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Black in America: It's not just about the color of your skin
December 9th, 2012
08:00 AM ET

Black in America: It's not just about the color of your skin

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 Sunday, December 15.

By Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) – What is black? Race. Culture. Consciousness. History. Heritage.

A shade darker than brown? The opposite of white?

Who is black? In America, being black has meant having African ancestry.

But not everyone fits neatly into a prototypical model of "blackness."

Scholar Yaba Blay explores the nuances of racial identity and the influences of skin color in a project called (1)ne Drop, named after a rule in the United States that once mandated that any person with "one drop of Negro blood" was black. Based on assumptions of white purity, it reflects a history of slavery and Jim Crow segregation.

In its colloquial definition, the rule meant that a person with a black relative from five generations ago was also considered black.

Your take on black in America

One drop was codified in the 1920 Census and became pervasive as courts ruled on it as a principle of law. It was not deemed unconstitutional until 1967.

Blay, a dark-skinned daughter of Ghanian immigrants, had always been able to clearly communicate her racial identity. But she was intrigued by those whose identity was not always apparent. Her project focuses on a diverse group of people – many of whom are mixed race - who claim blackness as their identity.

That identity is expanding in America every day. Blay's intent was to spark dialogue and see the idea of being black through a whole new lens.

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

"What's interesting is that for so long, the need to define blackness has originated from people who were not themselves black, and their need to define it stemmed from their need to control it," says Blay.

Blackness, she says, isn't so easily defined by words. What is blackness for one person may not necessarily be that for another.

"And that's fine," Blay says. "Personally, my blackness is reflective of my ancestry, my culture and my inheritance."

"Black," in reference to people and identity, she says, is worthy of capitalization. Otherwise, black is just another color in the box of crayons. (CNN, like other news organizations, does not capitalize black or white.)

For young Americans, what's black is gray

CNN interviewed some of the people who participated in Blay's project to find out how they view themselves. What follows are their insights into race and identity.

Kathleen Cross: Black as a descriptor of color makes her identity hard to accept.

Black and white

California author Kathleen Cross, 50, remembers taking a public bus ride with her father when she was 8. Her father was noticeably uncomfortable that black kids in the back were acting rowdy. He muttered under his breath: "Making us look bad."

She understood her father was ashamed of those black kids, that he fancied himself not one of them.

"My father was escaping blackness," she says. "He didn’t like for me to have dark-skinned friends. He never said it. But I know."

She asked him once if she had ancestors from Africa. He got quiet. Then, he said: "Maybe, Northern Africa."

"He wasn't proud of being black," she says.

Cross' black father and her white mother never married. Fair-skinned, blue-eyed Cross was raised in a diverse community.

Later, she found herself in situations where she felt shunned by black people. Even light-skinned black people thought she was white.

"Those who relate to the term 'black' as a descriptor of color are unlikely to accept me as black," she says. "If they relate to the term 'black' as a descriptor of culture, history and ancestry, they have no difficulty seeing me as black."

At one time in her life, she wished she were darker - she might have even swallowed a pill to give her instant pigment if there were such a thing. She even wrote about being "trapped in the body of a white woman." She didn't want to "represent the oppressor."

She no longer thinks that way.

She doesn't like to check the multiracial box. "It erases everything," she says.

She doesn't like biracial, either. Or mixed. It's not her identity.

"There's only one race," she says, "and that's the human race."

"I am a descendant of a stolen African and Irish and English immigrants. That makes me black - and white - in America.

Biany Perez: Too Latina to be black, too black to be Latina?

Blackness and culture?

Biany Perez, 31, loves Michael Jackson but she doesn't know the Jackson Five. She didn't know that "Good Times" was a television show about a black family struggling to survive in south Chicago. Nor was she able to pick up certain colloquialisms in the English spoken by the black kids in the Bronx, where she grew up the daughter of Dominican parents.

Some people questioned Perez's blackness because she didn't fit into their definition of black.

She spoke only Spanish at home. She watched Telemundo and listened to Puerto Rican boy band Menudo.

She wasn't black enough because she was Latina and not Latina enough because she was black.

"The way I look shakes the image of Latina," says Perez, a program manager at a nonprofit in Philadelphia. "As I started getting older, I felt more comfortable in my skin."

Now, she calls herself Afro-Domincan.

"I think black is a broader definition I also embrace," she says. "Black is more than just saying that I am an African in America. It's political.

"It's about me connecting myself to my ancestors."

For Perez, black is about empowerment.

Kristina Robinson calls herself black over Creole.

Colorism

Creole identity is a complicated thing in Louisiana, says Kristina Robinson, 29, of New Orleans.

It's an ethnicity, a cultural designation for people descended from colonial settlers in Louisiana, mainly of French and Latin lineage.  

The term Creole was claimed by the French and Spanish settlers in colonial times but it also referred to Africans and people who were a mixture of races. Those mixed-race descendants became a unique racial group and sometimes even included Native American heritage.

But in popular representation, Robinson says Creole has come to be defined as skin color.

She doesn't want to deny the rich Creole history but she doesn't identify as such if it means moving away from her blackness.

Black people think that her embrace of Creole means a rejection of being black.

"I never wanted to distance myself from my black ancestors," says the creative writing graduate student at Dillard University.

"They are the ones who claim me."

In her light skin, Robinson understands the insidious ways of colorism, a system in which light skin is valued more than dark skin.

"Colorism is a major problem within the Creole community and the black community," she says. "It's underdiscussed. It's perplexing and vexing how to work out this idea. I can see how the one drop rule is why we have so much colorism in our society.

"One drop is a lie," she says. "Black plus white doesn't equal black or it doesn't equal white. It equals black plus white."

She calls herself black. But other people think she is from India or the Middle East, especially in her academic work environment, where she does not have black colleagues.

"The assumption is I am not black," she says.

Ultimately, she believes environment plays a big role in identity.

Few people, she says, think that of her sister. One reason may be that her sister has more of a button nose. But another reason is that she works in a field with more black people, whereas Robinson finds herself in academic settings where she is the sole black woman.

Robinson acknowledges her lighter skin gives her privilege in a color-conscious society.

"But in those situations where you have to identify yourself and you choose to identify yourself as white - there's a big denial going on there.

"I do think it's troublesome when someone who is of mixed race chooses to deny that part of them that was oppressed," she says.

James Bartlett: White privilege means the freedom not to have to address race.

Race equals identity, or not?

Race is a social construct; identity is personal.

That's how James Bartlett, 31, views it.

"I'm black, I'm biracial," he says of his black father and Irish mother, who met and married in Louisville, Kentucky, just a few years after a 1967 U.S. Supreme Court ruling that made anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional.

He was raised in an all-black neighborhood; his mother was the only white person on the block.

"I interchanged between saying I am biracial and I am black," he says. "The culture I live in is black. I felt black because black people considered me black. That was because of the one drop rule."

But later, when he went to Ghana, the locals thought he was from Lebanon. Kids called him "Oburoni," the word for a white man.

Bartlett felt as though he were being told he was not who he really was even before he could interact with them, as though they were taking away his black identity.

"It put me on the complete opposite side of the coin," Bartlett says. "The first reaction was to put me in a box."

In America, people thought of him as a lot of things but not usually straight-up white.

"It's difficult for me to separate race and identity," says Bartlett, the newly named executive director of the Museum of Contemporary Diasporan African Arts in Brooklyn.

He is black, he says, because he didn't grow up with white privilege. What is that? The freedom, he replies, to not have to address race.

"I definitely didn't grow up with that," he says.

Being white in America is also knowing that people who look like you are always representing your interests in institutions of power.

"That is the essence of white privilege," he says. "Regardless of changing (demographic) percentages and numbers, racial representation is going to remain out of balance for quite some time."

In some ways, Bartlett says, he has been more attuned to race as a light-skinned black man than he would have been had he been darker.

Bartlett feels white people in America are threatened by the tide of color across the nation and that it will give rise to an us against them" mentality.

"I think blackness will change, too," he says. "The biggest change in the near future will be the end of blackness as a diametric opposite to whiteness."

Charles Cloud: He could have passed for a lot of things. He chose black.

Here and abroad

Charles Benjamin Cloud, 63, remembers a time when he was angry at all white people. That was in the time of the white water fountain and the black water fountain.

"They had their side of town; we had ours," he says of his childhood in New Bern, North Carolina.

As the son of a Cherokee man and a part-Cherokee, part-black woman, Cloud could have passed for something other than black.

"If I had decided to tell everyone I was Puerto Rican or Mexican, people probably wouldn't have known a difference," he says.

But he didn't.

