.
December 7th, 2012
05:00 AM ET

Soledad O'Brien: Who is black in America? I am

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.

soundoff (1,454 Responses)
  1. Jamie

    Here we go again....... division by race. Please STOP

    December 7, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Jomm

      How is this a division? Because the truth hurts and no one wants to talk about the truth. We know all of this is said in our homes; so why pretend that this does not exist?

      December 7, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
    • JustFred

      You have CNN to thank for this stuff. It's the race network. I don't get it either. WHY the obsession with race and why is only one particular race worthy of deconstruction, praise and overview? CNN doesn't seem to recognize Asians, Caucasians or even Native Americans as anything special culturally. To CNN, "culture" only comes from the American black and Hispanic communities. Go figure.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  2. Enough

    What a surprise! Soledad whining ad nauseum about the "black in America" thing. Is this the summit of her ability? Enough is enough!

    December 7, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  3. The_Mick

    Under the pressure of past prejudice, I imagine there are a lot of people with more than a drop of Black African heritage in their ancestry whose light-skinned ancestors passed for and listed themselves as white. In the early 70's, a group of us college students went to a German/Polish dance hall near Fort Meade, MD for a change of pace and those of us with Polish backgrounds taught the others how to dance the Polka, Silver Slipper, etc. After I danced with a light-skinned Black woman one of the old timers came up to me and scolded me for dancing with a Black. I could have told off the old timer and pointed out that my dance partner was a fellow Senior college chemistry major and classmate of mine and likely MORE intelligent than the old timer. But, to save creating a scene, I lied and told her the girl wasn't Black: she was Asiatic Indian and genetic studies show Indians are 100% Caucasian. That satisified her.

    December 7, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Michelle

      I guess being 'black' is only ok if you are perceived as educated but white people get a pass on that. Also..humans of any made-up race all came out of Africa and are 99% genetically alike..just different phenotypes.

      December 7, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • Xceler8

        Exactly!

        December 7, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jomm

    WHy are you tired of these black america programs? look at them and learnfrom them otherwise turn the tv.

    December 7, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  5. Tyrone,Schenectady NY

    I laugh at you whites that want history to start under Obama. Let's go pre1965 then tell me how peachy and diverse America is. 47 years is the count America that is not even midlife crisis time yet but you want blacks to be on top of their game. Go on and deny there has been obstacles set to make sure blacks remain subservient.

    December 7, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      You realize blacks have struggled for a lot longer than 47 years right? And that Dr. King was probably one the biggest obstacles to racial equality since the Confederacy.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  6. Peach

    Who cares.....

    December 7, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  7. fyre

    Um . . .he got elected again, so hope you realize that the rest of the country doesn't agree with the crazy talk. And that has nothing to do with this article.

    December 7, 2012 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  8. Michelle

    OMG. You are the reason that Americans need to travel or read more books. The slave trade was not just in the United States. Wow..lol.

    December 7, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  9. Wow

    My mom is mostly mexican, some native american. My dad is white. My wife is Korean, so that makes my kids really mixed. Where is the TV special for us!? "Korean, mexican, native american and white in america."

    December 7, 2012 at 10:04 am | Report abuse |
  10. Bob

    SO tired of this narrative.

    December 7, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  11. Tyrone,Schenectady NY

    Just the way America wanted it right. You said your free and sent them on their way who amessdd up mentality and let them work their way out of it. 47 years is he count my man and we are coming along. Mind you the war on drugs was started by the great white man even though it is whites that love the drugs.

    December 7, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  12. palustris

    I gotta say one thing... mixed race women are some of the most beautiful creatures on earth!

    December 7, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
    • ORIGINALMAN

      The MOST beautiful Women (not creatures) are the reflection of the Mother of Civilization found in the African Diaspora.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  13. rand

    nothing like making a story where there ISN"T One. Who is black? Most black people are either black, white or hispanic. Who determines if you are black? MOST people I know are TOO BUSY WORKING..............they are not trying to figure out someone's ethnicity.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Mema

      Wow...do you live in this country? Extremely narrow vision....

      December 7, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • fyre

      The fact that you can say that means you have no idea what the dialogue is. Exactly what is black? If you are an eighth black, are you still considered black? Or is it just dependent on skin color and facial features? Some mixed families have siblings who can absolutely pass as white and others who look traditionally black – same genetics, but according to many forms we are forced to fill out to define our race, one sibling is white or other and the other is just plain black. I've seen this happen to siblings on birth certificates and school and medical records where they check a box for you depending on your appearance.

      If it doesn't affect you, you never think about it, but I am from a mixed race family and filling out forms like that is always a source of tension for me. Not only that, but I don't particularly identify with any racial community, which makes it awkward in day to day life as a minority. Older generations of my family have chosen to bow out of the debate by claiming Hispanic descent as it is known that Hispanics are of very mixed descent. We are not Hispanic, and it's weird to lie about my family's heritage just to fit into some neat box. And don't tell me that the solution is just to put an "other" checkbox – that is not always available and putting a huge variety of mixed people who don't fit traditional ideals of race into some alien category is just plain weird.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
  14. MNfree

    "You know, white people really have a luxury in that they get a range of stories, that they’re not defined by five stories."

    -Luxury? I'm sorry, but that is very inaccurate. 'White people' don't magically come from some random, peaceful country, they are also mixed with many cultures. German is different than French, and English is MUCH different than Irish. (Spanish is also considered to be white as well) Yet they all have similar tones of color. I also know that black is used for people that could be from way different cultures as you can be from an assortment of African nations.

    Basically, why do we associate a division based on a skin tone, when we are trying to reconcile race relations in the first place? This simply does not make sense, and shows like this only seem to further the divide instead of bring it together.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:58 am | Report abuse |
  15. Angela

    As a black woman, I am so sick and tired of Soledad O'Brien's lame series on being black in America. All this does is try to define individuals and lump us into a group of ignorant, complaining, ranting and miserable human beings – none of which I am. The perspective given is this "victim mentality" that life is unjust and we have not received our due from society. Unimaginable and base behaviors are excused because of our "victimization", and is a slap in the face to me. There have been too many opportunities afforded us, and even though racism still occurs, the choice is to overcome it or dwell on it and have a lifelong pity-party.
    The "color" issue is just as preposterous and causes divisiveness within "black" people. There is just as much, if not more racism within the "black race" as it is towards us from other races.
    Also, I am not African-American. I was born in Chicago, not the Congo. Even though I have many friends from Nigeria, I do not know how life was for them and cannot claim their experiences because my ancestry may be from Africa.
    If Soledad has a journalism degree, please use it for something else rather than exposing her inferiority complex.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
    • steve

      Hope soledad reads Angela's reply on the air!

      December 7, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Xceler8

      Angela, you just restored my faith in my black sisters! I work with many black women in my profession that are compassionate, smart, faith filled people. I also work with many black women who are rude, nasty, backbiting, angry, and abusive towards their white co-workers. I don't understand this. We are all women, wonderful in our own right, regardless of race. Why can't we just stand together!

      December 7, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
    • 1gadawg

      Best reply yet!!

