Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Revisiting the One-Drop Rule: Thanks Halle Berry

Hi Meltingpot Readers,

In case you don't regularly follow gossip zines and websites like I do, then you may have missed the latest in the Halle Berry/Gabriel Aubry custody battle over their daughter Nahla. Sad but true, another celebrity couple airing their very dirty laundry for all the world to comment on, like me.

Now like most of you, I just shake my head in shame that these two adults can't find a way to handle their business in a private dignified way, a way that will spare their daughter from future pain and sorrow. But at the end of the day, I figure it's their life, they can screw it up any way they want. However, I can't help but reflect on Berry's latest insistence that her daughter is Black because her mama is Black. Here's the report from the Huffington Post, in case you want to read all the juicy details.

At the HuffPo, they claim Berry and Aubry are now in the midst of a 'race war' as Aubry doesn't want his daughter to be referred to as Black. So, let's review. Mom says, 'my daughter is Black,' dad says 'she's not.' What to do? But more importantly, what does it matter? Here we are in 2011 and two parents are fighting over their daughter's racial classification. Surely this isn't the first time parents of multi- or bi-racial children have disagreed on how to classify their children's racial identity, but perhaps this is the first time the paparazzi and gossip rags have decided to publicize the fight for all the world to comment on. And you know that is exactly what is going to happen.

Suddenly everybody is debating whether the One-Drop Rule still has relevance, if it ever had relevance and why, given its racist origins, any Black woman would invoke it when referring to her daughter. Just to prove my point, there were over 105,000 mentions of Halle Berry and the One-Drop Rule for Google to find in 0.12 seconds. Let the race debate --not war -- begin. And here's what I'm wondering, as a mama with two mixie kids, one dark and one light. Would this conversation be any different if Berry's daughter didn't have ginger tinted skin and brown curly hair? What if she presented more caucasian? Would Berry still insist her daughter was Black? Would Aubry have to declare that she wasn't? Hmmm...

If you could have some sit-down time with Berry and Aubry, what would you tell these two warring parents to do, as it relates to their daughter's ethnic identity? Maybe we can help them and/or others in similar situations.

I'm listening. Halle are you?

Peace.

Peace?

16 comments:

michelle said...

I couldn't stay away from this story either. I agree with you, this public, vicious fighting is so selfish and harmful to their child. I also wonder how these issues of race never came up before the baby.

Ola said...

I saw this on TV yesterday and they have a quote from Berry herself saying something like she believes in the "one drop" theory. It was also very strange how she went on to talk about dating outside her race.

http://www.eonline.com/uberblog/b224846_halle_berry_turns_daughters_race_into.html

I feel awful for the whole family. Halle did say it would be up to her daughter how she identified to the world. Which is kind of confusing since she said her daughter is black. *le sigh*

Lori I think you should offer your services and be a mediator for this issue. :)

LT said...

Michelle,
Good point. But somehow I don't think those two were doing a lot of substantive talking during their brief relationship. sad but true. BTW, love your blog!!! adding a link right away.

Ola,
Ha! if I can just get Halle's cell number, I'll give her a ring.

Anonymous said...

i'm a black woman myself and i am rather embarrassed by what halle said about the 'one drop' rule. in my opinion, that rule is so outdated. i don't have mixed children, but i think if i did my goal would be to teach them to respect and love africa and the different black races and black cultures within the continent rather than to preach to them that they are black. they need to see the real faces of africa, the true beauty of the people and the continent i really think more could be accomplished that way.

Shamime said...

If I could have some sit down time with Halle I would tell her to let me babysit while she reads my diversity blog and your blog.

THEN I would deep condition both of them (hair) with coconut oil, and slap Mr. BabyDaddy for being suck a lack luster man and father.

This post is great
Follow my blogs please!
http://klothculture.blogspot.com/
http://dailydoseofdiversity.com/

remrems said...

To Anon,
What you said is so beautiful and true...

BJ Thornton said...

Wow, this is horrible. Using the kid's race as a weapon against her father is about as bad as other people using race against the baby herself. Sometimes it's the parents who need a good whooping.

lifeexplorerdiscovery said...

