Taye Diggs: “I Don’t Want My Mixed Son Called Black”
Actor Taye Diggs is father to his son, Walker, and is married to Idina Menzel. With Walker being biracial, Taye says he doesn’t want his son referred to as Black, and feels it would disrespect one half of who Walker is. Taye said “When you call biracial kids Black, you risk disrespecting that one half of who you are and that’s my fear,” he went on to explain “I don’t want my son to be in a situation where he calls himself Black and everyone thinks he has a Black mom and a Black dad, and then they see a white mother, they wonder, ‘Oh, what’s going on?”
He went on to use President Barack Obama as an example of this. President Obama is half white and half Kenyan. He is often referred to as Black, despite the knowledge of who his parents are. Taye said “As African-Americans, we were so quick to say ok he’s Black, he’s Black, and then there were the white people who were afraid to say he was biracial because who knows,” he continued to say, “Everybody refers to him as the first Black president. I’m not saying it’s wrong, I’m just saying that it’s interesting. It would be great if it didn’t matter and that people could call him mixed. We’re still choosing to make that decision, and that’s when I think you get into some dangerous waters.”
Taye is also the author of 2 books, one based on his son’s experiences being biracial called “Mixed Me”. The other is a semi-autobiographical children’s book called “Chocolate Me”.
As the mother of three biracial children, I can understand his stance on wanting his son to embrace both aspects of his culture. However, along with that comes the understanding that society will feel the need to categorize him. He will undoubtedly be categorized as Black despite the other half of his culture. He will also face a point where he will need to decide what he identifies with, whether that be black, white, or mixed. He will also face a point where people will look at him and decide what they classify him as, whether it’s offensive to him or not. Learning to embrace both sides of his culture will have to be a personal journey for him, and his parents have to be okay with the fact that he may ultimately identify with one culture over the other.