This morning I am sitting here in the office and because we have cable now (woohoo) I find myself tuned in to CNN’s Headline News, better known as HLN. Of course a main topic of discussion was Halle Berry’s custody battle with Gabriel Aubry, Nahla’s father.
HLN was discussing Halle’s recent Ebony magazine interview with Ebony’s editor, Amy Dubois Barnett and while the discussion was centered around the custody battle, I couldn’t help but dwell on Halle’s strong remarks made to Ebony regarding her belief on the concept of race and how Nahla, her daughter, would be taught about it.
“I feel like she’s black. I’m black and I’m her mother and I believe in the one-drop theory. I’m not going to put a label on it. I had to decide for myself and that’s what she’s going to have to decide – how she identifies herself in the world. And I think, largely, that will be based on how the world identifies her. That’s how I identified myself. But I feel like she’s black.”
The one-drop theory was a Jim Crow law used to determine ethnicity-it was believed that all it took was merely one drop of Negro blood flowing through someone’s body to rightfully declare them not White, but Black. As a result of this, there were many “White” people of that day who were discriminated against because in their past, a distant relative might have been Black, or of mixed-race.
Halle’s outlook struck me as unique because she was raised by her White mother. While Halle does acknowledge her White heritage and doesn’t shy away from it, in Halle’s eyes, there’s no denying her Blackness and it is Black that she identifies as. Halle went on to discuss her recent love interests, none of whom have been Black men.
“Well, first thing I want to say is that I’m very connected to my community and I want black people to know that I haven’t abandoned them because I’ve had a child with a man outside of my race and I’m dating someone now outside of my race who is Spanish and French. I have never been more clear about who I am as a black woman. The people I have dated sort of hold up a mirror to me and help me realize more of who I really am.”
After reading her statements, I admire her outlook. She spoke so eloquently, yet strongly, about a topic that can be uncomfortably and awkward to discuss. Furthermore, she seems to have a great understanding of where she stands, the decisions she has made, and she fiercely owns them, all of them. Clap for her!
***I find myself agreeing with her outlook 100% (as it relates to race) here in the USA. When in other countries however, the concept of race is so arbitrary-it’s not as black and white (lol pun intended) as things are here in the USA. I’d have to tweak the outlook a bit if I/we all lived somewhere else…sigh, we can dream can’t we? We need MLK, Jr for a Part II of that famous speech.***