Editor's Note: In today’s United States, is being black determined by the color of your skin, by your family, by what society says, or something else? Soledad O’Brien reports “Who Is Black in America?” on CNN at 8 p.m. ET/PT this Sunday, December 15.
By Yaba Blay and Soledad O'Brien, CNN
(CNN) - Yaba Blay, Ph.D. created the (1)ne Drop Project, a multiplatform endeavor that hopes to challenge perceptions of black identity. Blay, a consulting producer for "Who Is Black in America?" spoke to hundreds of those who may not immediately be recognized as "black" based on how they look, including CNN Anchor Soledad O'Brien. In this edited excerpt from her forthcoming book, Blay spoke to O'Brien about what makes a person black, and why the conversation is important.
Yaba Blay: How do you identify? Racially and culturally?
Soledad O'Brien: I’m black. I’m Latina. My mom is Cuban. Afro-Cuban. My dad is white and Australian. And I think because of my job, often a question like "How do you identify?" is really not about the question. It’s always "What side are you on?" "What perspective do you bring?"
Blay: I remember when "Black in America" first came out, and a lot of people being like “Who is she and why is SHE doing this?”
O'Brien: I think it’s a valid question. I think every question is valid. I just don’t think there should be a rule like “Oooh that is the question that shall not be asked.” I’m happy to answer any question. And I think also there is sometimes a hostility in that question. Especially around "Black in America." You know, “Who are you that gets to tell our story?” And I understand that, too.
You know, white people really have a luxury in that they get a range of stories, that they’re not defined by five stories. So I think that the difference with "Black in America" was the filter did matter. That there are only going to be five stories and we want to know exactly who you are and what your credentials are to be telling our story. And I don’t think you can do documentaries and opt out of the conversation. You know, it’s not “Well you know that’s about them, not about me.”
I think what I love about the documentary process is that you bring yourself to the documentary. And hopefully that makes you ask good questions and hopefully that makes you reveal a little bit about yourself as well.
Blay: Have you had that experience of people asking you, “What are you?”
O'Brien: Oh my God yes! All the time. People tweet me that question. I used to take great offense – like immediately sort of get annoyed, partly because I don’t think that came from a very good place. I think I read it as sort of questioning my value and reasons for being wherever I was. But now I think it’s twofold: one, I think that because I’m a journalist, people are really just trying to understand - "You’re somebody I see on TV, but I don’t know you in person so who are you?" Then, two, I think that part of my job as a journalist is to educate people about stories in a way and some of these stories I’m part of that story.
I think I was part of "Black in America" even in the context of who is the filter of the story and so it became relevant, so I really stopped hating answering that question because I felt like my job is to elaborate and explain for people who I am. I think it’s relevant. I think because of the reporting that I do I sort of owe people that answer.
Blay: So why do you think the questions are coming? Why are there questions about why Soledad is doing "Black in America?"
O'Brien: Some of it is physical presentation. I think that some of it was that I’d been anchoring shows that weren’t dealing specifically with African-Americans so it was kind of like "What are your politics? What’s your perspective? Who are you?" I think sometimes it’s as straightforward as that.
At screenings for "Black in America" I’ve heard people say, “Well you know I never thought you were black until you did Katrina and then I thought you were black.” And I’d say, “That’s so fascinating. What was it that made you think I was black?” And then someone else would say, “Yeah, but she’s married to a white man.” And I’m like "OK, so does that make me less black and how in your mind does that math work? That there’s a certain number and if you get below that number because you get points for who you marry and you lose points for where you live and how you speak?"
But even just going back to the questions consistently, I thought it was just illuminating. I thought it was just so fascinating to really open up a conversation about race. Now we’re up to "Black in America 5" and we’re having that conversation.
Blay: So what makes a person black?
O'Brien: I certainly don’t think it’s skin color. And I certainly don’t think it’s how well you speak the language. And I’m not sure I can answer that question thoroughly because my consciousness about race was really implanted in me by my parents. I would say I’m black because my parents said I’m black. I’m black because my mother’s black. I’m black because I grew up in a family of all black people. I knew I was black because I grew up in an all-white neighborhood. And my parents, as part of their protective mechanisms that they were going to give to us made it very clear what we were.
My mother would say, “Do not let anybody tell you you’re not black. Do not let anybody tell you you’re not Latina.” And I remember thinking her comments were so weird, like "What is she talking about?" There weren’t people coming over to my house saying “You’re not black!” We stuck out!
But now I understand what she was going for. And I am very grateful for those conversations because I think it implants in your head sort of the perspective that my parents wanted us to have. We were raised that way in a place that was often not particularly hospitable and sometimes out and out hostile to people of color. I guess my parents taught me very early that how other people perceive me really was not my problem or my responsibility. It was much more based on how I perceived me.
Just still wonder why whites call non whites minorities. How can non whites be considered minorities if we are all Americans. Why not take the word minority out and just say we are all proud Americans. We are all American we fight together we die together. Let's stop the hate and focus on being good Americans to each other.
It's not just whites that use that terminology, it is all of society.
Thank you for saying this. I agree 100%
She is not a racist.. How can she write about being asian or native in America when this article is based off of her own experiences
I remember seeing Soledad doing the early weekend news in San Francisco, back in the early 80's and thought..".Who's is this cute black chick on TV".
Black people come in all colors, shapes and shades. Her features define her as a black woman. But the most important thing is that she gets to define herself, as do we all.
That being said...She needs to move on with this type if special reporting because she has done it before.
Find a new topic please Soledad.
CNN seems to have trouble with this... because just 2 articles earlier, Black people were African American.. well, what is it? How about you stop calling out differences, and start calling everyone Americans (and those here illegally – Illegals) and then maybe we can all get along for once. Sheesh.
