Is CNN Soledad O’Brien Black Enough?

Why is this question still a part of the conversation? Is our blackness determined by our skin color or our rcaial mix. Who do we regard as black enough? This is one of the questions that Soledad O’Brien delves into in her new book The Next Big Story.  She chronicles some of the important events that have shaped her life. O’Brien is multi-racial and she goes into detail about how comments by Jesse Jackson offended her. O’Brien recounts how Jackson was complaining about the lack of black anchors at CNN. When she said what about me? Jackson responded, “You don’t count,” he says. I wasn’t sure what that meant. I don’t count — what? I’m not black? I’m not black enough? Or my show doesn’t count? O’Brien went on to say “I was both angry and embarrassed, which rarely happens at the same time for me. Jesse Jackson managed to make me ashamed of my skin color which even white people had never been able to do. Not the kids in the hallways at Smithtown or the guys who wouldn’t date me in high school. I remember the marchers behind me at the trial about the black youth/kid who beat the Latino baby. The folks that chanted “biracial whore for the white man’s media,” even they didn’t even make feel this way. I would just laugh. Biracial, sure, whore, not exactly, white man’s media, totally! Whatever. But Reverend Jesse Jackson says, “I don’t count?” O’Brien recounted “I am immediately upset and annoyed and the even more annoyed that I am upset and pissed off. If Reverend Jesse Jackson didn’t think I was black enough, then what was I? My parents had so banged racial identity into my head that the thoughts of racial doubt never crossed my mind. I’d suffered an Afro through the heat of elementary school. I’d certainly never felt white. I thought my version of black was as valid as anybody else’s. I was a product of my parents (black woman, white man) my town (mostly white), multiracial to be sure, but not black? I felt like the foundation I’d built my life on was being denied, as if someone was telling me my parents aren’t my parents. “You know those people you’ve been calling mom and dad — they aren’t really your parents. What?” The arbiter of blackness had weighed in. I had been measured and found wanting.” The question is not if O’Brien is black enough that is a no brainer, but how is she perceived within the community. Is Jesse Jackson just caught up in a time warp or does he actually have a point. Is it easier for the majority to accept the biracial like President Obama, Tiger Woods and Soledad O’Brien? Tell me what you think.

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  • Spanish Inquisitor  On November 8, 2010 at 2:36 pm

    Who cares? Genetically, we’re all Africans.

  • elogam  On November 8, 2010 at 4:20 pm

    Jesse Jackson once again demonstrates that he is STILL a race hustling poverty pimp, declaring a successful black woman as “not black enough” for his tastes. After all, if she isn’t poor, isn’t on welfare, isn’t “disenfranchised”, she’s not helping him in his pursuit of cashing in on the victimization of minorities in America. He makes me sick.

  • sherri  On November 8, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Wow, I’m surprised and that’s pretty deep.

    I’ve always assumed that Soledad identified as a Black woman. She may also identify as multiracial, I don’t know, but I’ve never questioned her Blackness. She counts as far as I am concerned.

    But then again, I’m not a fan of Jackson.

  • sherri  On November 8, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    Tried to find a way to email you.

    The comments on your blog seem to have become more “interesting” to me. is that by design? I follow your blog occasionally, so I am wondering if I missed an earlier tone.


  • amina  On November 8, 2010 at 7:37 pm

    Jackson was out of line. Blackness is also cultural identification and Soladad is well- respected by Blacks.

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