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‘White People Don’t Exist,’ Says Author Walter Mosley

Photo: crossroadstheatrecompany.org

Photo: crossroadstheatrecompany.org

Walter Mosley, American crime fiction novelist of more than 40 books including, Devil in a Blue Dress, says racism will end when we realize “white people don’t exist.”

In an interview Wednesday with NPR, the writer responded to typical discussion topics; projects in queue, industry demographics and upcoming honors — namely his recent recognition given by the National Black Writers Conference (NBWC), which he first attended as a soon-to-be-published writer in 1988.

Mosley also invoked a “things that make you go hmmm” moment, when he responded to an article he wrote about the Trayvon Martin case where he questioned the varying ways  George Zimmerman was racially categorized in the media as white, half white, Hispanic or half Hispanic.

He challenged our collective societal construction of race, specifically our acceptance and use of “white” to identify a culturally diverse group of people.

“I’ve been giving this talk a lot lately that the big issue about race in America is that there really is no such thing as white people,” Mosley said. “And, you know, in order to end race in America, all we have to do is recognize that the notion a white person doesn’t really exist on any term and in any way.”

Mosley, of a mixed background, responds that he is half Jewish and half Black when confronted with suggestions that he is half white and half Black.

“Well, you know, that people think about who they are from culture, not from supposed DNA or color or what continent, you know, somebody came from a long time ago ’cause then you could start talking about European people, you know,” he said.

He continued:

“My mother’s Jewish, of course, which makes me Jewish. And people say, well, how does it feel to be half white and half Black? And I said my mother’s Jewish. That’s not white. And then slowly, I mean, over time, I said, well, nobody’s white. Gypsies aren’t white and Vikings aren’t white and the Greeks aren’t white and the Spaniards aren’t white. You know, they are who they are. You know, and they understand themselves in a certain kind of way that got redefined in America because they had to kill the Native Americans and enslave the Africans. So they had to become white people.”

Mosley brings up a very interesting view point on our race classifications. However, one major hole exists in his argument, that undoubtedly those responding to his assertion will ask him to fill. That is, what then does the term “Black” mean and what is its role in demystifying racial identity?

What people are saying

67 thoughts on “‘White People Don’t Exist,’ Says Author Walter Mosley

  1. All things come out of blackness.

  2. Mario Murray says:

    I think Mr Mosley has a point. In fact he may have a drill. De-classifying people as white allows a study of the historical context of their culture which is much more indicative of both their contributions and shortcomings.

  3. Tommy Deas says:

    Darkness

  4. Rabi'a Hakima says:

    There is no such thing as "black" people either.

  5. One of the things that can be proven by science and the Bible is that we all have a common ancestry. This is what we need to focus on but the racial divide seems to fit into so many agendas and excuses that it's impossible. Some people only have jobs, positions, status, or a voice because of it.

  6. Anonymous says:

    He's right. Mutant would be the proper word.

  7. *All* race is a social, not biological, construction. Which has been widely known for many, many years.

  8. Evadne Smith says:

    Did you know that the bible never classify people by their color? only one person it ever refer to as ruddy, and that is David from the Old Testament .

  9. actually ? there are and is no such things as white or black – no one has white skin and no one has black skin. This has been a deceptions used for 100's of years – specially in this satanic nation called america …. but liars run around calling it a christian nation. It's the furthest things from a christian nation.

  10. nothing comes out of blackness. Get out of that jungle you're in. People are shades of brown – that's all there is to it and all there ever has been.

  11. Bwire Vincent says:

    Jaime Carolyn Pretell-Samsey Artistically, White is the absence of color, and Black is the presence of all colors…

  12. King Ofda Jungle "" Some of us are affected by the white genetic supremacy complex,""

    Then … I suggest – wake up those who want to be AWAKENED ..
    Leave those alone who don't want to be AWAKENED ….
    Now …. don't allow anyone sleep to run anything – although … I AM sure you are one who allows those who are sleep have positions of power – specially by the way you come at me …….

    "" like yourself.""

    PROVE IT ….

    "" That means that we are in a state of confusion,""

    I AM not confused – and you won't see me going around protecting people who are confused be misguiding and misleading them that they are OK – when they are not OK.