CNN loves to promote racial differences. Look at any story written by LZ.
I'm black and damn if you're going to do this, why not put some real black people up there? Soledad isn't black.
This black/white thing is a uniquely American phenomenon. The world is not black/white. It is filled with a continuum of skin colors/cultures, etc. Why insist on these ridiculous classifications? In most places of the world, people with non-white skin color are not considered "black." They are just normal.
There is one race..The Human Race. Learn it, Live it, Teach it
Sure but there are different ethnicities with cultural differences. You need to acknowledge that at the very least. That or enter the world of delusional stupidity.
I agree with the comment that we are the Human race. Maybe if we spent less time trying to define "what" we are and more time accepting people for "who" they are, this world would be alot better place.
Most people that are here in America are from other countrys. We are now Americans Yes, we all have our heritage that we are proud, that we should never forget, but we need to be proud to be an American! Go forward, not back.
LIke so many, I have grown tired of the major news media pushing their own as somehow representative of anything. O'Brien makes far more millions than 98% and has a limousine lifestyle. How is what she does relevant to anything other than boosting her ego? Who cares if Cooper is gay? I don't read this crap only see it exists and know it is the same celebrity crap.
Soledad is a racist and is obsessed with black. She already did the "BEing Black in America" show which had 3 viewers. Funny how she never does a "Asian in America" or "Native American in America" or "White in America" show. Her racist colors really show.
Weak argument and a logical fallacy at best.
I'm white, but i have a big birthmark on my butt. My dear Soledad, please tell me i have the "credentials" to join the club! Get over yourself woman.
CNN racial pot stirring 24/7...not helping
Get back to work and quit looking to gain leverage via your racial affiliation(s)
Instead of picking your behind, make history . History is written by the winner anyway.
The race card has been played so many times now with no substance it predisposes any article predicated on race as meaningless at the very least, racist against everyone else at most.
I am an American, especially when I venture away from my beloved homeland. I would love to just be an American but something about owning a lot of melanin like I do tends to make your experience here in the America, a wee bit different. And yes Soledad and CNN give it a break, enough with the "race" articles weekly. I am tired of beating this dead horse.I am black and trying to get over it because haters gon' hate.
How do you get over being black?
By pretending and wishing you were not black. There's good examples of people like this.
Quite frankly race is how some parties (Soledad O'brien, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, etc) earn their livings and attempt to stay relavent. Without it being an issue they may forced to find other employment
It's December 7th CNN...really this what you have to offer for your front page? Unbelievable.
**express** (cant edit prev post)
Get over yourselfs democrats you are no better than anyone else. Stop playing the race card.
Who the Hades cares? I'm so sick of people who are seeking equality going out of their way to make sure you know they are different????? Why can't we simply be Americans and stop naming our kids, doing our hair, hyper acquiesing to politically correct, unatural, caricatures of what we think 18th Century African relatives were like and simply work together as Americans??? Oh, and for God's sake, take that violent 2nd grade literature set to drum beats called Rap and put it where it belongs; in the social sewage system where it belongs.... Art??? I think not! Give me the Stones and let's move on TOGETHER
Sounds like you are stuck in the 18th century.
Are the Stones art?
Grandpa – if you can't see that there VERY good rappers out there making art (not all of it is about violence, a lot is about social healing) then you aren't looking hard enough.
If you aren't looking for it, then you don't understand it and shouldn't formulate an opinion. Giving an opinion about something you know nothing just shows that you are idjit.
I think the purpose of this article is simply to articulate the experiences of people of color especially mixed. With Soledade color clearly does not matter, but at the same time she clearly as her own experiences that she is fortunate to be able to publicly exoress
The only people who care are you colored racists. If it wasnt for you trying to give yourself something for nothing there would be no more color.
So being proud of who you are despite whites telling us otherwise now makes us the racist? LOL You cannot possibly be this dumb can you Fred?
really? So the KKK and Aryan Nations have retired? And who but an old school racist would use the term "colored"?
If a person has mixed parents and she/he comes out dominant in one side, then find the answer in the mirror. Call it a mixed race. It you are "mulato", even if you appear most white, then you are still a mutt.
she got good looking genes no matter what color they are
So what's next? Are you going to stick out your tongue at me a say "ha ha, I'm black and your not, nyeh, nyeh!". As for you Soledad and also President Obama; you're NOT black. You're half black and half another race. Why are you ashamed to be more than one race? Don't hide it. Celebrate it.
Wrong buddy. Black has always been associated with some sort of negative connotation. This is common knowledge if you took a basic history class. They are not afraid to identify with a side that most of America is ashamed of. Obama and Soledad are black. Suck it up and deal with it.
CNN: The news channel for racialists.
Intent is really important and I think we often ignore it. Historically, the one drop rule didn’t come from a good place and still doesn’t most of the time. It was once used to oppress people, insult people and hurt people. It once said that if you had any "Black blood" in your body you were less no matter who you are now and what you look like. I find it beyond pathetic that today we still choose to define people by this tragic measure “one drop”.
I don’t believe that it ever comes from a good place with intentions on empowering or just being helpful. Why should someone be forced to identify with a people just because their grandparent or parent was one. If you are “mixed” so be it, you are you! Whatever norms and cultural influence is in your home is what makes you who you are, not some societal peanut gallery. We need to recognize social bullying and help stop it. Don’t be confused this is not educational.
