J.R. Reynolds: Say it loud: He’s black and I’m proud

J.R. Reynolds: Say it loud: He’s black and I’m proud

Battle Creek Enquirer
Battle Creek, Michigan

J.R. Reynolds, Community Columnist

J.R. Reynolds

Until my 2-year-old son is old enough to self-identify racially, I’ve declared him black. I’m raising him African American. Socially and legally. This, despite him being half white. Why? It’s in his best interest. But it’s not without serious, sometimes deadly challenges.

Being black in America has a bad rap. This, according to media, history books, government policy and even statistics. We’re the collective punching bag of mainstream society.

It’s open season on black youth. It’s OK to shoot first and ask questions later. We’re guilty until proven innocent. We’re viewed as a physical threat if we raise our voices in anger. Or throw up our hands to surrender. There’s more…

…So why would a black father like me enthusiastically claim “African American” for his toddler —a moniker that’s historically stigmatized by so many? After all, my son’s mom is white so alternatives exist. Among them: “biracial,” “multiracial” and “other.”…

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