I was so proud to see my friend and Image Activist Michaela Angela Davis interviewed by Soledad O’Brien for CNN’s new series “Who Is Black In America?: Soledad O’Brien Explores Racial Identity”
In this clip Michaela asks one of the seminal questions of our time.
I have forever contemplated similar questions. I am black but of mixed race and born and raised in America.
I was born at the intersection of two lineages. One black one white. Different countries of origin. Languages. Economic status. Professions. Political systems. And so on. All of this informed me as a person.
My mother and aunt married my father and his best friend in the 60s. Their unions were embraced by both sides of the family from the very first day. I have never heard, seen or detected anything to the contrary.
Both families settled in the Chicago neighborhood of Hyde Park just a short walk from the adjoining neighborhood of Kenwood, the former home to President Obama and his family. Hyde Park was nationally recognized as the most liberal and racially mixed neighborhood in the country. It also happened to be in one of the most segregated cities in the County.
The fruit of my family’s unions were always in fullest view at Christmas during which adults and kids of all colors – black, white and in between awoke, showered, played, ate, slept together and loved each other.
My parents, aunts and uncles always referred to me and those like me as “mulatto”. We all considered it a term of endearment until we learned that it had become politically incorrect for some. But to this day I find it hard to use another word to describe myself and others like me. Sometimes I simply refuse to use another term and I explain why.
Our families used the word with a sense of pride. That something unique (but not better) had been delivered. As I grew older I learned to detect two other things in their voices. A trepidation that we might encounter fear, hate, injustice or even violence. Moreover, the hope, belief and resolve that we represented that which should be accepted without question. That we represent and would define the future.
As I grew up and went to college I learned what it meant to be black and I learned the answer to Angela’s question in the video – “why don’t you think black is enough? ” My answer.