In January 2017, Paris Jackson, daughter of The King of Pop Michael Jackson was interviewed by Rolling Stone magazine. In it, she proudly identifies as Black.
This past week the article resurfaced in social media and now people are losing their minds.
Although I rarely weigh in on celebrity gossip, I felt I needed to because this hits too close to home. Let me just state up front I am pissed off that people are identity policing Paris Jackson. I had just finished reading TaRessa Stovall’s “Wait Up! Who Called the Mixed Identity Police?” piece and thought the timing couldn’t have been more poignant.
I’ve seen multiple people post this article and then decide that Paris Jackson is not Black, as if someone actually gave them or anyone the authority to just decide someone’s race or how they should or can identify. Those people are ignorant and damaging to Biracial people and continue to perpetuate the issues that Biracial Americans face!
Full disclosure: these are my feelings about both Paris Jackson and Biracial people in general. If other Biracial people feel differently about how to self-identify, I completely respect that, but I don’t appreciate people who are only one race telling Biracial people how we should identify.
NEWSFLASH: Paris Jackson and Other Biracial People Do not Have to Choose One Race or the Other!
And you do not get to throw us in one category or the other because it makes YOU more comfortable with our identity. The fact of the matter is, as a Biracial person you should never have to identify as anything other than Biracial (unless it’s how a Biracial person wants to identify, not because it makes others feel better). And asking people the question “What race do you consider yourself” or “What race do identify with more?” is problematic and oppressive in its nature. Answering this question with anything other than “Biracial” is quite frankly, not the truth. Furthermore, Biracial people are either pressured into this falsehood and not identifying as Biracial, so they instead “choose”… or they feel like “choosing” is norm, instead of feeling that identifying as they actually are is the norm.
In addition, despite how we identify ourselves, society also feels the need to decide how they will identify us for themselves, and it is rarely Biracial. This is a problem on its own, but since society has chosen to lump us into one racial category or the other with or without our consent (most often without), you absolutely DO NOT get to decide FOR US which category we get to go into!
People Claiming that Michael Jackson is not Paris Jackson’s Father are Ignorant and Vacuous!
You have no proof of this and using the logic “she doesn’t even look Black” is about as scientific and logical as people claiming that climate change doesn’t exist! ???? I have a Black mother. Biologically. Most people feel that I do not look “Black” … at all. My son, who would be considered 75% Black, looks just like me, with straight dark hair. I have family and friends who have both “fully” Black parents and have my skin tone or lighter skin tones and straight hair. Anyone who believes that in order to be biologically Black they MUST present stereotypical Black characteristics and phenotypes, please educate yourself! Your thinking and colorism are hurting both the Biracial and Black communities.
In addition, how many of you have been DNA tested to prove either of your parents you grew up with are your actual parents? Please, I’d like to know. If you haven’t, how do you know your parents are actually and biologically your parents? Other than the fact that you grew up with them and you have always called them mom, dad, etc? If Paris Jackson has always been told that a Black man is her father and a White women is her mother, how dare anyone decide that she cannot identify with being a Black female but you call Barack Obama the first Black president! If you have decided that Barack Obama (Drake, Bob Marley, Rhianna, or any other Biracial celebrity) is Black because he / they look stereotypically Black despite having a Black father and White mother, but you decide that Paris Jackson isn’t Black when she has a Black father and White mother, you are perpetuating ignorance, and are no better than the men deciding what women should get to do with their bodies. Hypocritical and over-stepping. In actuality, you’re worse!
So to recap: no one gets to decide someone else’s race, and especially not just to justify your narrative or to make you comfortable. It’s not fluid, nor is it up for debate. You don’t decide the races of non-Biracial people. You don’t get to decide ours either. Let Biracial people be Biracial to begin with. Stop telling us to choose which race we want to be considered. Stop feeling like you can decide which Biracial people meet the criteria for you to consider them one race or the other. How about you just consider us Biracial? Leave it at that. Let us leave it at that? This applies to Paris Jackson and other Biracial people.
My name is Brittainy Horton. I’m a 28-year-old Biracial woman (Black mother, White father) raised in the south. I have an 18-month-old son who has a Black father. I have a bachelors degree in psychology and am working on my Master’s degree as a physician assistant. I am also in the process of enrolling in a PsyD program to obtain my doctorate in psychology. I have always been an activist for civil rights, and especially the Black community. My mother was a long term president of our local NAACP chapter and National Black Caucus member, so it is a passion I got honestly. Of course never quite being fully and homogeneously accepted into the Black community because of my Caucasian appearance, I quickly began to delve into the deeper layer of Biracial identity and what that means in American society and culture.
Photo credits: YouTube: Paris Jackson: the truth about her father Michael Jackson and herself, courtesy of Celebrities TV