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 (1,408 Responses)
  1. Hal Smith

    At 75 years old I am always amazed at the comments re racisim. Growing up in New England in the 40's and 50's there was no racisism. Blacks and whites went to school together, played sports together and lived in the same tenements together. I didnt see racisim until I joined the military and was sent to Florida and then the middle east where I was astonished. Coming home nothing had changed but the government seemed to be trying to perpetuate the myth that all whites hated blacks and vice versa. It wasnt true, we still got along fine, each race having equal educational opportunities as well as employment opportunities. It seems to me this is is contrived problem initiated by politicians to enhance their winning elections by fragmenting the vote. If it is true that racisim exists today it's because of affirmative action and political maneuvering. Even today the government spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on seminars for government workers telling them the same sad bogus story. It's political hijacking.

    February 21, 2013 at 6:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • BasilT

      LOL- "myth" about whites hating blacks? All you have to do is go read the anti-black racist graffiti on any restroom to see that. Most whites have been ingrained with the silly notion that their white skin somehow makes them "better" than anybody else. The history of this country is prove of that. If you are "allegedly" 75 then you should be cognizant of that- but like so many other whites you probably buried your head up your ass and continued to enjoy your white skin privileges...less than 75 years ago blacks were forced to sit in the back of the bus in the south- has there been any time when whites were forced to do so? No? I thought so...

      July 11, 2013 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  2. House

    What a stupid question. African Americans are black. Any other questions?

    February 16, 2013 at 2:02 pm | Report abuse |
  3. q

    ...as George Clinton (the musician ) said...:fantasity is reality..".....all humans came from Africa...that means that we are all different shades of BLACK......deal wit it!!

    February 6, 2013 at 6:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • Lousinana CreoleKing

      @Mike Armstrong:Not because humans came from Africa meant that they were Black!! Did any of you ever think of that?????!!!

      February 7, 2013 at 9:12 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Sandra Crowe

    Americans keep racism going with the nonsense of having "race" on every piece of paper one has to fill out. Also calling people from other parts of the world "African-American" is assinine. What makes American think the world is "American." Are the REAL Africans who has never been to the US African-Americans. Even among "black" people there is prejudice. The reason the American Idol name Doolittle did not win and Jordin Sparks won was all to do with skin color. Doolittle was a much better singer. But ALL Americans go on looks. So very sad. And you only inherit from one side. Therefore The President got nothing from his white mother and nothing from growing up with his white grandparents. It is his father whom he met twice? who had all the influence according to the BLACK middle eastern man on Fox.

    February 5, 2013 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • BasilT

      Sandra- people like Soledad Obrien keeps it going for her self promotion. You notice that CNN will never do a special on White in America and give the world a peek behind closed doors there. They will never shine a light on why certain whites kill or rob or rape or carry on like that old guy in Alabama kidnapping that little boy. So hence you have these "Black in America" VOLUME TEN THOUSAND OR SO AND NOT ONE "WHITE IN AMERICA" special...

      February 6, 2013 at 7:28 am | Report abuse |
    • Lousinana CreoleKing

      Well put and eloquently stated! Soledad would disagree with you.LOL

      February 7, 2013 at 9:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. nataliepryor9218206

    The definition of "blackness". Some people in this program defined it as "an experience." If that were true, people of other races raised in black neighborhoods or households would be seen as black, and they aren't. Angela Davis said it was the culture you were raised in, "who loved you." If that we're the case, black children adopted by white parents would be seen as white, and they aren't. Some said it was skin color, but I would say if that we're the case dark-skinned East Indians would be decidedly Black, and they aren't. The one drop rule was broughht up a few times and some said it was still in effect. I say no. Blackness in this racialized society is more than skin color or tone, more than experience or culture, it's defined by a combination of racist stereotypes, and determinations about a person, based on Sterotypes–brown or dark skin, certain facial features, and hair texture. The young lady from North Africa, is African. She is as African as an East Indian is Asian. If the U.S. Census sees it differently, they should explain the difference between these two comparisons. I see the fundamental problem as being directly related to slavery in this country and creation of the terms " black" and "white", which are truly meaningless–the definition changes. Many early immigrants (Italians, Jews) were not initially defined as "white", for example. The history of racial terms/color used to justify subjugation and minimalization of a group of people is why this country continues to see things, predominantly, in black and white. References to the color (red, yellow) of anyone else is rarely used, in fact, everyone else is "brown" and mostly other people of color use this term. This country's racist history is why when the term "racism" is mentioned, Americans immediately think in terms of "black" and "white".

    February 2, 2013 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sunbeam

    What I can't stand is how stories such as this always talk about being dark skinned as some form of hatred, and never showing bi-racial individuals with dark skinned. I am tired of the potrayal of the stereotypes of those with darker complexions as having a burden. I love having mahoghony skin, and would never want to change that. I've been mostly discriminated against mostly by black people,m and have been accepted mostly by white people.

    February 2, 2013 at 8:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sally

      Yes, I agree with that. I am light skinned black, never seen myself as anything but black and it;s always dark-skinned black people who think I want to be white or make jokes about my color. I'm sure if I made a joke back about their color, there would be hell to pay.

      February 4, 2013 at 1:31 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Dwan

    In my family I and my children along with other light skinned members are considered to be white. The majority of my family are tan to dark brown, but I and my children are the lightest of all. I was told that we're mixed with Irish, Native American and black. But we all are black. All of the light skinned members have dark spouses and the dark have light skinned spouses. My maternal grandmother is Irish and Native American, but she was considered black. I've had that experience where I was asked what are you? I have people coming up to me and speaking spanish as though I were hispanic or latino... I AM BLACK!

    January 28, 2013 at 2:23 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Sergio

    I love the show, but as a black Cuban I felt that we were not included in your show. Even though you mention that you are half Cuban. As a young man growing up in this country I felt discriminated also. By the white Cubans, and by the blacks even though many of us identify our self as Afro-Cuban, it were not enough for them. Because our heavy accent when we speak, our on culture, which different from theirs, but which have African roots. So as my children grow older,. How should they identify themselves?

    January 28, 2013 at 7:45 am | Report abuse |
  9. Mike Armstrong

    This piece struck me as entirely un-American. How can we make progress towards a post-racial America when "progressives" are constantly reminding, entrenching, and reinforcing racial demarcation?

    I don't view people according to race, I appreciate them based on their competence and character. It's lost on me why this piece so focused on "black-ness" v. competence and character. MLK would roll over in his grave if he watched this piece.

    What is so disconcerting here is that "progressive" doctrine here continues to reinforce racial demarcation v. championing color blind individualism.

    January 28, 2013 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
    • BasilT

      The only people running this garbage is Soledad and her white bosses at CNN...they would NEVER do an in depth report about the going-ons behind the scenes in white America- simply because that would indict themselves so they keep regurgitating these anti-black hit jobs called BIA....

      July 12, 2013 at 12:03 am | Report abuse |
  10. Denise Ramos

    I seen god use the most unlikely people do increditable things. I seen him do it, that unliked person ms. O'brian is me. My story to some have touch many yet at the same time makes me appear to others unworthy of gods blessings. Faith,hope God. With me being multi cultured. I'm at times faced with the difference in our great country called America. I stand. Please reply ok thank you in advance i got a great story to share with you. Be blessed.

    January 26, 2013 at 7:47 pm | Report abuse |
  11. nick

    CNN amazes me. i thought FOX was biased, this kind of reporting makes them look "factual." imagine if the right ran a show called "being white in America"...

