All Articles Tagged "race"

Celebrities Accused Of Race-Baiting And Being Controversial For Attention

August 18th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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race-baiting celebrities

Dan Jackman/

Controversial comments about race always seem to make it into the headlines. But are these stars purposely race-baiting their fans? Are they looking for attention or do they actually feel this way about race issues?

“Get Over It”: Celebrities Give Their Two Cents On Love And Interracial Dating

July 29th, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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I never usually entertain the opinions of others because everyone is entitled to they're own opinion. (Positive or Negative) But we're in the year of 2015 & when should it be a "problem" to date outside of your race? Why is that an issue AGAIN? I'm doing the unusual & going through my comments & the comments I see about my wife being another race is bugging me out. Who one chooses to date is that persons business. Instead of focusing on (Happiness) & (pure Love) for some reason some folks are still focused on (Color). Doesn't make any sense to me. But I guess that's the ignorance of OTHERS. My wife may not be Black but she is mine. And she's mine with a heart of gold. People are so quick to judge but can't even distinguish the difference of another's race. Sophia Luke is Hispanic. She's not white, she's not black, she's not Chinese, she's Hispanic. And she's mine!!

A photo posted by Derek Luke (@iamderekluke) on

Empire star Derek Luke’s comments about his marriage had everyone talking about interracial dating. But do you know where the stars stand when it comes to dating outside of their race? Well, you’re about to find out.

3 Folktales From Africa That Disney Should Develop Instead Of “The Princess Of North Sudan”

July 1st, 2015 - By Cynthia L. Dorsey
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Meet the Heatons! A middle-class American family from Abingdon, Va. This family is comprised of the head of household, Jeremiah Heaton, his wife, Kelly, their two sons Justin and Caleb, and their 7-year-old daughter, Emily. Jeremiah works in the mining industry and even attempted to run for Congress in 2012. However, he has managed to make the news for something that has less to do with Congressional politics and more to do with White supremacy and continued disrespect of the African continent.

Emily, like most little girls her age, has an affinity for princess stories. After asking her father if she would ever become a princess, Jeremiah began researching places that he could claim as king so that Emily’s dream of becoming a princess could come true. His quest landed him smack dab in Africa, right between Egypt and Sudan on the land of Bir Tawil. In the midst of turmoil between Egypt and Sudan, Jeremiah Heaton in all his supreme authority and invincible power, traveled to Bir Tawil, planted a flag made by his children, and Emily’s wish of becoming a princess was granted.

Bir Tawil is frequented by Bedouins. They are a nomadic people whose ancestral lineage is a part of the Bir Tawil land, which they roam. The Bedouin way of living differs from the Heaton family’s White American way of life, so one can’t expect the Heatons to understand it. But the Bedouins should be respected.

This move by Heaton is White supremacy at its finest and perpetuates the colonization of the African continent. Sticking a flag in the sand and claiming land that is not yours, which you did not cultivate or even buy, all the while benefiting from the resources of that country perpetuates the colonialist attitude that has raped Africa for decades.

Though this highly problematic story of White superiority and entitlement continues to hijack Africa of its riches and denigrate the history of African peoples, what is most alarming is that this story will be passed on for generations to come. It has been picked up by Disney for development into a film called The Princess of North Sudan.

Disney has paid for the rights to Heaton’s story, and while many are in an uproar about it, we shouldn’t be surprised. It’s not like Disney has any respect for the stories of Black and brown people. In 2009, Disney released The Princess and the Frog featuring its very first Black princess, Tiana. It only took a mere 72 years since Disney’s first studio film release of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937 to make this happen. I, along with many Black film enthusiasts, was elated at the idea that little Black girls would finally have an animated depiction of a princess who looked like them. But we don’t look like frogs. The Princess and the Frog ended up being adapted from the Brothers Grimm story The Frog Prince.

