Race relations in the United States today is difficult to articulate because of many factors, not the least is the inability of Americans to define what it means to be black or African-American. The mulattoes have landed and their invasion is complete within black America. Bi-racial Americans used to pass for white, now due to the profit motive the passing is in reverse, bi-racial people are now passing for black. It’s a mixed up world.
Today, in the public sphere the number of mulattoes passing for black is breath-taking especially in the fourth estate – the field of journalism. Indeed, a review of the most visible members of the press shows an absolute drought of female blacks with African features. There’s Gwen Ifill of PBS and Deborah Roberts of ABC and that’s it.
Some female journalists have simply chosen to dismiss their Caucasian heritage and are passing as African-Americas to the detriment of the Gwen Ifills of the world. Poster child Melissa Harris-Perry now has a cable news show on MSNBC in which she articulates the black experience. She is of course the product miscegenation: a black father, William M. Harris Sr. and a white mother, Diana Gray. Despite her DNA, Mrs. Harris-Perry states: “I’ve never thought of myself as biracial…I’m black.” Of course no one will challenge her since the topic of being a mulatto is still toxic.
Melissa’s ability to pass as black is financially rewarding for herself and MSNBC since the cable news outlet can claim diversity for its public profile. Biologists would call this a symbiotic relationship since both parties prosper under this tent of make-believe. As her show goes to commercial Melissa dances to a hip-hop beat like any sister from the hood.
Mrs. Harris-Perry is not alone. The old one-drop rule of the Jim Crow south has been dusted off and this time applied by the new left – if you think you have one drop of sub-Saharan African blood then brother, you’re black. How else can you explain this giddy statement from CNN’s Soledad O’Brien?
I’m on the phone with a confused reporter, and I’m confused too. She keeps asking me why I “count myself as black…Is your father annoyed that you deny him?” My dad is white. I interject. “Let’s conference him in,” I say. “Listen, he married a black woman (actually he didn’t, your mother is mulatto), he has six black children. He’d be the first person to tell you I’m black.” No, you’re not black Soledad; you’re actually a Quadroon, just like Sally Hemings who was also ¼ black and ¾ white.
So what would make a Harvard educated woman who is ¾ white, chastise a female reporter for suggesting the obvious – namely, that Soledad is primarily Caucasian. What would make her deny the obvious? Now it appears that Ms. O’Brien is not faking it. Obviously, Time Warner, the current owners of CNN had a similar mindset – they hired Soledad O’Brien to host of all things the CNN series Black in America. Ms. O’Brien’s dismissive posture and righteousness on this topic seems Orwellian. She is blotting out the fact that she is a multi-racial woman or more to the point a quadroon that is passing as black. What we need is for Toto to pull back the curtain and expose the Wizard of Diversity.
In the field of entertainment the same paradigm is at work. Halle Berry is today one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood. Ms. Berry was raised exclusively by her white mother since her black father walked out on the family more than twenty-five years ago – yet, this mixed race actress was selected by for the BET Award for Best Actress, and was the two time winner of NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Actress in a Motion Picture, in addition, “(s)he was awarded the African-American Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress.” A mulatto woman raised by her white mother wins a collection of awards passing as a black woman. Ms. Berry could not contain herself off camera. She pulled out the tissues and commented: “This moment is so much bigger than me. This is for every nameless, faceless woman of (some) color who now has a chance tonight because this door has been opened. This is a take off on the famous philosopher Rene Descartes: “I think, therefore I am (black).” She like Soledad and Melissa has chosen to deny her white heritage and has profited from her charade.
Even though these women are guilty of being ambitious and greedy, the real villains in all of this mess are the corporations who bath themselves in the waters of diversity. Not only are their efforts silly, they’re also wicked. They are participating in the secret cabal of favoring the features of white women without admitting to it. This is called colorism and it’s been practiced for 148 years. This explains why Vanessa Williams was the first woman of any African Descent to win the Miss America award for 1984. She met the threshold for being black.
The NAACP appears to be practicing colorism since Vanessa was the recipient of the NAACP Image Award for Music and Acting in 1989, 1994, 1996, 1997, 2000, 2002, 2007, 2008, and 2010. It seems peculiar that a woman of mixed racial heritage with stunning blue eyes would be the choice of the NAACP Image Award winner for nine of the last 22 years. The NAACP is passing Vanessa as black.