I am biracial and consider myself black. At the end of the day it doesn't matter what an individual or the parents think. Society will always assume you are black if you look black before thinking you are biracial. There is nothing wrong with preparing your child now so they don't get confused later on when they feel they are biracial and the world will only let them be black (and don't tell me its not like that because I have had to deal with those situations too many times to know different).

I don't see why everyone gangs up on Halle. I don't see what Aubrey has against his daughter being considered black as if it is some kind of a disease.

It sounds like an argument being made for the sake of just arguing.

lifeexplorerdiscovery said...

Also, one of the most annoying things I hate when people comment on this "one drop" issue thing is when they inaccurately assume 2011 is the year racism died and that all the problems of the last 50 years (and before even) somehow no longer matter.

As a law, one drop may not exist but it is still used in practice.

I really wish people would stop pretending society has really advanced so far that these are no longer problems.

In the real world, there is nothing wrong with wanting your child to understand they are going to be seen as black in society's eyes so this way they can learn to protect themselves against the racism and stereotypes that come with being black.

Melissa said...

I agree with those who said that kids need to be prepared for the way the world will see them. The "one drop rule" is racist and in my opinion, inappropriate for Halle Berry to use. My extended family is racially mixed and diverse in several ways. Children in my family are taught that THEY and WE know who they are (mixed and both) and that they can share that with people close to them but that the world will treat them as they appear. Some of us look white and are hurt by racial comments we hear about the race we don't physically resemble. Some of us look black or hispanic and have to deal with the reality of racism. The interesting thing about this is that Halle's little daughter looks pretty "mixed" I wonder what anyone would guess she was if they didn't know.

Anonymous said...

Every time Halle Berry breaks up with someone, news mysteriously comes out about how horrible of a person they are. People ASSUME he said those things, when all we know is that Halle's camp says he said those things.

I think it's ignorant for Halle to be invoking the one-drop rule. She is mixed with white and black and Aubrey is white....why can't she raise her child to know and love that?? Just because she no longer has warm regards for Aubrey does not change her daughter's background. All she is doing is hurting her daughter, her daughter's father, and reinforcing stigmas people of mixed races claim not to want.

And maybe it's just me, but I REALLY don't remember Hally being so pro-black.

alli said...

I HATE THIS CONVO, I AM BLACK, WHITE(I THINK) AND NATIVE AMERICAN.ACCORDING TO THIS IGNORANT COUNRTY I AM AFRICAN AMERICAN.guess what when i go to africa they call me abruni which means white person.I am not only african, i may be MOSTLY AFRICAN, but I DON"T LOOK AFRICAN, does that change who I am. UMM NO. THE ONE DROP RULE WAS FOR RACIST WHITE PPL TO LET US KNOW WE WERE NOT PURE WHITE IF WE EVER GOT TO FIXIN'!DUMB. WE THOUGHT WE WERE BETTER THAN..ETC.even tho some of us were actually white. IT IS STUPID, WHETHER SOMEONE LOOKS WHITE OR BLACK THEY ARE WHAT THEY ARE. IF YOU HAVE AFRICAN HERITAGE YOU ARE FROM AFRICA, IF YOU HAVE EURO HERITAGE YOUR ARE FROM EUROPE, IF YOU HAVE BOTH YOU ARE GUESS WHAT...BOTH...DUH?(i'll stop yelling now, not at you but the idiocy of the whole thing) If you have more then one race... you are more than one race no matter what you look like.THAT is genetic and it doesnt change regardless of HOW society sees you. Nahla is black AND white no matter what her ignorant parents or society calls her. she is whoever she is created to b..ppl need to get over it. this is not nazi germany!!! halle is black AND white, she needs to get a grip. Aubrey is WHITE. there. case closed any more questions? thanks Lori.

alli said...

Here's a kindergarten example..if somebody calls you an elephant and you are a hippo who's the idiot? The person who called you the elephant..they are the idiot because obviously I AM A HIPPO, no matter what it looks like. What is truth is truth not what you think! it's not my issue its theirs, if you have a question ask and i will tell you. Why should society tell you who you are? who are they, i am not a slave..I AM A HIPPO. :)

Anonymous said...

Some of you people need to wake up and enter the real world. Just because there are no physical race laws doesn't mean society has changed their view.

