases shame. Unfortunately we as black people have been ridiculed and humiliated over our skin tone. It is an issue we have yet to completely overcome. We have to tolerate some of the dumbest remarks directed toward us and about us. It can become a bit much at times. It doesn’t matter if you acknowledge it or not, if you are not 100% White or Asian or a combination of them, then you are at least partially African because these are really the only 3 races that exist on earth. Everyone else is either African or combination of one or more of these races. What many people call races, such as Puerto Rican, Dominican, Irish, Italian, etc are just ethnicities being mistakenly referred to as races!!!!Whatever you are, you are, but please do not delude yourself into thinking that you are not what you are!!!!Denial doesn’t change it!!!

  • They will never get over themselves. People that try to elevate themselves by disparaging others have been around since humans hit the world. This desire to be “blacker than thou” is a cancer that isn’t going anywhere.

  • FromUR2UB

    I’m looking forward to the show. The preview with the elementary school teacher comparing the brown paper bag against the students’ skin bothers me. To discuss that part of our history with them is one thing; to actually hold the bag to them is another. The implication is that it’s a “pass or fail” test, and I think if they don’t match the paper, it might have a negative impact on them for a long time. Hopefully, that teacher and others in those kids’ lives are countering that notion, because our people already have too many issues with skin tones. Don’t need to layer another one on.

  • Natalynn

    YAWWWWWNNNNNNN!!!! This subject and these comments bore the heck out of my life–who is anyone to tell someone else who they are based on what the former perceives the latter to be? That’s like having to show your DNA code just because someone else questions your “Blackness”. Who the heck are you to tell who is or who isn’t “black”–have a coke and a smile and fall all the way back.

  • Meyaka

    I really don’t mind people like that,if I did everytime someone ask me “you black and what?” I would lose it…

    • Native_Noir


  • BlancaLatina

    Latinos are white only. The darker kind came from slavery but they are not LATINO!! There is a world of difference. Black people whose ancestry came from slavery also have French German British and Irish last names.

    • Gimmeabreak78

      Have a seat. Your stupidity is weighing you down.

    • Gimmeabreak78

      Right, because Sammy SOSA, Zoe SALDANA, and Lala VASQUEZ all have German/British/Irish names. Wow.

    • Guest

      OMG! My last name is French, German, British AND Irish! It’s BitshutZfuqUp.

      • Native_Noir

        #DEAD!!! DEAD.


    Everybody wants to be a negro but aint nobody want to be a negro…rofl….(Paul Mooney, edited version)

    • Joules

      Only commenter here that got it right. As my non-black husband pointed out to me while I was trying to explain enough of black culture to him so I can bring him to meet the extended family for the holidays, “So… it’s just a lot of self-loathing that no one can actually debate because no one actually wants to be black?”

      I really should’ve married a Jew, apparently they’re the only people who can hold a candle to us as far as the self-loathing goes… Of course, some people actually want to be Jewish.

  • Dawud

    And for the record the title of your letter is offensive in its own right to so called “Black People”. It is funny when Blacks, African Americans, Negroes or the like claim Authority and define them selves for them selves people take issue. You, as a Black person would never dare claim “Authority” over White or European social issues. Yet, everyone has a right to claim some authority on Blackness. You need a deeper understanding….

  • Dawud

    Soledad is out of line and I feel her involvelment and the series itself is useless. Being Black or African American has become a Novelty or an Accesory to folks like Soledad. With the show set to air this Sunday of course she is wearing her “Blackness” this week for promotional purposes. She’s posting pictures of
    her Afro-Cuban mom and Grandparents, doing the black talk radio circuit and staking her claim as an authority on Black Issues. She has explained the 1 drop rule,which is a positive for her in this case, in order to give her some validation as to why she can narrate, moderate and control the context and framework of the discussion….

  • Rodriguez

    First of all Soledad’s mother is 100 black woman! She looks like Nina Simone so whoever tweeted that sounds like the same angry PuertoRican troll who constantly goes on the blogs trying to force Black people with some Hispanic background to deny that they are black. This PuertoRican troll tries to use reverse psychology by pretending to be African American to start a race rant against people like Soloedad.

    • Leon

      I agree! There is no guarantee that the person who told her this is black. “Black Love Queen” sounds suspect as hell. There are millions of blk people in this country who look like Soledad Obrien. And I also agree that this woman sounds moronic and mentally unbalanced.

  • mac

    And if these same people deny their black side, then they’re self-hating sell-outs. You can’t win with black folk. Don’t try to.

    • mac

      edit: just like with our President. Many AA’s deemed him not “black enough” to represent us. But let him have denied his black side? They would’ve went batsh*t.

      Then you have folk like Tiger Woods who don’t care to identify with the black community, and y’all still mad.

      What do you want from these people?

  • Alexa

    When will people realize that there are B-L-A-C-K Latinos. Seriously is it that hard to understand??? There are Latinos with more African blood than some AA’s here in America. The “Black love Queen” is a moron.

    • Gimmeabreak78

      No kidding. You are absolutely right. I think to a certain extent, many African-Americans think they are only black people who exist on planet Earth outside of the continent of Africa. People often confuse nationality with race, i.e, “He’s not black, he’s Dominican” as if the two are mutually exclusive. Imagine how automatically absurd a person would sound if he said, “She’s not American, she’s black” when talking about Oprah or Michelle Obama.

    • But ignorant-@ss negroes in this country only think those descended from slavery “count”. There are tens of millions Afro-Latinos in the Carribean, Latin America and South America.

  • rzakia

    Well written, I really get tired of some black people who have the notion that blackness can only be discussed by other blacks. Why shade someone when they are bringing up issues that need to be discussed and doing an excellent job at it?