Enough of the race stuff. The oldest of our bigoted generations are rapidly disappearing, the younger generations are accepting each other as never before, interracial dating and marriage is commonplace, we have a black president, and times . . . well they are just changing. Blacks aren't even the largest minority today. In fact, whites will be the minority in a few more years. And that's okay. So why do we need television specials such as this one anymore? It is almost as if the producers aren't satisfied with progress and just want to keep stirring things up. I'd say let it rest. Ever increasing racial tolerance is inevitable. Quit fighting it. If you want to do a special on intolerance, do one on the Tea Party. They are more of a threat to the long term tranquility of this country, than are racial or ethnic minorities or any other element in this great nation.
The dems think being black is hanging onto liberal values that have created generations of economic malaise, illegitimacy and social agency dependency in the black community.
You'd never see a liberal democrat teaching their kid those values, but they're okay for everyone else's kid.
You're a moron.
Yes thank you!!!! I feel that Solidad further polarizes race in America by doing this. Living in North Carolina I find only older people are concerned with race. My generation has left the hate from the past behind. We don't care about race. I hope this issue of race dies with the generations who just can't stop talking about it.
You are a clown and fool if you think younger generations do not care about race. I know people in their 20s who are racist pieces of trash. If you want to end racism, then you need to grow a pair and address the issue and not sweep it under the rug and expect it to magically go away. Name one problem in human history that went away on it's own by pretending it never existed. Don't worry I'll wait for your response hahaa.
The problem with liberals and blacks is that you have to be a liberal to be black. If you don't buy into the liberal idiocracy, you're no longer black, you're successful. And in the liberal lexicon, that definitely is NOT black.
I always wonder why President Obama is referred to as black. He's not black. He's half black. He is not our first black president. Why is it newsworthy to even be discussing who is black and what it means? Utterly self-serving and a total waste of time to produce or watch. Move on.
I know what Soledad is.... gorgeous!
Yet another race based article on the CNN front page-->shocker. CNN's race obsession is going to desensitize people from reading the articles.
Really, this is what CNN has for their front page on December 7th? I think there was something else a little more important today.
Black, white, red, yellow, brown...Why can't we all just get along?
Our society is obsessed with three things that keep us from being a truly great society: race, religion and guns.
My family's history is peppered with white and black ancestors dating back to the 1870s. My white grandmother raised her son, my father, after my black grandather passed in the 1930s and early 40s. I can only imagine what she had to endure as she was the strongest woman i have ever met besides my wife, who is black. Racial obsession is a sickness overblown from all races. This country is a melting pot with so many races and backgrounds. The sick minded look at it as a negative issue. It is anything but that and makes us strong.
I spend so much time traveling overseas dealing with so many races, cultures, peoples of varying religious and cultural beliefs and welcome every opportunity to do so and find these varying backgrounds fascinating and see my interaction with them as purely bettering myself and hopefully adding something to their lives too.
Ignorance and poverty are the worst problems in our world. Let's work to fix them so we can be a truly great society.
The "hyphenation" of America is our greatest weakest and has always been the kink in Americans armour.
I would say the chink in our armor is a lack of education. I offer your sentence as evidence.
Obama is half and half so he gets to pick. You madame are more white than black so it does not ring true that you are black. Unfortunately it does matter if you are black when you face our racist police or courts.
Yet another CNN "front page" about race...shocker! Someone do a count- guessing this is the 50th one this year.
My grandson has a mild version of cycyl cell anemia. We were told that only people of african decent inherited that. Does that make him black, or maybe african / american? He has 3 white grandparents and one native american grandparent. Do your genetics or your upbringing make you a specific race? How does one "raise" for race? Lots of questions here.
I am curious about one thing. You identify yourself as black–that's okay with me–because that's what your mother said you are. You and your husband have 4 children; how are YOU identifying them racially and does your husband have any input? Will you use your mother's approach "You 4 kids are black because I said you are." even if they are only 1/8th black?
Jawaher brings up an interesting point – we, all of us, every single one of you racist bigots included, originally came from Africa.
Why don't you hear about many white people named Washington, except for George?
The dems created inner city malaise. If you're disgusted by the senseless violence, waste, stupidity and illegitimacy, you're a racist.
If you disagree with a liberal because everything they do makes absolutely no sense, you're a racist.
CNN is a load of crap.
WASPs need love too Soledad, but we don't whine about it all the time while pretending to be something we are not. You are only Black out of convenience, not out of dedication.
Obama is half white, half black and he's considered the first black president. George Zimmerman is half white, half mexican, and he's considered a white murderer. All this racism is so opportunist.
Obama listed his race as African- American on his census return. So that takes care of that.
Ok, what's your point? That Obama says he's black? Thats besides the point, the reference was to a double standard, not what color Obama says he is. I would put African American on my census as well if I was Obama. Especially if I know 95% of black people will vote for me.
Saying you are something, doesn't make you that. Fact is he is mixed no matter what he wrote down. I could say I am purple...doesn't mean I am.
You are so 100% correct here. I really get tired of someone saying they are one race when they are clearly a mixtures of races. That is the ultimate in racism, it's like saying one race is better then the other. If you people really want to get rid of racism, then quit defining them by skin color. She is black, she is Latino, she is white (whatever that color represents)...Why can't you just identify as an American with a lot of cool cultures to draw from?
We are all equal here the great USA. Why bring this up???
I am the parent of a bi-racial child. We always encourage him to embrace all aspects of his racial heritage and not let people tag him as black or white. He is bi-racial. To identify as black or white would marginalize half of his family, and half of himself. If I was Soledad's white parent I would be hurt that she seems to give him so little acknowledgement.
I'm an Asian, but I rather want to be identified as Korean than Asian.
Asian, Black, White, Latino, you are one of them, so what??
Black is a color. Soledad is a pretty beige.
