“I’m Very Connected To My Community”: How These Multiracial Celebrities Identify Themselves
There has been a lot of talk about whether or not biracial people should see themselves as Black or White, or simply both. These multiracial celebrities speak up about how they identify themselves in America.
Diggs had this to say when speaking about his biracial son:
“I don’t want my son to be in a situation where he calls himself black, and everyone thinks he has a black mom and a black dad, and then they see a white mother, they wonder, ‘Oh, what’s going on,’” he said. “As African-Americans we were so quick to say okay he’s black he’s black, and then there were the white people who were afraid to say he was biracial because who knows.”
“My whole life, when I was growing up, not one race has ever accepted me…So I never felt connected or attached to any race specifically. I had a very American upbringing, I feel American, and I don’t speak Spanish. So, to say that I’m a Latin actress, OK, but it’s not fitting; it would be insincere.”
“I’m very connected to my community and I want black people to know that I haven’t abandoned them because I’ve had a child with a man outside of my race and I’m dating someone now outside of my race who is Spanish and French.
I have never been more clear about who I am as a black woman. The people I have dated sort of hold up a mirror to me and help me realize more of who I really am.”
“I’m lucky because I have so many clashing cultural, racial things going on: black, Jewish, Irish, Portuguese, Cherokee. I can float and be part of any community I want. The thing is, I do identify with being black, and if people don’t identify me that way that’s their issue.
I’m happy to challenge people’s understanding of what it looks like to be biracial, because guess what? In the next 50 years, people will start looking more and more like me.”
On being Cuban:
“My Latin roots are very strong. All my life, because I’m blonde and blue-eyed, people who aren’t Hispanic can’t believe I am. And people who are Hispanic always think I’m not, because I don’t look like them. Being Latin is part of who I am and I bring that part to every role.”
“Being born in England to an English dad and a black mom is about as ’60s as it gets. My grandparents were f—ing floored!”
Pittsburgh Steeler Hines Ward spoke to mixed-race youth in South Korea about searching for social acceptance:
“If the country can accept me for who I am and accept me for being a Korean, I’m pretty sure that this country can change and accept you for who you are.”
“In my conscious life, though, I cannot honestly say I feel proud to be white and ashamed to be black or proud to be black and ashamed to be white. I find it impossible to experience either pride or shame over accidents of genetics in which I had no active part.
I understand how those words got into the racial discourse, but I can’t sign up to them. I’m not proud to be female either. I am not even proud to be human — I only love to be so. As I love to be female and I love to be black and I love that I had a white father.”
President Barack Obama
Taye Diggs may want us to call the POTUS biracial, but President Obama said, “I self-identify as African-American — that’s how I’m treated and that’s how I’m viewed. I’m proud of it.”
“My mom used to say all the time, ‘You’re a black girl. You’re a light-skinned black girl with freckles.’ They did a good job of saying who I was and what I was. They never tried to spin it or whatever.
I’ve spoken to a lot of audiences of biracial people, and I’ve met a lot of young people who were really confused about their identity. I tell them, ‘You owe it to yourself to figure out who you are and know who you are, but you don’t owe it to anyone else to explain it or defend it.'”
“Harlem had Hispanic, white, black, Asian and Dominican people. I felt I could talk to all of them. My mixed-race background made me a broad person, able to relate to different cultures. But any woman of color, even a mixed color, is seen as black in America. So that’s how I regard myself.”
“If you’re of mixed race in this country, it’s hard to embrace the idea of being beautiful. [But] what I love about how I look today is that so many people from all different races think I’m part of their group.”
On growing up biracial:
“It was like I lived in between a Spike Lee movie and a Woody Allen movie, and it was awesome. I didn’t understand prejudice at all.”
The Olympic hurdler agreed with Taye Diggs: