While it may be tempting to go through life taking the path of least resistance and passing as white, two mixed-race people are detailing their stories of fully embracing their Black parentage.
Author/screenwriter David Matthews said he identifies as a Black man and has wished he looked “identifiably Black” in the past. Still, as a child growing up in the 1980s, he chose to pass as white to survive.
“I could see the way the world treated Black Americans and I made a calculation: I do not want that for my life,” Mattews, whose mother was white and Jewish, tells CNN.
Yet when he realized his Black single father, Ralph Matthews Jr., had contributed to Afrocentric thought and that he was part of that movement, things switched.
“Through passing, I had negated everything they had done,” he says.
Writer/editor Lise Funderberg also has Black parentage, despite her white appearance. And while she acknowledges the privilege that affords her, it also alienates her from the family she feels comfortable with.
“I think as mixed race people, we still face a lot of pressure from other people who are not comfortable with our identity,” she says. “I don’t think that mixed race people are gonna be the saviors of our country, but I think that our lived experience can be beneficial.”
Fans have mixed reactions to the story.
“My mom is BLACK and my dad is mostly WHITE. I just be myself. People can be both loving and ignorant as hell. America focuses too much on color.”
“Terrible. Mixed race people are neither Black nor white,” one person said. “Try to identify as one parent’s race, and you invalidate the other parent. It’s 2018. Just be American (or English, or Australian, or whatever) for god’s sake. No one cares about the details of your DNA.”
“Why do mixed people only claim their African American side??🤦🏽♀️” someone mentioned.
“Honestly I would think each person was a different race just my thought and yes I’m Black …….” another remarked. “I just don’t assume everyone with less color in pigmentation means ur white 😉.”