    CNN has sluggish ratings, that need to survive must explain their nose dive in their journalistic standards.

    Boo whoo

    January 26, 2013 at 5:22 pm | Report abuse |
  12. BasilT

    By the number of times you're up here boy....everybody can see that you are SCARED....no amount of weapons are going to save "you"....boy....

    January 20, 2013 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
  13. BasilT

    They have water boys in the AF...boy?

    January 18, 2013 at 12:19 am | Report abuse |
    • Alisa

      The one drop rule is racist.

      January 20, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |

    Dearest MS O'Brien,
    I love your work on black in America but you have forgotten another group of black in America my children and others who are second generation of African immigrants. My 12 years old and I have watched all your work on black in America. There are the Obama type of black in America and there are our children's who parents are both immigrants. We both have college degrees before we migrated here. My husband is the US Army and we want to give our children the best opportunities every parent in the US want. If you please include African immigrants in your next "series" it would help our children. Please contact me if you want.

    January 17, 2013 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
    • John

      The best in your pursuit of the American Dream

      January 21, 2013 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Diego

    Black, white, Afro-Cuban...who gives a damn?!?!?!?!?!

    January 14, 2013 at 8:12 am | Report abuse |
  16. cassarit

    Wasn't this woman supposed to be Spanish or something? Now she's black!

    January 14, 2013 at 3:59 am | Report abuse |
  17. Lars Michel

    I thought that Obama was going to make America post-racial, but since 2008, one can't hear enough of race this, race that.

    I guess this melting pot isn't happening after all...

    January 14, 2013 at 12:54 am | Report abuse |
  18. mike.g.hall

    sounds like her parents instilled in her a very serious inferiority/defensive complex. who cares if she's black, hispanic or whatever else? if some one asks, tell 'em, but don't define yourself by your background. i'm mixed race, but that in no way distorts my view of the world and i'm not about to let it distort me.

    January 13, 2013 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • mike.g.hall

      to clarify...be proud of who you are and where you come from, but don't forget to pave your own way as well.

      January 13, 2013 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
  19. BasilT

    You are right kr ac ker...they don't want to expose "you" and all your dirt, incest, domestic violence, drug abuse, general mayhem- you know the kind of sht "you" all have been doing since "you" were kicked of England and came to somebody else's land....aint im rite boy?

    January 13, 2013 at 4:09 am | Report abuse |
  20. Mulatto425

    I LOVE that she touched on this topic. Finally something I can relate to. Racism/race relations is never too old to discuss...especially when it still exists.

    January 13, 2013 at 2:25 am | Report abuse |
  21. George

    Soledad, In the photos that accompany this series, you're wearing a bubbly jacket and posing in front of a gritty wall to present yourself as "black". You're free to identify how you please, but given your accent, I think it's safe to say the photo is misrepresentative. Soledad, you're an accomplished reporter on CNN, yet still so much to prove. How about a report on that subject – unrelenting ambition?

    January 12, 2013 at 6:30 am | Report abuse |
  22. Ashamed of Europe

    I cannot wait for Solidad to do another one of these programs. I am sure that rest of America is waiting on the edge of their seat waiting for the 5th edition. We get it Solidad you identify with your liberal heritage.

    January 10, 2013 at 3:24 pm | Report abuse |
  23. Robert Yarush

    I truely do not like these mediums in which "Race" is highlighted. We talk about not wanting to define those by their skin color... but by the content of their being.... Then why shows like this... how About "American in America" How about how the human being came to be in America.... why always the focus on Race?? The think the continuous talk of Race... when in fact we should be colorblind when it comes to racial issues.... just plays into the hands of Racists.... it plays into Stereotyping... plays into discrimination....havent we had enough discrimination?? If I am not to care about ones race... then lets move beyond this medium. Your American.... you have history... but its yours. Your American.

    January 8, 2013 at 7:10 pm | Report abuse |
  24. Felicia

    Thank you for this story – I've respected and followed Soledad for many years and very much appreciated this candid interview!

    January 5, 2013 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paula

      Some people commenting here are ignorant and obviously biased about blacks, mixed race and white people. I think it is coming from all sides too. When we grow up in a particular environment, be it black, mixed, or white, we receive messages from our society, as they see us, rahter than for who we are. Ms. O'brien is a damn good reported and has a very sharp mind, she does an excellent job on CN.

      Labels are for fools and bigots, at least in my mind. My family and extended family has blacks, puerto ricans, jamaicans, southerners and white (german, Scottish, etc.). We call our family the united nations. We all get along, because for us, family is stronger than public opinion, or prejudice. When a baby is born into a family, color, race , or culture should not keep us from loving the child, nor the childs parents..

      January 7, 2013 at 10:29 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Mark

    Here's the problem we have: with blacks being so busy destroying their race via mixing with whites, what we are being left with is a bunch of 1/4 blacks vehemently asserting they are black and these same 1/4-blacks go marrying to whites. If u love being black so much then return to the gene pool and marry black...otherwise shut ur yap! The black community accepts you, but if you breed outside the community it is obvious you are committing self-genocide and ur children will NOT be black....you are the last of the blacks on your personal genetic tree.!

    January 5, 2013 at 12:25 am | Report abuse |
    • r belin

      but not the last to come from one, we will perhaps not have that personal plight to bear for much longer

      January 8, 2013 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Mark

    Soledad is black on the inside but not really so much on the outside. She clearly had the experience normally reserved for blacks. If she was a little girl growing up today she would not have that experience and therefore. She has just destroyed any continued potential claim to blackness by her kids in marrying a white man. so the question is not is Soledad black, but will soledad's kids be black – the answer to that is NO.

    Soledad you know us blacks will accept u and love u when whites in the past hated you – why u you'd move to exterminate your black genes and black history with white husband is beyond me. we still love u but u make no sense.

    January 5, 2013 at 12:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Richard M,

      Mark, REALLY... she is bi-racial...what if she married another bi-racial would you have an issue with that.STOP telling mixed people that we are just black...we are of MIXED race...our heritages and experiences are NOT the same as yours!!!!!!!

      January 5, 2013 at 4:58 am | Report abuse |
  27. altern8ing@cox.net


    January 4, 2013 at 4:43 pm | Report abuse |
  28. r belin

    and , furthermore, stand up for your configuration, which, i'm thinking, must be whiter than grey

    January 4, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Kato Kaelin

    Who CARES, O'Brien!? You have an Irish last name! Get over it!

    January 4, 2013 at 12:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      I'd be more concerned about being Irish than black!

      January 13, 2013 at 11:24 pm | Report abuse |
  30. r belin

    ....see, all those configurations are the same, do doo

    January 4, 2013 at 12:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • BasilTl

      stiff as a saltine- ah boy belin?

      January 5, 2013 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  31. BasilT

    More boy talk belin?

    January 4, 2013 at 2:30 am | Report abuse |
    • r belin

      i personally do not know what that means, but then, why would i

      January 4, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
  32. Moosemuffin

    I am so tired of Americans making a big deal of the color of their skin. It's 2013! We are all Americans. Time to stop promoting division. JUST STOP!

    January 4, 2013 at 2:01 am | Report abuse |
    • Kiserian Boison

      America has come a long way in race relations, but it is unrealistic to believe that five centuries of racism could be erased within decades. It is only a few decades ago black Americans gained the franchise to be Americans. The past from the sixteenth century to the twentyfirst is not fully out of the social conscience and will not be for many more decades to come. Black people all over the world are still grappling with who they are as made out in The Crystal Bird – a recent work of fiction.

