Taye Diggs is set to release a second children’s book, Mixed Me, to teach young biracial children how to embrace their multicultural, multi-hued identities. But before it hits shelves, it needs a few edits… from a multiracial person.
In an interview with The Grio, the actor shared that he wants his son, Walker Nathaniel Diggs, to be identified as mixed and not Black. The most troubling part of the admission is that he “fears” people will see his son as Black. With the best of intentions I’m sure, his remarks were more fixated on Walker’s outer shell, and what other people will think about his son, than instilling a sense of identity at Walker’s core.
As a millennial of mixed heritage, I learned quite early that my skin color and “otherness” would raise questions about who I am, and what I should “identify” with, throughout my life. The first major hit came in preschool, when my Latino father showed up to parent-teacher night with my African-American mother. Usually, my mom would handle picking me up from school, so my classmates – and most importantly, their parents – had never met Juan Gomez before. The night was as normal as any four-year-old’s night, as we watched Sesame Street while our parents met with teachers. All in all, pretty harmless.
The next day rocked the tectonic plates of my memory when it comes to dealing with race for the first time. I had already internalized the looks of old women when my family would go grocery shopping with me, staring and shaking their heads as my parents collected me into my car seat. Or the points and stares I’d get on the bus, and the oohs and ahhs from cousins who wanted me to be their “play daughter” because I had curly hair. But that day was different. I had established that I was different, a kind of cool reflection of my parents and their tolerant, new age love. I never thought they were at fault, simply because they made me.
My classmate, also four years old, told me, “My mother said your mother is bad.” And I asked her, “Why?”
She said, “Your mother is bad because she doesn’t like Black men.”
When I got home and explained what happened to my mom, she gathered me onto her lap. And as we sat on the couch, she looked at my dad and said, “It starts.”