Historically, individuals of mixed raced (parents) were identified with the parent of color; if one parent was black, then the child was to be considered black. This can be attributed to the “one drop” rule, which Halle Berry says she subscribes to. Unfortunately, regardless of the many victories we have championed as a nation and boundless strides in the direction of racial equality, as Americans we tend to see things as wither black or white with no possibility of anything worth mentioning in between—no grey area…or tan…or beige…or olive and so on for that matter. While society is quick to relegate a person of mixed parentage to the race of color, in most instances black, the question remains whether that race will view and accept a biracial individual as such. In fact, as has been the case with Halle berry and countless others, children of mixed parentage can and often times experience rejection and alienation from black people as well as white people, leaving them to struggle with their own sense of self and identity hearing the ubiquitous question on repeat in their minds, hearts and daily lives, “What are you?”
For those of mixed parentage, the challenge of having to identify with one race is very real. Questions arise on so many levels. Does identifying with on race mean that I am choosing one parent over the other? If I identify with a particular race will I have an easier way to go in the world? Do I have to “act” a certain way to fit in with that race? All of these questions, and more, then lead to even deeper questions, such as “Who am I?’ “Where do I belong?” “Am I worthy of this group of people?”
I am saddened and bothered by the comments of both Halle Berry and Gabrielle Aubrey with regards to race and the distinction of their daughter. Saddened because Halle has stated that she decided to identify herself based on the way the world identified her and she is leaving that to be the recourse for her child. Although it saddens me that one would allow and accept the notions of complete strangers to play a major part in determining their child’s identity—I understand. It is the way that she has known and so it appears to be the most logical and real way. How could Halle ever say she was white—remember black and white are the only options in America—when her skin was so creamy caramel and her hair not like corn silk? When one looks at her, a black woman is what one sees. So I understand. For Gabrielle, I feel he sees the distinction of his daughter being identified as black as to mean that he is of no consequence to her life or her creation. He views it as a way of shutting him out from being a significant part of who his daughter is and the connection that he has with her.
In the end, although those of mixed parentage will undoubtedly face identity issues, it is all very trivial, as are many things in this temporal existence we have on this earth. And although both Halle and Gabrielle may feel that the distinction of race is a superior issue and to have it resolved and documented on a piece of paper is in the best interest and out of love for their beautiful innocent daughter, my thought is that it is more about control, as is the case in almost all separation and custody issues. And even deeper than that, control has been the underlying evil at the core of black and white issues both on a mental as well as physical level throughout history.
In closing, I would like to say that it is my deepest hope that one day we will all be able to view each other simply as human beings sharing this space on earth. That we will choose love all else in every situation. My hope for the beautiful, unaware, inno