We Need To Educate Ourselves On Race vs. Ethnicity (And Other Things I Learned From The Ongoing Zoe Saldana/Nina Simone Conversation)

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by Emmanuel Akitobi
August 16, 2012 10:17 PM
214 Comments
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The widespread public reaction to this week's news that actress Zoe Saldana has replaced singer Mary J. Blige in the planned Nina Simone biopic has been very interesting-- if not troubling.

The reaction was swift, blunt, and, seemingly, most critical among black readers who left passionate comments all over the blogosphere.  Simone's own daughter should be commended for her measured approach in responding to the controversy.

This week I learned a lot about some of the readers of S&A, and other blogs with content geared to readers throughout the African diaspora.  And some of what I learned, I didn't like too much.

What started off as a fair display of disapproval for a film's casting, quickly dissolved into a barrage of hateful and hurtful comments, directed at the subject of the film and the star, at the time only rumored to be attached.

There was talk about who should have been cast instead of Saldana; there was debate about whether Saldana was too pretty to play Simone, who some foolhardily labeled as unattractive.

Inevitably, and perhaps with good reason, there was concern that the role of music legend Simone was to be played by an actress of a hue different than her own.  At this point in the conversation, They still had me.  I was still listening, and still learning how people were feeling about the issue.

"She's too light-skinned to be taken seriously as Nina Simone," declared many who objected to the casting. 

"And besides-- she's a Latina.  She's stealing jobs from real black actresses."

And that's where they lost me.

I can maybe understand some of the concern expressed; most especially from those who have only identified Saldana as Latina and believe that to be the sole way she self-identifies.  But for those who have viewed or read interviews wherein Saldana has self-identified as both black and Latina, I'm having difficulty understanding the lingering confusion and suspicion.

I think we've had this conversation on S&A several times before (the earliest instance I could recall was back in 2009 with Ms. WOO), so I won't take you on a long trip down memory lane this time.

Race and ethnicity-- it's understandable that some may mistake one for the other.  But we all need to have a better understanding of the difference between race and ethnicity, and how it's absolutley possible (and normal) for Saldana to be both a black woman and a Latina.  Also, we need to understand why her ethnicity should not be the determining factor in arguing against Saldana being cast in the planned Nina Simone biopic. 

First things first, let's get some definitions . . .

The word "ethnic" refers to a member of a minority group who retains the customs, language, or social views of the group.  In Saldana's case, she has self-identified culturally as a Spanish-speaking Latina, from the region of the Americas known as Latin America.  (Not everyone in Latin America speaks Spanish, by the way.)  Her ethnicity is Latina.

The word "race"is defined as a category of humankind that shares certain distinctive physical traits.  In most regions of the world, this would apply to skin color, hair texture, and facial features.  Saldana's race is black.  If you think hard enough about it, I'm sure you would be able to name a few people, who you consider black, who look just like her.

And I say all of that, to say this:  It's perfectly understandable for there to be some opposition to the casting of Zoe Saldana in the role of Nina Simone, but not because she's Latina.  I think the belief that Saldana is stealing jobs from "real" black actresses is an ignorant one; but one that can be easily remedied with a little bit of education.

So there you have it.  Zoe Saldana-- a self-identifying black Latina actress.  And she's not the only one, either.

Let's revisit the below short clip from mun2.tv which discusses the realities of being black and Latino, from the perspective of various actors, musicians, and artists in this country who have also struggled with the perception that one must be one or the other.

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214 Comments

  • Tyrone | August 14, 2013 8:35 PMReply

    Black People Avoid The Truth:

    1. Hollywood is Anti-Black Female...The powerbrokers in the industry shove mulatto women down our collective throats. Halle Berry, and Paula Patton are not real blackwomen...Period!

    2. Spanish Blacks Hate Black! When did they become Pro-Black? Latin blackwomen are supporters of white male supremacy. They're brainwashed to hate blackmen. Why should Zoe Saldana jump over AA women who have stayed loyal to blackmen and the race in general. I don't care for latin blacks, they have no love for Mama Africa. I'm not giving Saldana one red cent as long as the status quo remains in place.

  • Wedjat | August 9, 2013 1:23 PMReply

    well we can argue the use of words and definitions all day. the true definition of a word means nothing if a large mass of people believe it means something else. just like the word "racist". its not even in the dictionary but through people misusing the word, now the word exists and has a meaning when the correct word people should be using is "bigot". "racist" stems from the word "racism" to describe a system; a person cannot be a racist if you go by the correct definition of it. the only place you will find the word "racist" are on internet dictionaries which I don't even consider real dictionaries because they aren't even by official English language sources, except Merriam Webster.

    the point of words are to get a message across so even if you use the correct word, people aren't going to know what you're referring to and your meaning is lost. just like when I use bigot in its correct terminology instead of racist, the person I'm trying to convey my message to, doesn't even understand what I'm talking about so I have to revert back to using the incorrect word "racist" so they understand.

    as far as this article is concerned, they should choose someone else who more correctly matches Nina Simon's features because Hollywood always depicts people as these model-perfect people when in reality these historic people looked more like common people, like us. there is enough Barbie-ism going on as it is. Stop Barbie-fying our black historic people. It has a psychological effect on people that in the end separates us from the hero rather than us becoming one with them and seeing them as realistic as ourselves.

  • Felipe | July 2, 2013 7:13 PMReply

    Please watch the video "Glass Walls" with a very important message from Paul McCartney

  • AllPeople | April 10, 2013 2:19 PMReply

    .
    An 'Ethnic' category is NOT the
    same thing as a "Race" category:
    .
    groups DOT yahoo DOT com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4236
    .
    facebook DOT com/allpeople.gifts/posts/300777016632181
    .

  • Liz Vasquez | February 24, 2013 6:40 PMReply

    I think I understand the arguments being said, but as a mulatto Hispanic (or Latina), with ambiguous phenotype, from Central America, who grew up here in America, I can only speak for myself.

    Culturally, I am not like African Americans. I grew up with the customs and culture of my family, which is close and remain strong with their cultural believes and daily lifestyle. As an immigrant child growing up in America, I wasn't raised with traditional "American" customs. My mother was very adamant on how I was raised...while my American friends had their typical American upbringing, I had to do things differently, and I won't lie that I felt left out much of the time, but now looking back, I'm grateful for that now, because it taught me to be proud of my Latin-Caribbean culture and heritage.

    Maybe the issue here is CULTURE more-so than race, or skin color, etc.

  • Find the truth StrongMan | January 29, 2013 5:02 PMReply

    Blacks and Latinos and whites and everyone in between. You were all black African and after time changed into what you are now. We've all been lied to. Do some serious research and use common since. Attention! WE ARE ALL THE SAME.

    1. The Bible Has all the answers
    2. Check out "Hidden Colors" Documentary
    3. Check out "The Human Family Tree" Documentary
    4. Find the truth

  • xo | January 24, 2013 5:15 PMReply

    Hollywood is racist, period. This conversation should be using a wide angle lens in framing this conversation not a close up shot. People of Color, no matter the color, do not have access in hollywood...and we are in 2013. Just like in our communities we as folks of color are 'pitted' against each other for the far and few between stories of our legacies. Stop blaming 'her' for getting a part - she is an actor afterall and the parts are so scarce why blame the actor. Who put up the sign, No Dog, Negros or Mexicans? Not folks of color for sure. The words Hispanic, Latino, were lazily assigned to folks that didn't fit the white/black paradigm. Calling each other Black, White or Latino doesn't make sense. Forcing us to identify as one or the other (not brown) forces us to fight for scraps. Stand up for one another instead of falling into the fake argument of the Angry 'White' Man. What the F is his ethnicity or race, and Why are we demanding an answer to that question!