      January 4, 2013 at 7:41 am | Report abuse |
    • James

      Our society is better than it was sixty years ago, but we would be foolish to think that racism no longer exist.

      You ask, “What is black?” Black is an experience in ones life derived from the color of his or her skin. What is Black? Black is a birthright that one, in America, must be taught how to protect. What is black? Black is a cultural pose enjoyed by a minority and misunderstood by the majority. What is black? Black is the legacy of slavery that is chained to every African American that we must understand and place in perspective.

      Though to be black in America is not limited to the color of your skin, your ethnicity and pigment are prerequisites.

      January 4, 2013 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • r belin

      ...what are you talking about

      January 4, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sense

      Wow it's 2013 look at all the progress we've made so far Racism still exists, Bully's are still pushing kids over the brink, and the economy is in shambles, but right on dude keep saying "This is 2013" last year it was "This is 2012" and I guess next year you'll say "This is 2013" nothing will change nothing.

      January 10, 2013 at 10:41 am | Report abuse |
  33. Jets

    She has kicked that dead horse for a while now. She talks white looks Latina , but swears she's black. She's a mutt like the rest of us.

    January 3, 2013 at 12:36 am | Report abuse |
  34. mlg4035

    Soledad, frankly I don't care what color you identify as...
    You're gorgeous in any color!!

    January 2, 2013 at 9:33 pm | Report abuse |
  35. Frill Artist

    Enough with this "black in america" crap already. Jeez.

    January 2, 2013 at 4:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard DeBow

      II wish someone would tell the REST of America to 'forget this black America' thing. It would make life a LOT easier for us. We didn't create the category. We're just forced to live in it.

      January 22, 2013 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
  36. BoFo

    Loonier than Looney Tunes.
    Ms. O"Brien comes across as a self-absorbed narcissist. Why can't she get over herself?

    January 2, 2013 at 3:15 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Jack 2

    I don't care what color she is but she sure is biased in her opinions.

    January 2, 2013 at 11:15 am | Report abuse |
  38. flatlander48

    Hot Air.

    December 31, 2012 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
  39. Klaark

    I don't really care who is black in America. Don't care much about the other colors, either. I think a few noisy people make a pretty keen living off the racial divide.

    December 30, 2012 at 3:36 pm | Report abuse |
  40. mspatriotbx

    Big deal your black. Does that make you a speacial person? Who cares. Just be responsible, do your job and pay your taxes. Too much being made because you have a trace of another race. Your not special!

    December 30, 2012 at 1:23 am | Report abuse |
    • alikhan

      you say that because you lack the attributes such as intelligence thats someone who looks white but is black has you call yourself a patriot however patriots do not hide behind blog name and say things they are affraid to say publicly. Which leads me to the conclusion that you are worthless infact to this conversation fear drives evry one of yur words which are sad you may be one of those who are paid to say stupid things behind a Fake name thank you for not stating your name showing the coward you are.

      January 6, 2013 at 3:47 pm | Report abuse |
      • r belin

        ..this is not public, dim wit; you know a lot about being afraid do you ?

        January 13, 2013 at 8:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • r belin

        ...personally, i've always aspired to walking around the world and scratching my crotch every time i see a white man

        January 22, 2013 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
  41. Richard

    Light-skinned blacks with caucasoid features calling themselves "black" distorts reality. Dark-skinned people are discriminated against in many countries, especially women. The U.S., India, the South Americas, you name it. O'Brien's "black" is the kind Hollywood likes. Kind of a deep-tanned white.

    December 29, 2012 at 9:25 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mark

      Amen. no disrespect to Soledad who no doubt is a wonderful being, but she is the image white america wants to promote as black.

      January 5, 2013 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
  42. vaugn obern

    Absolutely correct.

    December 29, 2012 at 1:33 pm | Report abuse |
  43. jlindley007

    I think what you have to hear from this is that she like so many others of color faced challenges growing up as a result of their race and this is her telling her story. However it is her story and many of her opinions are her opinions shape by her experiences. She should be able to tell her story. While I am sympathetic in regards to her story being 1/2 black and 1/2 white and having faced discrimination from both sides growing up, I do question all this mess about all these people asking about "Black in America" seems a little bit of a stretch. I personally have never heard anyone asking about this section of CNN. Seems like a huge cry for attention. Also at some point you gotta let things go and forgive and move on.

    December 29, 2012 at 5:54 am | Report abuse |
  44. jlindley007

    This "Black in America" stuff seems to be way more about S. O'Brien in America than about blacks in America.

    December 29, 2012 at 5:44 am | Report abuse |
  45. r belin

    please, stop being an idiot or with many of those heritages you claim to inhabit i will disavow yours

    December 29, 2012 at 2:30 am | Report abuse |
  46. Joe

    Just like a typical liberal, she has to put everyone into a "group" ... you are black, you are white, you are rich, you are poor, you are Republican, you are Democrat. That's why this country can't get along. We can't get past the labels and just be Americans. How can you work together when the liberals are constantly pointing out our differences instead of our similarities? I don't have "black friends" or "latino friends" or "Jewish friends" or "Mormon friends" ... I just have "friends".

    December 28, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • flatlander48

      To ignore differences is to imply that we all come from the same background, have the same set of beliefs, think the same, etc. In effect what you are saying is that we are all the same. How can that be? Differences are born of where we are from, our basic ethnicity, the schools we went to, growing up in the city, country or in between and many other factors shape who we are and our perceptions. Whites want racial issues buried and forgotten. Minorities want racial issues resolved. Burying and forgetting will not resolve anything. To believe that it will is patently foolish, shortsighted and is an attempt at discounting the damage that has been done.

      December 29, 2012 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
      • vaugn obern

        This is sheer nonsense. Blacks do not want racial issues resolved; they want them continued, so that they can continue to profit from liberal guilt. Yes, we are all different, but, as Americans, we are also all the same.

        December 29, 2012 at 1:32 pm | Report abuse |
      • flatlander48

        vaugn obern
        This is sheer nonsense. Blacks do not want racial issues resolved; they want them continued, so that they can continue to profit from liberal guilt. Yes, we are all different, but, as Americans, we are also all the same.

        So, there are roughly 43,000,000 Black people in the US. Exactly how would they all profit from liberal guilt?

        December 31, 2012 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Andrea Lee Jackson

      What? You complain about labels and then turn right back around and call other people "liberals." Do you even see your hypocrisy? I would also add that your intellect is very limited if you think you are not affected by exterior aspects of society, including skin color.

      January 3, 2013 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  47. liz marsh

    Fuzzy genetics. I don't understand how being 1/4 latin, 1/4 black and 1/2 white = you're black.

    December 28, 2012 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kathy1970

      Only by black peoples logic Llz. There is not a white, Asian, Hispanic or person of any other group that would call her black.

      December 30, 2012 at 8:40 pm | Report abuse |
      • alee

        sorry but black people didn't make the one-drop rule. shouldn't comment on what you don't understand.

        January 2, 2013 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
      • James

        Kathy1970, you need to check the laws of this great nation of ours, it set the rule for who is considered black. you are so misinformed or uninformed.

        January 4, 2013 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
      • r belin

        this is for all you 'soledads' out there looking for something that doesn't exist;i should say,'don't happin'

        January 4, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • altern8ing@cox.net

        I am not misinformed

        January 4, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • MMM

      Racial Integrity Act of 1924, The One Drop Rule create by US state governments. 1910 Tennessee was the first.