"I never wanted to identify as white," he says.

"Blackness is a state of mind more so than a physical experience. But back then, physical appearance was much more of a black identity than it is now."

Cloud joined the Air Force and traveled the world. His light, ruddy complexion threw people off. The Turks thought he was Turkish; the Iranians thought he was from Iran. He even passed for Greek.

But back home, he chose not just to be American. He was black.

Sembene McFarland gets strange questions because of her skin condition.

Losing color

What happens when you lose your color as is Sembene McFarland, a 35-year-old emergency room nurse in Newark, New Jersey?

She has a condition known as vitiligo and is losing the pigmentation of her skin. The disorder affects people of all races but is most prominent in those with darker complexions.

McFarland describes herself as "garden-variety black" but once her vitiligo became noticeable, she found herself the target of outlandish comments.

When McFarland was working at a cash register job at a Barnes and Noble, a customer told her, "If you got rid of the rest of the color, you would be a really pretty Asian girl."

"Thank you very much," McFarland told the woman. "Have a nice day."

Now, she can't relay the story without laughing out loud.

Others have wondered: Were you white first or black first?

"That blew my mind," she says.

Her skin condition shows how people think of being black so literally, she says.

"When I think black, I don't think a particular shade," she says.

McFarland was 16 when she first learned she had vitiligo. It was tough. At that young age, no one wants to stand out.

Later she laughed. In high school in Mississippi, her classmates always joked she wanted to be white. She spoke like a white person. Some people said she sat like a white person - all proper.

Now here she was, turning white.

In the end, McFarland says, it's not about black or white. It's all the shades of gray that make people uncomfortable.

Brandon Stanford: My complexion is not black but I am black.

Unique but certain

Brandon Stanford's parents met in school in New Jersey. His mom's Irish family rejected her for dating a black man.

They've been married 37 years.

In that time, a lot has changed about being a child of an interracial marriage. For one, the man who occupies the White House is the son of a Kenyan man and a white American woman. Many Americans think being mixed is "cool."

Stanford, 29, has his own take.

"I wouldn't say that being mixed race is either cool or not cool," he says.

"I'd say it's a reality that one can choose to embrace by seeing the beauty of a world where the possibilities of transcending the limitations of race and racism exists if one is able to recognize the oneness of humanity. Is this not what our democracy is supposed to represent?"

Stanford, a graduate student in African-American studies at Philadelphia's Temple University, has had his identity questioned by both whites and blacks. That makes being mixed race difficult for some.

Some times white people speak about black people in front of Stanford, assuming he is white. He lets them go on for a while and then says: "By the way, I am one of them."

"I have a unique position in the world based upon what my complexion is," Stanford says. "I always have an opportunity to unsettle people's minds."

But Stanford has never wavered on his identity.

"My complexion is not black, yet I am black," he says.

Stanford doesn't deny his Irish ancestry. The Irish, he points out, were thought of as inferior by the English. They, too, faced discrimination in the United States. Black people were often called the "dark Irish," he says.

But the Irish in America distanced themselves from the anti-slavery movement in the interest of joining the white mainstream, Stanford says. That's where his connection to the Irish stops.

"I identify myself as African-American because of the history of the culture," he says.

Kaneesha Parsard: Blackness stems from a moment in history.

The past in the present

Black unequivocally.

That's how Kaneesha Parsard, 23, grew up. She was the daughter of parents who immigrated to the United States from Jamaica in the 1980s.

She didn't understand what her father's ancestry - her grandfather was Indian - had to do with her.

"I took the one drop rule pretty seriously," says Parsard, a graduate student in African-American studies at Yale University.

Parsard's father was born in British-ruled Jamaica. He was raised with Indian people but identified as black because, she says, of how exclusionary Indian communities can be in Jamaica.

She began to think about her own identity when roti and chicken curry appeared at the Thanksgiving table.

"What I have come to realize is that ... people's history is intertwined, that being mixed race is not at odds with being black," she says.

"When we think about blackness, it's usually along a black-white context," she says. "But there are many histories, interesting histories of resistance."

For Parsard, blackness stems from a moment in time in 1492, with the discovery of a new land and a history of brutality that followed.

Appearance is a primary factor for many Americans in determining race and identity. For Parsard and others in Yaba Blay's project, it's not.

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Filed under: Black in America • Documentaries • History • How we look
soundoff (1,787 Responses)
  1. NC_Right

    Enough already!!!! Who really cares anymore?

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

      The people who don't care are the people not commenting.

      December 10, 2012 at 7:59 am | Report abuse |
      • Dave

        I care .This is hard hitting news. I woke up this morning thinking "Whats it like to be black" and lucky enough, theres a daily article here to tell me. HORRAY.

        December 10, 2012 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
  2. 2011judgment

    The American Government and Entertainment Industry has been pushing the "melting pot" culture for America, but it is doomed to fail for it is against the will of God who separated the people and races at the tower of Babel and has never rescinded that. The Black Race is dominated by wickedness and it will never be assimulated into another race.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
    • You seriously said that?

      Good God (pun intended). I thought people like you died out at least a generation or two ago.

      You sound just like Virginia Judge Leon Bazile, writing the opinion convicting the Lovings of violating Virginia's antimiscegenation law: "Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix."

      That was 50 years ago. The more things change, the more they stay the same, it seems. I'll bet you consider yourself a "Christian," don't you?

      December 10, 2012 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Brandi B.

      In context, God did that for a specific reason for that particular time-so that mankind could not continue to build the tower. That doesn't mean we are supposed to be separate forever. If the bible is taken literally, women should always cover their head and never cut their hair, and men should be able to take multiple wives to procreate and fill the earth. Oh...it's already pretty full so that no longer applies.

      December 10, 2012 at 8:38 am | Report abuse |
      • 2011judgment

        You're ignorant of the word of God. God's 10 commandments in the beginning apply today also. he also, and later verified by Christ intended for man to have only one wife. God never changed his mind on the separation of the people. He even makes this clear in his dealings with the Hebrews, telling them not to intermarry with the other "races" of people around them. You're just like the rest of the decieved in the world.

        December 10, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
      • Mark Jones

        jus say 'no' to organized religion. These people make my point.

        December 10, 2012 at 9:10 am | Report abuse |
  3. George

    Very interesting and eye opening. Though the perception of most people are different because of their environment, it is most important to understand we are God's children. I pray that we all focus on our similarities not our difference. As an immigrant from Africa married to an American whom most people mistake to Indian for 24 years, it is essential that we stop defining ourselves by what people think but by the way God perceive us.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
  4. Brandon

    Interesting comment by the man embarrassed by black kids on the bus...In Chicago, this is unfortunately an every day reality. 90/100 times that I ride the bus or the train and someone is blasting their music for everyone to hear, it is a black person. Almost always a young black person. My question is, if other blacks are embarrassed by this, why do they say nothing?

    It is my opinion that black people as a whole will move forward once they collectively learn to "take out their own trash." White people accept the fact that members of their race are absolute garbage. That's just the way it is. People of my race can be horrible people, just like people of any other race. I feel no shame in calling them out to other whites, blacks, asians, or mexicans (such as my wife). She has no trouble being honest and truthful about some of the disgraceful people in her race.

    The fact that blacks defend the worst of their own, just because of their race, is infuriating to me and will continue to hold black people back. Martin Luther King dreamt of a day that we would judge men not by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character. I'm ready to disassociate bad apples from good ones in ALL races. But black people, you must be willing to do the same with your own. Honesty will go a long way in relations with other races.

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

      Well, and bravely spoken truth. May many others hear and heed, however your words, like those of Bill Cosby or Walter Williams will fall mainly on deaf ears, I fear.

      December 10, 2012 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Too Much Truth

      Try this story some time CNN when you want to address the race problems in the USA: "Why is it that NO media outlet has the guts to say that 85% of black households have no father present?"
      (Crickets chirping). Starts with the family, folks. Until that issue ir raised, you can go round and round (Ratt).

      December 10, 2012 at 8:14 am | Report abuse |
  5. Chad

    Most of you have no clue what you're talking about. I woke up this am and decided I wanted to be a doctor. I prayed yo my white God and he granted it. I fell asleep with a old rusted car, the white club traded it out for a Porsche. Can you imagine not having all of this? Other white people will tell you the same, it's awesome to be white. Hey black people, would you like to learn about white history? We white people love your never ending story, I'm sure you'd be equally receptive to ours.

    Anyhow, I want to thank all of the white people for making life perfect as a white guy. Sure, everything is my fault but I'm ok with that. It's not that you didn't study hard in school, it's that I held you back. It's not that you didn't have good work ethic, it's that I'm out to get you. I'd also like to thank my employer for handing me a job I'm not qualified for with a degree I didn't earn.