But what makes this recent decision by Disney to develop this story for the big screen so offensive is the fact that they don’t need to. Africa is overflowing with a rich oral history full of folklore and folktales of kings, queens, princes and princesses. Full of magical moments, love stories, adventure, family bonds, and happily ever after. And there are plenty other classic stories based in the continent that deserve to be shared. Here are a few authentically African princess stories we love that Disney could adapt instead:

Mufaro’s Beautiful Daughters


Image Source: Scholastic

Image Source: Scholastic

Written by African-American author and illustrator John Steptoe in 1988, the popular children’s story takes place in an African village where kindhearted villager Mufaro and his two beautiful daughters Manyara and Nyasha live. Nyasha has taken on her father’s attributes and is giving. But unbeknownst to Mufaro, Manyara is mean and selfish. Mufaro gets word from the city that the king is looking for “the most worthy and beautiful daughters in the land” to marry. Mufaro can’t choose between his daughters as they are both equally beautiful, so he decides to take both of his daughters to the city so the king can decide for himself. Instead of traveling with her family, Manyara takes off toward the city in the middle of the night hoping to get there before her sister and be chosen as queen. On the way, she is faced with a few tests that challenge her character. Nyasha leaves the next morning with her father. She also has to take on the challenging tests, but she handles them with compassion and grace. Once they arrive at the palace, they realize the tests were set up by the king to see which sister possessed not only physical beauty, but inner beauty as well. The king chooses Nyasha to wed, and she becomes queen.


The Princess Who Lost Her Hair


This Akamba legend is the story of a princess with beautiful long hair. According to the tale, she has “the loveliest hair in the world.” Singing maidens weave her hair into magical plaits every evening, which causes her hair to grow even longer. The maidens even adorn her hair with gold and carry her hair so that it won’t touch the ground. The princess loves all of the attention. One day as she sits in the garden getting her hair done, a bird lands on the garden wall and asks the princess for a strand of her hair to make a nest. The princess is so into her hair she feels disrespected that the bird would even ask her such a question. She denies the bird’s request. The bird casts a spell on the princess, which causes all of her hair to fall out and brings drought and famine to the kingdom. A young beggar boy named Muoma wants to help the kingdom and sets out to find the bird to ask if the spell can be broken. On his way, he faces a few tests where he has to practice kindness and share the last of his food and water with a mouse, an ant, and a flower. Because Muoma shows how kind he is, the spell is broken. Muoma helps to save the kingdom from the drought and famine, and the hair of the princess grows back. She falls in love with Muoma, for he truly showed her the meaning of kindness. Muoma and the princess marry and live happily ever after.


Nomi And The Magic Fish


This tale from South Africa is often compared to Cinderella but we think it’s much better. Nomi, an adventurous young girl, is being starved by her father’s second wife. On a day out exploring her village, she meets and becomes friends with a fish at the stream. The fish brings Nomi food. Nomi’s evil stepmother becomes very suspicious and follows Nomi to the stream one day. When she sees Nomi has made a friend in the fish and the fish is bringing her food, the evil stepmother kills and eats the fish. But the fish had already predicted his demise and told Nomi that when the day came that he is eaten to throw his bones in the village chief’s garden. Nomi does just that. The next day the chief solicits help from whomever can bring the bones to him and offers his hand in marriage as the reward. Nomi is the only one who can do it. The two are married and live happily ever after.


Hush Your Mouth! Should You Talk About Race & Politics At Work?

June 25th, 2015 - By Ann Brown
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The news is filled with hot button racial issues, from police shootings to Rachel Dolezar impersonating a Black woman for years to the horrific and tragic murder of nine people in Charleston’s Mother Emanuel church and the raging debate over the Confederate flag. It’s almost hard not to have a fiery discussion these days, and it will probably get even more divisive as the election heats up.

But should you talk about race and politics in the workplace? “While workplace diversity is an intentional and strategic business focus these days, and varying viewpoints, free speech and personal perspectives are our individual rights and can lead to greater understanding about the beliefs of others, chatting about race and politics at work should ideally be avoided at all costs,” warns Dr. Anita Davis-DeFoe, president/CEO of 3E Global Solutions.  “Typically, considering the range of emotional intelligence levels in the office, discussion of these topics too often result in heated arguments, adversely affect others as people’s stereotypical thinking and prejudices surface to the top impacting working relationships as words spoken may be retracted, but rarely are forgotten…Today’s 21st century office has the largest mix of ethnic groups and intergenerational workers in history, and this in itself is creating enough workplace conflict already. So discussing political and racial ideologies too often serves to add more fuel to this already festering fire.”