      January 2, 2013 at 3:12 pm | Report abuse |
      • r belin

        ...that would be 'a natural disaster' looking to configure for 'a natural disaster'

        January 4, 2013 at 12:09 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Chris

    You mean Soledad O'Brien isn't Irish? I'm confused...

    December 28, 2012 at 6:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • r belin

      no, au contraire, she is irish, that is the point

      January 4, 2013 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • cassarit

      She got so plastered she thought she was black!

      January 14, 2013 at 4:06 am | Report abuse |
  49. James

    I'm a father of mixed race kids,

    Knowing about history is important for future generations so they don't make the same mistakes we made and our parents made. But they should not be shaped by our egos or hatred.

    December 28, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Mrid

    In the immortal words of Sir Mix-A-Lot. "I take my women like Flo-Jo."

    December 28, 2012 at 7:49 am | Report abuse |
  51. Da Truff

    Are you black Soledad ? Really ?

    December 28, 2012 at 7:32 am | Report abuse |
  52. Fox Mulder

    This is about as relevant as their made up news reports. More propaganda. Drink it up sheeple.

    December 28, 2012 at 4:08 am | Report abuse |
  53. samnet45

    I am white in America. I cannot have a "White Appreciation minute " and forget about "White Appreciation Month" without being called a racist. I am discriminated on when applying for a job and university admission because I am not the right color to finish their color wheel of affirmative action.

    December 27, 2012 at 10:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard M,

      I am bi-racial and understand fully where you are coming from...too many double standards. Everyone should have an appreciation month:)

      December 27, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • lol

      Are you kidding? EVERY DAY is white appreciation month!

      December 28, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  54. Jeanne

    Dumb me, I though she had a hispanic mom, hence the Soledad, and a dad with an Irish name – O'Brien. I was really surprised to read in this article that she considers herself to be a black.. Her race was a non-issue. Or a non-something. I'm not in the habit of examining news commentators that closely.
    Good question someone raised previously – how much black do you need to be termed "black"? Our president is viewed as black, but he's half-white, too. If he were one-quarter black ancestry, would he still be black?

    December 27, 2012 at 8:13 pm | Report abuse |
  55. jim jimson

    Pathetic attention-seeking from a pathetic 'journalist'. She needs to go – she is single-handedly destroying the last shreds of CNN'c credibility

    December 27, 2012 at 6:37 pm | Report abuse |
  56. Dave

    Sure you are. Nice try.

    December 27, 2012 at 5:27 pm | Report abuse |
  57. jangocat

    Yes Soledad everyone already knows you consider yourself black, even though you have a white dad and look white. You've been telling everyone for years now, we get it.

    Now can you get over your personal insecurities and learn how to be a real journalist doing real news? Instead of this nonsense why don't you visit Camden or Detroit and see if you can do some real good for the black communities there?

    December 27, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
  58. Dubious

    More irrelevance from CNN. Won't be long before they disappear. I remember when they actually reported the news as in the first Gulf War. Soledad may have had a promising career but she blew it.

    December 27, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pppa

      Soledad is the poster child for irrelevance. Her journalistic skills seem to center on finding the most irrelevant question then beating her interviewee to death with it. No ability or hope for true investigative journalism. And objectivity – forget about it. All of which makes her perfect of CNN. Keep practicing looking serious, Soledad, that's the best chops you've got...

      December 27, 2012 at 5:23 pm | Report abuse |
  59. empresstrudy

    I'm an African American and I'm white. More or less.

    December 25, 2012 at 11:14 pm | Report abuse |
  60. getta jiob

    Good fer you, Soledad. What do you want, a cookie?

    December 25, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
  61. I guess the verdict is in....

    When is CNN going to have journalist write about the news instead of themselves!!!!
    WE DONT CARE WHAT YOUR ARE...a good portion of us are mixed heritage....move on....get over it.

    December 25, 2012 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
    • Daedalus

      This... a thousand times, this.

      December 27, 2012 at 4:01 pm | Report abuse |
  62. forreal89

    i am white can we do a story on that

    December 22, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brad Bettencourt

      And Peter Griffin is black...just go watch family guy. Who cares?!

      December 23, 2012 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • r belin

      ...as long as you maintain that this crap is a story, its yours

      January 22, 2013 at 11:07 am | Report abuse |
  63. Bruce

    Yeah soledad, we know and no soledad, we don't care.

    December 22, 2012 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse |
  64. Johnny Reb

    I like turtles....

    December 22, 2012 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • mariam

      Race issues are a bit crazy in the US, I am glad I grew up in parts of the world where he outlook is positive.

      December 22, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Report abuse |
  65. Johnny Reb


    December 22, 2012 at 3:18 pm | Report abuse |
  66. Meg

    Could we get to the news?

    December 21, 2012 at 7:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • SEM

      Maybe you should click on a news link

      December 21, 2012 at 8:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • sandy Storm

      Soledad: MOVE ON. We get it you're black. I'm of mixed heritage, too. WHO CARES!! Go do some real reporting. The whole world if falling apart and you still keep whining.

      December 22, 2012 at 1:39 pm | Report abuse |
  67. rmuser

    Hey Soledad, hate to break the news to ya', you ain't black.

    December 21, 2012 at 6:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • uglytoes

      you're 100% correct. she has more Caucasian in her than black. She's choosing to be black for some agenda.

      December 22, 2012 at 5:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard M,

      I agree with you, she is mixed race, and trying to just get attention!

      December 23, 2012 at 3:07 am | Report abuse |
  68. SEM

    I heard you identify with being Black and being Latina. But you should also be proud to embrace that large percentage of European in you.

    December 19, 2012 at 10:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Richard M,

      I agree, she is mixed with white too, but thinks it is ok to forget about that...she is ridiculous. Mixed race means mixed race..be proud of all of your heritages!

      December 23, 2012 at 3:08 am | Report abuse |
  69. George

    I really enjoy the videos posted and your effort to educate people about being Black in the Americas.

    I just saw one of your videos and I wanted to point out a few things..

    As a Black "Latino" or "Hispanic" man I really think your efforts are great. I find that some Black people in the US think they own what it means to be Black. If some of them would investigate more they would know that much more Black slaves came to Latin-America than to the US. and that the "Colorism" that is prevalent in the media has been part of our culture for years....where the lighter your skin tone or eye colour or the straighter your hair is makes you "better" that someone who is darker therefore "mejorando la raza" or "improving the race" as many call it in Latin-America.

    I see "Colorism" more and more prevalent in the Black media as lighter skin Blacks are considered more beautiful and/or desirable than darker people. No one can tell me that Beyonce or Rihanna for example are more beautiful than Kelly Rowland, or Kenya Moore but in the media this is very commonly the case. All of them are beautiful Black women of different shades of the spectrum.

    I do not agree with the term African American only applying to Blacks born in the US. Since there are White, Asian or Indian people born and raised in Africa who should be allowed to use the term if they want to identify themselves with this label.

    I also find that only when I go to the U.S. there is a need in this country to label a person into a specific box for convenience purposes, and that it is greatly linked to their history and background.

    At the end each person should understand that what they are is not just about their race, but a summary of their heritage, culture, experiences and hopefully this mixture will allow them to be better people and live productive lives. Too much emphasis and focus is put on race in the U.S. instead of the person's ideas, character and skills.
    Just my two cents...

    December 19, 2012 at 2:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Miquel

      with the Ark of the Covenant.)

      The august New York Times recently explained that illegal immigration has no effect
      on unemployment because illegal immigrants compete only with “native-born workers
      without a high school diploma.”