A Black man once told me, in Mississippi ... if you aren't white, your Black even if your Asian!
I encountered my first black person when I was 7. When I asked my father about what this person was all about, he took me to the local Ford dealer. The new year models were just in and he asked me to look around the lot and tell him what I saw. I reported seeing cars of different colors. He then opened the hood of several and then asked me to tell me what I saw. I reported seeing that they were all the same inside. He then told me that that's the same with people - what you see on the outside tells you nothing about what's on the inside. Later, I became a biologist and geneticist and learned that there is not nearly enough genetic diversity among humans to categorize races. Particularly ironic is the fact that for a famous professor of African American studies genome contains a majority of European-derived alleles.
What a great analogy. Your father must had been a good man.
That is the best thing I have read this morning.
Easily the best comment in this sea of nonsense. Your dad sounds awesome.
I guess O'Brien never runs out of race cards.
The first time she did this type of "reporting" is was quasi-interesting. Now she is just beating a dead issue. As one who claim to be forwarding racial togetherness, this attempt to keep redefining her self by the mixing bowl of her heritage is starting to be come a little disheartening.
Just stick to reporting current events and leave this issue alone, Soledad. You have tried to explained Black or Latino in America one time too many!
my mom was korean and german, my dad was german and irish... i don't consider myself asian... yes part of my heritage but I don't walk around that i am asian ...why does she considr herself black and not white... i get so fed up with black people who think if u have any black genes u are black...get over urself
I understand your fear of being racially discriminated if you behave, talk like an Asian and have Asian friends. I also understand that all your life, you would have been busy proving whites, that you are one of them. But you know what, you can't be something you are not. It wouldn't be that difficult for others to figure out that you have an Asian gene. Even if you disguise your phenotype, you can't hide your Genotype, Go figure.
Does Soledad ever cover anything except race? Does she have any journalistic skills except "Hey, I am black, see...." While race and racism are a real issue, this person just does these fluff pieces. Do bald reporters just talk about hair loss? Do female reporters just report on women's issues? Seems she cares more about attention and getting paid than any real issue facing this country.
The answer to your first question is "yes" about 99.9% of the time
You are right and who the Hades cares? I'm so sick of people who are seeking equality going out of their way to make sure you know they are different????? Why can't we simply be Americans and stop naming our kids, doing our hair, hyper acquiesing to politically correct, unatural, caricatures of what we think 18th Century African relatives were like and simply work together as Americans??? Oh, and for God's sake, take that violent 2nd grade literature set to drum beats called Rap and put it where it belongs; in the social sewage system where it belongs.... Art??? I think not! Give me the Stones and let's move on TOGETHER!
I love how everyone says don't hyphenate yourself. People ask me where are you from, and I say from DC, and then I get questions like "no, where are you REALLY from?" "what are you etc"
They don't get satisfied as long as you say I am American, of Pakistani descent, or "my parents immigrated from Pakistan, but I am American." to which they reply "oh cool, you are Pakistani."
It is easy to say on here don't hyphenate, but then next time please don't ask people of color where they from and just accept them for who we are- Americans!
@ Saad Oops, I do this sometimes. People who ask "what are you" aren't trying to be rude. It is just our admittedly clumsy way of showing our interest in a culture that's different from our own. People who get asked this question invariably appear "exotic" as opposed to our own whiteness which is anything but exotic. I mean, I'm as white as Wonderbread and no one has ever asked me "what are you".
whats it like in america to not infuse your race into everything you do? this is why cnn is failing
I'm feed up with with O'Brien, seems like all she can report on is race related. What's it like to be black here what's it like to be black there. How much longer do I have to be reminded of race, in this country. My parents were not born in this country, came here in the 1930's, my father was a 20 year navy vet, I was born in this country. I don't own a slave and don't know of anyone who does but it seems like all I hear about is the plight of the black person, in this country yet I've witnessed, I'm in my late 60's, so many, "make up programs" initiated, since the 60's, I'm getting sick of it. I would'nt be surprised if a lot of black aremicans are getting sick of it too. O'Brien is a complete light weight and so wants to be relavent. She's a fool, when you see her and listen to her she comes across as being a fool, seems like an awful lot of posters, her feel this way too.
This article is just more crap from a
educated bigot making money on her color, trying to incite people into a hostile act rather than enforce existing laws, they hold in abeyance to protect their criminal cabal.
Disgruntled at her article are we? Seems like many on here are definitely uncomfortable with O'Brien expressing herself. Our consciences speak louder than our actions and it seems many are filled with guilt. Otherwise, this article wouldn't bother you at all.
Oh shut up.
Who are you kidding? Your another follower of the beautiful robes of the King no idiot can see.
Just shut up.
This is an interesting issue. How we label ourselves and others has profound ramifications for how we fit into our society and interact with others. Unfortunately the value involved in examining this will be lost on the simple-minded who have never been affected by this and lack any capacity to ponder anything. You can tell who they are because they're the people who are just insulting Soledad O'Brien. That's the level at which their minds work.
Where did you learn that social engineering crap ?
I agree that Soledad is driving a dead horse. I am as paleface as could be. However, my great grandmother was full Cherokee. Maybe Soledad needs to include in her series, who is Native in America.
If your grandfather was a full Cherokee, how does that somehow make you black?
O'brien your half black GET OVER IT.
She's not black. She doesn't have a grill and a bedonkadonk and a baby daddy.
Soledad is certainly black. She is named after a prison.
She sure is not happy in her skin, lets see what am I? Black, White, Irish. O'BRIEN GET A LIFE AND GET OVER IT, SORRY YOUR HALF BLACK
And you have a degree in racial definitions, I take it? Who are you to determine how someone defines what they are. It's time you educate yourself. You do not have the power to define others, although, in your privileged mind, you just might.