      December 7, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • GailS

      You are so wrong. Soledad is showing the vast diversity in the African-American culture. Being an African-American woman from Detroit, I really welcome this. You are more than welcome to view African Americans however you like, but please don't spread lies about Soledad.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
      • Chet

        Just because I have black in my blood doesn't mean I am black, nor white – I am a person. Get off the race card circuit!

        December 7, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
      • Jomm

        Michael Hurtz, you sound silly. Since you want to ask those questions, let me ask you these questions. What is black? According to the meaning, black means dark, evil, mystery, etc. This is why thing with the word "black" in front of the word is negative (black cat, black plague, place magic, etc). What about the color black? Are we that skin tone? See, my questions is just as valid as yours. As for your comment about Al, Jesse, etc. I find those comments the sterotype racist remarks about blacks who work in civil rights. Funny MLK was called those same things and now look.

        December 7, 2012 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
      • Jomm

        We will get off the race card Chet when the GAME is over and no longer played.

        December 7, 2012 at 10:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Chet

      Thank you, well said and if more people forgot about the race card issue the better we'd be. A refreshing comment!

      December 7, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
    • aubrie

      I admire you for seeing things much more clearly than most, and are not afraid to state it just as clearly.. Bravo!

      December 7, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
    • anna

      Well said!

      December 7, 2012 at 10:16 am | Report abuse |
    • jmho43

      Sorry, I just don't see how oppressed an extremely beautiful questionable race woman could have been throughout her life. Compare that to a dark complected woman from the 1920s, or for that matter, any woman who grew up in an abusive household. We all have our own issues. Soledad should look around a bit more before spouting off hers.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:20 am | Report abuse |
      • Laura

        "Questionable race"? I think you just showed why she needs to be talking in the first place.

        December 7, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Crystal

      Angela, thank you for saying that you are not Africian-American. People get mad at me when I say that I am NOT African-American and call me a sell out. Does it even matter? I know a lot of people that are true African-americans (born in Africa) and to them it is a slap in the face for black americans or people of color the use that term. Yes I have ancestors from Africa but also Europe and I have Native American ancestors. But I was born in North Carolina. Am I Black, yes but i'm not Africian-American.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
      • Jomm

        Well Crystal, I am African American. I know my African heritage and the slaves who came here from my family. I will HONOR THEM by wearing the term AFRICAN; and I will honor their works and what they did for this country and the country in which I live which is AMERICA. People can choose to be whatever they choose to be. It is a slap in the face for some of us for other to think they can tell us what to call ourselves. I do not care if anyone does like that the fact that I call myself AA (I am not doing for them or their approval).

        December 7, 2012 at 10:49 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      Excellent post Angela!!!!

      December 7, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Jomm

      Angela some of you points are truth but also, Some can say the same about you in what you are saying about Obrien. If what she is saying does not appy to you, that is good (you are one of few); however, many others are still experiences these problems and it should be spoken about. Also, there are those who love the term BLACK and their are those folks who love the term African American and BOTH should be respected.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Jason

      Bravo! Bravo! Well stated Angela!

      December 7, 2012 at 10:42 am | Report abuse |
    • SmallzThaGod

      Well Angela if you’re Black and intelligent you should've realized that Soledad wasn’t speaking on the black condition in America and who's responsible for what. She was speaking on whose Black in American. Hell you can be a light skinned so called white person and be Black in America. I have Asian friends who have accepted black culture who consider themselves black. And if you live in Chicago it’s no different, I know I was stationed in the Chi and there plenty white-black folks in Chicago. Its how we preserve ourselves in this country is what she’s after. It wasn’t a who's placing blame on who article but it sounds like you made a couple conservative majority Jabronies happy with your rant tho.

      December 7, 2012 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  16. Bill

    CNN had Trayvon Martin stories practically every day for 3 weeks. Why? Race baiting?

    December 7, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  17. GWP

    O'brien is obviously very confussed and doesn't know who she is. Enough with the continual bias dribble from her. Get over it or leave.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Jomm

      She can be whatever she wants regardless if you like it or not.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  18. rand

    Thank you Mike..finally someone had the nerve enough to speak the truth.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  19. Tyrone,Schenectady NY

    I Agree Between Soledad and Suzanne M it's a wrap. Fox does a better job at having black anchors that actually look black. Go figure

    December 7, 2012 at 9:53 am | Report abuse |
  20. dmontech

    @Jeff,

    Did you even read the article or watch the video? She addresses your question from the start. Her mother is "afro-cuban". But most "cuban" people are never addressed that way in the US.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  21. sybaris

    Thanks for illustrating the point of her article.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
  22. tc

    Slow news day?

    December 7, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  23. sybaris

    You do understand that you listed nationalities not ethnicity's

    December 7, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
  24. Chuck

    You guys sure do allot on Black in America and Hispanic in America, why not spend as much time with
    the Original Americans, the Native Americans. Funny how the Left seem to forget about them, probably
    because most Native Americans i know are concervatives and have gotten over the Past.

    On second thought, our people are just fine

    December 7, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • rand

      Good post Chuck!!

      December 7, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Tyrone,Schenectady NY

      Chuck I agree but the reality is your story would really expose the horrific mindset of whites to get power and your land. Then your culture has to see America celebrate a slaughter of Indians and call it Thanksgiving. As usual though whites want us to just forget that and realize Thanksgiving is now a holiday for thanks.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
      • rand

        Tyrone.................most people are WORKING hard just to GET BY> They are NOT trying to "STEAL" anything for YOU

        December 7, 2012 at 10:24 am | Report abuse |
      • Michael Hurtz

        The Native Americans were slaughtering themselves long before the Europeans came along. Such is the nature of man and conquering. Am I condoning the events of actual murder at the hands of the Europeans? Absolutely not, but think for a second that the Native Americans have some moral high ground when they committed the same types of acts against Europeans and each other.

        Thanksgiving has nothing to do with the killing of Native Americans, but everything to do with the Harvest. That's where it came from.

        December 7, 2012 at 10:50 am | Report abuse |
      • Jomm

        Michael Hurtz, even if Native Americans were slaughtering themselves, it was them (war existed in all countries including Europe) and they did not need to Europeans to come and take their land and harvest and give Native Americans dieases.

        December 7, 2012 at 11:04 am | Report abuse |
    • Nicole

      I agree with you on that Chuck.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Mema

      As a woman with both heritages, I hear ya Chuck!

      December 7, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Jomm

      You do not know all Native Americans. There are some here who are not over the past. And some native Americans are still poor regardless to the casinos.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:36 am | Report abuse |
  25. Bored To Death

    I think you are right–this is the only thing she seems to care to report on. BORING!!