      As noted by Vanderbilt law professor Carol Swain, author of “Debate Immigration,”
      that means black workers. Illegal immigration, she says, harms blacks “the most
      because they’re disproportionately low-skilled.”

      December 19, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • SS

      Right on George

      December 27, 2012 at 5:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • r belin

      ...you are right on the one point, we are trying to put all of you in a box

      January 13, 2013 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
  70. Joe Burrell

    Can anyone explain to me why, in America, if one has one white parent and one black parent, that person is considered to be black? Is blackness viewed as some type of contaminant? Could that person not be just as easily viewed as white, especially if they look more white than black (e.g. Mariah Carey)? Also. to make the point even clearer, if a person has 3 white grandparents and one black grandparent, would that person not be more white than black?

    December 12, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Strange Luv

      The only BLACK PEOPLE on planet earth that make a big deal out of being black are African Americans, any other part of the world black people which really should be called brown, identify with culture before skin color. I am mixed and because of this race obsession that most African Americans have which comes more across as an inferiority complex. I identify myself being a mulatto and not as Black American, which all this is stupid any damn way because there's only one thing we should identify with and that is being AMERICAN!!!

      December 12, 2012 at 4:25 pm | Report abuse |
      • Balmoral-Medina

        one of the few intelligent comments here...thanks

        December 12, 2012 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
      • Athome

        So true. I think black Americans are unaware of the fact that they have essentially "bought into" the belief of "races" and that they are indeed "inferior."

        December 14, 2012 at 6:44 pm | Report abuse |
      • hereinlou

        I couldn't disagree more. As a black woman of mixed race... I was never taught that it was 'inferior' to be black, or that it was a contaminant. I was taught to be proud. I also understood that to be black in America, means to be 'mixed'. Unless you are from Africa, black people in America have white, Native American and a plethora of other combinations in them. Our history books are filled with mixed-race people, and they are filed under the tab of 'African American'... Fredrick Douglass, Malcom X, Rosa Parks... They are part of my history, and I take pride in representing them. What I find insulting is when someone thinks that because I could 'pass'... I should. I carry the experience of an African American woman & I don't wish to deny that

        December 15, 2012 at 9:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • NJBoy

        Well said !! now if everyone else would think like that there would be less problems in AMERICA

        December 19, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |

        Exactly. Only an ignorant fool would accept the 'one drop lie'. What is wrong with black community that they ACCEPT that thinking by claiming mixed race people? There is a huge mis-education process going on with the black community about a great many things which is why they are so incredibly broken as a group. NEWS FLASH: I AM MIXED RACE. THERE ARE MILLIONS OF MIXED RACE AND BIRACIAL PEOPLE OUT THERE. Accept it. We will NOT claim to be ONE thing when we are not.

        December 27, 2012 at 1:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • European Guy

      My mother is Afro-caribbean from Belize, my father is English and German, however my entire life (36 years) I've been considered "black" by most of American society. I speak German and Spanish fluently, I've spent most summers since childhood in either Germany or the UK or Belize. In those places I feel like I "belong", for lack of a better way to discribe it. As soon as I step off the plane back in America, I feel like a second class citizen, though I am born and raised in the US. In America "black" feels like a label applied to make me feel lesser-than. Not that black people are lesser-than, the labal itself just feels like a burden that one must carry. Why can't America accept EVERYTHING that I am, not just my skin color?

      December 14, 2012 at 5:18 pm | Report abuse |
      • Black Man (African American)

        It's funny you have that opinion but call yourself European Guy. I am happy to be called BLACK and incredibly happy to be African American and I don't know how other people have a problem with being black or being called black. My biggest problem is people that say they are African American just because they are born in the U.S. You may have American citizenship but you are not African American if you did not share the same background as we did. I mean to say literally in the U.S. I can't call myself Chinese just because I am born there because I do not share the history of the Chinese. If you were born on the moon would you be a moon man/woman? No. You would be a black person on the moon. If you were born in Saudi Arabia, would you be Saudi? No! They do not give citizenship to anyone other than Saudi's...people of Saudi descent. There, you would be considered to be wherever your parents are from...NOT Saudi. I personally don't understand why someone would not want to be whatever their descent is anyway...love it, I do and i love yours!

        December 18, 2012 at 10:32 pm | Report abuse |
      • Woollyhair

        You are a "lesser than" by nature of your own "feeling". Black is the ancient race, the mother race from which we all are born. It's traits are dominant and therefore superior. A man is not chained and enslaved because he is weak but for fear or his strength. He is not denied knowledge because he is feeble but for fear of his intelligence and cleverness. Nor is a man kept in the dark because he is blind but because what he might see.

        Oppression, in all cases, is a temporary condition and always employed by the fearful and envious. Two traits of the inferior.

        December 25, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • bobby

        Because the politicians that run this country thrive off dividing you into a category , then labeling you as inferior, then acting like your buddy to help with those inferiorties and give you government freebees in order to ensure your vote.

        December 28, 2012 at 6:34 am | Report abuse |
    • Black Man (African American)

      Just a partial answer...a person is considered to be black because they are treated like black people by others and themselves. Good and Bad. I have a friend that says he considers himself to be white even though he is from Iran and when I asked him why he stated it is because "life is easier". I don't know why someone would not want to acknowledge all that they are though so I don't have an answer for you other questions either but at least you asked the question and that's a great start. I hope you don't get discouraged and STOP asking questions because I would have never been affected enough to have responded so I hope you affect someone else too.

      December 18, 2012 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • SS

      We are all mutts. We should just be people.

      December 27, 2012 at 5:53 pm | Report abuse |
  71. Reggie

    You said it! Many blacks are forever focusing on their struggle, past or present. "I'm not where I ought to be because I'm black." As you think you are, then so shall you be. That is the issue!

    December 12, 2012 at 1:25 am | Report abuse |
  72. Anthony

    It's ironic how white people say this is not an issue but are overly opinionated. I don't watch this show or tv very much, but I do love to see, hear, and learn about non white people, i think we all relate but after learning so much hogwash about the white man in american education Its good to see, hear, and know other people situations that could possibly help someone close to me. I look forward to telling my children your black "do not let anybody tell you you're not black." God bless America! Please God with humility, joy, and love!

    December 11, 2012 at 2:17 am | Report abuse |
    • Tesla

      Isn't humility the opposite of pride? Pride being a deadly sin; also known as vanity, which comes from overinflated importance on something relatively insignificant? Hmm... what could people be overinflating the importance of...? Perhaps the random jumble of genitics that defines "race" despite the fact that with the exception of a few genetic markers, we are identical?

      Don't be proud of something that has no meaning. We are at the cusp of a transhumanist society. With just a little studying of culture, a lot of makeup, and some admittedly drastic surgery, I could change from a white man to a black woman; and unless you were told, you'd be none the wiser.

      Race should no longer matter. We're getting very close to gender no longer mattering. Physical appearance can be modified and manipulated in any form, and thus is a falsehood now. The only truths are what you think, and what you do. Be proud of that. Not the melanin content of your skin.

      December 11, 2012 at 5:21 pm | Report abuse |
      • Lisa

        Whoa Tesla! That was pretty deep. Really. And I agree.

        December 14, 2012 at 10:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • Alix in NY

        Pride and vanity are two different things.

        December 28, 2012 at 12:13 am | Report abuse |
      • flatlander48

        Race should no longer matter.

        As long as whites continue hold it against Blacks, Latinos and Asians, it will matter.

