Jump to content
Troy

Question to Soledad O'Brien: How do you self-identify?

Recommended Posts

From a recent inetrview with Soledad O'Brien:

Kam Williams: William Cooper and Troy Johnson both asked essentially the same question. What did you put down on her census form? William pointed out that Obama checked off “black” when he is just as black as white. How do you self-identify?

Soledad O’Brien: I find the question really ridiculous. All the schooling I have to do on this topic is wearing me out. Obama is black. His mother was white. I am black. My father is white. I’m going to give everybody a History 101 lesson. Some black people have white blood in them. This has been going on for many generations, people. Look at any family of black people. They run a range of colors. This is why.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly if it were up to me I’d get rid of the “race” question on the census.

Soledad argues that she is Black, but fails to see that the same argument she used to say she is “Black” could also be used to say that she is “white”. The whole artificial construct of of race is what is dumb, not the question.

With the same logic O'brien completely invalidates any person who is 1/2 Black and 1/2 white but decided to tick the white box on the census form. Indeed if everyone in the country who had Black blood in them were counted as Black we'd be in the majority right now...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly if it were up to me I’d get rid of the “race” question on the census.

Soledad argues that she is Black, but fails to see that the same argument she used to say she is “Black” could also be used to say that she is “white”. The whole artificial construct of of race is what is dumb, not the question.

With the same logic O'brien completely invalidates any person who is 1/2 Black and 1/2 white but decided to tick the white box on the census form. Indeed if everyone in the country who had Black blood in them were counted as Black we'd be in the majority right now...

María de la Soledad Teresa O'Brien has an interesting background: her father is a white man from Australia, of Scottish and Irish descent; her mother is Afro-Cuban. Although her parents gave her a classic Spanish-Catholic name, her mother never taught her to speak Spanish. Her mom did teach her, though, "Don't let them tell you you're not black."

SoledadObrien(Journalist).gif

By the way, Kam used Troy's census question in an interview published Monday (There you go, Chris). More often, Kam asks his interviewees what he calls "the bookworm Troy Johnson question": What is the last book you read? Kam's style is to use lots of questions furnished by other people. In some of his interviews, those make up the majority of his questions.

Kam was on the committee that gave O'Brien the NAACP President's Award in 2007. He subsequently panned her CNN series "Black in America," but she kept on giving him interviews. O'Brien's answer to Kam's "Troy Johnson question" in 2009 was The Soloist by Steve Lopez. This past January, it was Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly if it were up to me I’d get rid of the “race” question on the census.

(It ain't up to nobody black about whether this question is on the census or not.

The Complex gotta know how many non whites are in this country--so that it will know what it has to do about it.

How much better that the counted provide the info.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bookfan your research is sound.

Chris do you think a Soledad and her family are being tracked by "The Complex"?

The following is my commentary from the review page where I published the full interview:

Actually the question attributed to me is not nearly as dumb artificial construct of "race" as it is applied, oh so inconsistently in this country.

Soledad argues that she is Black, but fails to see that the same argument she uses to call herself Black is exactly the same one other people use to call themselves white. The legal and typically racist classification of “Blackness” has varied from by locality and generation.

Among her many awards Soledad received the Top 100 Irish Americans' by Irish American Magazine. Clearly, she recognizes and embraces her Irish ancestry (she should) and her “Irishness” is recognized by the Irish community. My question was really, how does Soledad self-identify in the context of her diverse background? Given that she married a Caucasian man, does she consider her children Black as well?

Now that I think about it, one of the fundamental and complex reasons there was such a negative reaction CNN’s ”Black in America” (http://runt.it/backinamerica) was this issue of race. I attended a pre broadcast screening of CNN’s Black in America at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem and the reaction was visceral. The CNN representatives reacted with surprise and defensiveness.

The Black people in the audience “felt” the program was bad -- even if some audience members had difficulty articulating why. I would not expect a CNN to “get it” but I would expect a “Black person” to get it – apparently Soledad did not.

