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Books 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. 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! But Reverend Jesse Jackson says, "I don't count? 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. I had been measured and found wanting. It knocked me off my equilibrium for a bit, the first time that had happened to me since that guy in a bar back on the West Coast pinched my butt during my first live shot.
After two weeks of stewing, I sat upright one day and made a decision. This man is wrong. I am a product of my own life. That's one of the wonders of America, you have the right to define yourself regardless of what little box someone wants to shove you in.
He is certainly right that CNN doesn't have enough people of color on the air, even the bosses say that and spend their time trying to fix it. But "you don't count"? Screw that. Of course I count. Who is he to say that? My experience is not universal -- no one's is -- but it is legitimate. I get to be whom I am outside and in. But I was embarrassed that I didn't call him back and ask what he meant. I like my mother like a good fight.