    December 7, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  26. soraya

    First off, I think race is how you identify yourself in the cultural sense but not necessarily what you are forensically/anthropologically speaking. My daughter is Polish, German, Ecuadorian and Chinese , I have raised her to be proud of all her multi-facets she is more then the sum of her parts, she is her own unique person and should not have to qualify to any one what she is period. This is America we all have mixed blood, get over it and move on. However I was curious by Soledad's comment "My dad is white and Australian" does that mean he is half english and half aboriginal? It was a very odd way of describing her fathers ethnicity.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  27. USnotRaceBlind

    Jeff, she is "black". Her mother was a black cuban. You mean to tell me you've never seen a dark skinned Cuban? Wow! That like saying every Latino looks like Carmen Diaz or Christina Aquilera (?) That there are NO dark skinned Hispanics, Mexicans or Latinos. You really need to get out more often.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  28. Tyrone,Schenectady NY

    See your vigilance to prove a person not to be black. It's he same vigilance America used to prove whites were superior to blacks. Be real you want to call me boy! Your kind loved having blacks as nothing but your help. Do a bio on American racism and you will a white man smiling.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:47 am | Report abuse |
  29. Deb

    Yes, I have believed that she is a racist for years now....everything is pointed to race in her vocabulary...Maybe if she stopped bringing up the divided notion, then possibly people would stop seeing people as what color/race they are. Her conversations just feeds the bigots and racist like her...You don't think there are racist blacks too? Open your eyes Soledad, you know they are too...why don't you focus on them as well as white perception of color/race?

    December 7, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  30. Eric

    You just insulted the whole KKK movement, David Duke,the Ghost of Strom Thurmond, and all the other proud white racist. Now apologize to them.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  31. SandyStorm

    Soledad is obsessed with race. I was listening to her comments yesterday on tv and she told me I was black "One drop rule". Funny I never knew i was black, but since she's the authority.....

    Really, who cares what color you are? Only the racist care, that's who. Grow up, shut up, and move on to something bigger and more important to our country...like poverty...poor schools....no jobs.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  32. Tyrone,Schenectady NY

    Explain why the most recent census forms and employment applications have a box for White-Hispanics if race does not matter. Are you not trying to piggyback off of the fastest growing population?????

    December 7, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • shura mckinney

      i can't believe there is not a more important story for this woman to cover....come on CNN...geezzzz

      December 7, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  33. fiftyfive55

    Hyphens in people's self descriptions tell me that person isn't smart enough to be American,and for some reason they think it makes them sound more important when just the opposite is true.Do other parts of the world use hyphens in their descriptions or is it just us ?

    December 7, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Tyrone,Schenectady NY

      The United States Census had hyphens for race included in it so is America racist?

      December 7, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
    • sloppyj30

      I'm not sure if hyphen abuse is a problem (and a tragic one, at that) unique to the USA, but I'm pretty sure racism (or "tribalism," to be more accurate) is not a uniquely American thing.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:13 am | Report abuse |
    • teaandvinyl

      Yes, people in other countries also use hyphenated identifiers, such as Afro-Caribbean British, British Asian, Afro-Germans, Asian Australians, Afro-Dutch, etc. It's just a simple way for many people to recognise a duality of culture and heritage, especially important for children of first or second generation families. It's a bit presumptuous to think that America is somehow the only nation of minorities who want to pay heed to their ancestry. It's global and pretty inoffensive.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Jomm

      Who cares if someone want to put a hypen their name and what they are. If you are not a racist and do not care about color, you would not care. If a hypen bothers anyone, maybe something about he/she are being revealed and he/she does not want to see that he/she really does see color.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
      • fiftyfive55

        You couldn't be more wrong if you tried to be on purpose.Hyphenations are EXACTLY labeling oneself as racially different from others.It's what keeps racism alive.

        December 7, 2012 at 11:21 am | Report abuse |
  34. tir3d

    i don't quite understand what this series is trying to accomplish. ok, soledad...you've got african ancestors...you've made this clear in many past offerings, what makes this newsworthy? a little diversity please.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  35. Tyrone,Schenectady NY

    Whites are so race conscious and scare of being a minority. Notice on race questions miraculously there is now a check box f

    December 7, 2012 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Tyrone,Schenectady NY

      a check box for White Hispanics has been created but you don't want African Americans.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
      • fiftyfive55

        Tyrone you should be careful,you might wake the sleeping white giant.

        December 7, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  36. Shaun

    What exactly is "Austrailian"?

    If you're saying it's "white" than you're a racist. Because Austrailia is not a white continent, just like America.

    Check-mate, mrs. O'Brien the racist.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
  37. MJD

    Pity Soledad O'Brien can't think of herself as AMERICAN of whatever decent she wishes.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
    • missyree

      Wasn't aware that AMERICAN was a race.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  38. hannah

    Maybe we'll all come together when we are all brown or shades thereof. It will happen eventually. But then there is that dang thing called religion that divides people into gangs. I've always loved the Paul McCartney song "Imagine", the imagine no religion too.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
    • Marc L from NY

      I have always loved the John Lennon song Imagine. I wonder if we are talking about the same one

      December 7, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
      • Bored To Death

        LOL

        December 7, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
    • bob

      try the other Beatle, JL.
      I lived through the 60's and really thought we have gotten past skin color. As far as I am concerned. The entire planet consist of one people.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
    • Quid Malmborg in Plano TX

      FYI, "Imagine" was a John Lennon song. Just saying.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
  39. Marc L from NY

    The biggest obstacle to having an open racial discussion are black people. They don't want an honest discussion and Soledad Obrien just admitted it without knowing. She says people question her and ask who is she to be leading this discussion. And it is because she doesn't look black. The implication being only a black person has the right to discuss race. That is the problem. It seems that we can only discuss these issues when it is a black person doing the talking. And it seems that as a white person we can't express our views because they will be seen as racist. Right now, if you are a black person reading this you are probably already saying I am racist. Therefor, we end up with not a discussion but a one way conversation, or really just a ranting of sorts on what it means to be black. And a black person that does try to honestly discuss the issues, like Bill Cosby for example, is shushed and shunned.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
    • Tyrone,Schenectady NY

      Bill Cosby rightfully points out the known short comings of what blacks should be doing as a whole to get ahead in life. He in no way discounts the effect of racist policies from America in the past. Please don't mix the two up. Reach our to him he replies and will correct you flawed thought.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • ThyKingdomCome

      @Marc L
      You have a valid point, I don't believe you are a racist by your comments, and being African-American, I would feel free to discuss the real issues of race with you or anyone else. Education and eliminating ignorance is the key to unity in this country, we all should take part in that. The sad thing is, so many readers of this article have not even taken the time to view Soledad's series "Black in America", and yet are tired of having the discussion.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
    • FiveLIters

      I guess it depends on who you associate with. I am the only black person in my dept here at work (I.T.),and the other guys and I have extremely open,filterless conversations about racial stuff,which I find refreshing. They do not hesitate to ask me "so,why do black people (fill in the blank)?"...as if I have all the answers lol,and in turn,I freely will ask "well,why do white people (fill in the blank)". No one gets "offended",and in 17 years here,I cannot recall an actual argument surrounding a racial conversation (or any conversation,for that matter). I find it very enlightnening to get their perspectives on stuff,and in turn,they get to understand how/why I feel about stuff too. It's all good.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:07 am | Report abuse |
  40. glorydays

    What ever will the racists do when they can't tell who to hate?

    December 7, 2012 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  41. Tyrone,Schenectady NY

    Factual American history as the country was built on HATE and BIGOTRY!

