If you are Black, you know exactly what I mean by the title of my blog post. For those of you who may not know what I am referring to, let me explain it to you.
Many, many years ago there were thousands upon thousands of Black people who passed for White. This is a fact that cannot be denied. If you watched the remake of ROOTS last year, they displayed a number of facts during each commercial break. One being how millions of White people today have traces of Black ancestry and don’t even know it. Not only that, those that do would be considered Black based on the one drop rule. Case in point, Gabrielle Reece and Ryan Giggs. See photos below.
Some of that is due to distant African ancestors and some of it is largely due to the number of Black Americans who passed for White. Their hidden dark secret was only known to them and those that knew them which is why so many went to great lengths to hide that “part” of them. You may be wondering, why did so many Black people pass for White? The answer is simple. It made life for them much easier. The funny thing about Blacks passing for White is that no matter how fair-skinned they are or how White they look, the majority of Black people can tell. White people have a hard time telling the difference which is why so many Blacks were able to pass for White and marry Whites. For example, Ina Rae Hutton, Carol Channing and Anita Florence Hemmings.
My maternal grandfather could have passed for White in his younger years if he wanted to. His brothers could have too. Their sisters on the other hand could not because they were of a slightly darker hue. My grandfather and his brothers were all tall, pale and had a range of different eye colors from blue to gray to green and of course light brown. Not only that, they all had straight hair. As White as they looked, each of them married dark skinned Black women. This however caused a lot of problems for them because they were often accused of taking up with Black women. They didn’t care though because they knew who they were and they loved the women they were with.
Passing is often frowned upon among Black people, but I do not judge. There a thousands upon thousands of other Blacks who passed for White just so they could help make a difference in the lives of other Black people and those around them. Who really knows the full reason why they chose to and why some today choose to. Truth be told, passing is not only among Blacks, but other races too. If you ask me, your race should not be the main thing that defines you. Who you are as a person is what should really matter. Not your genetics.
Until next time…