  • ANN | January 24, 2013 4:13 PMReply

    LIGHT SKIN DARK SKIN AS LONG AS THEY ARE OF THE BLACK RACE DOES NOT MATTER TO ME THAT JUST A COMPLEXION I AM TALKING ABOUT RACE MIXING I HATE IT EVEN THOUGH THEIR ARE CERTAIN CASE WHERE IT SEEM OK MOT THE MASSES IT TO MUCH OF IT TODAY IT TURN MY STOMACH BUT IT OK BECAUSE I KNOW NO ONE ELSE CARE LIKE ME,

  • ann | January 24, 2013 4:08 PMReply

    I AM PROUD OF MY PARENTS, EVEN THOUGH I KNOW THE HISTORY OF THE AMERICAN BLACK SLAVE AND ALL THE INTERACISL MIXUNG , I STILL DO NOT WANT MY KIDS MARRYING AND BREEDING WITH WHITES . iDO NOT FEEL IT IS RACIST TO NOT WANT MY DNA MIX WITH WHITE DNA I DO NOT WANT BLOND OR BLUE EYES IN MY FAMILY NO MORE THEN THEY WANT KIKY HAIR AND STRONG BLACK/BROWN COMPLEXION IN THEIR. I DO NOT HATE WHIT PEOPLE BUT I DO NOT WANT TO SLEEP WITH ANY I WOULD BE VERY HURT IF MY KIDS BROUGHT HOME THAT RACE IF THEY ARE DATING WHITE KEEP IT FROM ME.

  • LBM | January 23, 2013 2:56 PMReply

    Black women who dare to excel in spite of daggers coming BECAUSE they are dark, BECAUSE they have wide noses, BECAUSE they choose their natural hair, BECAUSE they have full lips - deserve to be celebrated in as accurate imagery as possible. Just as Lena Horne had certain options BECAUSE of how she looked, Nina Simone's complete course was informed by HOW SHE LOOKED and the fact that she dared to be proud when there was almost no segment of society embracing her beauty. What she achieved, her tenacity to want to LIVE in a world in which most women who looked like her barely survived should not be downplayed. I'm dismayed that so many continue to ignore/dismiss the plight of darker complexioned women of a certain phenotype. Folk bust a gasket every time Jesus is spoken of as not white. So to pretend that we don't understand the power of imagery is just evil. I'd bet my last dollar that if Celia Cruz (RIP) attempted to play Lena Horne, people would have had a problem.

  • James Nelson | January 23, 2013 3:19 PM

    Lena Horne, bad example to use if I'm understanding your point correctly. Ms Horne being light-skinned didn't really help her career at all where Hollywood was concerned. It certainly didn't do much for Dorothy Dandridge either. Sure these women had options, she also had to abide by the much the same rules that any Black actress had to abide by. Fact is if Horne had been allowed to star in all the films she was qualified to be in our filmography of Lena Horne would be much more extension than it is. Zoe Saldana playing the role of Nina Simone, while one could argue there are actresses that bare a stronger resemblance doesn't bother me nearly as much as darkening Anjolina Joie in a film like Mighty Heart.

  • monique | January 16, 2013 9:24 PMReply

    who cares about her race or her ethnicity . she does not look anything like the actress. i am tired of lightskinned actresses playing the parts of woman who are dark skinned. her color is important especially during the time she was a star. also simone was not an advocate for mixed race relationships and saldana embodies that. it is not ok . if u are gonna do a movie on a black person make sure the person is black and something the real artist would of approved of. simple

  • R. Williams | February 19, 2013 10:16 PM

    " also simone was not an advocate for mixed race relationships and saldana embodies that. it is not ok . if u are gonna do a movie on a black person make sure the person is black and something the real artist would of approved of."

    I guess we'll have to reshoot all those Nazi films with real Nazis, and all those serial killer and rapist films with real serial killers and rapists for the story to be authentic.

    *eye roll*

  • Lizochka | January 11, 2013 4:55 PMReply

    The ethnicity v race thing has always confused me. I've been told a few times that I'm not white (I'm from Russia and ethnically Russian), but I'm light-skinned and check the "white" box on forms in the US.

  • Maya | January 9, 2013 5:55 PMReply

    You people just confuse the hell out of me, I live in south-america (I really don't understand where that "Latin America" crap came from because we speak spanish not latin) I'm really piss-off about all the stupid commentaries about how Zoe can't play the part because she is latina, seriously?? 'cause for me she is not latina at all, she was born in US soil, and no matter that she lived a couple of years in Dominican Republic, and her parents are both hispanics, she is an American because the mayority of her live, she was in the US and that's the culture on which she was raised, no matter where her parents come from, I was born in the Argentina but I wasn't race there so I don't now absolutly nothing about that culture, and I don't consider myself argentinian, and I sure no matter Zoe feels very proud of where her parents came from and they thought him a little of their own culture, is just that nothing more, "she is stealing the part of other american black wome" hahahah don't make me laugh that's the most racist thing I ever heard, she is not stealing anything 'cause she is an american with hispanic parents yes, but an american, AND ALSO THE MOVIE IS ALREADY IN POST PRODUCCION SO GET OVER IT, there's nothing we can do or say to change the fact that she had the part.

  • MichelleToo | January 3, 2013 9:39 PMReply

    Your article is incredibly logical and valid. I am really glad you took the time to make the important distinctions between race and ethnicity, especially since we as Black Americans can stand to remind ourselves that we have a whole diaspora to be proud of and to educate ourselves about.

    HOWEVER, and I put that in caps because it is extraordinarily important, we are not talking about an academic distinction. We are talking about reel life. Literally. The world of film and television, where the academic distinctions between race and ethnicity don't really amount to a hill of beans. What does amount to a hill of beans is the fact that Black women, in particular, non racially ambiguous Black American women have been trying since the beginning of Hollywood to gain some sort of foothold in the telling of not just our stories, but hell, the stories of anybody. Non-racially ambiguous Black women have been chipping away at the stereotypes and attitudes that still define and crowd us into these very small pigeon holes, from which it is very hard to been seen as fully human.

    In plain English, Latina women have, in comparison, vast amounts of freedom and power in Hollywood. Latina women are not seen as Black nor are they treated as Black. They are treated as serious commodities in film and television. A Latina actress can be seen with any leading man, and they can grace any magazine, be on any show, be in any movie. They have the power in Hollywood to make films, OPEN films and certainly star in a TV show.

    People like Dania Ramirez, Jessica Alba (Honey), Zoe Saldana, Christina Milian, Rosario Dawson, Daphne Rubin-Vega, etc all move back and forth seamlessly between being Black, Afro-Latina, and Latina on any given day. They will be seen in auditions to play the daughter of two Black parents or to play a Black American (which, by the way is also an ethnicity) icon. However, Black American actress, those without the extra specialness of being Latina, don't get those opportunities. Those opportunities are only open to Latina women because in Hollywood, being Latina comes with a power that Black actresses are not granted. Being Latina is a privilege in Hollywood. Now, I am not one to get into the race olympics, but in the case of Hollywood, we have to be honest about the hierarchy that exists because that is the only way we can dismantle a system that keeps us all down.

    We all know that Zoe Saldana has been allowed to do the things that she is doing because yes, she is beautiful and talented and has been on her grind, BUT, the fact that she is Latina and not just Black gives her an enormous boost. And THAT has to be talked about, ESPECIALLY vis a vis a biopic about Nina Simone who dealt with this kinda ish all her life. In fact she wanted her life to be a hammer that would start to destroy the mentality that says that Black women are not beautifully sexual fully realized human beings.