    December 7, 2012 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  42. CantWeAllGetAlong

    Agree 100% on SoleDad. She is a race monger and quite frankly should be hosting a Ricki Lake type show as she isn't a journalist by any measure of that word.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  43. Aleksander

    People perfer people who look like themselves... this is confirmed in scientific studies. If there is a minority that visibally looks "different", then they'll be treated different... it doesn't have to be racism but an unfortunate part of human nature.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • ProfessorJazz

      That is totally true. Add the word "tribalism" to your response and you'll have it all.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Marc L from NY

      It is seen in all of nature, not just humans.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
    • SK

      I believe there is something to this as seen in nature "birds of a feather flock together" – a couple of years ago I bought a hobby farm. I purched 25 mixed breed chickens – they were raised togther from day 1. As they matured, the white chickens went together, the brown, etc. It was kind of funny really.

      As far as humans go, take 2 small children of any color and put them together in a room. They obviously see the difference (and may ask why they look different from them) but don't care, they will play with each other without question – it is the parents that make a big deal about it.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:59 am | Report abuse |
      • Aleksander

        Then obviously this view of differences develops during adolescence. Notice how different types of adolescents (Goth, Preppy, etc.) group themselves together.

        December 7, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  44. hux

    colour of skin is not important . theres to much hate in this world and if everyone were colour blind, what a different the world would be . MERRY XMAS.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Lazrus

      Dear, CM..its sad that you think all black people are like these and all white people are like that...it just tell me that you're a narrow minded..think big...human beings are capable of doing much greater things..for the record i am proudly black..i work 14 hours and help my family back in Africa..i am educated..have two degrees which u prob dont have..so please think before say something...

      December 7, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  45. Joe

    Does Black meam hot, if so, Soledad O'Brien is super black

    December 7, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  46. Jomm

    Oh please Jeff. How is this racist? It is exist. Stop trying to put everything under the rug. We all know what happens when you keep putting trash under the rug, it builds up and will soon spill out.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Jeff

      So ignoring the facts is wrong ?

      December 7, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  47. RiverdaleRock

    I am a African American that lives in Atlanta, and I believe what is being done with Soledad O'Brien's Black in America is much needed in today's times. Race has been an issue in America since we first gained our independence. In our culture, a person's race is determined by white america's view of them. If white americans feel that your skin is too dark and your families income does not reach a certain level then you are considered African American, if your family is well off then you are considered a High Class African American, only after you conform to White American thinking and strip yourself of all your American American culture. In America, only African Americans get judged because they are proud of their heritage and their race. We are not supposed to feel good about who we are because we were supposed to be broken after our harsh treatment of past generations. Instead, we have overcame that and became a culture that was displaced in the in the beginning but are now trendsetters for the world. Hip hop music is a prime example, it was created and originated by African Americans and has grown into a world wide culture. So until White America can stop judging by race and judging by merrit then things will always be the same.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Tyrone,Schenectady NY

      Yes and all that progress in 47 years as there is still a segment of America working steadily to make sure people of color remain subservient to whites. Oh you notice howHispanics are the new flavor???

      December 7, 2012 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
    • WeatherbyMarkV

      Racism is getting worse.

      I've now read posts from self-described African Americans, who claim to know what "white" people think, which is racism by the way. Another post that claims that whites are the most racist and offers Greece as the prime example, and others that claim all blacks are racist.

      This entire project is nothing more than another way to create more racial division in America. When will we stop letting media sources, that prey on the near guaranteed outrage that they've told you all MUST be exhibited when race is mentioned, tell us what and how to think?

      The truth of the matter is, racism has been incorrectly defined in the public mind for the sole purpose of selling advertising. None of our media sources would exist without it and the more shocking the news agency is, the more viewership, which translates to more money.

      I suppose with Soledad claiming to be black, I can as well. My grandfather was Chippewa. I reject that however and prefer to identify myself as a human. A human that lives in the United States of America.

      When will you people wake up?

      December 7, 2012 at 10:00 am | Report abuse |
      • Mema

        Ok..your post is funny..humor me...what exactly makes you black? You said "My grandfather was Chippewa", correct me if I am wrong, but the Chippewa's are Native American tribe and may not appreciate being called something other than what they are. Learn the difference...by your writing, not seeing any African American ancestry here!!

        December 7, 2012 at 10:38 am | Report abuse |
      • WeatherbyMarkV

        I'm as black with my Chippewa heritage as Soledad is with her Latino heritage. You didn't get the sarcasm eh?

        December 7, 2012 at 11:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Mark D

      Ironically I have been to Africa, specifically South Africa and spoke with many black people while I was there. They laughed at me when I said African American. They asked what it meant becuase they just think of us as Americans. Maybe if more African Americans or Hispanic Americans thought of them self as Americans we would have put racism or descrimination further behind us in this country?

      December 7, 2012 at 10:09 am | Report abuse |
  48. me

    What a ridiculous story to put out there. And I'm white-I feel the need to share since others have :D

    December 7, 2012 at 9:32 am | Report abuse |
  49. upside down

    I see Soledad is on her rant again. She's 1/2 black, 1/2 Iranian, 1/2 Native American, 1/2 Arab, 1/2 Indian, and 100% RACIST.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Jomm

      Oh please, you need to go back to school and learn the true meaning of the word racist. Clearly you do not know.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  50. Bel

    It should be just American and not African-American or Black-American,

    December 7, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Karaya

      Then people like Soledad O'Brien would have to find an actual job...

      December 7, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
  51. Joe

    Does black mean hot, if so, Soledad O'Brien is super black.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
    • WeatherbyMarkV

      Sorry Joe. There's something about a stupid person that's just unattractive.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  52. G.

    I appreciate O'Brien's courage to venture into a sensitive issue as such. This country and the world to follow is trending in a direction of "Browness". Knowing your ancenstry can be valuable in shaping your thoughts of who you are but where you came from and who you came from is a fraction of who you are and where you are going.

    Dueces

    December 7, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  53. Randy

    Talk about something else....there are more pressing issues in the country than to worry about who is black and who is not....come on CNN, you're better than this. BTW, I'm 100% black.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Presto88

      Randy...CNN is NOT better than this. They do these stupid articles all the time...

      December 7, 2012 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
      • I Am God

        There are stupid articles on all the media. Fox News has stupid articles, MSNBC has stupid articles, and so on and so forth. It isn't just one media network.

        December 7, 2012 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  54. hux

    i didn't know O'brien was black.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Chuck

      Havent you ever heard of Black Irish?

      December 7, 2012 at 10:47 am | Report abuse |
  55. Michelle

    Soledad LOOKS biracial. You can tell in her apperance. No one would accept this lady as anglo and everyone on here posting knows this. She can identifiy with American 'black' culture and also identify with the racism that is received due to being labeled 'black'. There really is no such thing as race. The 'race' problem is a white problem. Please don't try to change this around. If there were not any negative feelings towards being labled 'black' or half 'black' or 1/4 black then there would not be so many angry posts. It is obvious the topic of race is an issue and that 'black' is seen as bad. Yes..she just like poeple who look like what you think a black person should look like in America are just Americans too.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris

      I don't believe that the race problem is strictly a "white problem". By your comment you actually sound racist.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
      • Jomm

        Chris it is problem for everyone; however, whites get the term racist because whites are in position of power to execise their feelings. Whoever have to POWER, that is the power to dominate their believes. WHy do whites have the better schools? Why do whites dominated everything in America? they are the ones in power can execise thier beliefs. That is what racism is all about.