    "" not knowing the complete history of the world""

    and how do you expect to get this knowledge or find it – when your enemy has already destroyed as much as they have – and you have no way to get them back.

    You sound like one of those lunatics who likes to play on the emotions of people.

    "" and our contributions.""

    hmmm … so you know all the contributions ? or are you just trying to sound good and like you actually know something ???

    "" You should examine the way you spoke down to Nzingha Shabaka.""

    No need – they are sleep – and think they are awake – like yourself.
    FEEL FREE to come to my LIVE BROADCAST or set up a date.
    Allow me to SHOW YOU THE TRUTH … and not just bump gums like you.

  13. King Ofda Jungle you expect me to cut someone slack because of their name ? because they are playing a role of a certain race ?

  14. Doris Beatty says:

    I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Mosley, but I would like to clarify a point. The Jews are people who practice Judaism, which is a religion. Does he mean his mother is a Hebrew? Next, the Bible does speak of King Solomon who stated he is black and comely. Finally as punishment to Aaron and his, they were cursed with leprosy which turned them white. Research the facts, don't take my word.

  15. Milagros Garcia Villamil says:

    All people xome out of AFRIKA Our mother!

  16. Milagros Garcia Villamil says:

    No his motheer is a JEW!

  17. Milagros Garcia Villamil says:

    Nzingha Shabaka Burn;t brass would be copper There are NO black peoples

  18. Dennis C. Latham The last research I did on my continent indigenous name I came up with Afuraka, and this is what I will be using unless I come up with something else I can used. Wen the Europeans came to Afuraka they colonized most countries, and changed the name of the countries, there is so much I know I need to learn, being taught in Eurocentric schools, I could spend the rest of my life finding about all the lies I have been taught, I do not apologize for not knowing, but I can say I am learning better on my own. You probably know better than most blacks what whites did to African people, and others all over the world, and to sit back and criticize black people because of what we may not know, certainly is not helping matters. Most blacks do not know there history, but many have dugged in for the long haul, trying to learn our history, primarily from an Afurakan source. It is much better to teach if you have something to offer, if not you should keep your month close, and try to learn to be a better person, instead of criticizing, obviously you use criticism to cover your own short comings, and you certainly have shown that.

  19. R.j. Mano says:

    oh so white privilege isn't a thing

  20. Well, white, or more precisely "Aryan," was certainly was a construct in Nazi Germany.

  21. Well, white, or more precisely "Aryan," was certainly was a construct in Nazi Germany.

  22. Nzingha Shabaka – ever heard of ""alkebulan"" or MOTHER LAND? Also… that mess you speak of? the word black being made up to describe people from THE MOTHERLAND? Was made up by someone who didn't know you, hated you, and used you for their own gain…….

    As far as keeping my mouth closed? I've done nothing but correct you and teach you – but you reject most…. you hold on to what you like – but you hate what destroys the falsehoods of the european that you want to hang on to for dear life.

  23. Horace Henry says:

    Yes, it's a thing……A "made up" thing.

  24. Bobby Wonder says:

    Black people don't exist as well. Where is the nation or country called Black? It does not exist. My understanding of Black eludes to a color. Black at most is an adjective describing a color. So the question is what is the nationality of one who is described as Black or African American? Most people who call themselves Black are really a copper tone hue of some sort. In the bible Jesus is described as having feet of bronze a description of the color of his feet. I agree with Mr. Mosley there are no white people.

  25. Sarah Lovett says:

    In a sense true, I think of it as the infinite unknown–as blackness/darkeness contains all of the unknown, and perhaps unknowable, where as light shows what it illuminates. Then there is the gray area…

  26. There is always one.

  27. Judaism is also considered a culture-there are many people who consider themselves Jews without practicing

  28. Hence why it's so dangerous

  29. Sadiki Akil says:

    I disagree because Africans always refered to them, selves as Black.The name Kemet, Ethiopia etc as the name Black in it.Black is the essence in which all life comes from.