But what if someone asks your opinion on, say, the Confederate flag. Should you give it? “If someone asks you a question, if someone asks you your stance on the Confederate flag, certainly if you choose to, and you want to honor your truth, share your opinion. But do not feel compelled to, and simply respond ‘I do not talk about race, religion, politics or sex at work.’  Enough said!” Davis-DeFoe tells MadameNoire.

“In the case that someone asks you a direct question, it’s best to just deflect the question. If I were asked what I thought of the Confederate flag, I would simply say, ‘It sure is controversial, there is no question about that’ and then leave it there,” adds Bill Fish, founder and president of, via email.

Obviously, you should always aware of your online image and what you say in social media.

Bianca Payton, an Atlanta-based business analyst, says when faced with this situation she doesn’t hesitate to offer her opinion, but she does take care with how she delivers it.

“Honestly, I am very open, honest, and straightforward, so I won’t shy away from any conversation or dialogue concerning any issue. Race can no longer be a taboo subject,” she tells MadameNoire. “By the same token, there is a spoken and unspoken corporate culture that is implemented in the workplace to prevent people from feeling uncomfortable, out-of-place, etc. I believe if you’re able to have a conversation with someone and it is respectful, them possibly.”

Eula M. Guest, COO of Griot’s Roll Film Production & Services Inc., however feels some issues should always be avoided in the workplace. “You are getting paid to provide a service for your company unless they hire you specifically about those issues I would stay clear of it. You don’t want your personal opinions to be used against you for promotions, bonus, etc.”

According to executive coach Kathi Elster of K Squared Enterprises and co-author of Mean Girls at Work, Working with You Is Killing Me, it does depend on what industry you are in. “It is very tempting to talk about politics in the office, but unless you work in a newsroom or in the industry that might be in the news, politics have no place at work. When at work talk about work. Talking about sensitive subjects that can cause friction and arguments leading to hatred and not being able to work together should be off-limits. Besides, your company is not paying you to give your opinions on topics that are not work related,” she tells us.

But if your boss or co-workers say things that are totally offensive to you, then this might be a time to speak up-to HR.

How you discussed any of these issues at work? How have those discussions gone?

How Verda Byrd Learned She Was White After 70 Years

June 23rd, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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verda byrd

Source: Kens 5 Tv

Verda Byrd grew up in Newton, Kansas just like many other Black girls around the country. The daughter of Edwinna and Ray Wagner, a railroad porter, she lived a comfortable life with loving parents.

Eventually, Verda learned that Ray and Edwinna weren’t her biological parents. She was adopted in the 1940s. Still, she never doubted her status as a Black woman.

“I grew up not questioning birth or anything else because it was never told to me that I was born white.”

It wasn’t until her 70th year that Byrd discovered, through her own research, that her biological parents were White.

Byrd learned that her birth name name was Jeanette Beagle and her parents, Earl and Daisy Beagle were transients, White transients.

Byrd became a ward of the state after a series of unfortunate events. First, her father Earl walked out on his wife and their ten children. Later, Byrd’s biological mother, Daisy, fell nearly 30 feet in a trolley accident.

When Byrd learned of her White parentage she was naturally shocked.

“it’s unbelievable… My adoptive mother, Edwinna Wagner, never told me that she had adopted a White baby. She took it to her grave that she had a White daughter.”

Still, Byrd says that she’s not looking to change or redefine her identity any time soon.

“I’m comfortable with being a Black woman.”

She doesn’t even want anything to do with her birth name, Jeanette Beagle.

“I wouldn’t go back to my birth name if I had to. Jeanette Beagle does not fit Verda Byrd. Jeanette Beagle does not have an education. Jeanette Beagle has no social security money because she never worked. She never even went to kindergarten.”