        December 7, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • shirodx

      LOL,
      You seem not to be able to differentiate between your country of birth and your genetic background.

      Have you been to Cuba? Have you seen the diverse "genetic" background that makes up the Cuban populace?

      New's Flash:
      Not all Cuban's look like Gloria Estefan.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:37 am | Report abuse |
  56. WB DeBois

    Why should this matter?? Who cares what color people are? The content of a person's heart and mind are what matter.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  57. You're Not Black II

    Sorry Soledad, but you're not black. You were only hired because on paper you're a minority but to the camera you're white. Move on and report on something else.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  58. Shack

    There is only one Race. The Human Race. We all share the same genes. The skin may be different color, the eyes a different shape, but cut any of us and we bleed the same red blood.
    I was raised in an all white neighborhood in Southern California. I was raised by people who never spoke of race or nationality. I never knew until I traced my ancestry how diverse my family is. My Children do not see "color" or "race". They see people. Until WE as a nation quit using "race" as a definition of a person, we will never truly be a country where "ALL MEN ARE CREATED EQUAL".

    December 7, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Jomm

      Sorry but even though we are all human we all are NOT treated the same not even within our own races. It is just like sin and our character. We all sin and no one is perfect; however, that does NOT stop none of us from judging others.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      While I get what your getting at and totally agree there are general differences between groups of people based upon the geographical location of where they come from beyond simply different skin colors. For instance someone who's ancestry is from Nepal has much stronger and efficient lungs than someone who's ancestry is from the British Isles.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Mema

      Shack...personally, I love seeing all of the differnet colors and feature mixtures that people are! I think it's beautiful...I raise my son to not judge people by what they look like, but, I also teach him that others will judge him by what he looks like, and that he may be treated differently because of it. Unfortunately, racism has been part of the American culture for centuries, and was first demonstrated by the white and spanish conquerers to this nation....maybe during my son's lifetime, things will change and people will embrace our differences and see the beauty in all of our faces.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:52 am | Report abuse |
  59. Milwaukee Brewtowner

    I luv it when whites say why don't these blacks identify with their white side. But they suddenly reject that opinion if half black-half white robs a bank, commits a crime, or have chidren out of wedlock. All of a sudden their "black" part is "counted" You NEVER hear 1/2 whites are overwhelmingly represented in violent crime statistics. But if these same mixed black people become president or become a noted journalist like Soledad, then some whites start screaming about why these blacks don't identify with their white side

    December 7, 2012 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
    • Jomm

      I agree Milwaukee. If you want to know what you are, get in trouble. You will be called BLACK 100%

      December 7, 2012 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
    • mkjp

      You are absolutely correct. The criminals are black but the success stories need to call themselves white.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:46 am | Report abuse |
  60. Mark

    If race is something that is self-determined, and black contractors are given preferences in awarding contracts, then I'm black.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  61. Bob

    This question remains relevant because of the way our laws used to define being of African origin for the purpose of denying rights. Hopefully, this relevance is diminidhing with each generation, but the recent election cycle shows we have a LONG way to go.

    As for Ms O'Brien, in my opinion, the best description is "drop-dead gorgeous." ;)

    December 7, 2012 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • Bob

      "diminishing" not "diminidhing" :(

      December 7, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  62. Alexander

    I don't really care who is black or white or whatever. tired of blacks complaining all the time. I really don't care what anyone looks like. Get over and be productive rather than complainers.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Jomm

      Blacks are tired of complaining as well but if blacks are going racism, it should be said. Sorry Alexander, everyone is not like you.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  63. zaphed

    This country is pathetic as it still uses race openly in discussions and in discrimination practices. USA is the most racist place on the planet.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  64. Evian Bidet

    Soledad O'brien is definitely NOT BLACK.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:20 am | Report abuse |
  65. Tyrone,Schenectady NY

    I can't take Soledad serious. If she was so pro- black she would have married a black man! Whites are the most racist just look at your cultures you don't believe in mixing. Greeks only want Greeks , Italians don't want Sicilians in the family. Jews only want Jews. During slavery the whites love sneaking into tht chocolate though messing up our racial integrity. We did not race mix initially by choice. Look at the Hemmingway family no better case than that as it took until the 1990's for the whites to accept their own blood and the only issue was they were black.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
    • BiggieStallz

      I'm white. Italian. Happily married to a black woman. My kids are beautiful. Sorry Tyrone. Your views and experience are small.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Aleksander

      White Americans will marry immigrants from Europe...

      December 7, 2012 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
    • Liv

      Wow, Tyrone, I found myself agreeing with a number of your comments on here but to say that Soledad should have married a black man if she is pro-black is ludicrous and narrow-minded. People can marry who they want – that's the beauty of it, it's a free world. Sometimes you just love who you love and there's no agenda or bias that drives that decision. And even if there was an agenda in her case, it's still her decision to make. I think you revealed a lot about your own prejudices by making that comment.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
    • WeatherbyMarkV

      There are racist of everry color. It's just hard for some people to admit.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Liv

      Hmm.....I want to tweak my previous comment. I do understand that there is some sensitivity around the issue of African-Americans marrying outside of their community and I'd even like to think that I have some insight as to why that is. Having said that, it seems like a slippery slope when you start calling out other individuals based on the race of their spouse and discounting their opinions on that basis. I just think it weakens your own arguments against prejudice. Also, that sensitivity about marrying outside of one's own group exists among other races/ethnicities as well, in varying degrees. My apologies if my previous comment came off too harsh.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:59 am | Report abuse |
  66. Hal Atosis

    Get over it. Your "black" president won. You know the guy who is just as white as he is black.

    It must be a self-esteem thing. Tiger Woods is only 1/4 black but the African-American community and advertising agencies define him as black. Are his kids black? They are only 1/8 "black".

    At what point do you lose the excuse of being oppressed and the whole slavery thing? Read history, native Africans were the drivers of the slave trade. They captured and sold their "brothers" any chance they got.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Jomm

      Oh please Hal Atosis, Native American may have sold their brothers but it was the whites who did the cruel TREATMENT. Just because I give you cats that does NOT give you the right to shot and kill them and mistreat them.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:26 am | Report abuse |
  67. Mike S

    Is this another article about dividing people into categories to see to see deserves special treatment and government assistance?

    December 7, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • zaphed

      No it is not. This articles is discussing a sad reality in this country which was built on racism and violent practices. Go check your history and pay attention.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
      • Big Bob

        And yet, we are the only country in history to address and to try and correct the problem. 300.000 white Union soldiers under the ground was a good start, don't you think? Whites have been bending over backwards for decades now to try and right this perceived wrong.