    So we HAVE to talk about Zoe Saldana's ethnicity, her culture, her race and her privilege. We HAVE to talk about the fact that she is Latina. And for the record, I don't think she is light skinned. I think that is the most ridiculous part of the criticism, because to me light skinned is Gina Torres or Lauren Velez or Vanessa L. Williams. They are light. Zoe is not light. And whole other post should be dedicated to why people think she is light. But that is for another time.

  • Boricuamada | July 7, 2013 12:14 PM

    I'm on the other end of the Latina/Hispanic spectrum (light olive complexion and blue eyes) and rarely see Hollywood or magazines go past the dark skin, dark hair, dark eye stereo type of Latin people (Devious Maids *facepalm*). Then you have actress/actors playing a white roles (Martin Sheen, Alexis Bledel, Diego Boneta, Sarah Paxton, Frankie Muniz, Bella Thorne, David Gallagher, and Odette Yustman just to name a few) because the industry and the media for that matter refuses to budge on visual racial stereotypes. It's a sad case all the way around. Don't even get me started on job applications...LOL

  • Maria Cortez | January 11, 2013 11:26 PM

    I agree with you, However Jessica Alba (Honey), Rosario Dawson and Daphne Rubin-Vega could never play black women to me. They do not look black at all, they could be casted as a mulatto because of their skin color, hair and facial features but never black. And if they did its not believable to the educated. But other than that Zoe, does consider herself black , but like she said in a interview she should consider herself "mixed" becuase of her European and Indian ancestors. But since there is more African than other races and she is dark she considers herself black. To me yes , she is dark-skinned however her facial features are not those of a women that ancestors all come from Africa. She has (white) European features and good hair texture that is why her look is so versatile. But I agree with you

  • Hmmm..Lets C | January 1, 2013 10:40 AMReply

    My only response is can someone Black/African American/African can get a role in Latin American countries

  • Onyx | January 24, 2013 4:52 PM

    Google "Xica" and you'll see images of Taís Araújo playing Xica da Silva in the 1997 Novella called "Xica". I think that I first saw it on Telemundo. This sister is beautiful and from Brazil, and this was her starring role.

  • James Nelson | January 23, 2013 3:28 PM

    If we're talking about a role specifically calling for an Black/African character, than I'd see the point, but where talking about an entirely different issue. The Latin American film industry has it's own problems with skin color and who gets air time. That's the same bogus derailment of the topic that white ppl use when we talk about an African American presence in American films, and somebody brings up "You don't see Black's in Japanese films", or some such nonsense. You can not compare the U.S. film industry to the film industry in other countries. A Latin American born in, or living in the U.S. can obviously get a role as a in a film in the U.S, because the powers that be that back film production in the U.S. deem it so. If tomorrow they decided they could get more adolescent, white males to spend money looking at Asian, or Innuit women, then you'd quite possibly see roles that might have gone to Black-Actresses going to those actresses instead. Keep the blame where the blame belongs.

  • maria cortez | January 11, 2013 11:28 PM

    I honestly have never seen a black American on Novela's nor a dark hispanic , so i dont think so.

  • Maeiyah | December 22, 2012 2:03 PMReply

    I totally disagree with your whole premise, this is for the author of this article. It was because of our phenotype,rich carbon melanin ,who we are, the first born, chosen people why we caught so much hell in this country, This also applies for our great Nina Simone, because of her phenotype, her wide nose and large lips how dare you try to justify racist Hollywood rewriting our story. So NO I disagree with Zoe Saldana playing the roll of Nina Simone. No other people on this EARTH has experience the HOLOCAUST that we as DARK CARBON MELANIN have experience and continue to experience we lost everything our Culture, our spirituality, our essence, our Land, and our Nationality. My people suffer greatly from the STOCKHOLM syndrome, then you have Negros who have no knowledge of themselves trying to justify this blatant disrespect to rewrite our story. Those who forget are doomed to repeat. Just like Europeans depicting Jesus as a Europeans when we know the region he was born and what those people look like. The very exact thing is is happening here. 100 years later, our young people see the story and think Nina Simone, look like Zoe Saldana and was a Latino women, this is how rewriting your story starts right in your face. I guarantee you if Nina Simone was alive today, she would not want Zoe Saldana to play her role, I can guarantee you this.Other nationality study us, and know our mindset they know most of our sister's and brother can be bamboozled and suffer deeply from self hatred. Other people from other nationalities including Europeans, can piss in our face and call it rain, and confused Negro cosign it with allegiance SMDH

  • YILDIRIM, Ferhat | December 22, 2012 6:40 AMReply

    Find me on facebook Im writing a movie in my posts as a draft, its going to be about a human being lightning 'me', enthicity, race and why discrimination exsists. Iv started 2minutes in to writing it already. Im doing it just for the sake of it as I cant find work, every job is taken so incomes has to come in some way or another. Maybe a book first I dont know.

    What else strikes earth other then human beings living on land with two foot or atleast one? No one but lightning.

    I will sue any other human being who strikes taking my idea/s. Sick of being used as a tool.

  • Yahya | December 21, 2012 2:17 PMReply

    It is amazing how still toward the end of 2012, we still feel compelled to debate "race", "ethnicity", and all of their relations. Indeed, as "Black" Americans (or "African-Americans"...however some choose to identify), we need to get over the MISconception that we are the ONLY other group of African descent outside of Africa, or the ONLY other group of African descent whose ancestors were victims of the Trans-Atlantic slave trade. Just as many native West Africans have to get over the fact that many of us openly choose to identify with pride (and not hide) our ancestral links to the Motherland. Indeed, there are more of our distant "cousins" in Brazil than in the U.S. and I've met many brothers and sisters here in the U.S. who had absolutely NO CLUE that there were so many "black" families in Central and South America, or even in the Caribbean. Now, although I'm sure there are many other talented actresses (or perhaps even a very talented newcomer) who could portray Nina Simone and do her justice on film...Zoe doesn't deserve all of the hate being spewed her way over a role (and over both her culture and familial ancestry). I have only read interviews where she self-identifies with both her African and Latin heritages, and Spanish is her first language. I don't see what all the hoopla is about.

  • Du Lys | December 4, 2012 12:12 PMReply

    Kathy's comment about being "ethnically half black but racially white" has to be one of the most asinine remarks I've ever come across on this topic. Aside from the fact that there is no such thing as race, the whole idea is based on perception. Someone with light skin and wavy hair may appear to be white to you but they may have other features that make it quite obvious to someone else that they are black.

  • Lisa | August 16, 2013 9:59 AM

    Du Lys you are retarded. Someone CAN be ethically half black butu racially WHITE. Look at Jennifer Beals, Mariah Carey and Tom Sizemore. They are all BIRACIAL, but have the traits of a WHITE person. They are not black. DUH! Get over yourself.

  • omar | December 2, 2012 10:45 AMReply

    What makes your Race vs Ethnic argument is not your notion of the former being physical and the latter social, which I generally agree to. It is your "racist" designation of Black as something exclusively physical. As if people of African origin and slave descent in the north America's have not retained common customs, language, or social views stemming from their unique social experience and background. Being black is every much a social thing as being Latino. I think it is very "racist" to think of black being socially speaking, a empty slate, that only corresponding to physical characteristics like hue, texture, nose structure and bone density. This is very unscientific and problematic. Since the concept of race is a social construct the biology of race has no social meaning beyond continental evolution. We have to look at Black as an ethnic category in the same way as Latin. So the real question is ethnicity vs ethnicity. Zoa's Blackness vs her Latinoness in comparison to Nina Simone. Did Zoa share some of the same customs, language, or social views as Nina Simone as did the typical Black woman? Of course her likeness to the looks of the actor she is playing should be a qualifier ( and make up no pun intended can make up for the lack of likeness, but the social experience of being Black the products if that experience, the customs, language, social views, to me is paramount and takes precedence.