    Lastly, I hope my white God will help me to remember that we're all equal... until it comes to employment and education, then I'm white and I get everything handed to me. Please help me to remember to be ever watchful of the black guy I'm suppose to be holding down. If he gets ahead, oh help us all. Please help me to understand we're all the same, until the black man needs something. If he doesn't get it remind me it's my fault.

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

      Here's is what it means to be black in America – whatever shade. When I was in law school, our civil procedure professor offered extra after school tutorials. When I asked about these tutorials, he said... Oh nooooooooo these aren't for you. I honestly didn't get what he meant. Then it became apparent. These were BLACK ONLY tutorials to fill in the gaps for all of the black students who were not qualified for admission.. to help them get through. So, forgive me if when I see black a attorney I wonder if they were qualified to attend law school.

      December 10, 2012 at 8:09 am | Report abuse |
      • Joe Roe

        Helen.

        I bet any black attorney could beat you in court.

        And I bet you don't wonder that about Johnny Cochran.

        The fact that you wanted to go to the tutorials just simply meant that you, like black people, need assistance-not because of your race but because of you need for a deeper understanding.

        December 10, 2012 at 8:24 am | Report abuse |
      • eva

        this is 100% true

        December 10, 2012 at 8:35 am | Report abuse |
      • eva

        umm helen true. joe not at all

        December 10, 2012 at 8:36 am | Report abuse |
      • Stan

        Hey joe, why could any black person beat her in court? Seems a bit racist if you ask me.

        December 10, 2012 at 8:52 am | Report abuse |
      • oscardgrouch

        I hope you feel the same way about manay white professionals who got their degrees because mom and dad were benefactors to the school but their kid was average. Of the white employee who got the job over others because his dad and one of the Execs dad played golf together. Not like the guy/gal was really qualified.

        December 10, 2012 at 10:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Bill lee

      Don't want no black doctors either...they may have just been affirmatively acted through medical school.

      December 10, 2012 at 9:45 am | Report abuse |
  6. SugarKube

    When is CNN going to stop fanning the flames of racism?

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

    It would be nice to stop seeing so many black on TV and in commercials, when the Hispanic population is larger than the black population and also there are Asians in this country too.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Chad

      Thats impossible Brenda. According to TV Hispanics only exist on George Lopez. It's 45% black, 5% Hispanic and 50% white. Whats this "Asian" you speak of?

      December 10, 2012 at 7:59 am | Report abuse |
      • Sandra

        There are too many blacks on Tv and commercials. Commericials do not have Hispanic, Asians, who are Chinese or East Indians.

        December 10, 2012 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
  8. Phineas

    I'm guessing CNN will be doing a 'What does it Mean to be White' next? It's only fair.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Chad

      It's racist to expect black people to take an interest in your history. It's racist to not take an interest in theirs. It's racist for me to even be typing this. Notice it's white letters on black keys? AH HA, even my key board is racist.

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

        But when you post those white letters come through BLACK ON WHITE. UGH there I go being racist again.

        December 10, 2012 at 10:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Meriska

      nope. CNN only does things that are racially charged.

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

        Are you white or black? I'm trying to figure out if you're the oppressor or the oppressed. Please don't be "mixed" whatever that is.

        December 10, 2012 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
  9. Pennsylvania Resident

    Whoa, it sure is different being black. After reading this, I have new profound insight into the lives of black people. I never knew. I'm white, and when I go to car dealerships they just toss me the keys and instruct me to never make a payment, all because I'm white. When I go to restaurants the entire staff feeds me grapes and plays the harp all because I'm white. I've never even made a mortgage payment. I mail it in but it returns to sender with a note saying ' you're white, no payment required.' I really never knew how tough it is to be black. Thank God for this story. A real eye opener.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
    • IKnewIt

      i knew there would be loads of ignorant comments on this post ...LOL!!! Never surprises me...

      December 10, 2012 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
      • Dave

        Iknewit obviously isn't white. We get everything handed to us. It's the black mans problem to work, not the white mans problem.

        Don't tell anyone but my great great great grandpa is black, and I'm super proud of it. I'm white by the way, just pointing out my pride in my great great great great grandpa is black. Not so much my white pride. That'd be racist!

        December 10, 2012 at 8:02 am | Report abuse |
    • BF

      Don't forget how we never get speeding tickets! Black people thing being white gets you out of them; that's a flat out joke.

      December 10, 2012 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Joe Roe

      Finally-A White person who gets it!

      December 10, 2012 at 8:27 am | Report abuse |
  10. aawriter

    Who cares?

    December 10, 2012 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
  11. JIF

    Stop being racist.
    Everybody, stop all racism. That includes professional racists: leaders of the National Alliance, black preachers who can't stop preaching that slavery in America is sinful, Tea Party candidates who want to take America back, journalists who prosper by reporting their feelings about being black, Chinese convenience-store owners who greet me when I enter to shop alone but scowl when I walk in accompanied by a black person, and graduates of universities that were afraid not to give them a doctorate although they really failed their oral examinations.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Tim Allen

      Seriously, this article is racist and I'm tired of so called journalism such as this. Im tired of everything being called racism. If we are to be a color blind society then asking people what its like to be black is in itself demeaning racist. If I were black I would be offended at this. There is portion of the country that wants to keep fanning the flames of racism. That is how they keep their power and their holier than thou beliefs. To the people that thought that this article was a good idea, i say to you you have regressed and you should be ashamed.

      December 10, 2012 at 8:01 am | Report abuse |
  12. Sandra

    Anyone with any black in them is black.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Stan

      YES! my great great great great great great great grandpa knew a black guy, I'm black now too! YES. On one hand I now qualify for speeding tickets. On the other hand I can get into any college and get it paid for. YES!

      December 10, 2012 at 8:08 am | Report abuse |
      • Dman968

        Non whites imagine that blacks have all these perks in life like free college, easy enrollment standards, gauranteed job positions with water downed qualifications. Where does this alternate universe exist? I have been trying to find it all my life. Afirmative action is rife with loop holes so big you drive a bus through them. Most minority set asides go the white man thru his minority white wife. As a black man I have experienced last hired and first fired. I have seen whites with no college degrees go up the corporate ladder and supervise blacks with way more education, experience and better ideas. I have witnessed whites with poor credit get a better mortgage rates than blacks with a better credit score and savings. I have witnessed white priviledge first hand, but have yet to experience the perks that come with being black. I guess this world were blacks have advantages only exist in the delusional minds of Klansmen and conservatives.

        December 10, 2012 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  13. Whatever

    Articles like these are used to gage public opinion on different subjects. When you respond with indifference or anger, you are just helping CNN do that. Nothing more, nothing less....please continue.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:52 am | Report abuse |
  14. josh

    This is stupid!!! What the hell? I don't understand CNN sometimes, what....?????

    December 10, 2012 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
  15. neversurprised

    Naota....who do you want to apologize? Those that committed the atrocities are dead. The special report is dealing with current situations in black america, not the past. There were atrociites commited by whites and those of indian descent as well.....

    December 10, 2012 at 7:51 am | Report abuse |
  16. catie

    I'm Irish and a redhead, lets talk history and discrimination and shall we not forget stereotypes

    December 10, 2012 at 7:50 am | Report abuse |
  17. colohick

    What does that mean "acting white"? If that means acting like a responsible member of society and being kind and respectful towards your fellow human beings, I don't care if you call it "acting purple", just do more of it.....

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

      Right. But its ok to sing songs about beating and abusing women, robbing and beating people to death. "RAP"

      NICE CULTURE!

      December 10, 2012 at 7:52 am | Report abuse |
  18. Concerned

    We're all one race. It's called the human race.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:48 am | Report abuse |
  19. American

    America is still the best country to live in. If you don't want to believe me travel around the world and you will see how good all of us have it go over here.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Chris3

      I agree whole heartedly. Forget being black in Americaa...how about being black in India. There is a group of African-Indians living deep in the jungle of India known as Siddis. They are believed to be descendants of slaves from E. Africa brought by the British. They live in abject poverty because of the color of their skin and are ranked as the low of the low in the Hindu caste system. Can someone in CNN highlight their plight?

      December 10, 2012 at 7:58 am | Report abuse |
  20. colohick

    please crawl back under your rock.....

    December 10, 2012 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
  21. Mark

    Why did they interview 8 of the whitest black people I've ever seen?