        December 29, 2012 at 12:26 pm | Report abuse |
  73. Jules

    It saddens me that educated human beings (or so we call ourselves) are still, in 2012, using terms white and black to describe races of people. There is no science in “black” and “white” whatsoever. These terms do not describe people’s origins in any way. They were terms used in simpler times of shallow diversity to describe people with light/pale skin(white) and people with brown to very dark skin colors who also came from anywhere in Africa(black).

    We are in very different times. We know better. So why do we still hold on to terms that divided us 200 years ago. You mean all of these marches and protests, and deaths, and beatings happened and we black/African-american-african/ whatever-you-call-it people are still letting other people define us simply as black?? That’s pretty weak. Yeah sure, people were enslaved and torn from their heritage, but how long are we going to hold on to that and still just use the generic and oh so clever (sarcasm) “black” term? We have to be better and smarter than that at this point.

    What are you? You should interpret that as: Where do your people come from? I am Ghanain (mother born in/from Ghana) and African-American(father descendent of slaves from Africa-with a white great great grandparent). That is my answer. It’s a longer answer, but that’s who I am. White people-same goes for you. You aren’t white. That is a color in a crayon box, it’s a paint color on a wall. White people can’t just make up that they are white. They come from somewhere-italy, Germany, Norway, England…wherever. Using the term white is a cop out. No one in America is pure anything unless you come from a long line of people (that never mixed with any other culture) from another country and now live here, or you are native American-period end of story. Other than that, you are mixed with something-english-french-irish, Cuban-italian-german, Swedish, irish, britsh. HELLO!!! This is not “white” land! People came here from Europe (England, Spain, all over) and took over and brought slaves and mixed up a pot of people soup and now we don’t know who’s who in terms of black and white.

    Grow up America. It’s about time.

    December 10, 2012 at 11:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Balmoral-Medina

      Jules...there is too much political mileage, victiimhood mileage and special-preference mileage for ANYONE to give up being "black" , if a buck is to be made, a scholarship is to be awarded or admissions to a college is to be gained...see it everyday.

      December 10, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
      • Chichi

        I disagree. Do you think individuals enjoy being lumped in a monolithic "black" group or the unsaid connotations of blackness that you are the "other", less than, inferior, insufficient in some way. Do we celebrate the diversity in blackness like we should? No. More importantly if you think affirmative action has a capitalist motive rather than egalitarian motive, you are highly misinformed. Please read about the history of oppression in the United States and re-evaluate ways in which you can be an ally to progress rather than blaming these underrepresented communities.

        December 21, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
      • flatlander48

        You left out the parts about not being hired in the first place, being overlooked for promotions, being denied access to rental properties, paying higher interest rates for home and consumer loans and paying higher prices for things that do not have fixed prices (homes, cars, etc.).

        December 29, 2012 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tesla

      I respectfully disagree. What I am is not where I come from; what I am is my accomplishments, my failures, my goals, and my desires. Where I come from might have some small play in there, but not much. I would rather focus on where I and the world are going, rather than where we have been.

      December 11, 2012 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
      • Riz'n (African American)

        Tesla, i respectfully disagree with you. You are what your history is and each person is a historical piece (peace) of data. I say this to bring to light the fact that we should definitely acknowledge our past as we go forward. I do however agree that you should be judged by your actions and not your skin color or lack thereof.

        December 18, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
      • flatlander48

        What you are discounting is the formative years BEFORE you had accomplishments, failures, etc. Initially we are shaped by how and where we grew up and the sum of those experiences. This shapes our perspective and our beliefs. What you are saying is that whatever happened before adulthood has no bearing on your life as an adult. I think you would almost have to be pathological to have such a turnaround between childhood and adulthood.

        December 29, 2012 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • SS

      I agree brother. We are all mutts and have been for years. I hate it when we try to separate ourselves by color. I'm just a light skinned mutt and It took a lot of different nationalities of Europeans to create me. Thats about all I think I know.

      December 27, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
  74. Frank Marino

    Like some others have said, Soledad is beautiful. Who cares if she is black or white or anything else? Mixed race should be sufficient for identification purposes. What I find shocking is that a person can be 1/16 black (and 15/16 white) and he/she is referred as black. Why? Isn't 15/16, arithmetically speaking, the majority? Unfortunately, since colonial times "black" has been seen as tainted, contaminated or impure. People we are in the 21st century! As long as we tolerate this discriminatory "labeling" , racism will continue to exist in America.

    December 10, 2012 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tired of Racist People

      Soledad agrees with white supremacy.

      December 11, 2012 at 4:06 pm | Report abuse |
  75. Enstein Calaoa

    The color of ones' skin is not a problem. If i am not mistaken, all women are beautiful, especially in the dark.

    December 10, 2012 at 9:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • Riz'n (African American)

      Well, unless you plan to stay in the dark, you will have to address it...but I do agree with you that skin color should not be a problem

      December 18, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
  76. mina ibrahim

    My brothers and sisters come to Somalia. Eat goat

    December 10, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Report abuse |
    • Riz'n (African American)


      December 18, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • SS

        I have a lot of Mexican friends who eat goat. Its good!

        December 27, 2012 at 6:08 pm | Report abuse |
  77. Heaveninc

    When people say not to have a show like this because they did not like, nor need it, is a sign of self absorption and being out of touch. Don't watch it.. It was not for you, it was for our young people especially, and for mixed race people who want to understand where they fit in, in a world filled with lines of seperation.. It is a great beginning to a new way of understanding race relations. Excellent Job, Soledad. Only you could have done something like this and made it work.. If you did not like this show or need this show, move on.. stop commenting.. millions of young people did need it. It was for them.

    December 10, 2012 at 1:42 pm | Report abuse |
  78. Tim

    Dear Soledad,

    Please find something more important to report on. Its articles like these that make me NOT watch CNN.

    December 10, 2012 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Laura

      Tim, just because it's not important to you doesn't mean it's not an important issue. If you don't care to watch a particular segment, turn the channel. It's CNN, not TimNN...

      December 10, 2012 at 2:43 pm | Report abuse |
      • Deb

        I agree with Tim. there were a lot better things to do a program about Blacks on besides the paperbag test. My mother is very light skinnned and my father very dark skinned, neeedless to say this was never an issue in our family. I had friends in the neighborhood who were very dark with very short hair and others very bright with hair touching thrir butt. To be honest it was my darkest colored friends who took the most bullying. I think there really to much emphasis placed on color. And like the whie gentleman said it iis white people who utlimately determine your race,

        December 11, 2012 at 2:57 am | Report abuse |
  79. Angie

    I'm a minority (non Black) with many black friends. I just didn't GET this show. Sometimes you fit in with your own kind, sometimes you don't...what is the big deal?? I have a latino last name because of my husband...people ALWAYS ask me "what are you?" I'm never offended, why should I be? That is ludicrous. I proudly tell them my heritage and my husband's and they think it's cool. The large majority of people who ask aren't trying to be malicious or racist, they are just curious because you look exotic (that's a good thing). I think a lot of the kids on the show are creating an issue out of nothing. As for the Egyptian girl who says she's Black or African American. I knew she was Egyptian before she even said it. I met an Algerian who was whiter than white....should she call herself Black because Algeria is in Africa?? Should I call myself Asian because I'm Middle Eastern and the mideast is in Asia? I'm sorry but these kids need to get a life....people are starving in the world....how about they focus on that instead?

    December 10, 2012 at 11:47 am | Report abuse |
    • Angie

      And..I PROMISE you...African Americans focus on skin tone and hair more than anyone else! The rest of us don't care! Blacks are so divided between light skinned, dark skinned....thin nose, big lips, blah blah. Let it go, be proud of the way you look! Be proud of your culture and heritage!

