When I was little I couldn’t find a Barbie that looked like me, my…how times have changed. Thank you @barbie for this honor and for allowing me to be apart of your diversification and expansion of the definition of beauty. Can’t wait to keep doing amazing things with you #besuper @luxurylaw @theshelbyswain
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. A few days ago, Zendaya posted this message to social media:
A twitter user, @KatieButtwin, quickly surfaced to rebut Zendaya’s claim with this barrage of tweets:
Somehow the White woman who lives in a country where the President– a man of mixed race descent– is called “The First Black President” did not get the memo that most biracial people are labeled as Black by society. So much for the One Drop Rule, which was actual policy that governed the country for centuries. Expectedly, the user was quickly dragged by Black twitter and has since deleted her profile.
Then there is the writer Kola Boof who claims “NO–she’s NOT Black to us from Africa,” in this series of tweets:
To try to paint Africa as a monolith, instead of a continent with varying ethnicities and races is plain stupid. Such thinking also fosters more division and hostility among Blacks that does nothing to better our collective circumstance. Though conversations about colorism and society’s preference for lighter-skinned Black people are important, that does not overshadow the importance of representation for all people of color. In other words, all feats should be celebrated, even as we continue to push the bounds of White Supremacy.
It is sad that a moment to celebrate is met with such hostility. Anger further exemplified by the comments on the pieces written about the Zendaya doll addition to the marketplace such as these:
However, this hostility also allows a glimpse into the intricate workings of the function of race in society. The fact that Zendaya Coleman is biracial leaves her vulnerable to scrutiny from other black people and the racism of whites, which one could only imagine is extremely demoralizing and tasking. While it is important that we congratulate the feats of all women of color– which award young girls of every shade access to more representation– we must also address the reality that progress is a long path upon which we have merely just begun to go down.
Image Credits: IG/Twitter