Halle Berry and Nahla: Not So Mixed, Not So Happy

Halle Berry and Nahla: Not So Mixed, Not So Happy

The Huffington Post

Marcia Dawkins, Visiting Scholar
Brown University

As we await the results of the 2010 Census it’s tempting to think that our growing comfort with categorizing people as multiracial has erased racism and the fear of interracial relations. But in a recent interview with Ebony Magazine, Halle Berry says that we’re neither as mixed nor as happy as we’d like to think.

In the interview Berry addressed her ugly custody battle with Gabriel Aubry over their 2-year-old daughter, Nahla. Allegations are circulating about the couple’s different racial philosophies, including the use of racial slurs, and their anxiety over Nahla’s racial categorization in the press. Berry told Ebony that “I feel like [Nahla is] black” because of the one drop rule. In other words, Berry sees herself and her daughter as black because they are of partial African American ancestry. Other sources say that Aubry sees Nahla as white and that he thinks Berry should demand a retraction whenever Nahla is identified otherwise…

…Note the word “naturally.” If we take a step back in time we will find that many, including the U.S. Supreme Court in Plessy v. Ferguson, used the word “naturally” to justify and promote racial segregation and inequality. Now, many are using this same terminology to suggest that mixed race people are, by nature, non-racist and capable of promoting large-scaled racial healing. Some even suggest that multiracial families can promote the end of race and racism because of their biological backgrounds. The beauty of thinking this way is that it allows culture to masquerade as human nature without any justification.

This popular-but-flawed way of thinking equates racial progress with racial mixing and ignores the fact that interracial romantic relationships still experience higher rates of failure and different kinds of challenges than same-race relationships. That’s why we can have multiracial families selling car insurance, pasta, and video games on one hand and, on the other, have Halle Berry and Gabriel Aubry’s rancorous custody battle…

Read the entire article here.

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