As this country and its people become increasingly diverse, we have to understand that issues of class, religion, gender, sexuality, and even geography are as important as the nebulous notion of race when defining who were are as individuals or a nation.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest DahomeyAhosi

The failure of Soledad O'brien to see the inconsistencies in her answer is typical of people with little/no logical reasoning skills. Unfortunately low/poor logical reasoning skills are prevalent and that is why the commonly accepted notion of race in this country is still common and still accepted.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The failure of Soledad O'brien to see the inconsistencies in her answer is typical of people with little/no logical reasoning skills. Unfortunately low/poor logical reasoning skills are prevalent and that is why the commonly accepted notion of race in this country is still common and still accepted.

It's the American mindset: one drop. That's why the media calls Obama black instead of white or mixed-race. That's why Tiger Woods, with just one black grandparent, is a black man in the eyes of the public.

Puerto Rican activist Rosa Clemente has embraced a personal version of the "one drop" idea -- but for unconventional reasons. Why she identifies herself as a "Black Rican":

p%20rosa%20clemente.jpg

I am so tired of having to prove to others that I am Black, that my peoples are from the Motherland, that Puerto Rico, along with Cuba, Panama and the Dominican Republic, are part of the African Diaspora. Do we forget that the slave ships dropped off our people all over the world, hence the word Diaspora? The Atlantic slave trade brought Africans to Puerto Rico in the early 1500s. Some of the first slave rebellions took place on the island of Puerto Rico. Until 1846, Africanos on the island had to carry a libreta to move around the island, like the passbook system in apartheid South Africa. In Puerto Rico, you will find large communities of descendants of the Yoruba, Bambara, Wolof and Mandingo people. Puerto Rican culture is inherently African culture.

She says she chooses to claim black identity as a political statement. Read the whole essay. Clemente was former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney's vice presidential running mate on the Green Party ticket in the 2008 presidential election.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You may be speaking of the white public, but the black public is a different story. And things differ from place to place when it comes to racial concepts. This "one drop rule" is rarely envoked where I live, with folks routinely referring to light-skinned people as "mixed" rather than as "black". This is especially true among young people. My grand daughter actually complains because both her black and white classmates and new acquaintances always refer to her as being "mixed" and both of her parents are "black". These youngsters apparently believe what they see. Their brains seem to be wired to perceive anybody body who is not brown or darker as having white blood in them, thus making them "mixed" and this doesn't seem to bother them. The adults, are less forthcoming, but they will get around to voicing suspicions about the bi-racial parentage of light-skinned people. My daughter says that some of her white co-workers insist that she must be "mixed" as do her black ones.

"Mixed" is becoming more and more accepted as a category among the hoi poloi. As for Obama, black people claim him because he's the closest we are going to get to having a black president. And his story book rise to fame is an example of what the media loves to exploit so they prefer to describe him as African American. Tiger doesn't look white so he doesn't even fit into this equation. IMO.

Although I didn't call for toilet paper, I won't be surprised if Carey rolls out to whine about my take on this subject. Argh.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You may be speaking of the white public, but the black public is a different story. And things differ from place to place when it comes to racial concepts. This "one drop rule" is rarely envoked where I live, with folks routinely referring to light-skinned people as "mixed" rather than as "black".

Interesting. I can't recall ever hearing a white person in my area refer to anyone as mixed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Given that she married a Caucasian man, does she consider her children Black as well?

O'Brien and husband Brad Raymond

4909957.jpg

Their kids

img_soledadobrien_2.jpg

O'Brien and mom Estela

2982453.jpg?Width=139&Height=170

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Her mom did teach her, though, "Don't let them tell you you're not black."

i find this remark very interesting coming from an afro-cuban woman...i honestly didnt know any of them had enough black-consciousness or identified with thier blackness enough to teach this to their children

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You are posting as a guest. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...