I was intrigued to hear that Halle Berry was racist because we all know that she is part White, part Black, and though a lot of people have taken issues with some of the roles she has played, most notably in Monster’s Ball, no one can deny her talent. But her social life is not what it could be. Yet to me that is her own business she is a strong, successful Black woman and I figure that she will eventually get it right.
But to her that she is racist because she wants her daughter to be referred to as Black upsets me. This isn’t a “leave Halle Berry alone” article. Rather this is an exploration as to whether or not someone who doesn’t live in both worlds has the right to force anyone of both races to be White or Black because it makes you more comfortable with who they are. I haven’t met anyone who is mulatto that identifies with being Caucasian, but I could perfectly understand if they did. Typically I’ll meet someone who identifies with being Caucasian that is clearly Black, and that is because of cultural assimilation because we’ve all been there at one time, well at least I have, or tried to, or aspired to, well you get the point.
But again, someone who is mulatto sort of is White, at least partially. Now I am not saying that Halle is right for imposing such choices on her daughter, but again, the girl is Black, partially. You could say that Halle is “more Black” than her daughter, and perhaps she should just leave the issue alone, but look at what is really going on here. The relationship is not working, the split is ugly, and Halle Berry feels like a Black woman again, but then again, she always was.
I thought that a racist was someone that took issue with someone of a race that they’re not. There are two definitions; one is that a racist believes that race is the primary determinant of human attributes and that some races have attributes that others do not, and the other is that of someone that discriminates on the basis of race. So you can discriminate on the basis of race, even if that race if your own race. But is self-identification necessarily discrimination? Do you have to identify with Black culture if you’re not Black? Do I have to identify with White culture when I am not White?
The real answer is somewhere in-between. I identify with aspects of cultures of other races and I think that a lot of people do. At the same time, a lot of people simply are not exposed to other races and cultures. There are plenty of Whites and Blacks that stay in their own worlds, in their own lane, that never seek life on the other side of the railroad tracks. Halle Berry may be out of touch with the idea that her daughter could grow up in a world where self-identification is not as much of an issue as it was with her generation. I think there is a paternal instinct to force racial and cultural identification on your children in order to protect them from society, particularly for minorities. Racial identification is often a tactic that can be used to get ahead and a tool at your disposal that Caucasians do not necessarily have (or may not have any use for). Parents would always prefer that their children are “more like them” and identify with their own heritage but that tie with their own race weakens with each passing generation. It’s fun to say that Halle Berry is a racist, but I have never seen her take a strong stance on race and she seems to have done a very good job at building her fan base without alienating anyone. If this is your reason for hating Halle Berry, you may not have been that much of a fan in the first place …