oh… baby nahla…

sorry for the sporadic posting.  i’ve been working out of town and it’s harder than i’d anticipated to keep up with the blog.

anywho, i figured i’d get around to acknowledging this mess….

some readers and viewers and friends have asked me how i feel about this, and all i can say is that it makes me sad.  i just do not understand the impetus to uphold the one drop rule.  i’m baffled.  it’s so illogical to me.  it clearly only applies to racially mixed with black people.  i’d go so far as to say that it only applies to racially mixed black and white people.  i am quite sure that other mixes do not have such strict identification restrictions.  if you are anything other than black + white, you are not so harshly criticized for claiming the whole of yourself (not that i believe that racial categories constitute the whole of a human self.) i totally understand allegiance to the black community.  i understand that society’s gonna view you one way if you look one way (however, i think the jury’s still out on nahla’s phenotype.)  regardless of that though, i think we’re coming to a time in the collective consciousness of humanity, where it’s most important to be what you are.  regardless of history or politics.  the best we can do is be who we are.  and once we each accept and embrace our authentic selves, it’ll be so much easier to accept and embrace our fellow man as his/her authentic self. whoever they say they are.  whatever they show us they are.  and it’s by defying these antiquated “rules” that we free ourselves and each other to… be ourselves… and each other…

but back to nahla, i’m confident that she’ll find her way, find herself. but, goodness gracious i think her parents are going to make it much more difficult than necessary with this “she’s black because there’s a one drop rule” vs. “don’t you call my child black” (see below) nonsense that we’ve read about… ay yai yai

via TMZ

Sources connected with the former couple tell TMZ … whenever Gabriel would read a story about Nahla that referred to her as “black,” he would go off, insisting his baby was white.  We’re told Gabriel would tell Halle and others they should demand a “retraction” when such references were made regarding his daughter.

As TMZ previously reported, sources tell us Gabriel has called Halle the “N” word  — and one woman previously involved with him referred to him as a “borderline racist.”

Halle Berry on her daughter’s race and interracial romance

As her custody battle with ex Gabriel Aubry turns ugly, Halle Berry is speaking out to the March issue of Ebony magazine about their daughter Nahla and the role that race plays in her own relationships.

The Oscar winner, whose mother is white and father is black, tells Ebony that she identifies herself as a black woman but plans to let 2 1/2-year-old Nahla — whose dad is white and French Canadian — make her own decision about her race when she’s old enough.

“I’m not going to put a label on it,” she says. “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, Berry adds, “I feel like she’s black. I’m black and I’m her mother, and I believe in the one-drop theory.”

Regardless, the actress acknowledges that being biracial isn’t easy.

“If you’re of multiple races, you have a different challenge, a unique challenge of embracing all of who you are but still finding a way to identify yourself, and I think that’s often hard for us to do,” she explains. “I identify as a black woman, but I’ve always had to embrace my mother and the white side of who I am, too. By choosing, I’ve often [wondered], ‘Well, would that make her feel like I’m invalidating her by choosing to identify more with the black side of myself?'”

Like Aubry, Berry’s current boyfriend, actor Olivier Martinez, is white, but she tells Ebony love has nothing to do with skin color.

“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,” says Berry, who has romanced men from a variety of ethnic groups.

“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,” she said. “And who I really am is a black woman who is struggling to make my race proud of me, who is struggling to move black women forward in the profession I’ve chosen, and those relationships have actually helped me identify myself more clearly. Not to say that I wasn’t able to do that when I was married to two black men, but it certainly hasn’t detracted from feeling very connected to my community, and who I really am at my core.”

Berry goes on to say that “the truth is that it’s taken me a long time to learn how to love myself, and color isn’t really a part of what I look at when I’m deciding who I want to spend time with. I look for the soul, the person, the evolution, what he believes in, who [he is as a person] and how does it affect me in a positive way.”

Divorced from athlete David Justice and singer Eric Benet, Berry has vowed to never marry again, but now says she might make an exception.

“The only reason I would is if I found somebody who proved to be on-another-level special to me,” she says. “And if for some reason I felt like it would be important for Nahla and her sense of family unit. I’ve been married twice, and [the marriages] didn’t work out. They were painful divorces, and I’m not so sure I ever want to subject myself to that kind of pain and heartbreak again. I don’t know if I can.”