  30. Hakim Green says:

    "Why do they call me black if that's not the color of my skin? And why do they call you white when we all born in sin? That sound like the jin out to tempt men the devil wears a suit but I can see it in his grin." From Secrets by me

  31. Star Tanner says:

    Well, the word "white" alone does not define what racism is. So seeing someone as non white is a good thing to practice but those gypsies, Jews, Spaniards, Europeans, etc still practice racism. What I think he means to say is that black people should focus on trying to heal ourselves as much as possible. Lol

  32. If everyone wants to be technical.. EVERYONE IS BLACK.. Everyone came from Africa.. And white people are albinos that came from black people and relocated to start their own civilization..

  33. Ancient Khemit, the original Egypt, translates to the black land. They called themselves black. (Medu Neter Vol. 1, Ra Un Nefer Amen)

  34. Eric Digby says:

    Kucheza Ngoma They speak of Black in terms of cosmological universal form. Meaning from blackness you bring forth the light. Woman is the true God – as they create all life from the womens womb comes from Black or Darkness. Look at the Celestial bodies surrounded in Black. Now the term Black or Negro or Colored people as a racial Identity is a slave label given to us by Europeans in the 1900s.

  35. Biochemically Black people and White people are not the same. They know it, now you know it. We have too different melanins, one has selenium in it (us), and the other has sulfur in it (them). Biochemical impossibility that both came down the same family tree. So where did white people come from?

  36. Adam means Red, it comes from Adamah. Ham pronounced (Chem) in hebrew means black as well as very hot. Laban literally means white. I could go on and on.

  37. Re-Ality says:

    What is the opposite of colored? There you have it. Caucasians are color- less.

  38. I'm white and this is silly.

  39. The world is made of but one color, on the color scheme. At first it was eight colors, then sixteen colors and then 32 colors and now 64 colors maybe more now. Now! going back to the World, their is only one true color. "BROWN". White people skin color is not part of the color scheme structure but the color brown covers every one on earth from the darkest skin of brown to the lightest skin of brown.

  40. Jason Boyd says:

    I'm sorry Charnelle but that is not true. There cannot be an albino species or race. Albinism is a genetic disorder. Albinos can't produce more Albinos. Nothing technical about it.

  41. I always thought skin pigment… Variations in human skin color are adaptive traits that correlate closely with geography and the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) radiation… but everyone is black but that hasn't been proved or at least I haven't herd this nation wide yet myself..

  42. Shawn Mc says:

    that's some hardcore ignorant shit you just stated.

  43. Jah Eyes says:

    lol..if two albino people who were born to black parents have a child what color is it? If an albino who was born to black parents has a child with a black person what color is it? and fyi even two "white" people can produce albinos… so that kinda dislodges that whole theory…. idk

  44. Shawn Mc says:

    race is such an antiquated term unfortunately we still use today, there use to be the Black race, the Yellow race, the Red race, the Brown race, and the White race. titles mostly from skin color plus hair texture , eye shape and so on.
    That's the everyday observation that "they" all look alike – and we all look different.

    its such a generic term, it tells you nothing of a person lineage or history.

  45. Shawn Mc says:

    its such a generic term, it tells you nothing of a person lineage or history.

    decades ago there use to be the Black race, the Yellow race, the Red race, the Brown race, and the White race.

    the more advance we get as a society the less we rely on these terms and define a person by their genealogy and nationality.

  46. Shawn Mc says:

    your 100% right but you didn't reply to her statement, unfortunately I don't think she have a clear understanding of what an albino is.

  47. Eye An Eye says:

    So if that were the case, why are there albino white people?

  48. Eye An Eye says:

    Catalina Lin That's what they would have you think. They have no cosmic origin, as do we.

  49. Eye An Eye says:

    Aryan does not mean white in any way shape or form. I suggest you do some deeper research, ma'am. And also, I really hope you aren't one to think that Hitler also created the "swastika" ( which is not the original name of that symbol, by the way).

  50. But if that's the case wouldn't white people still have African features? Evil did not come from me' I will not claim that no way, no how, and I'm surprised at how many blacks are proud to say that whites came from them. What does that say about you (blacks)?