She is not even half black! Cubans are not half black. They have some black in them but certainly not half. afro-cuban?yeah no cuban calls them self afro-cuban......now if she had said her mom was african american and Cuban (black granddad Cuban grandmom or vice versa then she could call her self somewhat black) She's Cuban, White and Australian so really she is just white and Cuban.
There are Afro-Cuban communities throughout the world. You should find them. They identify as Afro-Cuban. I know because my brother is married to one.
You are an idiot...Cuba is filled with black people – full blooded and mixed.
Moron there are black cubans
Soledad, sorry, but you are not black. You are not white nor Latin. Multi racial? Yes.
I think Soledad gets to decide who she identifies with, not you.
So true. I have never witnessed such ignorance. And I am a professor, formerly an elementary school teacher and I know young people who have more sense than some of these adults. A lot of people on here need to return to school and educate themselves on issues related to race in our society.
What's wrong with multi racial? We are as a world, well mainly America, becoming so mixed inter racial marriages ( which is good) you can not really call your self one or two things.
Sweet. Then I am Native American. Where's my casino money?
And what's wrong with Black? Don't forget that Africans were brought to Cuba for the Slave Trade. And Brazil received the highest number of Africans, hence the term Afro-Brazilian.
I think it's fascinating how many people have issues with Soledad reporting on this. It is a very valid point. It is a question that we are asked on a regular basis and when we answer: Black, people often reply with: well you could say you're Brazilian or Greek. No, I am Black. I am a descendant of the strongest people to walk the earth. A daughter of empires that pre-date Europe. A descendant of the those who created the first university on earth, those who created mathematics, astrology, astronomy, and built pyramids. I suggest some of you research African history. You'd be surprised to know that you are all African. Every person on the planet's Mitochondrial DNA traces to one single woman who lived around Ethiopia. Life began in Africa. Oh, and read the Bible for confirmation on that. The Garden of Eden, located in the Kingdom of Cush, that, too is Ethiopia. So, we have much to be proud of. Get off the computer and read a book. Learn something instead of feeling intimidated every time someone brings up race. It's a part of who we are. And as for the whole "we are just American" rhetoric, no we are a land of immigrants. We all have hyphens unless we are Native Americans, the only true Americans. Again, learn some history.
You are not the strongest people to walk the earth, you are the weakest with the least "by far" accomplishments. You never evolved out of the stone age. Blacks have never had an empire, at least nothing that comes even close to what was in Europe. Tribes of hunter gatherers are no "empires". You never created any "mathematics, astrology or any of that fictional crap, especially the pyramids which were not built by blacks, and I mean HELLO, they drew pictures of themselves and they are not blacks. It's you who needs to study history, your race is a history dead end.
Christopher, here is your homework for the day:
1. Read about the following empires: Mali, Kush, Nubia, the Great Zimbabwe, Benin, Kilwa to start.
2. Look up the oldest mathematical artifacts on the planet. They are in Africa.
3. Look up the oldest astrological sites on the planet. Again, in Africa.
4. Look up Mitochondrial DNA and where it traces to. Again, Africa.
5. Read about the first university in Timbuktu and then do some research on what they taught.
6. Read the ancient Greeks, like Aristotle, Plato, Pythagorus, Socrates who all acknowledged that they received their education in Africa.
And then, come talk to me. As a woman who holds a double Ph.D., I know what I am talking about.
I know all of that and more than you will ever know and there is nothing black about any of it, except the little black tribes you mentioned, and none of those characters you named, ever said they were educated by blacks.
You just keep getting more and more amusing with your totally outrageous claims.
You are completely, utterly ignorant. Have you heard of Egypt? Do you think that they all really looked like Charleton Heston and Yul Brenner? Read about the great african civilizations of the middle ages. Put a dent in your ignorance. Then, read about how the Europeans and we invaded Afirica in the late 1800's to enslave the populations of the Congo and other kingdoms so we could steal their resources – rubber, oil, diamonds. Did any of you people get out of the third grade, or is this stupidity just the result of home-schooling?
I feel sorry for you! No!!! You need to go read because you information is incorrect.
I am glad that some of us know world history, particularly that of Africa. I am starting to think that Christopher might be no older than ten years old. I would hate to think that an adult would believe that African empires were not built by Blacks. That is laughable. Thanks for the laughs on this fine morning, Christopher. Now, get ready for school little one.
Like I said, go conduct some research on those areas of recommendation and then we can have a conversation. Until then, you can keep your barbaric and ignorant thoughts and opinions to yourself unless that is the only way to survive. Are you afraid to know the truth? If not, then go look. You'll be surprised to learn the truth about Africa. It's not what you think. Again, do you hold a double Ph.D. and if so, in what areas? I suggest you get your tuition money back.
Such insecurity, look, you aren't going to convince me that blacks are intelligent, or that you have a history that is 1/100th as interesting as Europe's or Asia's. You just aren't :P
We can see what you blacks are just fine and well today, and we can see that you are no race that goes to the moon. So shush, you are way out of your league here.
So is it fear or incompetence that prevents you from researching my recommendations? Read the ancient Greeks. Actually, you'll probably require the translated version. Check them out. If you are so interested in this topic, do some research. You might learn something for once!
So, why do such great people need anything from whites? How can you so easily raise a fist while holding the other hand out for white charity? Maybe it was owed to slaves at one time, but how it is owed to YOU?
Nothing is owed to me. And Blacks are not the only people who might need help from social programs. Look up the statistics on Whites on welfare in our country. All people need help at some time and they should not be ridiculed for that.