Naturally, on the heels of the Rachel Dolezal story, people are naturally drawing parallels between the two women. And while Byrd acknowledges that the two women both chose to be Black, she still has little respect for the former NAACP leader.

When asked why she was so upset with Dolezal, Byrd responded:

“Cause she lied about her race, Byrd said emphatically, “I didn’t lie because I didn’t know!”

Ultimately Byrd believes that she and Dolezal chose to be Black for drastically different reasons.

Byrd, who was raised as an only chid, has been in contact with her other siblings and they’ve said they simply don’t discuss the issue of race.

So, now that you all have the story, can I get a show of hands from the people who think Miss Verda might need to do a little bit more research? To look at her, there is absolutely no doubt in my full and sane mind that this nice lady is Black, not only socially, but genetically too. I have relatives, friends, and friends’ relatives who look just like her. And they know, without a shadow of a doubt that they’re Black. And while her skin may be fair and her eyes light, other features seem to be saying something else. That nose is just too African too deny.

What I’m about to propose is all speculation, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Byrd’s biological parents moved around so much because they were passing and afraid that eventually their ancestry would be discovered. And that just might be the reason her siblings, who are likely also Black, don’t discuss race. Then again, White people, in their privilege generally don’t have to. Either way, I would love for her to take a DNA test, so we could get down to the real truth.

You can watch Verda Byrd’s full interview in the video below.

Head to the comments and let us know what you think about Ms Verda.

Rachel Dolezal’s Not Alone: More People Lying About Their Race

June 22nd, 2015 - By Meg Butler
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Image Source: Twitter

Image Source: Twitter

Rachel Dolezal may have made headlines, but she’s not the only person to lie about their race. These folks lied about their heritage to get ahead, get a job or get deeper into a major identity crisis.

Dear White People, Stop Having These Phony Conversations About Race

June 19th, 2015 - By Charing Ball
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black fatigue

This week has been filled with raw emotion and passionate dialog around the topic of race in America.

No, I am not talking about the terrorist attack in Charleston, South Carolina, where a White man ambushed and killed nine Black parishioners while in Bible study at the historic Emanuel AME Church – although I will get to that later.

I’m talking about Rachel Dolezal.

In particular, I am talking about spending an entire week caught up in debates and discussions with mostly White people about how they think it is possible for Dolezal to be Black.

There is something about that woman that has awakened the curiosity in White America. In particular, liberal White people who all of a sudden believe that Rachel Imitation of Black Life Dolezal has added something new and of value to how we see and feel about race. I have spent the majority of my time on social media up to my eyeballs in comments and responding to questions from alleged White allies who I forgot were even in my social media network. A few of these conversations about race have been hostile, but, for the most part, most of these discussions have been cordial and respectful. Still, the grand majority of opinions have been contrarian to my own. They also have been contrary to the assertion of many Black people who say that the fake hair, self-tan and an affinity for chicken wings drizzled in hot sauce does not make you Black. I heard things from my so-called non-racist white friends like, “But you know that race is a social construct…,” and “Well, you know we are all from Africa anyway so…,” and my personal favorite, “What is Blackness anyway?”

I don’t want to rehash any of those debates here, so I’ll just keep it short and say that what Blackness isn’t is a cultural costume that one can put on whenever they so please. There are serious historical, political and economic implications attached to this identity, which those of us born Black have no say in picking and choosing. And although race is indeed a social construct, it is not Blackness that needs to be deconstructed, expanded and eliminated, but rather, whiteness. It is the primary construct that keeps all others from true self-determination.

I will admit that the grand majority of these debates have been a great exchange of ideas, as well as an excellent way to fine-tune my positions about critical race theory. But imagine my dismay when on Thursday morning, while the entire Black community mourned the deaths of the Emanuel nine through tears and angry Facebook and Twitter posts, the voices of my White liberal “We are all part of the human race” allies were nowhere to be found. The same folks who held me hostage on social media for days with debates about the alleged “complexities” of race in America suddenly had nothing to say. I am talking not a single status update, not a single comment expressing their anger at these senseless racialized murders, not even a single offer of condolences could be found. And out of all the public conversations around race that occurred this week, their silence – right now when it counts – is what I am most pissed about. White people who like to talk about the realities of race and racism often become deaf and dumb mutes whenever something happens, which shows just how real race is in this country.