I have seen mixies called black because whites (and blacks) know no different.

Halle is only preparing her child for the real world. The poor child would be messed up if any of you guys raised her because you see the world as if its nothing but roses and daisies as if everyone is in perfect harmony and racism doesn't exist. I'd feel bad for any child under any of your guys' care because you are so PC (they are both white and black) that you don't realize, it doesn't matter one bit because society's view is not consistent.

Raise them as both mix and black, make them proud of being black, let them know that even if they see themselves as mix and are mixed, the world has a different view and first and foremost to strangers they are black and whatever comes with being black.

At least Halle is being proactive. Who knows better about life as a mixie than Halle? Sometimes being politically correct gets you know where but grief and pain, its because of being PC some things never get said (such as black fathers abandoning their children at a higher statistical rate).

If you live in this magical world where races get along and your child will never have to question their place, good for you, but don't you dare assume the same applies to everyone.

This is America, not Africa, not South America, not Europe. In America if you have skin that is not white, you are a minority. If you look remotely black, people will see you as black.

Now kindly, join the real world before you mess your child up by pretending the world is one big happy place because you are doing them more damage by ill preparing them than you are by skirting the issue and being PC.

Also, Alli, and other irresponsible people, its not about telling you who you are, its about preparing a child for a future where what they know they are will come into conflict with what society thinks they are. Unless you want a self hater on your hands, if a child looks black, its best to make sure they are proud of that culture so they don't start hating themselves when they realize they seen as black and what comes with being black in America. I have seen so many self haters because parents went out of their way to make sure their kids only saw themselves as mixed yet never prepared them for the fact that society judges you not on what you see yourself but what is obvious to them.

I hope Halle does not back down from the PC police because pretending these problems do not exist will do nothing for her child later on in life.

Iván said...

That girl is AT LEAST 75% white (european ancestry). To call her just black is beyond stupid. I think you american folks have serious issues with race there.

APGifts said...

.
There is actually no such thing as a so-called "Light-Skinned
Black" person ... but rather ... such individuals and groups
are actually people who are of a 'Multi-Generational
Multiracially-Mixed' (MGM-Mixed) Lineage that some may
have been pressured or encouraged to ignore or downplay.
.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4160
.
People of Mixed-Race lineage should NOT feel pressured to
'identify' according to any standards other than one's own.
.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4157
.
The legal -application of the racist-'One-Drop Rule'
(ODR) was banned in the U.S. way back in 1967.
.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4162
.
http://www.facebook.com/groups/253286018082418/permalink/253341891410164
.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4187
.
http://www.facebook.com/groups/253286018082418/permalink/253341281410225
.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
.
Listed below are related Links of 'the facts' of the histories
of various Mixed-Race populations found within the U.S.:
.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
.
There is no proof that a 'color-based slave hierarchy'
(or that 'color-based social-networks') ever existed
as common entities -- within the continental U.S.
.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4154
.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4153
.
It was the 'Rule of Matriliny (ROM) -- [a.k.a. 'The Rule of Partus'
(ROP)] -- and NOT the racist-'One-Drop Rule' (ODR) -- that was
used to 'create more enslaved people' on the continental U.S.
.
This is because the chattel-slavery system that was
once found on the antebellum-era, continental U.S.
was NOT "color-based" (i.e. "racial") -- but rather
-- it was actually "mother-based" (i.e. 'matrilineal').
.
http://www.facebook.com/allpeople.gifts/posts/309460495741441
.
There were many ways (and not solely the sexual assault
and sexual exploitation of the women-of-color) in which
'white' lineage entered the familial bloodlines of
enslaved-people found on the continental U.S.
.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4238
.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4239
.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4240
.
An 'Ethnic' category is NOT the
same thing as a "Race" category:
.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4236
.
http://www.facebook.com/allpeople.gifts/posts/300777016632181
.
Other Topics:
.
https://www.facebook.com/allpeople.gifts/posts/279223868853420
.
https://www.facebook.com/allpeople.gifts/posts/164203590359746
.
http://www.facebook.com/notes/%C2%ADallpeople-gifts/the-facts-on-m%C2%ADixed-race/321878451159708
.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
.