        December 7, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  68. krusta80

    Since it is impossible for of us to trace our lineages to the beginning of time, it is our most recent ancestry that dominates our racial mix. That said, there are many Americans (and non Americans) whose parents or grandparents (or beyond) crossed racial boundaries when conceiving a child. In these cases, I believe that "whether someone is black" is solely determined by the individual.

    Although it may not be the best comparison, I am a combination of four nationalities: Greek, Italian, Irish, and Polish. I do not consider myself just Greek or just Irish, etc. I consider myself all of them (yet non of them). That said, if someone wishes to associate themselves with only one part of their racial makeup then who cares? It's really up to them in the end, isn't it?

    December 7, 2012 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  69. A.

    As a person of mixed race, (black and white) I don't see why this article is racist. It is others that approach me and assume I am a Spanish speaker (Latin American, Mexican ) because of the way I look. When there is a need to identify my cultural makeup, or if someone asks I don't necessarily take pride in identifying, rather, I take pride in education and blinding the ignorance.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • A.

      Educating.*

      December 7, 2012 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
    • Black Dynamite

      "Blinding the ignorance" is a full-time job.

      Take a Power Bar.......
      BD

      December 7, 2012 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Jomm

      A, some people try to throw the word "racist" around to keep people from talking. This article is NOT racist and some people need to learn the meaning of the word racist/racism.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  70. Jon

    Well, when you can't come up with an original idea for a tv show, use race to rile everyone up.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Jasoner

      Agreed – As a white man, I find this completely racist and it hurts my feelings. Why is this news?

      December 7, 2012 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
      • Jomm

        Why? Truth hurts Jasoner. Sorry but this exist.

        December 7, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  71. CryingFoul

    Obama's Presidency has done absolutely nothing to teach, inspire & motivate Black People to do their fair share and move away from being Needy and Live Prosperous Life RATHER Barack is taking them back to Not So Good Old Days Again.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  72. Soledad fan

    That's rediculous. First off most 2nd generation and above are mixed. I'm mixed but when I'm out I'm considered black. It's funny how whites want to change the rules to the game when it effects them. Now the one drop rule you made up is not in....why because it backfiring on you kids. Soledad is black. Obama is black. I agree with Soledad mom. Stop saying everyone voted for Obama because he black I would have never voted for Herman Cain , al sharp ton or Jesse jacks and most white voted against him because he's black let's be real. It goes both ways if that's your logic. Facts....90 percent of serial killers and 67 percent are rapist and 71 percent of whites make are responsible from pedaphiles since you like stats so much

    December 7, 2012 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
    • WeatherbyMarkV

      No, I wouldn't have voted for Jesse or Al because they're both disingenuous and let's be honest here, they're not the sharpest pencils in the box.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  73. Black Dynamite

    I am too black........too strong. Too black.........too strong.......
    BD

    December 7, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Diane

      How many storys is she going to do telling everyone she is freaking black!! Who cares, the only one that seems to care is her. She needs to go out and be a real reporter.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  74. Obvious Sarcasm

    If I was a white man born in China, and then moved to America, wouldn't I be a Chinese-American?

    Race =/= Nationality

    December 7, 2012 at 9:09 am | Report abuse |
    • Tyrone,Schenectady NY

      funny thing is whites who know their heritage, always say Im Irish,Italian, so on and so forth in which blacks don't know ( Thank youAmerica)

      December 7, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
      • Obvious Sarcasm

        True, maybe I should of said "Asian"". On the other hand, there are plenty of Russians born in Asia, but God knows no one would call them Asian.

        There is a difference between Nationality, Race (Physical Appearance), Race (Culture), and Geographic Origin, with them being correlated but not necessarily equal.

        December 7, 2012 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
    • dged

      Which part of China? You might be a Cantonese-American, a Shanghainese-American, a Taiwanese-American, a Hunanese-American, and so forth. Moreover, if you were born in Tibet, you might claim to be a Tibetan-American or a Chinese-American, since Tibet is a de facto part of China.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
  75. Matt

    One thing I have never understood is the whole "African-American" thing. I don't mean that in a racist way, I just mean it makes absolutely no sense. My family came largely from Poland but I'm not a 'Polish-American' I'm an American. Now if you're an immigrant that was born in an African nation then congratulations you're an "African-American". Sorry that just never made any sense to me and this seemed like the appropriate forum to air my ignorance.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • dged

      Agree. I'm not a Jewish-American or an Israeli-American.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
    • Liv

      @Matt
      Perhaps African-Americans tend to describe themselves as AAs more frequently than other ethnicities use comparable hyphenated terms to describe themselves, but to imply that other ethnicities rarely or never use terms like Irish-American, German-American, Polish-American (to self identify or describe other groups) is false and misleading. In fact, Italian-American is frequently used. It's just a reference to heritage – just because you're an American born and bred doesn't mean you miraculously lose your heritage. Most blacks in the United States are of African origin even if it's more generations removed than other ethnicities. That's why I think it's ironic when racist jerks tell AAs to go back to Africa. If anything, the US would be better off if the racist jerks took their own advice and self-deported to their countries of origin.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:33 am | Report abuse |
      • Jomm

        Great comment Liv.

        December 7, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
      • Liv

        @Jomm.

        Thanks :)

        December 7, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
    • ThyKingdomCome

      @Matt, the term African-American is used to proudly identify ancestry and heritage. You are easily able to trace your roots back to your Polish ancestry,you can identify your family crest and applicable royal lineage, for African-Americans this task is often difficult to reach beyond the borders of America. Many would prefer we "start over" our history and begin with the time we were brought here and forced into slavery. However, we prefer to use the term African-American to show we are not only proud Americans but that we come from a rich and illustrious lineage and culture in Africa, not unlike your Polish heritage.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
      • Matt

        @ThyKingdomCome: But it DOESN"T matter. You are an American and that is all that should matter. In the end of the day all this stupid categorizing of nationality and race does but split the lower and middle classes apart. That's it. I honestly am starting to think racism is nothing but the invention of some aristocrat from eons past who needed a way to fool everyone into not realizing he was stealing all their stuff so he was like "It was the Jews." And now thousands(or hundreds. You know. Whatever.) of years later here we are stuck in the same stupid situation. If the middle/lower class ever took the race blinders off their eyes this country would improve exponentially.

        December 7, 2012 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
      • Matt

        btw. I'm a socialist. Thus why I feel racism is just highly refined class warfare.

        December 7, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
      • Jomm

        True Matt but that is just the way it goes. Even in your comment, you are putting people into boxes based on economics (lower class/middleclass). That is just the way it is.

        December 7, 2012 at 9:52 am | Report abuse |
      • Jomm

        Great comment ThyKindom. To me, being called African American means I am wearing two crowns. One crown represent my heritage that I mostly respresent and America was where I was born.

        December 7, 2012 at 9:54 am | Report abuse |
      • Matt

        Jomm, class is the only set of boxes that have ever existed. All of human history is nothing more than a story of the haves vs. the have-nots.