  • AllPeople (AP) Gifts [soaptalk AT hotmail DOT com] | November 24, 2012 10:06 PMReply

    .
    There is actually no such thing as a so-called "Light-Skinned
    Black" person ... but rather ... such individuals and groups
    are actually people who are of a 'Multi-Generational
    Multiracially-Mixed' (MGM-Mixed) Lineage that some may
    have been pressured or encouraged to ignore or downplay.
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4160
    .
    People of Mixed-Race lineage should NOT feel pressured to
    'identify' according to any standards other than one's own.
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4157
    .
    The legal -application of the racist-'One-Drop Rule'
    (ODR) was banned in the U.S. way back in 1967.
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4162
    .
    http://www.facebook.com/groups/253286018082418/permalink/253341891410164
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4187
    .
    http://www.facebook.com/groups/253286018082418/permalink/253341281410225
    .
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    .
    Listed below are related Links of 'the facts' of the histories
    of various Mixed-Race populations found within the U.S.:
    .
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    .
    There is no proof that a 'color-based slave hierarchy'
    (or that 'color-based social-networks') ever existed
    as common entities -- within the continental U.S.
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4154
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4153
    .
    It was the 'Rule of Matriliny (ROM) -- [a.k.a. 'The Rule of Partus'
    (ROP)] -- and NOT the racist-'One-Drop Rule' (ODR) -- that was
    used to 'create more enslaved people' on the continental U.S.
    .
    This is because the chattel-slavery system that was
    once found on the antebellum-era, continental U.S.
    was NOT "color-based" (i.e. "racial") -- but rather
    -- it was actually "mother-based" (i.e. 'matrilineal').
    .
    http://www.facebook.com/allpeople.gifts/posts/309460495741441
    .
    There were many ways (and not solely the sexual assault
    and sexual exploitation of the women-of-color) in which
    'white' lineage entered the familial bloodlines of
    enslaved-people found on the continental U.S.
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4238
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4239
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4240
    .
    An 'Ethnic' category is NOT the
    same thing as a "Race" category:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4236
    .
    http://www.facebook.com/allpeople.gifts/posts/300777016632181
    .
    Other Topics:
    .
    https://www.facebook.com/allpeople.gifts/posts/279223868853420
    .
    https://www.facebook.com/allpeople.gifts/posts/164203590359746
    .
    http://www.facebook.com/notes/%C2%ADallpeople-gifts/the-facts-on-m%C2%ADixed-race/321878451159708
    .
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    .

  • Dee | November 24, 2012 4:29 PMReply

    The comment from AP Gifts about there being no such thing as light skin black people is by far the most ridiculous comment on race I have ever read! Even in Africa and I'm not referring to thse of Arab descent, come in different shades of black! Have you ever seen South Africans? Black is just an overall term to classify a group of people. Remember the opposite of black is whte. Not all white people are one shade either. I am a lighter shade of brown and my sons are ligh complexion. Their father, a dougla (East Indian and black of the west indies) is a darker shade. Coming from a family of people who are very light in color with blue eyes to the blackest shade and even dark with gray eyes, is the most beautiful thing. To see that we as an ethnic group because there is only one race, the human race, are so unique. If you observe the different countries of Africa including the Ethiopians and Somalians and their characteristic features and skin color and hair textures and the rest of us how we should be proud! It doesn't matter what the other mixtures are, it's just a testament that black people can look like several other groups of people, ethnic-wise. But to say there is no such thing as a light skin black person makes me then wonder: What about two black parents who give birth to a veryh light complexion, light eyed light hair child? It happens all the time. And it's not because the parents are biracial. The genetic pool is a very complicated thing. Not all blacks with blue eyes for example is because of a white gene. It's a particular gene that can even happen to pure Asian. It's the OCA2 gene. Read about it. It's really sad that everyone wants to be white. If you take a can of white paint and add a drop of black or brown, you won't get white. People have the right to call themselves what they want, but when it's done because they are ashamed to be of African descent, then I feel sorry for them!

  • Kathy | November 27, 2012 11:58 AM

    I have to disagree. I am a "white" hispanic and the difference between blacks and hispanics is that we understand race versus ethnicity. Unfortunately, most blacks do not which is why blacks will classify white looking people as black because of the antiquated one drop rule. As hispanics, we identify each other as black hispanics and white hispanics based on race. To say you have blond, blue eyed relatives that are black is ridiculous. Only in America! The opposite of black is white. You, my dear, have relatives of the WHITE race even though they are ETHINICALLY mixed with black. Just as there is no such thing as PASSING for white. You are white enough to look white or you are not. Do you realize this insane phenomenon only happens in America because of the one drop rule. Try telling someone in Europe that Jennifer Beals is a black woman. She is ETHNICALLY half black but RACIALLY white. She has more in common RACIALLY with Gwyneth Paltrow than Whoopie Goldberg. By putting someone who is biracial and looks white (like Jennifer Beals, Wentworth Miller, Rashida Jones etc) in the same RACIAL category as say, Wesley Snipes is not only incorrect but insane! I had a Race and Ethnicity teacher in college (a black man from London) who said the most ignortant group of people in the world when it came to race were American blacks. His words not mine. I have read where black people call women like Carol Channing and Carly Simon "black" because they admitted to African lineage. Seriously??? They are WHITE women with African lineage. Get it straight! I even know black people that are sick of this nonsense.

  • guitargirl1 | November 18, 2012 4:27 PMReply

    Why is do you say it's no such thing as a light skinned black person? Tell that to my black friends, any of them. they will all argue that it is such a thing as that. just like it's dark skinned white people, white asians and very deep red indians. That makes no sense to me, your comment on the color of people. There has always been an issue with the dark Blacks and the lighter toned blacks. it seems that the lighter they are, the better the treatment they get, even from their own kind!! In other countries, not just here in the USA. Cuba, is one of the places that makes a difference between colors of people, it's that way everywhere we go. Puerto Ricans used to where make-up to make their faces lighter and their cheekers red, for to be thought of as white, or white like. Yes, light skinned folks do exist, try telling some of them that it's not a race, they will tell you another story all together. We might not like people to be treated better or worse because of the color of their skin...but it still happens to this day. i am afraid it's always gonna be some extent to it. My ex-husbands and his birth family are so ashamed of being black, they call themselves native American, now that's terrible! i had DNA testing done for my son, came back with not a drop of Indian blood in him. So, we are always gonna have to deal with folks and their skin color, whatever color, however light or dark, we will still have our likes and dislikes.