    December 10, 2012 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Jay

      America is a great country in many ways, but honestly we have problems with racism. Not every country has this problem, and when a group of people can get together, joke and laugh, date, love each other and have children together independent of what color or heritage they carry in their genes it's easier to see that we are all red on the inside. Visit Brazil and you'll see what I mean, there no one cares what color you are, the only things that matters is if you are a good person or not.

      December 10, 2012 at 8:25 am | Report abuse |
  22. catie

    2011judgment, you are such a poser. No one believes you think this. Stop stirring up crap

    December 10, 2012 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
    • 2011judgment

      I am only speaking the truth from my many years of observation. Yes, I do believe what I say.

      December 10, 2012 at 7:48 am | Report abuse |
  23. Marc

    Alot of people commenting here need to open your minds instead of complaining.Try and learn something for once in your life about another culture.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
  24. ryoung9

    Looking over the comments here helps you get an idea as to where we are in this country when it comes to conversations about race. Those who have lived with less bigotry in their lives, or found their own way to move past it, don't see this as a big deal, which is great. That is the way it should be. Some of them express this by saying we shouldn't even be talking about this, or have to be talking about this, which is true. However, some of the people saying that are saying it because they're still not comfortable having this conversation, which is exactly why we still need to have it.

    We all have to recognize and accept that there are still people, a lot of them in some places, fewer in others, who have difficulty reconciling their own thoughts and feelings about certain races or ethnicities. Probably moreso those of us who are older than those who are younger. Regardless, it's important to remember that to deny that the conversation is necessary or to advocate for not even having it is to deny some portions of our society the opportunity to progress with their own reconciliation. So be patient, folks. We are making progress but obviously still have a ways to go. This kind of change does not occur overnight.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
  25. Dan Knight

    Racism ... if you ran a article about Caucasians wear t-shirts that said TEAM WHITE .... there would be national outrage..

    December 10, 2012 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      Exactly! The only race that is now discriminated against is "WHITE PEOPLE!"

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

        Dont forget Indian people.

        December 10, 2012 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
      • Joe Roe

        Frank, Give me some examples.

        December 10, 2012 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
    • DalcassianKnight

      Yes, thank you. Believe me when I say I am not a racist. racism, in all its forms is evil. I strive for equality, but equality fir ALL races. That means that black people shouldn't get more than white people to achieve that equality. They should get the same.

      I have a station on my television (maybe you have it too) called BET or Black Entertainment Television. Why is that OK but if somebody were to launch a TV station called WET or White Entertainment Television, that would be racist.

      They are handing out college scholarships that are designed strictly for black people, somehow, that's OK. But is somebody were to fund a college scholarship hat was just for white people, that would be considered racist.

      When a million black men march in Washington, DC, for some reason, that's OK but if a million white men were to march anywhere, that would be considered racist.

      Where's the equality?

      December 10, 2012 at 8:43 am | Report abuse |
  26. Otasawian

    This preoccupation with race in the media is becoming ridiculous. Americans are Americans, that is the beauty of living in a free society. The sooner we stop being obsessed with how people look and become more concerned with our similarities and common goals the better. By constantly dwelling on "race" issues we are perpetuating the very thing we are trying to stop – racism. Time get off the race bating articles that perpetuate the media and get back to reporting more important things – like the news.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
  27. R. Ibe

    Why is it every year..CNN uses these stories to stir up controversy. They use Soledad Obrien to do these stories to bait people to discuss the story. CNN knows all well that Soledad has no affinity with the black community. Please CNN, quit running these nonsense stories. America has more important issues like poverty and health. This is the reason I quit reading and watching CNN for a long time.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
  28. Whyte Van

    Everyone is black. Who cares? CNN and it's obvious agenda makes me sick.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
  29. Marc

    Fairy tales from you for sure!You must know know history very well.I am Choctow as well.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
  30. Why

    Soledad needs to get a hobby. This stuff is just getting annoying. How about we stop discriminating based on ANY race so we stop discriminating EVERY race?

    December 10, 2012 at 7:43 am | Report abuse |
    • R. Ibe

      Why is this matter so important to Soledad. Is she the one that is appropriate to cover this topic considering her background or is it that she no longer fit in to any new format at CNN. America is sick of these 69ish topic. EDUCATION....POVERTY....DRUGS.....

      December 10, 2012 at 7:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Helen

      Sadly, this is Soledad's hobby. These are the ONLY stories she does when she is not cheerleading for Obama. Have you ever seen her absolute disdain for those who would dare to criticize or question Obama?

      December 10, 2012 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
  31. catie

    Naota, thank you for mentioning that. There was a time when the Irish were persecuted, which is why they all migrated north. Blacks were allowed to apply for jobs before the Irish. In Louisiana, the Irish were paid $1 a day to build the canals, because slave owners, who usually treated their slaves okay, didnt want their slaves hurt or killed by the dangerous work. While slavery was abhorable, many were treated well, how can you trust someone with your babies and treat them poorly. Many many were 'willed' land and property by their masters. Now again I dont condone slavery at all, but history is manipulated to make a point. Even well treated slaves ran away because it was about freedom, which every man deserves.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:42 am | Report abuse |
  32. fiftyfive55

    Although a "nicely"written article,it is the same as always.Written about the same people ,by the same people,all with the same story. Also the same in this article is the "chip on the shoulder" that always pops up.There is a very small percentage of blacks here today that are actual descendants of slaves compared to the amount that have emigrated here voluntarily over the centuries but that is a point that seems to always be left out.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:42 am | Report abuse |
    • fiftyfive55

      Also,it would be very different,and overdue,to run a story on white in America.With all the minorities pushing their views on the white population,it would be a fresh point of view to actually listen to what whites have to say without being interrupted and immediately accused of racism.

      December 10, 2012 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
      • Frustrated

        it's hard to take such a viewpoint without a grain of sugar. every television channel offers a white viewpoint. every sitcom, every radio show, every movie. without media *specifically* advertising a minority point of view, virtually all media in this country would provide exactly the viewpoint you claim to long for. if you wanted it so badly, you'd easily find it in the largest media outlet in the world. lucky you...

        December 10, 2012 at 7:57 am | Report abuse |
      • fiftyfive55

        @frustrated-right off the bat you don't like the idea of a white aricle about the same subject . Your clever at changing the subject into something else and claiming racism only allows blacks to express views in articles of this nature,what are you afraid of hearing ? that most whites aren't concerned about blacks ? does this bother you ?

        December 10, 2012 at 8:13 am | Report abuse |
      • Frustrated

        it doesn't bother me. what bothers me is the false premise you built your argument from: that white Americans don't have a voice. white Americans have more than the lion's share of voice in this country. you could be on any number of mainstream websites (including this one, just not this article) reading the viewpoint you continue to claim to wish you could find... yet here you are on this article, angry that another racial group's voice is expressed on this one little sliver of website. my reply to you certainly was not a subject change. i directly addressed you and your content.

        December 10, 2012 at 8:46 am | Report abuse |
      • fiftyfive55

        @frustrated-you keep making my point,thank you.Your arguement is only people of color should have articles like this,you "think"you know what white folks think without ever listening,such a shame.

        December 10, 2012 at 9:36 am | Report abuse |
  33. Bill D.

    I have never seen a website to dedicated to race bating. Get over it!

    December 10, 2012 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Visionary Man

      Race baiting? You sound like a Klassic Klansman. I am surprise and disappointed to see so many hateful statements by white people. The article was written to show a point a view, which you don't care to see. Please show me any law written and approved by our government used to oppress white people. Name me one! Throw your affirmative action defense in the trash because it has been written to give "Qualified" applicants a chance. Before this law it didn't matter how qualified a black person was they were not getting the job or acceptance to a school. I await your reply

      December 10, 2012 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
  34. sandystorm

    For pete's sake MOVE ON!!! So, so tired of hearing about race issues. It's not an issue to anyone by the racists at CNN. We are all of mixed heritage and frankly no one cares. Find something news-worthy to print and stop using race as a way to keep your network afloat. And Soledad??? Accept yourself. Love yourself. Use your talent and skills to make the world a better place.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:40 am | Report abuse |
  35. Wendy Wacko

    It's difficult to take sories like this serious. What's the intent ? Is it to inform the American public on exactly what it means to be black ? Are black people really that different ? Do they put their shoes on differently ? Have special powers ? I imagine being black is exactly like being white or asian. I imagine being black requires you to work and pay bills. I bet they use toothpaste to brush their teeth and wear short sleeved shirts in the summer. My point is that this crusade to inform the world about black people 24/7 is absurd. There's so many other races who almost never receive mention. Asian people could be the most underrated group of any. They kick everyone's behind academically, yet receive almost no attention. When's the last time you seen an asian person in a commercial ? Not often is my guess. Black people make up 13.5% of the population, yet somehow account for 45% of people on TV. No more guilt felt from my end. This country is doing back flips to propel black people. Far more than with any other group. Hands down. No group receives this much attention. Nor should they. I hope we can take a break from this all black love affair and acknowledge other races is all I'm saying.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
  36. catie

    I watch this show, rarely do I see any conservative blacks on here. Why? There are many conservative blacks Soledad, so how about some equal time

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

      I wholeheartedly agree. I think Soledad needs to get a life. This topic is old and the story has been around for too long at CNN.