But don’t take it from me, white people. Listen to what Tim Wise, your fellow socially constructed white person, said in his piece “Mimicry is Not Solidarity: Rachel Dolezal and the Creation of Antiracist White Identity” about your half-ass solidarity:

There is a lesson here for us, for we who are white and care deeply about racial equity, justice and liberation, and the lesson is this: authentic antiracist white identity is what we must cultivate. We cannot shed our skin, nor our privileges like an outdated overcoat. They are not accessories to be donned or not as one pleases, but rather, persistent reminders of the society that is not yet real, which is why we must work with people of color to overturn the system that bestows those privileges. But the key word here is with people of color, not as them. We must be willing to do the difficult work of finding a different way to live in this skin.

That difficult work means using your voices, and more importantly, your privilege, to confront your brethren about the realities of race and racism in America. It also means being vocal about the violence, both institutionalized and individual, committed against Black people even when the event is personally painful and shameful to your racial identity. What that difficult work does not entail is engaging in trivial debates with Black people over how we choose our self-determination, or using whatever window of opportunity presents itself to recuse yourself from the white guilt you are feeling.

So yeah, white people, I would appreciate it if you all would stop that.


3 Pieces Of Advice For Rachel Dolezal, The White Lady Pretending To Be Black

June 15th, 2015 - By Kweli Wright
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Rachel Dolezal, head of Spokane, Washington NAACP is making headlines for pretending to be Black.

Yes, you read that right.

“It’s very sad that Rachel has not just been herself,” her mother, Ruthanne Dolezal tells theSpokesman-Review. “Her effectiveness in the causes of the African-American community would have been so much more viable and she would have been more effective, if she had just been honest with everybody.”

Dolezal went as far to change her hair, has seemingly darkened her skin, and has let other people think her father is a black man. She was confronted by a reporter asking if she is truly white, but she simply walked away.

There are many things we can learn from this situation.

1. Appropriation is racist, so stop it.

Not only is this story is bizarre, but as a black woman myself, it’s sadly not that surprising. Many of us have seen things like this on a much smaller scale. The appropriation and the tired joke from a white person saying they’re somehow “blacker than us” just because they listen to rap.

Being black is not something you can gain from learning to cook soul food, listening to a certain type of music, and speaking a type of way. It’s a color that you are born with and comes with a lot of beautiful things as well as, sadly, a lot of negative reactions.

To say you are black just because you want to copy black culture because you think it’s “cool” is racist. You are cherry-picking what you like about blackness. Stop it. You can still be an ally without doing this.

2. Don’t let your white guilt get in the way.

You can be an ally to black people without trying to appropriate our culture. A white person can be in the NAACP and work for racial equality without trying to fully assimilate and lie about who they are.

Sadly, things like white guilt have made some white people do more harm than good. Not too long ago Ben Affleck was caught stopping the show “Find Your Roots” from showing that his ancestors owned slaves.

Lying about your background is more about YOU than it is about helping black people. You want to feel better about yourself. You don’t want to acknowledge the very complicated history this country has had. You should acknowledge it and then realize you can be better by learning from it. You can’t erase your history.


I get it. The country has learned many wonderful things from Caitlyn Jenner’s journey. However gender and race are not one in the same.

Now to be clear: race is a crock of sh*t. That’s right, I said it. If we looked at a white person’s DNA and compared it to a black person’s there will be nothing different according to race. It’s a social construct.

So can a white person seriously wake up one day and say: “I was really born to be black I was just put in a white person’s body?”

No. Because what would that even mean? Would this white person just start following black stereotypes because they think that’s what blackness is? Would this person start putting on black face every day knowing the tragic history behind it?

People are people no matter their color or race. That’s why you can’t be transracial.

You don’t need to assimilate or appropriate to be an ally. An ally simply allows us to speak on our own experiences and help us reach our goal of true equality, not take our platforms and masquerade as one of us.

