Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She researches and shares remedies for using certain products for illnesses.
People use different terms to describe themselves when they have parents of two different races. They might say they are biracial, mixed, or multiracial.
Even though people can be biracial with two parents of different races, this article deals only with biracial celebrities with one black parent. It would be too many to include all races. Besides, this is Black History Month.
Black or White?
It is often hard to tell if a person is white or black by the way the person looks. However, their profile pages often give information about their heritage.
Many mixed-race or multiracial people use the term biracial even though they have descendants from more than two races. In fact, people of multiracial backgrounds make up a big portion of the population all over the world.
People are finding out their ancestry these days through Ancentry.com, where they buy an ancestry DNA kit for about $60. Then they send a sample to be tested. Many are surprised to find out that they have ancestors of different races.
The One Drop Rule
The "One Drop Rule" came about in the 1920s and is a term used only in the United States and in no other country. It states that any person with just one drop of blood from African ancestry is considered to be black.
Those people can pass for either black or white. They have indicated that at one time during their career when an acting role calls for a white person, they miss out. The same thing exists if the role calls for a black person because they are told they are not black enough.
It is very fortunate that it doesn't matter too much today because most people get jobs based on their talent instead of the color of their skin. If you don't believe that, ask Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson who has a white mother and a black father. He has a long list of movies to his credit.
Former President Barack Obama had a white mother and a father from Kenya. He didn't run into a problem because of his color but because of where he was born. He was President of the United States for eight years, and during most of that time, Donald Trump claimed he was not a United States citizen. Obama acknowledges his parents of different races. However, his official White House records describe him as African-American.
Celebrities with a Black Mother and a White Father
Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, has a black mother and a white father. On Suits where she had a starring role, it was just the opposite. She played a lawyer who had a white mother and an African-American father.
Twins actresses Tamara Mowry-Housley and Tia Mowry-Hardrict have a black mother and a white father. Tamara married a white man, and they have a six-year-old son named Aden who looks like his white father, but their their-year-old daughter Ariah looks like her biracial mother. Tia married a black man, and they too have a son and daughter.
Other than those listed above, the following celebrities also have an African-American mother and a Caucasian father.
- Singer Lenny Kravitz
- Singer Mýa
- Actress Tracee Ellis Ross’ legendary mother is Diana Ross who is black and her father is Robert Ellis Silberstein who is white. Tracee admits to using her mother's last name for her own career.
- Actor Jussie Smollett
Celebrities with a White Mother and a Black Father
There is a long list of celebrities with a white mother and a black father.
- Actress Halle Berry
- Singer Melanie "Mel B" Brown
- Singer Mariah Carey
- Actress Merle Dandridge
- Singer Drake
- Actor Jordan Fisher
- Actress Jasmine Guy
- NBA player Kris Humphries
- Baseball player Derek Jeter
- Actor Dwayne Johnson
- Olympian bobsledder Lolo Jones
- Rashida Jones' father is musician Quincy Jones, who is black and her mother is actress Peggy Lipton who is white.
- Singer Alicia Keys
- Football player Colin Kaepernick
- Actor Shemar Moore
- Former President Barack Obama
- Actress Paula Patton
- Jordin Sparks
- Philip Michael Thomas
- Tiger Woods
To Capitalize or Not to Capitalize?
The jury is still out on which is correct. The stylebooks are not consistent on whether to capitalize the B in Black and the W in White when referring to a person's race. They do agree that capitalization should be used in the expressions African-Americans and Caucasians.
Major newspapers, magazine, and books differ on what they do. The Oxford Dictionary and the Webster Dictionary state that when referring to African-Americans, the B in Black can be and often is capitalized. On the other hand, the New York Times and Associated Press stylebooks continue to insist on black with a lowercase b even though they suggest that the proper names of people, races, nationalities, and tribes should be capitalized.
Since linguists, academics, activists, and stylebooks cannot agree on the rule, this writer makes the following suggestions.
- Be consistent throughout your writing. Decide on what to use and stick with it.
- Be parallel. If you use Black, then use White. If you use African-American, then use Caucasian.
Some people believe by capitalizing the B in Black and the W in White is being respectful and shows equality.
Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on February 14, 2019:
Lora, thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I agree with you and Tim that we all came from the same group of people. Hopefully, there will come a day when everyone will realize it also.
Lora Hollings on February 14, 2019:
Thank you Margaret for a very interesting article. I think the great singer, Lena Horne, was also biracial and I'm sure that there are many more celebrities too. As Tim points out, we have all descended from the same group of people and we are all Americans with many common ancestors. It is a shame that Donald Trump speaks, often times, without being knowledgable of the facts. I enjoyed your article!
Margaret Minnicks (author) from Richmond, VA on February 14, 2019:
Tim, you always know what to say to make my articles better. I appreciate your comments. They are always thought-provoking. Thank you so much.
Tim Truzy from U.S.A. on February 14, 2019:
fabulous article. I thought about the actress, Lisa Bonnet, who I believe is biracial. She played Denise Huxtable on the Cosby Show.
Also, I don't strive to call my friends of European descent, Euro-American, because I recognize I and they are "American" first.
For that reason, I've always used the word: Black, capitalized. I also use White with a capital, out of respect for both groups.
Genetically, we all are descended from the same group. Hopefully, these racial issues will loose their power.
The concept of "race" is a strange Americanism. However, we still see its implications.
Ironically, the "one drop" rule pays respect to gene dominance in the human species, but it gives rise to such ideas of White superiority. That's a complete contradiction to me.
Truthfully, children from such backgrounds can have it tough, but your article shows that there is a potential for change within the way people address the idea of "race" and that's a good start.
Thank you for a well written article.