      December 10, 2012 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
  37. colohick

    It's not about what's on the surface that matters, its about what's in our hearts and in our humanism. While I hate to give them this much credit, if the media focused more on the positive things that happen each and every day in our society instead of not allowing old wounds to heal, I think you would see a change for the better in our public psyche.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:37 am | Report abuse |
  38. Scott

    Who cares...CNN needs more positive news!

    December 10, 2012 at 7:36 am | Report abuse |
  39. K

    Come on CNN. This is the type of article I would have expected to see in the late 1960's. I'm sick of the labels. I think they should be eliminated from everything except medical records. Race doesn't play a factor unless someone brings it up. President Obama is not the first African-American president to me. He is the President of the United States. How can we be expected to raise our children not to see race as a factor when the media keeps bringing it into play? I don't want my son to come home from school and tell me he made a new black friend. I want him to tell me he made a new friend. If you can't come up with legitimate news, a blank space would be better.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
  40. Dumb

    Isn't White the same way? or Asian? What's special about Black???????????????????

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

      Whites and Asians aren't pets for liberals.

      That's the difference.

      Liberals think of blacks and hispanics as pets who need "special help", and a large percentage of blacks and hispanics, apparently, are happy to be pets.

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

        Right on again, Naota. Liberals think minorities are to dumb to take care of themselves, its insulting.

        December 10, 2012 at 7:44 am | Report abuse |
      • Tracy

        considering what conservatives have done to them for so long, maybe they did need a boost...

        December 10, 2012 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
      • catie

        Tracy, this is for you. Why dont you do a little research. While the GOP could have a bigger tent and be sincere about it, the conservatives are the ones who fought to abolish slavery and to make sure blacks, not only could vote, but that they were voted for. So do some homework, dont just listen to the Liberal lies

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

        Real dumb statement. You're obviously clueless as I'm liberal and black. You have no freaking clue about what others think.

        December 10, 2012 at 8:29 am | Report abuse |
  41. jonnyg

    Notice CNN still has this race baiting story still right on the the front page...as if this was the most important thing in the world

    December 10, 2012 at 7:27 am | Report abuse |
  42. Larry

    The same could be said for white. We're all considered Caucasian, yet there's all kinds of ethnic variants.

    But, frankly, who cares? Since we're white, we're the oppressors and aren't worth considering.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:26 am | Report abuse |
    • Harlon Katz

      Wow – I wish my grandparents KNEW they were oppressors when they came here from Italy in the early 1900's – instead of being called various vile names and being discriminated against, they could have had it easy.

      December 10, 2012 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
      • Heaveninc

        I was amazed to hear that Italians were lynched in the south, and discriminated against. I had no idea. If we look into history , you will see that all groups of people have suffered some form of discrimination.. short people, gay people, dark people, light people, smart people, rich people, poor people, Native American People, White people,Jewish people, Christian People, Asian People, Women people, etc... Perhaps it is time to end all discrimination.

        December 10, 2012 at 10:10 am | Report abuse |
  43. Dj_iET

    After actually seeing the show yesterday night.. It was actually very interesting to watch

    December 10, 2012 at 7:24 am | Report abuse |
  44. jimmy

    I am trying to do some research of various race related organizations, and am having a hard time with some items, can someone direct me to where one would find white-only scholarships, white-only beauty contents, white-only youth groups, and white-only awards shows. Please no responses where the recipients happen to be predominantly white, I am looking for genuine white-only type rules.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:19 am | Report abuse |
    • 2011judgment

      When one examines how they act in Africa, you will see the exact same characteristics of the majority of Blacks in America. Extreme Wickedness.

      December 10, 2012 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Visionary Man

      Are you serious? Look at the history of our nation. Everything position of importance has been for whites only? Every CEO position, every elected official, every commanding officer in the military. Our own government drafted laws to keep black people from voting, owning property, getting an education. These black focused organizations and groups were created because of the maltreatment of black people in this country. Tell me about all the laws drafted to keep white people down. Sure we have come a long ways over the pasted 50 years(with the help of white and black people) but so much more is still needed.

      December 10, 2012 at 7:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Peggy

      Dear All, 'You had me laughing my head off! I am from South Africa where Apartheid is still palpable even though Mandela and many people are trying hard, I am black by way! The difficult thing is explaining to my Swiss kids that they are black and of African descend when their father is standing there white and the majority of the people around them are white and keep on asking them where they come from?
      Like is funny! guys just relax, be glad you are human, alive, have friends family etc. etc.! life is great and we are lucky for many things today and there are still many people with nothing who are black or white or simply born in war torn place!
      Enjoy!

      December 10, 2012 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
    • 3rdEyeOpened

      You are either NOT looking hard enough or you aren't looking at all. There are tons of scholarships directed towards whites. Try using better resources.

      December 10, 2012 at 8:00 am | Report abuse |
  45. baronsengir7

    Racism still exists because of articles like this.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:18 am | Report abuse |
    • Art

      If racism didn't exist, there wouldn't be articles like this.

      December 10, 2012 at 7:23 am | Report abuse |
    • Golden

      No, racism still exists and articles like this are necessary dialog

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

        No they aren't....when's the last time you saw something racist go down in public? The news doesn't count. Right...none.

        December 10, 2012 at 10:30 am | Report abuse |
  46. snowdogg

    I never bothered about anybody's "race" – welcomed all peoples into my home if their intentions were friendly. Seems that "race" is an issue kept alive by those who will profit from it... financially or emotionally.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Turbo57

      It is good to see there are more like minded people. I too never determine friendship thru race. I believe the quote was "the content of a man's character not the color of his skin". The more important point is, that race is a distraction from the real problems we as human beings face today. Yes, the skin may have different hues but, the blood is still red!

      December 10, 2012 at 7:31 am | Report abuse |
  47. Da Moose

    God Gawd, enough already.....we don't want the Race Bait.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:15 am | Report abuse |
  48. j791

    This article makes me scratch my head. Should there be an article on what it's like to be white in America? How about Hispanic? Asian? etc... How about an article about February being Black history month? So where is Asian history month? As long as people catagorize race there will aways be division similar to affirmative action. There is no need for affirmative action as I know many successful black doctors and lawyers who earned their way into school through hard work and dedication. I wonder what they would say if I asked them what they thought being black in America meant. They would most likely roll their eyes and ask me what being white in American meant. In which, I would roll my eyes.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:13 am | Report abuse |
    • 2011judgment

      The Black race is much different than all the other races of the world. They have an extreme wickedness that is in their DNA and is handed down from generation to generation. Though a very small amount of them will be decent human beings, the overwhelmingly majority of them are unfit to be in the same society as Decent People. If America is to turn around it's decline in the world, it should deport all Liberal and Criminal Blacks to Africa. Africa matches their culture perfectly.

      December 10, 2012 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
  49. Larry

    Being black in America means when I deliver a pizza to them I don't get a tip. Just saying that is what all of us drivers have noticed.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:12 am | Report abuse |
    • realitycheque77

      get a better job. Doesn't sound like your future is too bright by your comment nor your career decision

      December 10, 2012 at 7:21 am | Report abuse |
      • 2011judgment

        He was just pointing out a truth about the majority of Blacks, the most predominately wicked race of people upon the earth. Most Blacks act like wild beasts, like they are not human. Many go about like wolves looking for easy prey among the Whites. It is good that more Whites have armed themselves over the past few years preparing for the day when there will be a serious confrontation between Whites and Blacks in America.

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

      You never delivered a pizza to me.

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

      Perhaps you should get a better job, Larry. Then you won't have to worry about that extra 7 bucks a night.

      December 10, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  50. MulattoMaria

    Trust me thats not true! I know many Black Africans and West Indians/Latin Americans that are Black and despises African Americans. At the University level one can see mostly Black Africans especially Ghanians, Nigerians, Ethiopians, Cameroons, and West Indians mostly Jamaicans at top colleges. If you see an "African American" their parents were foreigners, Military members or the Mulatto calling themselves Black(tragic Mulatto). PS- Swag?? Really??!!! Moron!