  • APGifts [soaptalk@hotmail.com] | November 14, 2012 10:24 PMReply

    .
    There is actually no such thing as a so-called "Light-Skinned
    Black" person ... but rather ... such individuals and groups
    are actually people who are of a 'Multi-Generational
    Multiracially-Mixed' (MGM-Mixed) Lineage that some may
    have been pressured or encouraged to ignore or downplay.
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4160
    .
    People of Mixed-Race lineage should NOT feel pressured to
    'identify' according to any standards other than one's own.
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4157
    .
    The legal -application of the racist-'One-Drop Rule'
    (ODR) was banned in the U.S. way back in 1967.
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4162
    .
    http://www.facebook.com/groups/253286018082418/permalink/253341891410164
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4187
    .
    http://www.facebook.com/groups/253286018082418/permalink/253341281410225
    .
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    .
    Listed below are related Links of 'the facts' of the histories
    of various Mixed-Race populations found within the U.S.:
    .
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    .
    There is no proof that a 'color-based slave hierarchy'
    (or that 'color-based social-networks') ever existed
    as common entities -- within the continental U.S.
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4154
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4153
    .
    It was the 'Rule of Matriliny (ROM) -- [a.k.a. 'The Rule of Partus'
    (ROP)] -- and NOT the racist-'One-Drop Rule' (ODR) -- that was
    used to 'create more enslaved people' on the continental U.S.
    .
    This is because the chattel-slavery system that was
    once found on the antebellum-era, continental U.S.
    was NOT "color-based" (i.e. "racial") -- but rather
    -- it was actually "mother-based" (i.e. 'matrilineal').
    .
    http://www.facebook.com/allpeople.gifts/posts/309460495741441
    .
    There were many ways (and not solely the sexual assault
    and sexual exploitation of the women-of-color) in which
    'white' lineage entered the familial bloodlines of
    enslaved-people found on the continental U.S.
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4238
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4239
    .
    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4240
    .
    An 'Ethnic' category is NOT the
    same thing as a "Race" category:

    http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Generation-Mixed/message/4236
    .
    http://www.facebook.com/allpeople.gifts/posts/300777016632181
    .
    Other Topics:
    .
    https://www.facebook.com/allpeople.gifts/posts/279223868853420
    .
    https://www.facebook.com/allpeople.gifts/posts/164203590359746
    .
    http://www.facebook.com/notes/%C2%ADallpeople-gifts/the-facts-on-m%C2%ADixed-race/321878451159708
    .
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    .

  • Raymond | November 14, 2012 6:25 PMReply

    When did latino become a race. There are to much ignorant black and white Americans out there.
    A latino can be white, black, mulatto or mezisto. White people have don a good job of causing conflict among black people. Black latinos think they are better because they speak spannish. Wake up and smell the coffee, white latinos have no use for you. Black americans have to realize that they are not the only black people out there. In fact, most of the slaves that came from Africa ended up in Brazil or the Carribean. One final note. Puerto Rico is a country and not a race.

  • James Nelson | January 23, 2013 3:36 PM

    No Dee I'd have to disagree, both your "average" Black and White person on the street are equally ignorant about Race and Ethncity. Most Blacks in America don't even acknowledge other Black ethnicities outside the Carribbean.

  • Dee | November 24, 2012 3:56 PM

    The ignorance regarding race and thnicity lies more with whites than blacks. Most blacks understand the difference. Black people obviously know of Brazil and the Caribbean. It's those from the Caribbean or Latin America that will make their land of birth their "race", not the other way around. Yes, the Spaniards and others of white persuasion that have brainwashed people of African descent to the point that even a black skin, nappy head Jamaican will say, I am not black, I am Jamaican, knowing full well in Jamaica they are African! Now most from the Spanish and French speaking Caribbean acknowledge their African ancestry and even practice in their culture and sing in their songs. But because of negative media and the history of the rulers of these places, white/light is always right and they will even erase the African lineage from whence they come!!!

  • Byron Wilkes | November 12, 2012 12:44 AMReply

    It is sickening that most of us (black people) know so little about race and ethnicity. This is evidenced by black people adopting the idiotic term African American. Do you know what an African American is? An African American is someone who emigrated from the African continent and now is a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. Being abducted and forced to come over in chains is not emigration, so I refuse to use the polite term, African American. I prefer black or negro, they are descriptive and less ambiguous. No matter what Zoe Saldana says she is, she looks like a black woman to me. So that is how the world would treat her. I am also of the opinion that a lot of black folks try to "pass" by claiming Latino heritage. There are at least two light skinned women at my job who try to claim Puerto Rican ancestry because of their light skin. When I question them about which ancestor of theirs was from the island I get blank stares. I think most of them do not even know Puerto Rico is an island. What they actually are is descended from raped slaves and rapist slave owners. It does not sound as sexy as saying you are Puerto, but I guess anything is better than being a nigger to these wannabees. Then I hear people talking about having "Puerto Rican" hair. Whenever I hear this I try to gently let the person know that Puerto Rican is not a race but a nationality. Just like other commenters have pointed out the Latino is not a race but a culture. I usually get blank stares in return. It seems that the black community is bathed in ignorance and is comfortable with this smell on them.

  • no name | October 29, 2012 10:57 AMReply

    That woman is just black, not in any way from Spain , France, Portugal or Italy. Maybe she speaks some dialect of Spanish, maybe not, I don't know, don't care. Spaniards are going to have more than a few words to say about some being tanned because you have decided that it must be due to a mixture of black blood. I guess the slave trade must have gone all over the world without historians knowing this, even before there even was a British, French, Portuguese and Spanish slave trade. Just give it a 5 to 7 year old innocence test from any child anywhere in the world, put her picture up next to a Caucasian female or a Asian and ask the child, why all these games. she's looks successful, pretty, young and happy, why can't we celebrate that just as she is.

  • AllPeople (AP) Gifts | October 25, 2012 12:49 AMReply

    .
    Please feel free to work to inform Americans that ....
    the ETHNIC term of "African-American" (AA) is NOT
    a 'Synonym' for the RACIAL term of 'Black American'
    (BA) -- the two (2) terms are actually referring to two
    (2) entirely DIFFERENT GROUPS of people -- AND that
    many of the true AAs find it to be very offensive that
    our society works to force them to "carry the statistics"
    (particularly the 'negative' ones -- ex. AIDS / HIV Rates,
    STD Rates; Crime Rates; Out-Of-Wedlock Birthrates;
    Higher-Education Drop-Out Rates, STD Rate; etc.) --
    for all of the many, many, many diverse BA groups
    and communities that are currently living in the U.S.
    .
    https://www.facebook.com/allpeople.gifts/posts/300777016632181
    .

  • shay | October 23, 2012 4:31 PMReply

    Latin/ Hispanic is not a race!!! Hispanic is an ethnicity/ culture!! for example my race is black and my ethnicity/ culture is Caribbean. How do you think there are dark skinned Spanish people? because they are either full African or they are partly mixed with african. It is so sad that they deny their race. People just fail to see that the Dominica, cuba, puerto-rico etc.. are just a countries!! not a race! there are white hispanics, black hispanics, indian hispanics, even some that look asian. I understand other races getting confused, but lorrd the actual black spanish people who dont identify as black really need to educate them selves, like really!!

  • Offthepink | October 21, 2012 10:39 AMReply

    These are the same idiots confused about how George Zimmerman could be both white and hispanic. As if latin/hispanic was a race or something. Smh.

  • ladyday | October 16, 2012 6:38 AMReply

    this is not the first time zoe has played the part of a Black actress and there were no complaints so why now. I hope she does a great job. How can you call it
    'stealing' a role - the role has to be 'offered' to her by someone else.

  • Ty87 | September 29, 2012 6:11 AMReply

    Well I think that it would only make since to have a full black actress play nina simone. Thats like u wouldnt have La La anthony portraying whitney houston. Cause to me zoey comes off as only identifing with her latina race. Like when she played n the movie Columbia I thought that she was just a dark skinned latina. I say if your black u should embrace it and b proyd. Cause I shore am.

  • Raymond | November 14, 2012 6:37 PM

    Typical American. Does not know the difference between race and culture. What do you mean full black actress. No wonder white man has us in mental slavery still.

  • ladyday | October 16, 2012 6:43 AM

    why can't she embrace her latin roots and be proud of them. shouldn't she 'identify with her latina race' and why wouldn't she be proud of and embrace it just like an african american person should. also, how many "Fully Black" actresses do we know - maybe in Africa?. Lots of people are upset that Halle Berry did not get the role. By your defiition, she would not qualify.