11 thoughts on “oh… baby nahla…

  1. I too blogged randomly on the topic, before the quotes were validated, but at the time, I kind of took the side of self-identification is up to the individual. For whatever her reasonings are, she self-identifies as a Black woman. However, what she sometimes seems to suggest is that she self-identifies as Black because of others, not necessarily totally because of herself. But a lot of what we do and feel is because of others, socialization and just learned behaviors. Doesn’t make it totally correct. Doesn’t make it so terrible either.

    What is troubling is her projections of identity on her child. identity is so personal of an issue and I believe as parents, its our job to help guide our children through the process of self-love and acceptance. I guess I would like to have heard Halle discuss more about her strategies of helping Nahla through this difficult process. She acknowledges she herself has had some troubles figuring out who she wants to be. Therefore she should have some insights on helping Nahla.

    Anyway, that’s my two cents. 🙂 Thanks for posting.

  2. Maybe one day we will all get away from this “color” thing and just be individuals. Halle says she works hard to make black people proud of her…???? WTF??? I’m sorry, that just makes no sense to me. No wonder she believes in that one drop rule….because most black people do as well, but it’s a hypocritical belief. Most blacks consider Nahla to be black, even though she is only 1/4 black….but do they consider Obama’s daughters white, because they are 1/4 white???? No, they don’t. See how defining yourself based on your race or color causes more problems than necessary? Anyway, I really hope they can come together as parents and stop making a scene about this baby’s color, because she will already have enough to go through without them acting so dumb. But truth be told, I wouldn’t want that man anywhere near my baby. He has anger issues and no telling what he will do if he doesn’t get custody.

  3. I feel that people should be able to identify/call themselves whatever they choose. It is their life. However, Halle Berry is …I don’t think she fully “gets it.” She sounds wishy-washy. I hate to be so judgmental, but she clearly needs to read more and get involved. The one drop rule is so “way back when” slavery mentality. She should not allow the world (black community—I think it has more to do with it than just that) define her true, authentic self. The dad has major issues beyond the issue of his daughter being called black. This entire situation going on in 2011 is so bizarre to me; I’m wondering if it’s some publicity stunt!!! CLEARLY, this family needs therapy…forget about all of this insignificant bull-ish (“she’s black because …”vs “no she’s white…”) and get together as a family for the child’s well-being. They can no longer be a couple, well get along for the sake of the child! This proves just how ridiculous the notion of race really is!!! 1/4 this and 2/3’s that….I hate math!! Playing tug a war with this child is going to cause a lot of problems for Nahla later on in life. It is detrimental to her self esteem!! If anything, that alone will become the barrier in her finding her authentic self. I’m just….SMDH!!!

  4. @jess:
    ” No wonder she believes in that one drop rule….because most black people do as well, but it’s a hypocritical belief. Most blacks consider Nahla to be black, even though she is only 1/4 black….but do they consider Obama’s daughters white, because they are 1/4 white???? No, they don’t.”

    The one drop rule was foisted on the black community as you should surely know by now. Being that you are someone who appears to know ‘most’ blacks and what they think…why is it you have not discovered ‘most’ whites steadfastly accept you as blacks too? If you focus your endeavors on gaining acceptance as non-black from whites everything else will fall into place.

  5. I don’t know why people get offended if they have black ancestry and are called black, you shouldn’t be ashamed at any part of you. If you are bi-racial or 1/4 than you should not feel offended when people consider you black or white instead of mixed sometimes, it’s not bad a bad thing, because you’re both.

  6. @ Odile…the one-drop rule might have been “foisted” on the black community by racist whites, but this is 2011. It is time to be more open-minded.

    And your comment to Jess was a bit snotty. Most biracial people are not trying to deny their blackness and be accepted by whites. We simply want to be accepted for ALL of who we are. Is that concept really so difficult?

    @ D_Stylez…most biracial people do not get “offended” at being called black. But some of us believe that we are not JUST black. We are both black and white, or whatever our parents created us to be. There is nothing wrong with being black but there is also no shame in being proud of our heritage in full, instead of feeling like we need to pick sides.



  9. I know why people like to say “Ohh this person is 1/2 black, 1/4 latino 1/8 caucasian blah blah blah. Guess what. That is not the way it comes out when you have your racial background profiled. Someone who has parents of two different races will show a dominance from one of those parents.

    My brother and I have the same racial profile but he has different percentages of our four races. That is the beauty of genetic, it decides how to divvy up traits.

    One drop applies to all races. I’ve never met any of my Asian descendants. But I have them to thank for part of my medical profile. Again, science proves or disproves all this nonsense.

    Be proud of who you are and let other people be proud of who they are.

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