    December 10, 2012 at 7:12 am | Report abuse |
  51. Naota

    Why are the "journalists" and management at CNN so racist?

    They are so obsessed with the color of people's skin, that it's practically all they talk about.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:12 am | Report abuse |
  52. alyarby

    We are all people. It doesn't matter what color we are. It is a crying shame that media outlets like this one continue to "fan the flames" with articles like this, that work to divide. And everyone that I know is incredibly tired of Soledad O'Brien's one-side, single-focused "reporting." She needs to get a real job where she is compelled to cover real news stories.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:11 am | Report abuse |
  53. Lisa J M

    Who cares what color you are, I don't. From my observation however, there are some Black's that still blame us for slavery. The thing is, I didn't do that, my grandparents did not do it and my great grandparents did not do it. I have felt racism in the workplace but I would not dare say anything cause I do not have the NAACP on my side. I wish we could all just get along..This article was needless. Let's move on to more serious topics. I don't owe anyone for what happened so many years ago.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:09 am | Report abuse |
  54. Trajk Logik

    I wonder if we will ever see a story on "What does it mean to be a Irish-French-German-Welsh-Native American mix in America?"

    December 10, 2012 at 7:06 am | Report abuse |
    • 2011judgment

      CNN is 100 % Liberal and will always play the Blackie Twisted View Of Life.

      December 10, 2012 at 7:14 am | Report abuse |
  55. Trajk Logik

    When Morgan Freeman was asked how to combat racism in America, he answered "stop talking about it. I don't say "here is my black friend. I say here is my friend. I don't say this is my white doctor. This is my doctor." The people who constantly bring up race are the racists. We all have different features, colors and shapes to our bodies that are not the same from person to person, and we can procreate and make viable offspring, so we are obviously the same species, so why do we concentrate on one aspect, skin color, to differentiate ourselves from each other? "Keep Racism Alive" seems to be CNN's new motto.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:03 am | Report abuse |
  56. 3rdEyeOpened

    It's so shocking to see so many people on here say " get over it".

    Hypothetically speaking, if someone murdered a family member of yours 20 years ago and they are getting out of jail in 10 years, should you be quick to get over the fact that he's not only getting out in a decade, but he killed a family member of yours? Would you just "get over it"? I don't think so. People need to stop pretending that this is such a curable experience to just "get over".

    December 10, 2012 at 7:02 am | Report abuse |
    • NNorseman

      Yes, get over it. I'm not sure how you can put waiting for someone who murdered a loved one in the same context. I didn't murder anyone of any race, I didn't force anyone of any race to sit at the back of the bus, I didn't own any slaves of any race so yes I say, GET OVER IT.
      I see many people with the same belief, if we as a civilization continue to talk about race it will continue to be a problem. Yes it's true there are still idiots that are racist but that is coming from all races unfortunatley not jjust towards being African American, unfortunate but true..

      December 10, 2012 at 7:34 am | Report abuse |
      • 3rdEyeOpened

        First off, Jim Crow wasn't about slaves. You guys love to use the "we didn't own slaves" argument while running from the Jim Crow era. And many blacks who experienced Jim Crow are alive today, along with the white birthers who oppressed them. So again, the have to "get over it?"

        December 10, 2012 at 7:55 am | Report abuse |
  57. AYMAN

    Who cares if u are black or white, only someone`s personality makes the differences.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
  58. Mike

    Keeping the races divided is great for business in America...makes for easier marketing strategies focusing on race is easier than having to focus 250 million individuals. CNN is once again doing their part!

    December 10, 2012 at 6:59 am | Report abuse |
  59. jimmy

    Why is it 'waiting moderation' ?

    December 10, 2012 at 6:56 am | Report abuse |
  60. MulattoMaria

    LOL. Such humorous ignorance!

    December 10, 2012 at 6:56 am | Report abuse |
  61. Ricky

    Who cares? No really!?! Who cares what it means to be black? It seems that 9/10 television commercials feature blacks in key or lead roles, and society knows that approximately 5% of blacks buy brand products! So why feature blacks? Also, If Dr. MLK heard today's rapper lyrics, he would cover his ears and put his head between his knees. The majority of today's blacks are a disgrace to what Dr. King died for, and more problematic than productive. There was a time when black families were unified. But now, they're just divided.

    December 10, 2012 at 6:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Sam

      It means a lot. But you have to know yourself and others, and be awake too. To be black means you will never get Justice in America, it means you will be put in jails and prisons for the same crime that a white man will get a warning. To be black means, you won't get the scholarships and stipends to study and you will be left behind, because your parents could not send you to schools with high fee and in susburbs etc., etc. I can keep counting but it will become too long for any reader and comentator!

      December 10, 2012 at 6:59 am | Report abuse |
    • ohbehave

      If MLK is the man that we are led to believe, he would be mortified at what has happened in "black culture" over the past couple decades..... perhaps terrified would be a better word.
      We are squinting and tilting our heads as we try to not-notice the openly racist stuff going on (such as this article) and the third world violence within the inner city (99.999% black on black) and the rejection of education and the vulgar abandonment / disrespect of their women and children..... and THEN the gall to focus on racism????
      He is probably now thankful that he got out before this embarrassment began.

      December 10, 2012 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
  62. Steve

    Mark, I'm crossing my fingers, too!

    December 10, 2012 at 6:50 am | Report abuse |
  63. frommiss.

    As someone who lives in a small Mississippi town race is still a dominate factor in any social, political, economic, etc. discussion. It is still the reality that so many people live in whether they want to see it or not. I disagree with Morgan Freeman: the only way to make the race card go away is to acknowledge our own prejudices, known and unknown, figure out why we have them, and then move on. Slavery and segregation were around for hundreds of years. We are only forty years out from desegregation in the South. No one has allowed accurate time to heal. In the South we still experience gross acts of racism on a regular basis, and it will not stop without open honest communication.

    December 10, 2012 at 6:50 am | Report abuse |
  64. nah

    First I used to think: Aw forget about race, color, etc. Now, I feel -don't forget about your roots. It's a way to combat
    the ignorant. Remember your Italian, Irish, Black, Asian, etc.roots and throw water on the stereotyping of anyone at the same time. But above all, use your detector to establish whether the person is a decent, trustworthy person of
    character.

    December 10, 2012 at 6:46 am | Report abuse |
  65. MrId

    Sorry Mark! I already have enough ho ho hos up on the North Pole......

    December 10, 2012 at 6:46 am | Report abuse |
  66. rs1201

    Again, this one drop rule that's been adopted by black Americans is similar to the rule nazis used to determine who was a Jew and who would be sent to concentration camps. Just stop it...and consider just being the best human being on earth...do no harm...help others...and make something of yourself. The color of one's skin should be inconsequential.

    December 10, 2012 at 6:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Leif

      LOL. The ruke you speak of was adopted and enforced by white America.

      December 10, 2012 at 6:48 am | Report abuse |
    • Move on!

      It was a "white" rule from the Slavery days that was abolished.

      December 10, 2012 at 7:01 am | Report abuse |
  67. Jim

    It means your melanin level is different from some other humans. Now stop with the self-centered narcissism.

    After decades of demanding different terms for your melanin level, there is some crazy person on this thread complaining about being called an African-American and "why you all call me that" when it comes down to the demands of those of the same melanin level demanding it.

    December 10, 2012 at 6:39 am | Report abuse |
  68. jimmy

    I finally figured it out ! CNN isn't obsessed with race topics, it is just the inevitable result of hiring black 'journalists'.
    You see the black journalists can write about nothing but race issues, so when they pitch their stories to CNN, CNN's hands are tied. As we all know a black person can never be fired, so CNN must keep them, and run their stories. In fact, they have to run their stories 'front and center' or else they would be accused of burying the stories by the black writers. So all this race crap is the result of making the mistake of hiring black writers, which now can not be undone.

    December 10, 2012 at 6:39 am | Report abuse |
  69. Obsever974

    Well, we do know that 70% of their children are born to unwed mohers, that over half of black men will be convited of a violent felony before their 21st birthday and we know that 98% of them blindly voted for Obama during the last election. None of this is a "culture" that I would be proud of.

    December 10, 2012 at 6:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Leif

      Then you should thank whatever god you believe in for the fact that your ancestors weren't kidnapped and sold into slavery on another continent.

      December 10, 2012 at 6:41 am | Report abuse |
      • Historybuff

        You realize that Africans sold the slaves to the people who brought them over...