  • angela | October 9, 2012 12:01 AM

    Latina isn't a race. Did you read the article? Zoe is playing a Colombian is no different from her playing a Jamaican, a Trinidadian, a Bajan, a Haitian, etc. You know there's actually more black people in Colombia than in America?

  • Luisferd63 | October 5, 2012 8:28 PM

    again,apparently you did not read the article well,A LATIN PERSON CAN BE LATIN AND CAN BE 100% BLACK,WHITE,NATIVE INDIAN OR ASIAN. ALSO A LATIN PERSON CAN BE MESTIZO,MULATTO ZAMBO,OR THE COMBINATION OF ALL THOSE RACES,YOU GOT THAT MY FRIEND? ZOE SALDAÑA'S RACE IS BLACK,BUT HER CULTURE IS LATIN,BECAUSE LATIN AMERICA WAS COLONIZED BY SPAIN,WHICH IS A LATIN COUNTRY!

  • Marques | September 22, 2012 3:50 PMReply

    I appreciate the fact that someone spoke out on this issue and hopefully educated people at the same time. One of the main things I am concerned with on this issue of identity is the apparent African-American belief that there is a monopoly on "blackness" that only slave descendants in the United States can claim. Let me explain one little fact that should clear this up: during the Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade that brought something like 10-12 million Africans to the New World, 96% of those Africans went to the Caribbean and Latin America. Only 4% came to what would become the United States. Nearly 40% of that 96% went to Brazil alone. Yes, the Portuguese shipped nearly 10 times more African slaves to the land that would become Brazil than the British sent to the US. Another note: Many "African-American" families have Caribbean heritage, some more recent, some more distant. Last note: The Americas include North America, South America, Central America and the Caribbean, thus, in a way, ALL African slave descendants in the Americans could actually claim themselves to be "African-American". In my travels to Brazil, I have met with several members of that country's black civil rights organizations that remind me of this.

    Also, racial identity, race, racism and the disregard for black people worked in a similar but also different manner in all of Latin America. Many Latin American countries indoctrinated populations so thoroughly to accept "white as right", that people of color were taught to prefer marriage and procreation with persons of lighter skin so that they could "whiten" or "improve" their family line. Although this "improving the race" ideal also existed in the US, strict segregation put a decrease on racial mixture in the US while it was the norm in Latin America. Thus, many would-be black Latinos throughout the Americas are taught to define themselves as anything but black. Dominicans that US-born blacks would see as black were taught to called themselves "Indians". In Brazil, the term "moreno" can apply to anyone who doesn't have blond or red hair. This has created a clash of identity with US-born blacks when brown-skinned Latinos migrate to the US and identify themselves by their nationality or by one of the color-coded euphemisms I just mentioned.

    Thus, US blacks often look down on black Latinos in some ways similar to how they look down on individuals of immediate racial mixture who prefer to identify themselves as "mixed" rather than black. I say "immediate" mixed race because in the US, one is only mixed if they have parents who consider themselves to be of different races, whereas in Latin America, one is mixed regardless of how far this mixture is. US-blacks have a contradictory attitude toward this mixed race thing. There is a preference for lighter-skin and less kinky hair, traits of mixture, but discomfort with a mixed identity. The vast majority of US-born blacks are also "mixed", so this is a ridiculous mentality.

    In recent years, there has been a push to encourage more persons of visible African ancestry throughout Latin America to embrace a black identity. In the 2010 census in Latin America, there were campaigns in places like Argentina, Peru, Equador, Brazil and other countries to get people to stand up and be counted as black rather than some term meant to escape blackness. Which brings me to the debate on Zoe Saldana as Nina Simone.

    I don't think Zoe should play the part, but not because of her Latin ethnicity. Zoe is clearly a black woman! All of us know some US-born black woman who looks like her. I simply believe there is a closer phenotype match for the part of Nina Simone. This issue of light, brown and dark skin has divided African descendants for so long and for me, it can actually be a trap that continues to divide us by 1) denigrating Zoe because she has lighter skin and 2) "othering" her because her family happened to get dropped off in the Caribbean rather than US shores.

    More and more black Latinos are claiming their right to blackness and I think this should help bring us closer together rather than increasing our distances and differences. This is not to say this is a simple issue. I also think that magazines such as KING, SMOOTH and SHOW that are promoted to black men are pushing a more "mixed"/Latina black phenotype than "regular" black women. I put quotes around regular on purpose because it seems that looking like Gabrielle Union and Sanaa Lathan (both of whom are also "mixed" to some degree) are no longer good enough for these magazines. I will save that argument for another time. But for now, let us remember, Africans were sent to many Latin American countries in some cases several decades before ancestors arrived in the US. Thus, these Africans faced discrimination because of their color before US-born blacks even arrived. So let us stop all of this "she's Latina" business. If persons from Latin America accept themselves as black, we need to welcome them into the family. In today's Latin America, folks are fighting back against anti-Africanisms in their countries of origin and saying: "blacks have to accept their identity": http://bit.ly/R2vRhU.

    In the end, due to the system of white supremacy that "others" everyone who doesn't look European, we are all one people! Recognize!

  • Inquisitor | September 22, 2012 5:45 PM

    Also, I don't know ANY African-Americans that look like her... If you can help me out with some African-American examples - by my definition (family descended from enslaved Africans brought to the US)....

  • Inquisitor | September 22, 2012 5:39 PM

    Zoe is not African-American. Another little known fact. Actually, FREE AFRICANS came to the Americas before the enslaved Africans were forced here. It doesn't matter if there were more Africans forced into the carribbean and South America. American is still a super power which is why the focus of African-Americans (Descendants of Stolen Africans brought to the US) is of high focus to many and all groups of people. Also, African-Americans (if they are not biracial) or creole" have a large/dominant percentage of African blood. Last time I checked, Latina represents a mixture of culture, not ethnicity, nor race.

  • James Booker | September 18, 2012 6:45 PMReply

    I will NOT NE SPENDING ANY MONEY TO VIEW THE MOVIE. I do not have cable so I will not be doing so extemporaneously neither. I do like Zoe and support her; though I'm starting to think otherwise, as it seems it is only in her movie contracts to date, kiss and have sex with white men in her role. It also does not seem as of she dates Black men. Nor does Halle Berry, nor Kerry Washington. On the flip side, I also think it a disgrace when Black men sports players and rapper only date Mullatos, Latin Americans and white women. BLACK PEOPLE ARE SO CONFUSED ITS SO SAD! We love everybody but our NATURAL SELVES; the sadest part, NOBODY LOVES US UNTIL WE HAVE MONEY & FAME!

  • Raymond | November 14, 2012 7:05 PM

    Inquisitor, you make no sense. Did you read what Marques said. It seems AMERICANS(black or white), have no sense. Latino is not a race. There are full blooded black and white latinos. Not every latino is mixed.

  • angela | October 9, 2012 12:04 AM

    Umm, Halle Berry was married to a black man. Most of the men she has dated were black. I'm sure Kerry Washington has dated black men as well (I'm not aware of her dating history). But how is this even relevant?

  • Jena | September 17, 2012 9:35 PMReply

    There are many Black men, and women always staring after me even though I am Chinese. I am glad America is an Ethnically Aware Society, and I still know that they stare on me maybe because my jaw is crooked. I wonder if I will return to having an unrefined jaw one day after evolutional changes due to my second nature with this forfeiture that my sister sexually abused me. Whatever the case is: I am not all Asian and I knew all along.