      December 10, 2012 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
      • Erin

        You obviously don't get it. If it were an easy thing to "get over" then there wouldn't be a show. People are constantly reminded about their skin color...so it's an every day thing for a good number of people. And no, I don't think people are being racist for asking, but in the black community, it's a big deal. Society puts a value on skin tone...the lighter the better. Dark people are not as valued. Black children grow up with the idea that lighter is better...is it a good thing, no, but try to tell a 4 year old to "get over it." When "The Hunger Games" came out people actually made a point of blogging to the world about that fact that one of the characters had dark skin and it made her less sympathetic as a victim. Is that something you would get over easily if someone said that about your race?

        December 10, 2012 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tesla


        Just like there's a Far Eastern stigma about Hmong, or Vietnamese, or Koreans (all depending on which country you're in). Or like Western Europe was against the Irish and Scottish. Or how Eastern Europe was and still is about the Gypsies. Or in the U.S., where "enlightened" white people view whites from southern states as inbred hillbillies.

        I seem to remember each of these races "getting over it." Except for the southern whites. They're not allowed to get over it because they're the "villain."

        Seriously. Stop letting your race define you. If someone says you're not black enough, or if someone says you're too black, screw'em. Don't let people judge you on asthetic factors, and don't judge others on them. You don't have to be your "culture." I grew up at odds with my family and community cultures, and was a perpetual outcast because of it. Through that, I learned to work hard, value intelligence and education, and enjoy the little things in life that make me happy.

        No one can tell you who you are. If you choose to embrace a racist, criminal, or anti-intellectual culture, that is your decision, and no one else.

        December 10, 2012 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tesla


        Also, I've been insulted repeatedly due to race, gender, and political viewpoint. The difference is, nobody seems to have an issue with calling a conservative white male engineer a racist, misogynist, corporate shill, or any other tripe because I happen to disagree with a statement on a logical level.

        And don't get me started on Caucasian. No one in my family tree for the last 6 generations at least originated from the Caucasus Mountains region. I'm white. Call me white, because I don't expect people to worry about my Polish, Irish, English, German, Italian, Swiss, and Swedish heritage. I'm white, and I'm American. That should work.

        December 10, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • BasilT

      I guess if you have no racial self respect then you'll be content in just being an anonymous "other"....hoping of course for that coveted "honorary white" status...

      December 11, 2012 at 2:15 am | Report abuse |
  80. nokidden

    I am Irish/French descent American. I have been asked my heritage many times. Is it just because my skin is light that this does not offend me??

    December 10, 2012 at 11:32 am | Report abuse |
  81. jay

    How about spending more time worrying about reading writing and arithmetic - as long as blacks dwell on this type of social ordering they just miss the point - our inner city schools are a mess and your constant concerns about this type of stuff just misses the point - get more integrated into the larger society and maybe this type of stuff would be less of a concern - a good job and a sound family are goals not skin tone and hair !!!!!!

    December 10, 2012 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
    • Angie


      December 10, 2012 at 11:52 am | Report abuse |
    • Anthony

      Wow, I hope she puts your comment on tv! For you to think black people dwell on these issues, and are not apart of the larger society says a lot about "black in america"

      December 11, 2012 at 1:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Riz'n (African American)

      Let's get it straight! The reason it's important to identify as black because of the history it carries good and bad.Although history should not define anyone, it should be acknowledged, appreciated and respected. How about the "black" schools be funded to provide them the same chances for success as others? How do you tell someone that experiences life like a "black" person to "GET OVER IT?" That is the most counter intelligent thing I have heard in a very very long time and a person should be allowed to appreciate who they are as well as where they come from...even if they don't really know.

      December 18, 2012 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  82. mel

    i tried to leave a response but i dont see it

    December 10, 2012 at 8:50 am | Report abuse |
  83. Heaveninc

    Great Job, Soledad, Perfect. This is how you heal deepseated colorism.. Being a multi racial child born in 1962, I realized I belonged to my self and enjoyed the rest of the world and its many cultures. Knowing and loving who i am has taught me how to know and love others.. This is where all of this is leading to, loving and respecting each other. I am excited. Thanks Soledad! You are on the right path!!

    December 10, 2012 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  84. Jules


    December 10, 2012 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
  85. jujuice17

    We're ALL from Africa and the African gene has produces many variants. It seems to me that many people "black" and "white" still bear the burden of ignorance in this country and refuse to be educated. Bottom line no one has a monopoly on oppression or evil and race mixing has been going on since the beginning of time. In the end "Black" is a mentality and experience . While science dictates that dark is dominant and light is recessive this shouldn't be used as a medium to advocate "black supremacy as some "melanin teachers" have asserted. The African or so called "black" experience has always been diverse for thousands of years,so, I resent a paradiam of "Pan Africanism that says being "African" means this or that. 'Im not mad at Soledad, so what, she's married to a white guy, get over it. She's still a beautiful sis in my eyes!!

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


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

      Dark skin is not dominant. Skin color due to melanin content is actually determined by a number of genetic markers; the more of the markers you have, the darker your skin. When people of two different skin colors breed, you usually end up with a child that has the average of the two skin colors. Of course, there are mutations and whatnot, but this is the general rule.

      December 10, 2012 at 4:52 pm | Report abuse |
  86. TJ

    Hope my sarcasm is apparent. I am proud to be what others call "regular black" in an insulting manner. Those who identify as African American without claiming every Cherokee Irish or Dominican ancestor in the process know exactly what I'm talking about. "Regular" blacks are the closest thing to the design of the original man next to continental Africans.

    December 10, 2012 at 7:39 am | Report abuse |
  87. carlwesleyclark

    Can we lay off the race thing for a minute? It really is getting atrocious.

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

      Soldedad – when you walk into a bar, people will think you are white. Stop obsessing with this stuff. Please.

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

        Stop being abusive to a gorgeous woman.. You are cruel. What happened to your heart? Who smashed your heart to pieces, Eric? Just because you are fine the color of your skin does not mean, our children are. Some are committing suicide over this very issue, some find the world hopeless. Discussing this issue is about our children and their future. It is not about you. Leave Soledad alone and stop projecting your cruelty on women... it pours out of your comment.

        December 10, 2012 at 8:51 am | Report abuse |
  88. Sam

    I find Soledad O'Brien to be obnoxious and self-aggrandizing. Anything to get a chance to talk about yourself. You can see it in her daily shows, where she is racially obsessed enough that she needs to bring up the fact she's biracial at the drop of a hat, even when it's not relevant. This very article starts with someone interviewing HER about her background an experiences! At the end of the day, I feel that this 'Black in America' series is just a puff piece. This kind of content is very divisive, and I think Soledad should stop talking about how good white people have it in this country.
    Get over yourself, Soledad. You don't speak for anyone but yourself. Stick to real journalism.

    December 10, 2012 at 4:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Greg

      Amen, Sam.

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

      Read my reply to Eric... So self absorbed you have no idea that our children, especially our young women are hurting because of all of this unspoken racism, colorism.. the magazines are filled with it every day. Leave Soledad alone.

      December 10, 2012 at 8:53 am | Report abuse |
      • Tesla

        If it's unspoken, is it really there? Or are people tilting at windmills, finding monsters where there are none?

        December 10, 2012 at 4:56 pm | Report abuse |
  89. Eric

    Wow, seriously?