        December 10, 2012 at 6:50 am | Report abuse |
      • Allen

        Yes, that did take place. However, there is a part of the story you overlook. Most African slaves were sold into slavery by other Africans. The conditions in the interior meant that whites were limited to a thin coastal strip of West Africa. The slave trade was a horrible event. However, it could never have started without the support of African rulers, willing to sell others into slavery.

        December 10, 2012 at 6:52 am | Report abuse |
      • Mike

        You do realize that it was the indigenous African's not Europeans, which initiated the kidnapping and selling of rival tribes into slavery? Europeans arrived on the continent of Africa to find the slave trade alive and kicking, a practice that continues in full swing on the continent of Africa to this day. In addition, the country of Liberia was founded by re-patriated freed African slaves from America, who had establishment their own country on their original contintent.

        December 10, 2012 at 6:56 am | Report abuse |
    • rs1201

      You're just being mean...I'm a white woman and I know that there's plenty to criticize on both sides of the barrier. It would be better to work at breaking down the barrier and judging people by their character rather than by the color of their skin.

      December 10, 2012 at 6:44 am | Report abuse |
  70. JD

    Maybe if they stopped trying to be different from the rest of us and started to embrace being American and American values we would not have these race issues. You keep trying to stand out as different then stop complaining when you are treated different.

    December 10, 2012 at 6:31 am | Report abuse |
    • WildWest06

      To say just forget racism does not make it go away. I served in the military for 26 years and retired and while it boast of equality it too has it challenges. So don't tell me just think of yourself as American and it will go away. Such naiveté is ignorant. This nation habors much hidden problems than many would like to admit.

      So don't be so dismissive of how blacks or African Americans have to deal with being identified. The one drop rule was combed up by white colonialist or Anglo Americans to deliniate those who were white and those who were not or could be considered not as such. So know the 'true' history before saying it was a black initiative. It was not.

      December 10, 2012 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
  71. JC

    See, and I find it more important to be recognized as a Good Man, not a Black, White or Pink one.............

    December 10, 2012 at 6:31 am | Report abuse |
  72. JC

    The flip side questions for me are: "What does it mean to be White in America when major news organizations are writing stories about what it means to be "non-White" and how do we expect to get past the color of ones skin when that seems to be the easiest, yet least important, question to ask"?

    December 10, 2012 at 6:30 am | Report abuse |
    • JD

      Easy, if you are white you are an raceist by CNN standards and hate brown people

      December 10, 2012 at 6:33 am | Report abuse |
  73. Pablo

    another example of main stream media stirring the racial pot.

    December 10, 2012 at 6:25 am | Report abuse |
  74. Bob

    Who Really Gives a crap about this.......When its in there favor There White & when its in there favor there Black....

    December 10, 2012 at 6:24 am | Report abuse |
  75. Ken

    It's amazing how CNN has nothing else to discuss. Wow!

    December 10, 2012 at 6:24 am | Report abuse |
  76. Grace

    This is only going to matter as long as we keep talking about it. It honestly never occurs to me anymore that blacks are any different than whites (whatever each of those mean), truly aren't we all just humans? I admit growing up in the 60s skin color made things very different indeed. But we should be so past this.
    I'm a woman. You are, or identify as, a man or a woman. There. Isn't that easy?

    December 10, 2012 at 6:22 am | Report abuse |
    • 3rdEyeOpened

      It's kind of hard to get over this when your family members who went through Jim Crow are still alive along with the "white Birthers".

      December 10, 2012 at 6:58 am | Report abuse |
  77. Jerry

    They always talk about RACE because of Soledad O'Brien, she always pushes the card..............

    December 10, 2012 at 6:15 am | Report abuse |
  78. ohio

    Why not write an article about what it is to be an American in America.

    December 10, 2012 at 6:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve From NH

      They do that all the time. If you can't handle articles written about people different than you, don't read them.

      December 10, 2012 at 6:18 am | Report abuse |
      • Allen

        Your comment might carry more weight if we had also read an article about being Asian in America, or Native in America. CNN has a racial focus on Black and to a lesser degree Hispanic readers. If they truly wanted to investigate race in America, they would cover all.

        December 10, 2012 at 6:56 am | Report abuse |
    • Wayne from Texas

      Why is it still necessary in America to write articles about Black or White? Is the writer going to balance this report with "What it means to be WHITE in America today?" As long as writers and groups keep talking about races by promoting divisiveness and racist leanings, things will never get better. Why couldn't the author write about a cross-section of races in America today and talk about what that means for each of them. Or just simply talk about Americans and stop talking about race. What would have happened if someone wrote an article EXACTLY like this one – EXCEPT about "What is it Like to Be WHITE in America Today?" They would be lambasted and probably have a bounty put on they by
      the "New Black Panthers". The only way to put a stop to racism in this country is to STOP focusing on it and START focusing on what it means for ALL of us to be AMERICANS!

      December 10, 2012 at 6:33 am | Report abuse |
      • Wayne from Texas

        BTW, I am White, I am proud of the fact that one of my great-grandfathers was BLACK.

        December 10, 2012 at 6:35 am | Report abuse |
  79. John Keith

    Morgan Freeman, a black man, said the way to end racism, is to stop talking about it.

    December 10, 2012 at 6:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Robert/South Dakota

      I completely agree with this comment. Just for response sake I am a 46 year old caucasian male and have friends of different cultures. I am so tired of TV shows and headines of websites regarding certain colors. We are American and until we can identiufy as one we will never be united but separate. Morgan Freenman, I commend you sir for that comment. I look at my culture as an American not Caucasian. As Martin Luther King has stated we need to be a coorless society.

      December 10, 2012 at 6:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Diana

      True. So true.

      December 10, 2012 at 7:00 am | Report abuse |
  80. Karen from Toronto,Canada

    I watched the first 20 min or so of this show last night. I have to say the show is a waste of time. I'm not sure why in this day and age, race is still such an important topic. Everyone on that show is American, for crying out loud. They all contribute to society. All of the women on that show are absolutely beautiful, regardless of the percentage of blackness in their blood. This kind of show examining race would never be aired in Canada or even considered for production. We're also a nation of immigrants but we're not obsessed with race to the same degree as Americans. I recall seeing a similar program on CNN also hosted by Soledad O'Brien not long ago. I'm familiar with the civil rights movement and the Jim Crow era but still we need to move on! CNN has got to move on. Poor Soledad needs new assignments.

    December 10, 2012 at 6:13 am | Report abuse |
    • WildWest06

      You speak of how unnecessary this topic is in todays world. Yet unbeknowst to you or maybe in that you reside in Canada, here in America we still encounter behavior and treatment that divide the races or at least set the tone for such. One point of fact, the present presidential administration, has encoutnered more disrespect that ever before.

      Shall we dismiss this behavior to happenstance, not at all. It is a concerted effort by those that habor racial discord to perpetuate this divide. So while you state you see no need for this discussion, the environment clearly demonstrate that racism is alive and well.

      December 10, 2012 at 7:53 am | Report abuse |
  81. Krenzny

    HMM. CNN You post a list of negative sterotypical attributes of blacks, but cut a similar list of attributes of whites?

    December 10, 2012 at 6:11 am | Report abuse |
  82. Move on!

    Beautiful! Personally, I know many successful and awesome black people However, we have a ways to go. When one black person commits a crime it affects 1/4 black, 1/2 black and everyone! "God' Bless you 1000 times. I am very sensitive an can feel people when they write.

    December 10, 2012 at 6:10 am | Report abuse |
  83. Oscar Pitchfork

    The biggest unspoken problem for everybody is that whole great big segments of the population CARE about race and whole great big segments of the population DON'T CARE about race!

    December 10, 2012 at 6:03 am | Report abuse |
    • Move on!

      Baby Boomers care too much about it.

      December 10, 2012 at 6:05 am | Report abuse |
  84. Move on!

    Yes, your Almighty White Highness! Not!!!!!!

    December 10, 2012 at 6:03 am | Report abuse |
  85. Marc

    Cnn, moving the civil rights movement back 5000 years... You're really going to being the "high yellow" argument back? REALLY?

    December 10, 2012 at 6:01 am | Report abuse |
  86. JerPell

    Why is CNN hung up on this color thing?

    December 10, 2012 at 5:56 am | Report abuse |
    • 1lastman

      for the same reason they are hung up on the gay thing... which i don't know what exactly the reason is... ever notice how seemingly every other day there is a story about gays?

      December 10, 2012 at 6:16 am | Report abuse |
    • Steve From NH

      Because when they write about the "color thing", they get a million replies and people reading the story – why do you think they write about anything?