  • liz | September 14, 2012 12:12 AMReply

    Israel Getty hit the nail on the head!! These women have more European features over African. They are what Western civilization accept and push as pretty nowadays! Emanuel (the author) seems like he is just defending HIS type of woman!!!

  • Kai | November 15, 2012 12:44 PM

    Not quite. It's very important to understand why people attribute various physical traits to Europeans. Generally, when one is referring to Africans the phenotype (physical characteristics/traits) has to be taken into account. Europeans, who are typically synonymous with so-called White people, only have one phenotype, but that phenotype originated with African people well over fifty-thousand years ago and is still amongst various African tribes and people to this day.

    The issue is that White Europeans and most people in general tend to be misinformed, due to political efforts and propaganda over the centuries, about the vast variety of African phenotypes. Consequently, when so-called Whites see someone like Zoe Saldana they immediately assume the person in question is a product of admixture, since they relate the phenotype of the individual solely to someone of White European descent. The assumption is that "Blacks" do not look-like-that.

    The difficulty is increased further when absolute words such as White and Black are used to designate people; originally constructed to form racial hierarchies and to create two diametrically opposed super-groups hence the term, "The True Negro" and "Whiteness".

  • angela | October 9, 2012 12:10 AM

    Some of you guys' definition of "European features" is laughable. None of these women you refer to as having such features look in any way European. I'm sure actual Europeans are baffled at this comparison.

  • bebe | September 14, 2012 12:06 AMReply

    SHE IS NOT BLACK! SHE IS still LATINA SWEETY! THAT IS WHY PEOPLE ARE UPSET. SO PERHAPS you SHOULD EDUCATE yourself!

  • Raymond | November 14, 2012 7:12 PM

    Bebe, are you on drugs. Did you raed the article. Go back to grade shool and learn how to read.
    Thats why I live in Canada.

  • angela | October 9, 2012 12:06 AM

    Do you know what a Latina is? Someone who comes from a Spanish speaking country. It is NOT a race. Look at the demographics of Latin countries that list the RACES of the countries. Many of them have a significant amount of black people.

  • luisferd63 | October 5, 2012 8:33 PM

    Bebe you did not understand the article,she is Latina ONLY BECAUSE SHE IS CONNECTED TO A LATIN COUNTRY,THAT'S ALL!!!!

  • Low Profile | September 24, 2012 11:21 PM

    Yes she is BLACK!!! Please realize that being a latina is a NATIONLITY not an ETHNICITY you can be of any race and be Hispanic. Just think about it during slavery Black people were mostly taken to the Latin and carribean countries very few came to the United States. Please do your research you can be Black and be Latino that is where the term "Afro-Latino" comes from.

  • Israel Getty | September 7, 2012 3:25 PMReply

    The very obvious irony is that the Latino actresses in this documentary complain about being discriminated against because of their darker hues and curly hair; however, it is because these very features )which appear be biracial) that they are chosen to portray black females. Although these physical characteristics prevent them from portraying Latino women, they seem to increase the likelihood that they will be chosen to portray black females. So, they are in fact taking roles from black American actresses whose hues are much darker, physical characteristics are much broader and curs much tighter and shorter, which may be why Mary Blige was replaced by Zoe Saldana. They have nothing to complain about.

  • Moionfire | September 16, 2012 3:23 PM

    But most of the black latinas look identical to black American actresses, so I don't know what you are talking about. There are a lot of light skinned black american actresses working that "take jobs away" from dark skinned black latinas....

  • Mel | September 9, 2012 1:03 PM

    Israel, you claim that they are getting roles and taking jobs from black American actresses, "because these very features )which appear be biracial) that they are chosen to portray black females." So then are "they" the problem of the powers that be who prefer to have someone who looks "biracial" portray black women on the screen? It seems that the deciders of who will play the black women roles are the ones taking jobs from black American actresses.

  • dcmoviegirl | September 6, 2012 7:43 PMReply

    There are a lot of bitter black women who were likely bullied by black women of another hue in school who still carry that stupid and divisive "color/hair texture wars" mess around.

  • doug | September 14, 2012 12:18 AM

    color/hair texture is the diference between acceptance, acknowledgement, getting pulled over by the cops, getting that role or not getting that role, a significant other, and even... drum roll pls... a J-O-B. Wake up! racism STILL exists, rather YOU notice it or not!

  • lauren | September 6, 2012 8:28 PM

    Yup. SMH

  • Kyna | August 31, 2012 5:30 PMReply

    Thank you so much for this article. Unfortunately, I missed it somehow after you posted, but am glad to catch up. Tomorrow morning, I'm posting my weekly digest of stories about women in film, TV and digital media -- I call it "Her.Stories" -- on my blog, Her Film. I will definitely link to this article as a not-to-miss story. I'm prefacing my digest of stories about the controversial casting choice, and have already written a short piece about being disturbed by the seemingly ethnocentric language surrounding the discussion of Saldana. In not a few articles on reputable news sites and magazines, has Saldana been referred to as a "Dominican" actress, without a single mention further into the articles of her also being Black. I am happy to see articles like yours (and a recent one on the Monique Blog) which help to define the terms and set parameters for the discussion.

  • Angela | October 9, 2012 12:08 AM

    LOL Why would they have to also mention her being black after listing her nationality? That should be a given. Articles refer to Rihanna as the "Bajan singer". Should they also have to add that she's black too?

  • Regina | August 31, 2012 3:08 PMReply

    She is not just black Latina she is a multiracial Latina. You can look at her and tell she is MORE than just black. Her heritage is from the Dominican republic which is majority mixed race white/black people and Puerto Rico who are majority decedents from white males and native American women with a few black ancestors thrown in. Maybe you should learn not to follow such a hateful racist one drop rule when speaking about Latina women.

  • Winnie | December 11, 2012 8:29 AM

    @Regina-- You are soooo sure of yourself, aren't you? Why don't you take the stick out of your ass, and bring some proof to the table. There's always someone in the room who wants to deny that someone could only identify as black, and has to be multi-racial. That's a cop out.

  • LUISFERD63 | October 5, 2012 8:39 PM

    You are wrong Regina,I am from Colombia and we have a place called Chocó,which 100% black,they were brought from African and didn't get mix with any other race, the same happened in other countries of Latin America!

  • Kenne | August 25, 2012 5:06 PMReply

    Here's my two cents for what it's worth. My objection to Zoe Saldana portraying Nina Simone is not based on ethnic terms but we have to admit why couldn't someone like Jennifer Hudson, (who's actually a singer and has proven that she can act, jeez, she did win an Academy Award!) be chosen for the part? I'm just sayin'. When dealing with a "Hollywood" production, we should know by now what to expect.

  • Urn | August 22, 2012 4:44 PMReply

    Some of y'all on here sound liable to start the "Zoe Saldana Birther Movement"...make homegirl sit down with Skip Gates and submit to a test to see just how africana she is.
    Gimme a break! We're not white people--this whole "monoculturalist" ideology neither befits nor benefits us! I'd rather hear suggestions of whom should have been casted instead of refutation from brainwashed pseudo-militants who've never heard of Arturo Schomburg (that Portyrican for whom an important African-American cultural research library is named) or bumped some Ismael Rivera. One's culture is defined by his/her EXPERIENCES not just if her father is from the Dominican Republic or Detroit. And, even then, that's why it's called ACTING. It's such a bigger issues that this biopic is both unauthorized and historically inaccurate.