    December 10, 2012 at 3:44 am | Report abuse |
  90. myrrhbear

    I am Torontonian, and Toronto has played a huge part in teaching me what I value so deeply in life. My grade 5/6 class had kids from all over the world, and mostly only one or two people from any given country, and I was, I think, one of only two people born in Canada in the class ... And we were all from such wonderful backgrounds, and shared stories and poems about our families, and visited each others homes, and saw the decorations and cultural belongings from all our diverse backgrounds, and tasted the food... And we were all one group of kids, of friends; one family, for real. We loved each other, with joy in the uniqueness, and total identification and connectedness with each other as all really one group – one family. At least – that's how I saw it : ) and it remains one of my very most core passions and values in life. I probably overlooked lots of other aspects of how I see and identify myself, but that's more than enough for now, hehe. : )

    December 10, 2012 at 3:37 am | Report abuse |
    • ernie

      the thing you overlooked and cannot understand is the impact of the brutal existence of slavery in America. it has created a black/white chasm that will be with us for at least a couple more generations. it has, and still does, foster hate, guilt, resentment, denial, exasperation and distrust in just about all americans. it is easy for non-blacks to say "get over it, slavery ended over 150 years ago". the actual truth is slavery ended less than 50 years ago. all americans will get over it in time...that time will be when every american who was alive in 1965 is dead.

      December 10, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tesla

        Ok, so what about the brutal existence of slavery in Africa 4000 years ago? When an entire culture was enslaved by Egyptians? Or when the Moors enslaved Western Europeans based solely on race?

        Ok, maybe those were too long ago. Not sure how that matters. I know that when the Jews were released from bondage they weren't given great opportunities for education and employment in the Egyptian empire. If I remember right, they were exiled, and wandered for 40 years or so before finally finding a home to settle down in, that they had to fight tooth and nail for.

        What most don't realize is that slavery in the U.S. still exists, but not because they any race is kept down. Slavery exists in the form of 99 week unemployment, welfare, affirmative action, and hate crime laws. If you rely on the government to give you something, then you are a slave to the government. You'll never vote away the people who give those things, because you need them. No matter what horrific decisions they may make, you'll keep them there because your survival depends on it. To quote Bioshock, "A man chooses. A slave obeys."

        December 10, 2012 at 5:14 pm | Report abuse |
  91. myrrhbear

    Why can't I seem to post anything?

    December 10, 2012 at 3:36 am | Report abuse |
    • jujuice17

      Read the terms of service, you might have unknowingly violated one of them. I merely mentioned a good book on 'race relations" and that prevented me from posting my comment!

      December 10, 2012 at 8:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Balmoral-Medina

      you might have upset one of the "mods" with your view...that is a big no-no...must be PC at all times...

      December 10, 2012 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  92. Jim

    uuuum!!! That lady there, whatever her name is, looks very African, exhibits all the African phenotypes, etc., I am not sure who it is that confuses her for anything but Black. As to Brazilian, please note that there are Black Brazilians and White Brazilians, just like in the USA we have black people and white people.

    December 10, 2012 at 2:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      That's an interesting thing for you to say, because she's exactly as much white as she is black. So, who's really the one that's mistaken here?

      December 10, 2012 at 5:29 am | Report abuse |
  93. Brother John Ruhinda

    "Who is black in America"
    black or white can identify a skin color but can never describe a person. Color is just a physical identification or outward appearance of a person so the question "who are you,what are you or who is black? is more than color. What I am is in other wards, the whole of me. And that includes my heart, my spirit and mind, all of which can not be limited to color. By saying I am black or white is trying to describe who you are with on percent of who actually you are. I come from Africa, and my skin color is black, but myself, I am more than black so it is lack of understanding of human values that may lead someone to describe themselves as being black or white.
    Even in the Bible knowledge, skin color makes no sense. Genesis 1:26-27 says; And God created man in His image and likeliness. I we are created in God's image and likeliness, then the right answer to the questions above should not be black or white. If God is black, then all humans are black, and He is white, all humans are white. Fortunately, God is neither black nor white therefore we are neither. Black or white color identifies only skin color of a person and not the real person.
    I am an image of God. I am a person with a black colored skin. I am a man who look black. I am not a color. I am not black/white. Personal opinion.
    Brother John Ruhinda, From East Africa.

    December 10, 2012 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
  94. Sylvia Walsh

    Hello Soledad, Why so much focus on being black in America? It appears to me that too much emphasis is placed on the experience of black people – the topic has been exhausted. A topic or issue that has not been touched on, and has even been negated, is the Native-American/ Indigenous experience. The painful history of colonization and it's effect on Native-American peoples, is a skeleton in the collective American closet. We all live on Indian land, stolen land that is. The Indigenous people of Turtle Island have been the most oppressed an exploited. As children, they were separated from their families, dragged into residential schools, miles away from their parents and nations. They were forbidden and punished for speaking their language and they were taught that their parents were pagans, unworthy, and less than animals. Native-American culture and practises were prohibited. Many Indigenous Nations (reservations) are the most impoverished in the Americas. Unemployment is more than 80% and unhealthy housing and living conditions account for the highest rate of diseases and infant death, only comparable to Third World countries. There exists a 'culture of silence' amongst most Americans, and that includes African-Americans. It is time to deal with the issue of a reflective history of colonization – the true story about America. Decolonization and self-determination is a struggle the Indigenous peoples in America have been involved with for 500 years – how about their voices? Racist education, where lies are told about American history, mystification about how the land was settled, rather than stolen. In addition, it would be important to point out how Native-Americans had their own systems of governance, philosophies and values. Especially now, as we deal with environmental issues, we could learn lessons from the Indigenous culturalists, who have the traditional scientific and cultural knowledge about this land. We all need their knowledge, because mainstream America has failed to learn from 'The Knowers' (Paulo Freire).

    December 10, 2012 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
    • Angie

      Right on!

      December 10, 2012 at 11:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Balmoral-Medina

      The reason Soledad did not advance or promote ANY aspect of the indigenous experience is that SHE has no dog in that fight and yet she dares to promote herself as this all-knowing race-queen...she is just laughable when she's not just out-right offensive...just another race-peddling American fraud...how dare she call herself :"part Cuban" as if that were a racial designation...just pathetic...

      December 10, 2012 at 10:08 pm | Report abuse |
      • Deb

        When that program is done make sure it is mentioned that many Native American tribes had slaves particularly the Cherokee, My uncle born in the late 1800's informed me on tape that my paternal grea tgrandfather was enslaved by Cherokees and he was 1/2 Cherokee as his mother was impregnated by the master's brother.

        I considered it a old wise tale until the Cherokee recently voted all Blacks who were former decendents of slaves no longer members of their tribe as they had been. Lucky for me I never was nor would I ever want to be.

        December 11, 2012 at 3:30 am | Report abuse |
    • sam

      I agree that we must pay attention to this more sinister aspect of American history. It is truly horrific. Yet, it does not mean that we should ignore the very real inequalities that other Americans continue to suffer. I agree completely that we should move to a more balanced teaching of history, especially in relating the Native American experience–even though, that itself is not monolithic.

      December 11, 2012 at 12:25 pm | Report abuse |
      • BasilT

        Agreed...if there needs to be one special it should be about the original people here and how they were killed off by the white invaders. That statement alone is why CNN AND SOLEDAD would never tackle such a terse subject as that that would make many whites cringe seeing themselves negatively...THUS the "continuing" drawn out- played out- BIA series which Obrien can fake like "she is down" but in actuality is only using the black experience to further her own career and also to keep her white massahs at CNN and in her bedroom content....

        December 12, 2012 at 3:43 pm | Report abuse |
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