“Colorism has been a persistent phenomenon is the black community since partial white heritage gave light-skinned blacks more economic value and caused them to be viewed as smarter and superior to dark-skinned blacks…” (Russell, K., Wilson, M., & Hall, R. (1993) The color complex: The politics of skin color among African Americans. In essence, colorism is being practiced by Hollywood and corporate America today due to the profit motive and the need to prove their progressiveness to the society at large – that is, for the love of money and the need to be loved.
The NAACP, the premier black civil rights organization, is now run by a mulatto, Benjamin Todd Jealous. Mr. Jealous is passing as a professional black. Indeed, the group’s first president was of mixed heritage, W.E.B. DuBois. Dr. DuBois was a brilliant scholar and organizer but he was a first rate classist. Consider a 1939 meeting between Dr. DuBois and black Doctoral candidate John Hope Franklin at a hotel in Raleigh, NC. Franklin approached DuBois and introduced himself as a doctoral student. The John Hope of John Hope Franklin was the name of Dr. DuBois’ best friend at the time. There was a stony silence with no acknowledgement by DuBois that Franklin was even in his presence. DuBois simply continued to read his newspaper. As Franklin started to leave DuBois broke his silence with “How do you do?”
Even, Frederick Douglass who was 50% white on his father’s side routinely mocked uneducated black slaves and freedmen alike. Douglass had a regal bearing that smacked of elitism.
Although Douglass was able to debunk the notion that blacks could not be educated he also strengthened the idea that his white heritage was responsible for his remarkable oratory skills. This concept was and still is an unintended consequence of colorism.
In the late 19th century the great voice of the newly freed slaves was the son of a white master and black slave: Booker T. Washington. Racists again claimed his brilliance and work ethic was the result of his white father.
De Facto colorism seems to be thriving today with the NAACP and their decision to appoint Ben Jealous as president – light skin blacks still dominate every aspect of the African-American community. A point only reinforced with election of President Barack Obama, son of Stanley Ann Dunham, a white woman.
Is there anything wrong with so many political and cultural leadership roles being controlled by mulattos? No, if the diversity-mongers own up to their profiteering agenda. Sociologists now conclude that as a whole black America is about 30% white. Even Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr. of PBS’ African American Lives fame discovered that he is 60% European ancestry, 34% African, 6% Asian and was “descended from the mulatto John Redman.” Unlike many prominent blacks, Gates has embraced his entire heritage including his induction into the Sons of The American Revolution.
The mere fact that mulattos dominate the power structure of black America is not the problem since we are all children of God and as such we are all afforded the right to pursue our happiness. However, when corporations start trafficking in Diversity for profit then the elevation of mulattoes over blacks with African features is a big problem for the country as a whole.
The hunger for Americans of mixed racial heritage by the popular culture may be best illustrated with Tia & Tamera Mowry. These beautiful and lovely young ladies took the country by storm in 1994 in the WB sitcom Sister, Sister. Again, BET placed Tia in a starring role in The Game for six years. Had Tia and Tamera’s father been black, the chances of these same girls rising to fame would be doubtful due to colorism. Will BET and the NAACP ever admit to participating in colorism? The answer is no since the admission would be too embarrassing and would expose their hypocrisy.
In the entertainment industry only four black women with African features have a brilliant presence on primetime television: S. Epatha Merkerson from Law and Order, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, Without a Trace, Whoopi Goldberg from The View, and of course Oprah Winfrey. That’s it. Colorism does not have the same hold over black males, however.
Race-Passing for profit needs to identified and corralled. BET, the NAACP, and the rest of America needs to get off the diversity band wagon and start to look at the whole person for who they are: E Pluribus Unum – Out of Many, One. Fifty years ago this month a reverend from Georgia said: “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.” In other words, stop the passing and be yourself. (Words: 1767)
Geoffrey G. Fisher is a federally designated Highly Qualified state-certified history teacher living in southwest Florida. He holds a BA in History from the University of Connecticut and a MA in Public Policy from Trinity College in Hartford, CT. In addition to teaching he is a former elected official and speechwriter. Mr. Fisher now writes the political blog: THE THINKING CAP at