What would you do if you found out that you had been lied to all your life about what you really are?
What if you went to bed white one night and woke up black the next day?
That's exactly what happened to Bliss Broyard when she found out that her father, a New York Times reporter, had kept a deep dark secret: that he was really a black man passing for white.
In her memoir, One Drop, Broyard tells the story of how she discovered her African-American hertiage, connected with her black family members and her journey coming to terms with her newfound bi-racial identity.
I was pretty shocked, more likely saddened, when I saw Broyard her and black cousin Erin Stiniss on a Today Show video highlighted through my wireless service. It's hard to believe that even in this day and age, people feel the need to hide their "blackness". But then, just when you think our society has progressed from that pre-Civil Rights racism, people start hanging nooses on professors' doors at Columbia Univerisity. And then there's that whole Jena 6 incident that happened about a month ago. It's a shame.
Passing for white is something deep-rooted in our country's history. But I thought it was just that...history. I guess it still goes on. And now that I think about it, I remember Ebony or Essence doing an article along these lines earlier this summer.
I know in my own family, one of my grandmother's first cousins passed for white, that was until his wife had a brown looking baby and his secret was out. You can hide your ethnicity but genes don't lie.
Denying who you really are is never a good idea. Hopefully, Broyard's story will inspire others to embrace that which they sought to ignore.