Drayton's Gazette discusses social and political issues happening around the globe through the eyes of the African American, minority and disaffected communities.

Race Does Matter by V. Lyn

I find it amusing but not surprising that so many people are getting on Halle Berry comment about her daughter being black because of the one drop rule but not on her ex-Aubry- for his saying his daughter is “white” and for allegedly “getting angry that people consider his daughter black”. As though his statement wasn’t racist and hers was, as though she (Halle Berry) should be grateful that her daughter could be considered white. Although I am not surprised I do think it is strange that some Black people think that the comment Halle made is somehow racist. The comment her ex made implies that he believes that it is something to be embarrassed by or ashamed of to have a daughter who is black…well perhaps he should have considered the possibilities of having a black baby before he had sex with Halle Berry, because that is what she is! In this country the law, whether antiquated or not, stated the race of the child is determined by the race of the mother EXCEPT in the instance of when there is black parentage, then no matter what the race of the  mother the  1 drop of black blood makes you BLACK.  The “one-drop rule” was constructed  under the Racial Integrity Act which defined a person as legally “colored” (black) if they had any African ancestry. The law was an anti miscegenation law and was set up to so that all those little high yella babies massa was having with his slaves could therefore STAY in Slavery, unless massa felt a particular liking to them and freed them. Then later to make sure that black and whites don’t mix! And if you think that the Racial Integrity Act is a distant thing a law not enforced for atleast a hundred years think again.  Loving v. Virginia was the case against Mildred Jeter and Richard Loving  who committed a felony under state law because they got married in the District of Columbia and then lived as husband and wife in Caroline County, Virginia, violating the state’s antimiscegenation law. ” The Racial Integrity Act, which prohibited any white person … to marry any save a[nother] white person.” Richard was white and his bride Mildred was black. For their transgression, a Virginia judge sentenced Loving to a year in prison, suspended on the condition that they leave the state and not return for twenty-five years. The judge at sentencing stated:  

“Almighty God created the races…and 
placed them on separate continents. 
And but for the interference with his arrangement 
there would be no cause for such marriages. 
The fact that he separated the races shows 
that he did not intend for the races to mix. 
The awfulness of the offense is shown by the fact . . . 
[that] the code makes the contracting of a marriage 
between a white person and any Colored person a FELONY. 
Conviction of a felony is a serious matter. 
You lose your political rights; and only the 
government has the power to restore them. 
And as long as you live you will be known as a FELON. “

 In 1965 that unfortunately was a pervasive sentiment whenther in the North or the South. 42 percent of Northern whites and 72 percent of southern whites agreed with the law. 

Being Black is not something to be ashamed of any more than being white is something someone should rejoice about!

Is the fact that people want to claim they are Bi Racial Multi Racial being done because they are proud of ALL they are or because they are ashamed of one component of themselves. like Tiger Woods claim “I’m Blasian” what the hell is that! When people saw him walk down the street they didn’t see a Blasian or a an Asian they saw a Black man…When Barack Obama walks down the street people did not see a white dude they saw a black man and had they not been famous the white race would not been so quick to point out the fact that they are mixed. When Halle Berry won the Oscar all the white people wanted to claim her as their own, quickly pointing out that she is mixed with white as though she could NOT have achieved her success had that not been a component.

Race does matter! Although race is a social construct we are still judged by others by the color of our skin. While experiences shape us, until real “transformation” occurs your skin color identifies you…However how you define yourself is a more complicated matter. Self identification is often based on your experiences, by the people you grew up with, the strength of familial ties or their weakness and ones own prejudices. I am African American first and foremost, mother, daughter, etc. and the fact that I could just as well claim I am Native American, or even white is not relevent to me! Because my experiences are those of a Black person, and how my family identifies itself is that of African Americans. We love the richness of our culture and understand that being Black is more than the color of ones skin it pulses through us, it is a tangible reality, it manifest itself in our shared history and experience, in the glory of our culture, through the foods we eat, the stories we tell and how we tell them, it is in our music, dance, how we understand that we have an obligation to excel not just for self but for those who came before us, and it manifest itself in how we practice our religion. But we can attempt to deny blacks, whites and all the others SKIN color does matter for that is how we are identified first by others! If you have white skin and you say this is my mom or dad and they are black, people will incredulously describe you to others ” Did you know they are black!” eyes wide in amazement. However If you have black skin and you say this is my mom or dad and their skin is white guess what people aren’t gonna say you are white..you will still be defined by others as black!  No matter how much we try to pretend this is a race indifferent society the truth is it is not!  Never once when I walked down the street did anyone ever say you are white or Native American, however I do remember a white man saying when I was six “nigga” .I do remember Black men saying ” you are a beautiful intelligent sista” . It is only in the last 20-25 years that people asked are you mixed…as though my being black wasn’t good enough surely you have to be something …MORE…To me that is an insult not because being of mixed race is shameful but because somehow their perception is that being black wasn’t enough.  

So why is Halle Berry’s comment getting all the flack and not Aubrys out right racist reaction when people say his daughter is black…Is it because America still think it is justifiable to be ashamed at being seen as black.

“I feel like she’s black,” the actress told the magazine. “I feel like she’s Black. I’m Black and I’m her mother and I believe in the one-drop theory,” she said then added ( which is getting little press)  she would let Nahla decide how to define herself as she grows up: ”I’m not going to put a label on it. I had to decide for myself and that’s what she’s going to have to decide – how she identifies herself in the world. And I think, largely, that will be based on how the world identifies her. That’s how I identified myself. But I feel like she’s Black.”
“If you’re of multiple races, you have a different challenge, a unique challenge of embracing all of who you are but still finding a way to identify yourself, and I think that’s often hard for us to do,” she said.
So again what did she say wrong there? Why is she getting the backlash and not Aubry, in black blogs and forums?  Especially in light of the fact that he says he considers her “white” (somehow that tidbit is not played up in the media and for many , due to the lack of corresponding outrage, all right for him to consider his daughter white and not for Berry to consider Nahla black)  and when he allegedly became very upset whenever Nahla was called Black.

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