        December 7, 2012 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
      • FiveLIters

        @Matt-maybe it doesn't matter to YOU,but it matters to the person who is choosing to identify themselves in those terms. Widescale,-should- it matter? I tend to agree with you there;people should just be...people. But the reality is,people on both ends of things are going to judge and make assumptions about people on the opposite ends of those things. I don't look at someone and go "hey,there goes a Lithuanian-American!" or whatever,even if they're walking around waving a Lithuanian flag (which would be kind of weird,outside of a parade). But if they want to share that with the rest of the world,that's their prerogative. It doesn't affect me,or make me think more or less of them;it's just a fact that I am now made aware of.

        December 7, 2012 at 10:34 am | Report abuse |
  76. dged

    Actually, the color designation is incorrect, even preposterous. I've never seen anyone who is black. Maybe shades of brown. And I've never seen a yellow person either, i.e., someone the color of the Rosetta Stone box. As for white people, well they're not the color of a piece of white copy paper; it's more like some variety of pink. We clearly need to get beyond color and surface designations that are imprecise and divisive.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • snowdogg

      "I've never seen anyone who is black"

      Seal comes pretty close.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
      • Jomm

        I am black. Let me get in trouble and the cop want to get stats, I will be put on the black list. ANd people like you will NOT deny it.

        December 7, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • The_Mick

      I had a friend in college who was so black-skinned I asked her why she bothered to sun bathe. She swore it darkened her skin to an even more beautiful black hue.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:56 am | Report abuse |
  77. Jeff

    Much ado about nothing. What a yawner. The only thing black about her is her hair.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
  78. adam

    Who cares who is black in America? Black people are black, they are no better than any other color. Get over yourselves.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
    • Madison Gray

      Well thst's the thing, Adam. We know that we're the same as any other color. You think you're superior to everyone else and have the authority to tell someone to "get over yourselves." You need to get over yourself.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:14 am | Report abuse |
      • WeatherbyMarkV

        See Madison, there's part of the problem.

        When you assume you know what a person thinks, you've created a problem. You have ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA WHAT I THINK. And I have ABSOLUTELY no idea what YOU think. Quit making assumptions about other people and treat them as an individual. You're unfaily discriminating against people based on a false assumption.

        Does this ring true?

        December 7, 2012 at 11:01 am | Report abuse |
  79. Joseph L Cooke

    How long until the whackjob senator from MA claims she is black?

    December 7, 2012 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
  80. scranton

    14% of the population, 86% of the whiners.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
  81. sparky

    Go to America. Find black people. They're the ones who are black in America.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  82. Tim

    My name is O'Brian, but I am black. What a joke!! Why would anyone who looks so NON Black want to be identified as being Black? Sorry honey, but you don't look anything like Black. Neither your straight hair or your thin face or your super fair complexion. Nice try though. What a waste

    December 7, 2012 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Sue

      LOL. I agree completely

      December 7, 2012 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Michelle

      Yeah..I know because being biracial is like so gross..right? You are so racist.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • shirodx

      LOL, Aww Tim, Sue, you just don't get it do you.
      You think that being associated with being Black is somehow a disadvantage or demeaning.

      LOL, again you are not getting it through to your head on how 1st, being a "black person" is more then just the color of you skin, shape of your face or the quality of your hair.
      2nd, Her identifying her self as "Black" is partly due to her genetic history and how she IS perceived by others.

      Everyone needs to feel like they belong, that they are not an outcast. That's just something that many white people just can seem to get or understand cause for them they have always been a part of the majority or the "accepted" group overall.

      But, still you may not just get it or understand. OK, watch the movie "white man's burden" the one with John Trvolta in it or look up the book "Black Like Me" (Paperback) by John Howard Griffin regarding what he as a white person experienced just by coloring himself black.
      Maybe, just maybe then you will begin to see why black people or just people who appear black have to talk openly about this and affirm who they partly are as an individual and why society makes assumption against them just because of how they appear.

      Again, for you and many other this is hard to understand or even care about, why? because if you're white it doesn't affect you, why should you care, right?

      December 7, 2012 at 10:19 am | Report abuse |
  83. Norwegian-French-Swiss-Native-American

    I think this race stuff is a bunch of garbage. It is great to be proud of your heritage and celebrate it, but if you live in the Americas (North, South, or Central) then you are Americans.

    My kids are as white as can be, but their heritage is Norwegian-French-Swiss-Vietnamese-English-American. Maybe we should have boxes that describe all of these heritages included on every Census and every other form that needs to know how we describe ourselves, then we can all be sure to check every box appropriate to describe our heritage.

    I don't get the choice to check the European American box, I only get the choice to check the white box. Maybe we should change every form to accommodate us too.

    We are all Americans and human, why divide us by naming our ancestry?

    December 7, 2012 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Rick

      Because White people are stuck with Black people, that's why

      December 7, 2012 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
    • CC

      What your just rambling. African Americans are not accomodated on census forms either. They are "black" no other option. What are you even talking about? You claim we're all Americans... until its time to share care and build then blacks are just disregarded minorities.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
      • Norwegian-French-Swiss-Native-American

        I'm just making the point that we all have different backgrounds based on ethnicity, where and how we grew up and our experiences in life. I think we need to take away the" Whatever-American" and just call ourselves Americans. I don't judge people on their color, race, etc.. I make judgements on how they are as people, not what color their skin is....

        And about the census, there are plenty of other government forms (work, etc.) that request your race or ethnicity, as well as your gender. My husband is in the military and he has to check the box, "asian-pacific Islander". I had to check the box, "white" and "female" when I worked as State Trooper.

        I just think we should all be proud of our heritage, but we don't need to introduce ways to divide us a nation: whether it be race, political affiliation, gender or handicaps.

        December 7, 2012 at 10:21 am | Report abuse |
  84. Chas

    Precisely, it's like an obsession with black people, I don't know of any of the other ___ Americans that are so obsessed with being called something other than an American. I hear all this cultural roots crap but IMO it's just something of convenience like all of the new "X" words we're not supposed to use anymore.
    Bottom line it's the race you specify on your tax return, ? does O'Brien specify "Other"... probably not.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
  85. Cnn sucks

    Just stop with this black in America CRAP! Its been going on for years, Enough!!

    December 7, 2012 at 9:02 am | Report abuse |
    • Chuck

      Too many no-Americans working at CNN giving us advice

      December 7, 2012 at 10:51 am | Report abuse |
  86. Matt

    Also, black's have been "playing catch up" for 236 years. Not 47.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  87. fred

    It's the choice to use crack or coke that is your problem. Not the white man.

    December 7, 2012 at 9:01 am | Report abuse |
  88. Dave

    I'm black, and I have no idea what you're rambling about.

    December 7, 2012 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Clattus

      That's good, I'ld be worried if you did. Why the focus on crack? Too funny....

      December 7, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
  89. scoobyhseer

    Are you writing from jail?

    December 7, 2012 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
  90. BobLoblaw

    Here's something I don't get. Her dad is white Australian and her mother is Afro-Cuban. Yet she states that she is "black" and "Latina". When she refers to "white people" she says "they" as though she is clearly excluded. How does that happen? Why does she think this is a good thing? When she has a baby with her white husband, will the baby be permitted to participate in all of his or her heritage or will he/she also be limited? I am white and my wife is Afro-Cuban. We have four kids. We have never taught them anything but to be proud of WHO they are and that includes ALL of their heritage. I feel sad for Soledad that she was raised to be a racist. Hopefully she will teach her children differently.

