During slavery blacks made the distinction between “field Negro and house Negro." It's the same thing, with a different name. If you are unconvinced of this wisdom of the crowd then look at unemployment figures: blacks versus whites; the whiteness and foreign-born-ness of Silicon Valley and Hollywood; the wealth of black households versus white, with almost exponential differences.
Let’s look now at what Hollywood and Halle Berry have to add to the conversation. The actress will grace the March issue of Essence magazine. And in her interview she speaks for herself but not for Hollywood when she says her daughter is black. Even though this year’s Academy Awards will be the whitest in 10 years, directors have been known to cast “black” actors who look white as white. This is not the same colorblind casting that calls for an individual male or female person, does not specify race, and then someone with stature such as Denzel Washington or Will Smith is cast. That sort of casting seems to happen only to those who are big box office draws in the first place.
Halle recently said her daughter was black because her mother is black, with no mention of a white father. She does not stand alone in her assessment but I don’t think she could fill a stadium with that argument either. Opinions online point out that Nahla is 75% white, and therefore what? That’s where the logic ends. My guess is that they arrived at this figure by adding 25% white genes from Berry and 50% white genes from Gabriel Aubry; therefore she becomes 75% white, but not white based on "one drop." That makes no sense to me. The reality is closer to Nahla as 85-95% white genotype. (That number takes into account the fact that blacks' genotypes often include Native American and Western European.) In any other country she would be classified as white. But here she is simply black. Confused?
It is confusing and for a good reason. The one-drop rule that Berry invoked allows for an over-simplified conclusion. She was wrong and I hope she reconsiders, or next time has a baby with a black man. I would advise anyone from Tiger Woods to Halle Berry to Alicia Keys to Mariah Carey and others whose offspring look white (or have a white parent) to put white on their child's birth certificate.
That may be a hard choice and a complicated one. Some cases are simple, as when a biracial (Barack Obama) or multiracial person marries a black person and their offspring look identifiably black. But that is not what nieces in my family did and that is not what Halle Berry did—they had offspring with white men, hence their children look identifiably white, not biracial or mixed. Case closed.