"Though many are rejoicing in Mattell’s recent decision to bring diversity to its collection with the introduction of Zendaya Coleman look-a-like doll, some have taken to social media to share some unseemly and incredibly ignorant opinions about the mixed-raced actress’s desire to self-identify as a Black woman."
The crazy criticism aside, Halle Berry and Barack Obama are NOT getting this kind of push back. I'm not saying they never got any. I'm saying they are not being pulled apart like Zendaya seems to be routinely.
And I think you have to ask yourself why?
When I ask myself why, I think back to when Zendaya tried to get the role of Aaliyah in a Lifetime movie of the week (or some such nonsense). At the time, I scoured the internet for how she identified. I couldn't find much of anything except her father is black. I did NOT find one thing that said Zendaya claimed to be black. And I looked hard.
Again, unlike Halle Berry and Barack Obama, I did NOT see her decision to identify as "Black," "Black American," or "African American." However, I did see what I consider white run sites, like wikipedia, identify her as "bi-racial" which is a different identity CHOICE from "African American" --- "Bi-racial" is a choice much like Tiger Woods' choice to dislike being called "African American" (look up the Oprah episode)*
In fact, I didn't see one claim to blackness from Zendaya (or any hair in locks) until AFTER she lost the role of Aaliyah. Her sincerity about wanting to be black now is as suspect as Tiger Woods or Mariah Carey might be if they jumped up and claimed blackness all of a sudden. One drop rule or no one drop rule racial/ethnic identity involves a choice.
A single choice
You do NOT GET multiple choices base on what's good for your career in 2012 or 2013 or 2014 or 2015.
Compare: Halle Berry and Barack Obama may be identified as "bi-racial" on various sites too. But there's information all over the net, left, right, center, up, and down that Halle and Barack identify as "African American" And that information was out there and everywhere BEFORE they were known to us actress or politician.
On a not-so-separate note, white society is suspect when it chooses ultra light-skinned women like Halle, Zendaya or Vanessa Williams (who has two black parents) to represent blackness FIRST, MOST, and damn near always.
Every single of one us light or dark, if we're so "united" ought to be tired of the opportunity boat always being so dang loaded at the light end that the dark end of the boat is sticking up in the air.* And ene end of the boat sticking up in the air always means the entire thing is on the verge of sinking.
And frankly, if light-skinned women are deciding they cannot need see white preference for light-skinned women in the decision to make this doll, in fashion, in the music industry, television* and movies --which is why actor wins for women that look like Lupita Nyongo and Viola Davis have been SOOOO long in coming-- then some of these skin-tone blind light-skinned women are just a darker shade of pale. That is, light folks who cannot see light-skinned privilege (ESPECIALLY those with white features) are just like white folks who cannot see white privilege. Only they ARE black and they are attacking us from the inside.
Ida B Wells, Mary Murray Washington (also Booker T Washington’s Wife) Jane Addams, Josephine St Pierre Ruffin, Josephine Bruce (also Blanche K Bruce’s Wife) Mary Church Terrell, Julia Cooper.Our conversations about light-skinned and dark-skinned people need to be a lot more nuanced than they have been. The jealousy from dark-skinned women over light preferences is as real as some light-skinned women's callous disregard for the pain causing the jealousy.
All Black Women Suffragists and Black Women's Club Movement EXCEPT one white woman. Can you pick out the white woman and name her?* * * * *
Shunning the colorissm conversation
by saying we're all the same,
all while claiming
it'll get better
if you just stop talking about it
(much like white folk say about racism)
all while leaving out
black men's inability
to challenge other black men
who claim colorblind sexual habits
while only dating light and white
is only going to get us more of the same.
The only positive thing I'm willing to say about Zendaya, at this point, is that she's young. And she gets to make a FIRST choice. And this really may be her first adult choice as far as racial identity goes. And she gets to choose to be African American. But her timing is suspect and she should take her lumps or explain herself because I get a say too.
I get to say whether or not you look like my sister, just like Halle, Vanessa, and Viola do, or if you look like some outsider trying to get over by using my identity.
Again, Zendaya is young. I get that. But if Zendaya is going to be African American, she better hurry up and grow into it...if she can. Throwing some locks on her head to be edgy after she loses an acting role isn't working for me.
In regards to colorism? This isn't working for me either. It hasn't worked for any of us for more than 100 years.