    December 7, 2012 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      Two great things about America. You can raise your kids however you want and you can use the internet as a soapbox.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:03 am | Report abuse |
      • Large and in Charge

        Mwahahahaha! Snorted out my coffee.

        December 7, 2012 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Yes, Thank You

      Bravo. You caught it. She refers to white people as they. She's a racist bigot.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:07 am | Report abuse |
    • harlem23

      People need to understand what the word "racist" means. It's both a suggestion of supremacy of one race over another, along with an active desire to suppress, abuse or demonize the other race. It's not "I call myself x. I identify with y." Please stop trying to create hate and anger where there is none. All she said was she has to be honest that her answer is influenced by how she was raised. A lot of people like her were raised by parents and grandparents that are STILL feeling the hurt or growing up victimized and ostracized by whites. Soledad hasn't perfected her outlook, or her answer, but she's not "racist." she doesn't hate white people, or the white inside of her. She just doesn't identify with it. It's a loss, yes, but she admits an imperfect perspective.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Devine

      She is not excluding herself from the white part of her heritage, when she says that "they" referring to white people I believe it is becuase society no matter what her mix is does not see her as white/cuban or american just a black woman. Your children should be proud of who they are but, unfortunately if they have dark skin they will either be classified as black or latin. I am a person with a vey mixed background Trinadad & Tobago/Spanish and Indian yet I have very dark skin and I am automatically thought of as African American when people judge me by my skin color. It is very disheartening because I know nothing of Africa I was born in America there for why must I be African American? I dislike being called a "black person" my skin is brown not black. Until the world stops seeing anyones skin color all the wars and famine and violence will never end. Love everyone for the very thing you said you are teaching your children for who they are not their skin color.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
    • brewtowner

      Anbody who think's Soledad's a racist because she identifies with her African American heritage is not really black or has other black members in their family. I think you are white and making stuff up.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:18 am | Report abuse |
      • CC

        Exactly. Just making stuff up to continue suppressing other people. She is married to a white man but shes still being called racist. She said whites didnt treat her kindly but nobody picked up on that?

        December 7, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  91. Bryan

    And the American obsession with race continues. This is one messed up country.

    December 7, 2012 at 8:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Jomm

      Well, this is what Slavery caused. Wylly Lynch said he had a plan and it is still working.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
    • namewanted

      I have to agree, Bryan. We can thank our friends at the Census Department for insisting on "categorizing" Americans. You don't other nations referring to themselves as "Black French", or "Black Italian" or "White English", yet there are mixed races throughout Europe. It seems here, in America, that this obsession with race, as opposed to nationality, exists.

      December 9, 2012 at 2:41 pm | Report abuse |
  92. hseer

    I imagine the term African-American will be outdated in the next decade or two.
    Could be using a term thereafter that is so ridiculous you would think political correctness had run amuck.

    December 7, 2012 at 8:57 am | Report abuse |
    • Jomm

      I love the term African American better than I do black because AA defined me more than the word black.

      December 7, 2012 at 10:28 am | Report abuse |
      • Southerner01

        Were you born in Africa? If not, then you are not African American, you are American and just happen to have more skip pigment. Get over it.

        December 8, 2012 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
  93. NativeBornAmerican

    Is Obama black? He looks black but was raised totally in a white culture. Solidad is latina – but who care she's hot!

    December 7, 2012 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      No. President Obama's father was black and his mother was white. That makes President Obama our first mixed race President. Not our first black President.

      December 7, 2012 at 8:59 am | Report abuse |
      • Eric

        No. The first Black President. Just because he won, stop trying to redefine him to make yourself feel better. All the tea party racist behavior and the LEVEL of scrutiny, including showing his birth certificate, the FIRST time a SITTING PRESIDENT ever had to do that, trying to make him show his college transcript, and the ineffective demonization of him by the GOP had NOTHING to do with his White Heritage. First BLACK president is historic and already in the history books.

        December 7, 2012 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
      • Baxter

        President Oboma is black because he identifies himself as such. Should one who does not know him (lol) meet him, they also would identify him as black. And for politics...which uses the census, he's black. If by chance you voted for him not just because of his message, but also because his mother was white then that would be racist.

        December 7, 2012 at 9:31 am | Report abuse |
      • Mr.Davidson

        Of course ,he identifies with blacks when it is an advantage yet the one half gives him the extra edge with whites. He does not need to pander to blacks any more ,they are taken for granted which is basically the same thing without bias.His Vice President can even joke that they will be chained and thrown back on ships. Why did he marry Black ,electability,political reasons or genetic.Yet Blacks prefer more white looking and speaking blacks ,Obama had the opportunity of raising a more than half white family ,not that that would help his offspring more than money or fame would.

        December 7, 2012 at 11:26 am | Report abuse |
      • Southerner01

        Bill Clinton was the first Black President, because he identified himself as such.

        December 8, 2012 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
      • namewanted

        President Obama's father was black and his mother was white, so he's NOT black...he's mixed-race? Newsflash, Matt: What do think black IS???? President Obama, as countless generations before him, considers himself black despite his white heritage. Black Americans are the "melting pot"...are the "mixed-race", as long as their is African lineage, which, by the way, relates to his FATHER.....where have you been????

        December 9, 2012 at 2:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • jay1776

      She not that great looking

      December 7, 2012 at 9:05 am | Report abuse |
  94. Jungg

    CNN: Keeping racism alive.

    December 7, 2012 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Yes, Thank You

      Indeed. That's all they can do to make money anymore. No "journalism" here. Soledad is certainly not a jounalist. She is a racist bigot with a microphone and a world-wide speaker.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  95. Trajk Logik

    The first person to insert race into a conversation where it wasn't being talked about, is the racist. The racists are the ones that see race in everything.

    December 7, 2012 at 8:55 am | Report abuse |
    • Matt

      I'd say that statement is 50% true.

      December 7, 2012 at 8:56 am | Report abuse |
  96. Chess

    CNN no one takes her serious....I mean really.

    December 7, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
  97. Matt

    Stop CNN. Just.... just stop. Please. You're hurting your mother.

    December 7, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  98. Black Dynamite

    I've been half-Black, half-Dynamite my whole life.
    BD

    December 7, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  99. hseer

    In Canada, are black people still called 'black' are they called African-Canadian?

    December 7, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
    • shirodx

      "We", use the term Black for Black people, White for White people and that's all there is to it.
      Frankly it gets too cold up here to be hung up on all that PC talk. That doesn't matter. What only matters is if you cool with me and vice versa.
      Hey, I invite everyone here who hates all this black vs. white vs. what ever to come up and visit Toronto (In the province of Ontario, Canada) and see how amazing a great multicultural society can be.
      Yes we still do have issues and problems based on race but nothing like in the US.

      Oh and as to why Soledad is doing stories such as this? Just read some of the comments here and you'll see just why it's needed to be discussed and not just swept under the rug.

      December 7, 2012 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  100. Myto Senseworth

    Shame on CNN, NBC, and the rest of them.

    December 7, 2012 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7