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.