Historically many of the greatest civilizations were located in africa. The Mali empire was powerful and considered one of the greatest of its time and it did include the great university at Timbuktu which was the best of its time. Not to mention the obvious Egyptian empire as well as Carthage which challenged Rome for control of the Mediterranean. The current political, economic and cultural state of Africa is not representative of its historic role as the home of many world powers. So beware, these great civilizations, home to advanced science, mathematics and literature, are now footnotes in history. Long forgotten by many in the modern world. The US is just as fragile and in 1000 years if we are not careful, others may be talking about the "cesspool" that is North America and the old US, or even worse they may have forgotten us altogether.
Your race is a n accident of birth, and has no meaning other than what we give it. I wish race mongers like obama & o'Brian would stop exploiting the politics of their genitics.
Soledad is vapid and only has a job because she is not white or male. Being black in America means being like soledad- appearing to contribute but genetically lacking in intelligence. Polished turds walking around detroit, chicago, compton. Same in africa, haiti, jamaica....fossils of evolution that are being propped up by white guilt. They sure can run fast though.
These spoiled affirmative action blacks and these white left wing marxists desperately portray blacks as these innocent friendly victims, but the truth is much different and these blacks are no friends of ours and they are definitely not victims.
Mary K, you and everyone who agrees with you is an utter moron. Go back to your KKK cesspool and get all sweaty and excited about white supremacy in private, where nobody else can see how stupid you are.
Drop dead! Thank God your kind is almost extinct....give it another few decades.
O'brien with an Irsh name sure has a chip on her shoulder, who care about who is black in a America, does she ever report on anything about whites.
Sounds to me like you're the one with the chip on your shoulder, among other things.
Why? Why is it so important? Is it so we all remember that somewhere in the past people owned slaves? Is it an attempt to gain something? Is it for culture? WHY?Why is it a big deal to be any color? If your soo interested in being "real" then call it like it is your Brown,dark brown,light brown, Be honest or does brown not have the same negative over tone therefore not giving the proper creedance to you attempt at being controvercial or are you just trying to get your name out their so you can be identified by others you dont know. Why?
It IS our history. You don't like it, neither do we. But it is what it is. No one tells the Jews to get over it. We will not forget our history just because it inconveniences you. Don't watch and don't read if you don't like it.
Soledad's behavior is what MLK preached against. So sad...
You claim it is your history and if people don't like it they should not watch or read about it. However, the same could be said for people displaying a Confederat battle flag. Yes, some use that symbol for intolerance. For others, it is a link to a history that you or I may not like. However, they should not hide their history just because we may disagree with it. The problem is not this history, it is the meanings that modern society seeks to give history with modern context. If you want to examine your history, or that of any other group, do it in the context of the period you study. Don't look back and judge with a modern sense of society.
He did, John? Look up MLK's speech called "Black is Beautiful." You'll be surprised.
Man, Soledad sure seems to be obsessed with the color thing. Aren't there any other issues of more (real) concern that she can report on?! Most of her articles just seem to be adding to the racial flames. Race card anyone?! Just my opinion!
Seriously! Every time I turn on CNN, I see this person having a special on "Black". What is the real reason? Seems like our black friends are doing quite well. I can't see any commercials without a black person, usually the lead over a dumb white person.
She is obsessed with race and color because she is insecure about what race she is, which is black. Blacks are well known to be ultra hypersensitive with race, just the world "black" spoken will make their heads snap around so fast you would think they broke their own necks. It doesn't matter if you were just commenting on a black footprint someone made, if there is any possibility that a word, or a look or a thought might be concerning something "black" thoughts of RACE, will pop up in a blacks head. Race is all blacks know, they think it all day, they dream it, they breath it, it's their one and only universe.
Soledad should just get naked. That's the only reason anybody tunes in.
She's not hot.....just saying
I'm white, male, Caucasian, european and proud of it. I'm glad I don't have a drop of black blood in me.
Knights, swords, armor, castles is my history. Mud huts and sticks is yours and slavery.
You're hypersensitive about your black blood because it's slave blood and you are well aware of it. That black hypersensitive about race makes your black self twitch anxiety.
This girl makes over $50,000 a speech, I bet you don't even make that a year. It very obvious you are not highly educated, and paid.
You are obviously uneducated. Get out of the fairly tales!
Frankly who really gives a crap....O'Brien can't seem to get off this topic and I am sick of hearin about it. We are all Americans and color sholdn't matter anymore.
Agree strongly....the issue of race is like a scab that certain parties (Soledad Obrien, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton) keep picking at and won't allow to heal. Let's stop focusing on the the color of one's skin and focus on the content of their hearts so our country can move on.
I'm tired of hearing all of this. Did you know that the largest mass lynching was perpetrated against Italian Americans? The guy who led it was later elected Governor of Louisiana. When Italians came here the told their children you don't speak Italian anymore, your American you speak english. Despite discrimination they persisted and became part of society. We all have some story, we have to stop complaining and do what is necessary to be productive people in society. Oh yea, It's not going to be easy!!!
As long as Americans HYPHENATE THEMSELVES we will have 2 problems. The first will be perpetuating racism and the second will be self identification of oneself as only partially American.What a bunch of sad mixed up people.
Because it's trendy to claim ones 'blackness'.
Ms. O'Brien is far from black, but like so many others that have mixed parents, if there's record of a black ancestor, even if their as white as Conan O'Brien, they claim the blackness, and not the caucasian percentage.
@ rare_earth You couldn't be more correct! I have never understood how bi-racial people can be raised by white parents and grandparents (a la Hallie Berry and Barack Obama) and yet go on to identify as soley black, wanting to forget their white halves. I am an Obama voter but on this topic I take great issue with him. No one should discount their loving, sacrificing white families because they want the benefits of being black in America.