      December 10, 2012 at 6:19 am | Report abuse |
    • brownie

      ...because people like you are so ignorant about...all while pretending that racism does not exists...when it clearly does...

      December 10, 2012 at 6:53 am | Report abuse |
  87. Dinoslav

    James Bartlett: White privilege means the freedom not to have to address race"

    Tell that to the Serbs and other eastern Europeans who spent 500 years under Turkish occupation and slavery. For those of you who don't know that is longer then the existence of the United States.

    December 10, 2012 at 5:51 am | Report abuse |
    • tayefosterbradshaw

      I have been studying history with Professor Jeremey Adelman from Princeton University through Coursera. We had a lecture and discussed the history of the Serbians and the Turks. Racism and culturism is brutal worldwide and most often affects the "other" those people of color or culture that is not the dominate culture.

      December 10, 2012 at 6:16 am | Report abuse |
  88. Jorge Sedano

    well actually.. the US government defines the skin color....so why not ask white folks how it is to be white in a color blind America... anyone watch this lady in the morning>????

    December 10, 2012 at 5:45 am | Report abuse |
    • brownie

      AmeriKKKa will never be color blind...

      December 10, 2012 at 6:55 am | Report abuse |
  89. Tiny McGillicuddy (41)

    How about some stories about very short people? "Midgets in America." Get on your knees the next time you are in an elevator. Notice how different it smells? Everywhere I go people tower over me and stare. But will CNN give us a chance to tell our stories? No. It's always about color and never about size.

    December 10, 2012 at 5:38 am | Report abuse |
    • blanketjackson

      hey. i refrain from passing gas when in the presence of vertically challenged people.

      December 10, 2012 at 5:43 am | Report abuse |
    • SniperTom Dufresne

      I agree. The very, very short people have it tough. We never get starring roles, never get the hot girl in the movies, never really get a chance. Once in a while, some singer like Kid Rock will adopt us as a BFF. Why couldn't Dorothy or the Lion or Tin Man be a midget? They had to specially categorize us as "The Lollipop Guild."

      December 10, 2012 at 6:04 am | Report abuse |
  90. BOB

    obama had the chanch to stop a lot of this by saying he was mixed and let it go at that . he put human race back 20 years by saying he was black . if are leaders are going to continue to keep race a issue then it will never stop the goverment is very happy keeping us humans fighting with ea other.

    December 10, 2012 at 5:30 am | Report abuse |
    • Leif

      Sober up before posting next time.

      December 10, 2012 at 5:46 am | Report abuse |
    • brownie

      No moron, under the one drop rule, that your ancestors came up with made him black. By the way he said he checked black because that is what he look like and how he is treated!

      December 10, 2012 at 6:56 am | Report abuse |
  91. mom

    Who cares who's black in America. It's about as irrelevant as being Jewish in America or White in America or Hispanic in America. Being black is about as special as being White – NOT AT ALL. Why bring up race if nobody seems to care about it anymore?

    December 10, 2012 at 5:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Leif

      Clearly it isn't irrelevant, or nobody would be posting comments.

      December 10, 2012 at 5:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Krenzny

      A statement like that can only come from white in america.

      December 10, 2012 at 5:59 am | Report abuse |
      • brownie

        Of course it did...couldn't come from any place else...

        December 10, 2012 at 6:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Krenzny

      No one cares about race anymore? Wake up!

      December 10, 2012 at 6:00 am | Report abuse |
  92. Jimmy

    Does CNN report news anymore?

    December 10, 2012 at 5:00 am | Report abuse |
  93. PaOpinion

    What's with CNN..I look at this site rarely, but every time I do..it's always blacks. Give it a break CNN.

    December 10, 2012 at 4:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Leif

      I visit this site frequently, and you are wrong.

      December 10, 2012 at 5:17 am | Report abuse |
  94. JeffreyB

    This country would be a much better place if we all identified ourselves as one thing (rather than by our skin color, religion, heritage, or country of origin), Americans.

    December 10, 2012 at 4:51 am | Report abuse |
  95. 123elle

    We Americans are so fortunate to be as diverse and intelligent and beautiful as we are. To see these new generations of people breaking down the rigid boundaries and pigeonholes; to be free to explore and accept one's own unique appearance and heritage; to celebrate every culture, color, background and nationality that composes oneself - that is a blessing. Our country is more vigorous and stronger and just more fun when everyone accepts who they are. Whatever color or shade we happen to be, that is perfect and just as it should be. I'm 65 and grew up in a white midwestern community where people were judged and limited and misinformed. I'm so glad my family moved to California and my horizons expanded profoundly. Prejudice and bigotry and self-rejection really will become just a bad memory as the years go by.

    December 10, 2012 at 4:46 am | Report abuse |
    • Mike

      gross

      December 10, 2012 at 5:07 am | Report abuse |
      • Leif

        I am sorry that you feel that way about yorself, Mike.

        December 10, 2012 at 5:31 am | Report abuse |
  96. Kajen

    I don't know why, maybe its because im indian descent myself but I find the last girl of part indian descent to be incredibly attractive..

    December 10, 2012 at 4:29 am | Report abuse |
  97. Hugh Mann

    Why are the "Whites" (75% of Americans) so threatened by the "Blacks (only 12%)?
    ALL humans came from Africa, either sooner or later...

    December 10, 2012 at 4:10 am | Report abuse |
    • David

      Non-Hispanic whites were 63.7% of the population in the 2010 Census. The 72% number includes Hispanics (chiefly Mexicans) who check the white box because of possible European ancestry. The people everyone mainly thinks of as "white" were about 63.7% in 2010.

      December 10, 2012 at 4:24 am | Report abuse |
      • Move on!

        What opened up my eyes to embrace my 1/4 black side was the Dominican Republic. I have seen videos on youtube where the Dominican people look "black" according to the United States standards. I have seen the self hate of not wanting to claim their black heritage. They had videos making fum of African-Americans. They "fully" embraced their "Spain" heritage, "Their Masters." It looked ridiculous and embarrassing. But I can understand that it is a heritage. But somehow Americans can not understand that. They see color & features. I too have been conditioned that way. It is just life!

        December 10, 2012 at 4:39 am | Report abuse |
      • brownie

        Still does not explains why whites are so threatened and concerned about Blacks, who are only 12+% of the population.

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

      CNN runs this report, but look at all the white people at CNN. They need to hire some more people of colour. Im tired of looking at the same white folks pretending to be impartial to all races

      December 10, 2012 at 4:33 am | Report abuse |
      • thmadm

        Why can't we just understand that people should be hired because they are the best person for the job. To hell with where my ancestors are from.

        December 10, 2012 at 4:58 am | Report abuse |
    • Mitt Romney

      Because they commit 60% of the crime.

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

      Brownie: The only time I ever felt threatened by Blacks is when I was threatened. Same as I would feel if I were being threatened by anyone. I lived in California and NYC and Never felt threatened. However when I moved to Savannah (a really beautiful place) for a couple of years, there were times I was spit at, and gun shots were whizzing past my house fairly often. People would walk by and say, in less than friendly tones, "White people living in our houses." Those were the only times I felt a little threatened. Most Blacks were warm and friendly, especially after I became known and respected in the community, but, for a White person to move into a predominately Black neighborhood, in the South, it can be a bit challenging at first!

      December 10, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  98. kenmeister

    I'm jumping in with the majority responses. I'm sick of CNN's articles about black people. How can we even dream of a color-blind socoety if liberal media like CNN keeps pounding in at our differences? It's because it gives them, CNN, et al, more power to keep us divided to provide opportunities for articles like this, and to feel good patronizing minorities who apparently can't possibly achieve without the likes of CNN supporting them..

    December 10, 2012 at 4:09 am | Report abuse |
  99. dman27

    Sembene McFarland is beautiful, I hope she knows that.

    God does some incredible things!!

    December 10, 2012 at 4:08 am | Report abuse |
  100. Name*ken

    This article, and the one I read just like it every three months, makes me want to puke. I am so sick of articles like this that make blacks look like perpetual victims on planet earth and in existence itself! Get over the slavery issue. Blacks aren't the only race to be slaves in history. The crying, the misguided anger, and pulling your hair out over something no one alive today had a flipping thing to do with is stupidty. More of it. If you need a lifecoach or someone to pat you on the back constantly to remind you your color is beautiful, or if you simply want my sympathy for being black go see a psycologist because you won't be getting any of those from me.

    December 10, 2012 at 4:03 am | Report abuse |
    • brownie

      You are so STUPID, it is about more than just slavery, how about Jim Crow and modern racial hatred...in the mean time...TRY TELLING JEWS TO GET OVER THE HOLOCAUST!!!!!

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