Got it? Good.

This article originally appeared on

Imitation Of Life: NAACP Leader Rachel Dolezal Pretends To Be Black

June 12th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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We’ve all heard about Black people pretending to be White for financial, professional or social gain. But rarely do we hear about White people attempting to be Black. And I don’t mean adopting a Blaccent, wearing stereotypically urban clothes and trying to use the n-word. I mean making a concerted, long term effort to convince people that you’re genetically African American.

Family members of Rachel Dolezal and other civil rights activists have outed the leader of the Spokane, Washington NAACP chapter as falsely portraying herself as Black for several years.

When the news of her deception broke, Dolezal, 37, completely skirted questions from reporters, saying “I feel like I owe my executive committee a conversation” before discussing the situation with the media.

In addition to Dolezal’s work in the NAACP, she’s also a part-time Africana Studies professor at Eastern Washington University, teaching a class called “The Black Woman’s Struggle.” When questioned further about her racial identity by KXLY, Dolezal said, “There’s a lot of complexities…and I don’t know that everyone would understand that.” Then she concluded by saying, “We’re all from the African continent.”

Despite her dishonesty, Dolezal has done significant work benefitting the Black community. She’s credited with re-energizing the Spokane NAACP chapter and also serves as a chairwoman for the city’s Office of Police Ombudman Commission. On her volunteer application she identified herself as White, Black and American Indian.

Reporters for The Spokesman Review reached out to Dolezal’s parents. Her mother, Ruthanne Dolezal, of Montana, said that she has had no contact with her daughter in years. She explained that her daughter has wanted to be Black for some time but she began to disguise herself after she married and divorced a Black man in 2004.

“It’s very sad that Rachel has not just been herself. Her effectiveness in the causes of the African-American community would have been so much more viable, and she would have been more effective if she had just been honest with everybody.”

Dolezal has dismissed her family’s claims, chalking it up to bitterness about old allegations of abuse.

Meanwhile, Ruthanne maintains that the family is of Czech, Swedish and German descent. She said there are also “faint traces” of Native American heritage.

Now that the news has broken and the story is garnering coverage all over the nation, Presidents of the organizations with which she is affiliated are thinking about next steps when it comes to Dolezal.

The Mayor and Council President Ben Stuckart are gathering information to determine if volunteer boards and commissions have been violated.

Stuckart said he didn’t want to speak prematurely about the matter but offered, “…if this is true I’ll be very disappointed.”

Eastern Washington University President Mary Cullinan said Dolezal has been “an inspiring role model for EWU students” and a university spokesman said it was inappropriate for them to comment on this personal issue.

The former Spokane NAACP president, James Wilburn, who was replaced by Dolezal, said that he had often had private discussions about her background but kept them relegated to a few members of the group.

Others questioned the hate crimes Dolezal reported and particularly whether or not she placed a dangerous package in the NAACP’s mailbox. Dolezal vehemently denied the claims, calling them, “bullshit.”

Though they’ve been disconnected for years, Ruthanne Dolezal had a message for her daughter, “I would say, ‘I love you, and honesty is the best policy. I firmly believe that the truth is in everyone’s best interest.”

You can check out the level and depths of Dolezal’s disguise in the images on the following pages.

“I Was Embarrassed” Ben Affleck Apologizes For Hiding Slave-Owning Ancestor

April 22nd, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Ben Affleck Apologizes For Hiding Slave-Owning Ancestor


Earlier this week, we told you about Ben Affleck requesting that his slave-owning ancestor be left out of his “Finding Your Roots” special with Henry Louis Gates Jr. The information became public knowledge when e-mails between Gates and Sony executives leaked out and eventually gained national attention.

Affleck’s desire to hide this bit of his history, to many, represented an ongoing problem in this country: The propensity to disregard and dismiss the role slavery and racism played, and still play, in America.

After all the attention, Affleck addressed the situation and apologized for his decision on his Faebook page.

Here’s what he wrote:

I’m sure the decision to apologize probably made him a bit uncomfortable but this was certainly the right move. Kudos to Ben!