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There is no right or wrong way to be black. There is no one shade of blackness, and there most certainly is no way to measure what percentage of black someone is. Alexis Brock writes about Royal Baby of Sussex and CNN’s misleading clickbait.
Last week a CNN headline made headlines of its own by asking “how black will the royal baby be?” The network which prides itself in being ‘the most trusted name in news’ used harmful and misleading clickbait that reinforces the very negative stereotyping the article condemns.
After steady backlash on social media, the title of the article was changed. However, the question being asked remained present in the article as a subheadline.
The newly-titled Analysis came off rather hypocritical, going to great lengths to discuss the potential scenarios a racially ambiguous royal baby may encounter. However, the conclusion urges readers to envision a world that doesn’t fixate on skin color.
The article implored the audience to, “Imagine a child born to a couple like the Duke and Duchess, and no one obsesses over their racial mixture, or how white or black they look.”
It’s peculiar that an article that quite literally obsesses over racial mixture asks the audience to refrain from doing the same in true ‘do as I say not as I do fashion.’ And while the article frowns upon “fetishization” of multiracial people, the network had no problem benefitting from the monetization of their experiences via clicks on the internet.
As articles like these from The Atlantic, Ohio State Insights, and Psychology Today suggest, proudly proclaiming oneself racially colorblind is actually far more problematic than it is politically progressive.
At best being racially colorblind is counterproductive, and at worst it is yet another form of racism that downplays both the struggles and strengths of minorities.
Perhaps choosing to see only one shade of color is just as harmful as not seeing any at all.
For as long as I can remember things like the way I string my words together and sway my hips whilst dancing have been closely monitored and analyzed. The underlying implications being that the way I behaved somehow made me more of one color and less of another.
The royal baby is only a few days old and already being placed under the same microscope.
After the seemingly methodical inspection, I was typically deemed about 60 percent white and 40 percent black by my peers. It seemed as though someone, somewhere had made a secret Buzzfeed quiz to measure the minority in me.
For quite a while I felt as though I had done something wrong. I remember feeling as though somewhere something had gone wrong and that now being half black was an exclusive club I’d never be invited to join.
Breaking Black Stereotypes
It felt as though part of my identity was being taken away from me. I’ve since realized the absurdity in this way of thinking.
There is no right or wrong way to be black. There is no one shade of blackness, and there most certainly is no way to measure what percentage of black someone is.
In this article Lori Tharps, head chef at The MeltingPot, questions why policing blackness is still so prevalent in the year 2019. She explains that there were several times when she, like many, failed to feel ‘black enough.’
Attempting to quantify someone’s racial identity only reinforces the negative stereotypes that many are constantly trying to escape.
The notion that speaking a certain way, eating particular foods, or participating in specific activities legitimizes or diminishes one’s racial identity is ludicrous.
On the subject of measuring blackness former President Barack Obama had this to say, “Sometimes African Americans, in communities where I’ve worked, there’s been the notion of “acting white” – which sometimes is overstated, but there’s an element of truth to it, where, OK, if boys are reading too much, then, well, why are you doing that? Or why are you speaking so properly? And the notion that there’s some authentic way of being black, that if you’re going to be black you have to act a certain way and wear a certain kind of clothes, that has to go.”
It simply has to go.
Unlike the writer from CNN who dreams of a future void of color. I dream of a future flowing with rich and diverse variations of it. I imagine a future where all shades of black are celebrated instead of calculated for validity.
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