Obama and Berry identify as black because they've been called black their entire lives by most people. It's not because they disrespect their white heritage.
I am a multi-racial person and I consider myself mixed. I was raised by my white mother and my black/native father. I don't look just black, so it's not an issue for me, but the reason SOM 9not all) mixed people identify as black is because people on the outside looking in (on the white and black side) see them as black. They don't know any better, but if everyone that sees your brown skin assumes you're black your entire life, that's the side you'll identify with. It's no disrespect to their other parts, it just depends on their experience.
Apparently it's determined by how much CNN talks about you. Please stop trying to carve out a niche market among the current minorities by generating racial commentary, CNN. Isn't it easier simply just to report the news? And if you really care about equality for minorities, why do you apparently feel that they need "special" news that attempts to pander to them? Isn't reporting world events good enough? If I were a member of an ethnic minority, I think I'd be a little insulted at the insinuation that I have no interest in rigorous journalism.
Funny, I too think it's more to do with how you look and behave. I'm thinking an AMERICAN too! If Obama says he's black because if father was, I wold think that Soledad would be considered White/HIspanic. I was told the other day a black friend and he said he read that if you have 1% black in you, you are black. Interesting....
You obviously don't know the history of America...read some books and learn of the one drop rule.
This article said a whole lot of nothing. For some many words, it says so few.
Basically this entire article is about nothing other than, and says nothing other than. I'M SOLEDAD OBRIAN, AND I'M BLACK
Boring, shallow, pretty useless. What was the point of even writing this at all?
Blay: So what makes a person black?
O'Brien: I certainly don’t think it’s skin color.
Her husband is white? Is he ill?
Brown is not Black. – Pink is not White.
Living nearer equatorial zones may enhance darker skin tones.
Living nearer Polar regions may enhance lighter skin tone.
Quick test. Put your hand up by the monitor. Does it match the White background of the page? Does it match the Black letters of the script?
I am an american of African descent!!!!. I am an AMerican that's all you need to know. I vote, I work and pay my taxes the best way I can most of my people are in the 98%. Dear Soledad, I'm sure you are a lovely woman and great journalist, but this is a dead horse you are beating. It's almost 2013, if most of us do not know who we are by now and were we came from we are lost and we also know racism is alive and thriving in this country. Who are you explaining who we are too?????
I am proud that you are a citizen in America.
I applaud and respect you.
Joseph, nice response. Agree, I am an American of Irish and English decsent, but I do not claim I am Irish-American or Irish-Engish-American, instead I am an American.
What a shame that I had to scroll this far into the comments to find someone with decency and common sense! Thank you for your wisdom and voicing the ONLY discussion of this topic that is valid. If you want to identify with a culture-MOVE THERE.
Why are liberals like Soledad O'Brien so obsessed with race? It never ends with these people.
I agree with you. I thought the purpose of the "melting pot" was to blur the lines of race and origin to intergrate socially, culturally, and biologically. Were not intended to be separate but one. A blend of race, culture, and beliefs. But instead liberals like to divide us by saying things like this, instead of asking what is it like to be American or what do we share in common. It's divide and conquer instead of unification.
I think Soledad O'Brien is beautiful. But I'm not sure if she is the best to person to host such a program. It's like getting somebody 3/4 Caucasian, 1/4 Asian to host a program on Asian people in America. Eurasians, for example, have not had the same experience as other Asians in the struggles being an immigrant or children of immigrants, trying to learn a new language in a new country, applying for jobs with an ethnic name, and other forms of racism these people have never had to experience.
wow....finally some real news.....yawn....zzzzzzzzzzzzzz
Race is funny. There are people who really don't care, like me. then there are people who think they are victims. and then there are racists. I wish we could all learn to not care. it's like red vs. blue out here. maybe once all the old people die off. They sure are obsessed with superficial things like skin color and lawn maintenance.
My 9 year old daughter has the same issue. I am Jamaican American and her father is a white Cuban. I am a single mother raising her with Black grandparents and she looks all Latina. Kids at school told her she was adopted because she did not look like me. her little heart broke. After that happened I sat her down and we compared our feet and our hands and she said "they look just like yours Mommy". I told her they also are just like everybody elses hands. Ten fingers ten toes one heart. I also told her if someone asks rudely again "what are you?" to smile politely and tell them I am human. I began making an effort to show her other people who are black that look like her like Soledad and made a huge effort to teach her about her Black and Cuban ancestry in fun ways to make her feel proud of who she is and where she is from. She will tell you she is Black like her mommy and latina and that pride makes me one proud mama.
I'm black and both your daughter as well as Soledad are mixed-race, not black. So when the kids call her Latina and mixed–and not black–they are correct.
We are Indian American amd not hung up about our race. Respect who you are and respect will come
You have my respect.
I'm glad I'm not alone with my thoughts on this. It's media driven stuff like this that creates more of a racial divide than helps its. Shows like this may have been educational 20, 30, 40 and 50 years ago, but now seek to tip the scales the other way. God bless America because WE need it.
Is this all CNN can talk about lately? The grown-ups need to be back in control of the news.
In order to be considered "black" in America, you have to be dark-skinned, poor, uneducated, violent, and harbor deep sentiments of victimhood, all on top of blaming it on "The Man," which consists of all white people, and successful Blacks.
I can't wait for the liberation to come for those of us who are biracial but who do not want to identify as black at all. I have nothing in common with 99% of blacks and hate being forcefully lumped into a group that feels foreign to me.
How about asking the question "What does it mean to be American". CNN, stop the rhetoric and pandering to one specific group...everyone is tired of hearing about it.....