  • DL | August 22, 2012 2:58 PMReply

    With all the talk of her being black or not the reality is that hollywood does not SEE zoe as BLACK alot of people see her sucess in hollywood as a trimph for black actressses WRONG hollywood is marketing her as latina pure and simple NOT black and latina BUT LATINA and exotic. She is ideal for hollywood as she fits into 3 markets whereas most actresses only fit into one black or white but zoe has the mainstream (white) latin, AND black very similar situation to vin disel and the rock.
    white women are not threatened by her looks and can relate to her, blk women just see her darkish skin and support her as there is noone else to support and of course latin women support her. Same goes for the men. Men of all races fancy her cant really say that about angela bassett/kerry/viola can you? now hollywood knows because of the one drop rule blacks will see her as blk even though they DONT so they can put her in any blk movie as a replacement for a black woman and noone will be none the wiser or so they thought before this controversy.
    Will the penny finally drop for black people when they put her in a leo, george, jonny or brad movie as one of their love intrests- a total no go area for black actresses? will that be the point where bp let go and relise she is NOT REPPING YOU? or will they think were in some post racial america like they did with obama eh lol!

  • Mark Dudley | August 22, 2012 2:02 PMReply

    My issue with a great many people who I have known who self Identify as Black and Latino/Latina is that they don' t seem to recognize the VAST history of racial prejudice( Notice I didn't use the word racism as people often confuse the two) within the Latino community. It seems that as is usually the case the Latino community finds itself as "color struck" as the African American community "If your black stay back, if your light your alright". With the Indian community following the same viewpoint.

    My issue with Zoe Saldana playing Nina Simone, however, is simply that I haven't seen her do work with any sort of dimension as of yet. I hope she works hard to do the film justice.

  • anon | August 22, 2012 11:43 AMReply

    @come again i bet you think mariah carey is a light skinned bw too eh? I included hair texture and phenotype in my assement of ms. saldana NOT just skin tone.
    People like you are the reason why the bc is so d***m confused about race notice how whites and asians know EXACTLY whos in their community and guess what? they are thriving unlike us! But continue to hate african features and worship european features eventually these biracials will replace blacks altogether anyway based on the stupidity of the bc.

  • anon | August 20, 2012 2:34 PMReply

    heres a picture of zoes mother she aint black! and she IS puerto rican. http://photos.exposay.com/Zoe_Saldana/photo/869168/
    http://www.exposay.com/zoe-saldana-with-mother-women-in-film-los-angeles-presents-the-2010-crystal--lucy-awards---arrivals/p/38038/2/?f=Zoe+Saldana+with+mother

  • come again? | August 21, 2012 1:59 AM

    I do not have the strength to read all hundred something replies, but this one i had to respond.

    there ARE black/afro puerto ricans. Her mother looks light skinned, but still black, or of mixed race. My own mother is lighter than her, and is 100% african. Goodness. And the only thing I have to add to this article, is that Zoe's ethnicity would be in this case, Dominican and Puerto Rican.

  • n/a | August 20, 2012 12:23 PMReply

    I could say that Zoe Saldana is wrong for the choice of portraying Nina for many things. I am not going to do that. Here is why she is not the right choice. It's a bad casting choice plain and simple. I know why Hollywood did it. It's stupid and will lessen the value of the film. She could make the performance memorable, they could put her in tons of makeup to give an effect. It's not going to work. I don't see her as Nina. I can(sort of) see Mary as Nina. Or Alfre Woodard but I think that is might be too late in the game for her to play Nina. Even though Ms. Woodard still looks amazing. However Zoe is too young. I don't think she has the same tenacity as Nina. For me growing up hearing Nina for the first time and seeing what she looked like resonated with me since I looked kind of like Nina. But seeing how she had the great confidence on stage was intoxicating. Mary could pull that off. Zoe not so much, she already is a very beautiful girl. I am not saying that Mary isn't. But Mary has been very vocal in regards to building her confidence to and accepting herself. Nina was vocal on celebrating that even though she is not the standard beauty of the western world she is a goddess among men. I think Mary can bring that emotion onto the screen more then Zoe.

  • Alex | August 22, 2012 5:30 PM

    Except it's not Hollywood who did anything...it's not a Hollywood production.

  • Grey Wolf | August 20, 2012 8:44 AMReply

    imho, if they cast any other than someone who would be deemed as an "ugly Black woman" by Hollywood, then they are making a fiction out of her life. Based on the time she lived and the racial environment at the time, had she been a "pretty high-yellow girl" her experiences would have been vastly different. A Latina/ Black would have had an entirely different experience. A pretty Black woman - think Lena Horne -- would have had an entirely different experience. Nina Simone lived a tragic life simply because she was a "trapped" inside an "ugly" Black package. (Since she looks so much like my maternal grandmother, I personally don't consider her "ugly" at all.)

    We can't change the world's ugly past by whitewashing it. We already have generations of children thinking that Cleopatra looked like Elizabeth Taylor thanks to Hollywood. Do we really need the next generation of people to believe America didn't also discriminate against "ugly" people, that all of Nina's obstacles were due to her race alone? No, we don't. I want to see the movie, but if Zoe (or some other woman who would be considered attractive by today's standard) is cast in the role, I will not. I can appreciate her family wanting to get paid, but they won't get my money by offering lies.

  • starry118 | August 22, 2012 7:26 PM

    Nina's family has nothing at all to do with this movie, unfortunately.

  • My humble opinion | August 19, 2012 10:11 PMReply

    At the end of the day Zoe Saldana looks nothing like Nina Simone. Not even the slightest resemblance. They have different skin tones and completely different facial features. I mean, Beyonce might as well play Marilyn Monroe in a movie for goodness sake. I understand Zoe Saldana is black and that's cool but what does that mean? That any Black woman can play Nina Simone just because their Black? Knock it off. At least find me a woman that vaguely resembles Nina, not someone that looks absolutely nothing like her.

  • Said in Los Angeles | August 19, 2012 10:06 PMReply

    To those waving the Black Power flag and saying that Zoe is mixed-race, not 'Black' or even 'Latina'; keep in mind that if your last name is along the lines of 'Washington', 'Taylor', 'Smith', 'Jackson', 'Jones'., etc., then you're of mixed race also. Don't get it twisted. Question the talent, not the race/ethnicity.

  • Kes | August 22, 2012 5:31 PM

    What are you banging on about?

  • K | August 20, 2012 11:04 AM

    @Said in LA
    Does that mean they go around calling themselves black and English?

  • Formerly From Tokyo | August 20, 2012 2:16 AM

    Thank you.

  • LeonRaymond | August 17, 2012 10:16 PMReply

    The Black Klu Kux Klan site in full blown glory, nothing but hate and no support for any body of different ethnic hues.

  • misha | August 17, 2012 7:57 PMReply

    "Outside of her tremendous voice Aretha represented the everyday woman and eevryday women do not look like Halle Berry." >>> LOL! Just one of many hilariously ridiculous comments in this trainwreck of a thread. OY VEY!

  • Africameleon | August 17, 2012 6:03 PMReply

    @CP, hi-la-rious! This is a serious issue and that YES - our personal experiences with how others see us and what they see in us regarding complexion, ethnicity, and race affects who we are (in art and everyday life). I DO understand why people are acknowledging that it DOES make a difference what complexion ppl are when they portray a real-life person. But not to the extent that ppl should be excluded from certain roles (regardless of talent) on bases of complexion alone. These comments make me sad... discussing ethnicity and is she or isn't she misses the point that ALL Ma'afa-African descended women (no matter the gradation) have a cross to bare regarding their blackness (seen and unseen). And NO, I'm not suggesting reverse-Shadeism, because again, I think there are some other women out there who deserve this role and namely the Chocolate sisters we've mentioned in particular. But this convo hurts us when we don't keep things in context about the reasons we question who has the right to play what in the first place - and what's at stake in taking sides and policing these casting choices, one way or the other.

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