  51. White people don't exist because they are nonhuman is what Mosley wanted to say but I'll say it for him so he won't get in trouble

  52. The push to make everyone all one race – "the human race" is because if they ever payout reparations to the descendants of slaves – all the descendants will overnight become "white people" – just as now all native Americans are "white people" – so I would be very careful of someone with a "Jew- wish" mother because those folks are not the real Yahuda and "Jew-wish" is not a race it is a people that practice a religion "Judaism". Do some research, this push to have all the races "mix together" is so that we can completely lose our identity and never figure out this identity theft that has taken place by those calling themselves "Jews" who are not but are of the Synagogue of Satan – Revelations 2:9 and 3:9. Open your eyes Hebrew Israelites and visit this radio show for more information on this worldwide crime of identity theft. Sandra O'Connor James Young Ryan A Harris Nicole Renee http://www.blogtalkradio.com/soundingthetrumpet.

  53. A Monk's Son says:

    Burnt by the Sun. Hmmph..

    Ever heard of the One drop rule , anybody, No?

  54. Well that plus they mated with Neanderthals.

  55. Ken Macphee says:

    Wow, look at this site full of racists. The matrix is warm, the matrix loves you, the matrix will take care of you…

  56. Shawn Mc says:

    Novelist Montage it says nothing about me or other rational blacks because we don't believe in that simplistic ignorant hate speech from someone who knows nothing of man evolution.

  57. let's say there are dark tones, and pale tones…

  58. Brucee says:

    The progression is from dark to light.There's no such thing as a white person that's an Idea.Everyone comes from dark skin people.When two white people have an albino child the child has physical problems do to the lack of melanin, internal more than in the epidermis hearing sight and even problems walking.When a white person has you say an albino child it's not a white person having an albino child it's a light skin black person (human) having that child The information DNA changed from being separate from darker humans for two thousand years, in the Caucasus mountains.

  59. Archer Fish says:

    Seems to me that Mr. Mosley is trying to reconcile some kind of way with his bi-racial background.
    He says his mother is not "white" that she's "jewish". While I have never seen his mother, I would put this question out there: If in the days of segregation, he were to see Mosley's mother on the bus and say…Kevin Durant's mother on the bus, where would they be sitting? Does Mosley's mom look like a woman who would sit to the front of the bus or the back of the bus? Does Mosley's mother look like someone who would have to go to the back of a restaurant to get food, or to the front door? Would Mosley's mother benefit from "white privilege" or not? Just by looking at her, not knowing anything else about her, how would people, in this country, view her as. For of course we know 'jewish' is not a race. So to say someone is jewish, is no more than saying ones mother, is a female and leaving it at that…

  60. Archer Fish says:

    We can get into all these wild 'color-blind' abstractions, but the fact of the matter is the physical distinctions aren't going away anytime soon. Given the acts of oppression in the western world, over the past 500 years, does anyone suppose that it mattered to the oppressor, racism white supremacy, if we all come from a common people? That, "we all in affect are Arikans" paradigm will not, and has not, improved the conditions of the people who most identify themselves as 'black' or of afrikan descent.

  61. Archer Fish says:

    These subjects usually are "silly" to those who benefit from white privilege.

  62. albino has nothing to do with color. it has to do with the absence of melanin in the skin or anywhere on the body for that sake. White people are albinos because of the lack of melanin. melanin isn't just skin color. its eye color hair color etc. people who lack melanin have colored eyes other than brown and have hair colored other than black etc.

  63. Everyone has their own opinion.. This happens to be mine.. If u don't like it.. So tf what.. Like I said EVERYONE CAME FROM AFRICA.. EVERYONE HAS SOME FORM OF BLACK IN THEM.. THIS HAS ALREADY BEEN PROVEN.. NOBODY REALLY KNOWS WHAT HAPPENED ALL THOSE THOUSANDS OF YEARS AGO WE ONLY KNOW WHAT WE'VE BEEN TOLD.. SOOOOOO DO U GUYS HAVE A PROBLEM.?

  64. Ganel Bryan says:

    Many jewish folks are simply that jewish! Study history and you will see. The evidence is there for all qho dare search for it. Now being black or white. White is the absence of melanin, and nothing more.

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