I know, right? The race baiting never ends no matter how far you bend over backwards
Ditto, big-time!!! You're correct.....
Until your parents have been waterhosed by police because of their skin color, don't say we are all tired of this information.
I'm sure they were water hosed for their behavior!
Lisa, I'm sure my descendants back in Europe were abused at some point in time (ever hear of serfdom?) – however, I don't hold onto the past and instead focus on the present. And the fact is that we have come a LONG way in this country and being a minority can actually be beneficial in these days of government mandated hiring preferences. So how about letting go of something that happened 50 years ago and move on? It's getting old.
Tb I'm sure your parents were hoses because of procreating (if that's what you call it for racist dogs) .
Yes. A handful of Blacks were waterhosed in Selma Alabama 60 years ago. GET OVER IT ALREADY
Bill if you don't like the show, it's not for you, Don't Watch!
ok, it happened, we all read and saw it on television, for years and years..... If we all go back far enough in history, all of our ancestors were mistreated in some way, enough-get over it and quit crying already. More important things going on in the world now than race issues......far more
the moment you start saying "afircan america" or "cuban american" or "blah blah american" you immediately become a SUBcategory, of american. White people, ARE NOT referred to as "Caucasian Americans" or "Pilgrim Americans" theyre just AMERICANS.
so stop this false importance of hyphenating your americanism, youre not african american, youre AMERICAN. I mean, lets be real...you wanna be included, stop forcing exclusions upon yourself
I'll buy that when I no longer hear about Irish-Americans, Italian-Americans, Polish-Americans and all the rest. People can identify however they like, and none of it makes them less American.
Now, the funny thing is, I actually agree with you and think we should drop all hyphenated Americanisms. And one day we will. But for whatever reason some people aren't ready to do that yet.
uh, of course it makes them less american because theyre going out of their waqy, to declare theyre sub american, theyre going out of their way, to put SOMETHING, BEFORE the word, American. Theyre pretty GREATER importance on whatever theyre decaring, before the word american. There is a logic to words and how theyre used, and you can admit it or deny it, but youre either american, or youre something else. You cant be something else, and american because that completely defys the term american....america itself, is supposed to be, a "melting pot" so it either IS or its NOT, it cannot be both.
Spare me Soledad... you're complexion is lighter than mine
Thanks Goldberg for your short, but perfectly legitimate response.
Soledad has been pushing her "I am Black" agenda for far too long. CNN needs to shut her down.
Who cares? Race doesn't matter right? Except when you want to talk about it? Please.
Race does matter when profiling. I profile for safety.
oooooooookkkkkkkkkk, whatever, just get on with it! We're tired of hearing the race-card pulled AND profiling!! The economy is in despair, unemployment, the middle east is imploding so enough with this crap already!!
HAHAHAHA!! Ive been having a bad day,.. atv breakdowns,.. bad hunting days... i needed that laugh... thank you!!
Congratulations Soledad. I'd say first and foremost you're a narcissist self-promoter.
Yes, she is. She is rude to people on her show in the mornings and I have quit watching her. She's over the top now, mean as hell......
Yet trying to be a racist is like...trying to be a racist. Congratz.
Not racist, just politically incorrect.
Ummm...lady you are not black. Black people have black skin, fer chrissakes. Black features. Blackness. You look white as a white baby's butt.
Methinks she has a point to make that has escaped you.
So now if you are 1/4 black you are black. Heck yes you get into school easier, get preference on job opportunities. I am Hungarian American where is all of my benefits. My family came from eastern Europe only two generations ago and never owned slaves – they were to poor. So why should I feel I owe anyone anything based on their race? I would argue my family is the real american story also
Boy you sure missed the point on this topic and really are playing the caucasian victim card pretty hard. You don't get jobs or preference because your black bigot.
Ignorant or what? Black people come in all shades. Have you ever been to Ethiopia? They are very light brown. I hope you do understand that the colour of one's skin is in direct correlation to their proximity to the equator. Read a book.
I am green. Prove me wrong.
It is not up to anyone to prove you are not green, it is up to you to prove you are green.
I swear to the green goddess that I worship that I am more green than any green division of the electromagnetic spectrum.
You might be kidding me! You're Orange, are you color blinded? I guess it's all about perception
SHe is a real winner and pathetic... Give it up you nasty nasty thing...
What about "Who Is White In America?", The point being, this does nothing but focuses on a particular race and rather than encouraging all of us to get along it says, "LOOK, we're black!". Move along, she has been doing this type of thing for years and is getting on our nerves now for sure....
I am white, but I would prefer not to declare myself as such by your standards. Let's say that I am green and purple.
No one cares what color you are.....period
We already know who is white in america seeing that we live in a white dominated, eurocentric society. Your point is moot.
Whatever, people don't care whether you're green, red, black, whatever. The point is this issue has been driven into the ground and is old, old, old......
Way to race bait CNN! How about doing real American stories instead of playing the race card.
Define "real American story". How is her story not a real American story?
The only real American story is that of the Indigenous Peoples of this land. The rest of us are guests or those who were brought here by force or to escape a hardship elsewhere.
He only wants stories about white European "Americans". There seems to be some kind of a push for a cleansing of American Society here, kind of like Germany in the 30's. It really is astonishing to read the comments of all these idiots, isn't it?
O'Brien is reaaaallly starting to flog a dead horse now.
What defines you? Maybe it’s the shade of your skin, the place you grew up, the accent in your words, the make up of your family, the gender you were born with, the intimate relationships you chose to have or your generation? As the American identity changes we will be there to report it. In America is a venue for creative and timely sharing of news that explores who we are. Reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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