Recently, actor Taye Diggs made a controversial statement regarding his biracial son. In short, he said he wants his son to embrace being biracial and not choose between being Black or White. Needless to say, it got real in these internet streets!
While I do applaud Mr. Diggs for being aware of the challenges his son might face, I also have to side-eye him. (And his defense didn’t help matters, but we’ll get to that in a moment.)
In today’s society, if you’re a biracial child with one Black parent, you’re automatically deemed as Black. This was set forth in slavery times and has continued to this day. While there are many biracial Black and White celebrities who favor for White (Rashida Jones, Blake Griffin, Mariah Carey), there are many who do not (Lenny Kravitz, President Obama, Halle Berry).
Taye’s son looks like so…
Now, I’m not an expert on biracial children but had I not known who the child’s mother was, I wouldn’t have guessed his son was biracial.
In my $.02 opinion, it seems Taye’s issue with his son being addressed as biracial stems more from his own insecurities and issues regarding race than it does for his child to be known as biracial. His We Are the World, Kumbaya approach to addressing race with his son, I feel, will only hinder and not help. How can he honestly say it’s up to his son to “choose” what race he identifies more with when it’s clear his looks favors one more than the other? That makes no sense and honestly, it’s dangerous. Tragic mulatto, anyone?
Ask tennis star James Blake. He’s biracial with a White mother. It didn’t stop the police, though.
My son is Black Ukrainian – he’s half-Black, half-Ukrainian. He’s also mixed with a lot of other things – Polish, American Indian, Serbian, and just plain White. He’s like Heinz 57 with salt and pepper to taste. I’m in the process of speaking mostly Russian to him and creating more Russian and Ukrainian dishes in addition to the soul food ones I always prepare.
Yet, I also know the challenges my son will face when he’s older.
You see, Bear is light-skinned with curly hair. As he gets older, the hair might get shorter and his skin might become darker. To society, he’ll be viewed as Black. It doesn’t matter how I view him or even how I raise him. The moment he steps foot outside our door, I can’t control how society views him. I can only prepare him.
I’ll be honest with it; when Bear gets older I’ll tell him straight up – you’re biracial but society will view you as a Black man and you’ll be treated as such.
In short, I don’t think anyone is asking Taye or telling his son, Walker, they have to choose one race over the other. I doubt anyone is that gilb. I do feel Taye is doing a disservice to his son but not being real with him. It would’ve been refreshing to hear Taye say how he acknowledges his son’s heritage but he also knows how society might treat him.
And that defense, I’d previously mentioned earlier? If his son chooses to be a proud Black man? Chooses to be? What the hell kind of tomfoolery is that? What other choice does he have, Mr. Diggs? Have you not seen a picture of your child?
Let’s post another picture of Walker for those in the back…
(Now are you seeing what I’m seeing? The issue is not about Walker being labeled biracial and honestly speaking, I doubt that was ever the case, period.)
I would think, in this day and age of #BlackLivesMatter, unapologetic cultural appropriation, and police brutality, Taye would’ve been more aware of the direct influence he has on his son’s spirit. Children learn about love directly from their parents before anyone else.
I guess we have to wait and see. Maybe Walker will get his wake-up call before his dad does.