Monday, November 27, 2006

Peyton's Brother

One Tree Hill pulled out a refreshing plot twist: Peyton's real half-brother Derek is biracial (black and white). And the really surprising part was that it didn't take them five episodes to explain "how" that could happen. The writers deserve big kudos for that alone. Ernest Waddell's (Derek) portrayal of the tough as nails Marine with a big heart is the best addition to the series. On the good side, this shows that the American television audience is ready to embrace the fact that multi-ethnic families do exist and that they are growing in numbers. The 2000 Census was the first time people of multi-ethnic backgrounds were able to select more than one race box. This was a big step in the right direction of breaking down the "you can only pick one" line of thinking. On the bad side, what took Hollywood so long to do a show like this? And better yet, why aren't there more shows with this kind of content? One Tree Hill may have an abundance of teen angst melodrama but this storyline is a true diamond in the rough.

On the other hand, some journalists still miss the mark when it comes inter-racial couples and their biracial children. The whole one black and one white twin phenomenon is a prime example. made this fine point:

First, people are still so intent on forcing people into neat little categories. But these children are all mixed - they’re not solely “black” or “white.” Second, it’s amazing how much phenotype - especially skin color - warps people’s perceptions.

A person may "look" a certain way, but that doesn't change what they "are". That's what some of the American public just doesn't seem to get and it's pretty sad considering it's 2006. Sometimes pictures say it best so here's a short list of black and white biracial entertainers: Halle Berry, Shemar Moore (Criminal Minds), Alicia Keys and Wenthworth Miller (Prision Break). I wish I could take snapshots of people's reactions when I tell them Miller is part African-American. Then I could make a catalog of all the pictures and call it The Miller Wall of "No Way!" because a suprised reaction of disbelief is the top response.

Mavin, Swirl Inc. and Project Race are excellent resources that delve deeper into the biracial and multi-ethnic movement.

We've come a long way since the civil rights movement in the 1960s but it is quite clear that we still have a long way to go. Until then, stay tuned to One Tree Hill la revolution!


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