Black and white California author Kathleen Cross, 50, remembers taking a public bus ride with her father when she was 8.Her father was noticeably uncomfortable that black kids in the back were acting rowdy.
"As I started getting older, I felt more comfortable in my skin." Now, she calls herself Afro-Domincan.
"I think black is a broader definition I also embrace," she says.
Editor's Note: In today’s United States, is being black determined by the color of your skin, by your family, by what society says or something else? What follows are their insights into race and identity.
(CNN, like other news organizations, does not capitalize black or white.) For young Americans, what's black is gray CNN interviewed some of the people who participated in Blay's project to find out how they view themselves.
"Colorism is a major problem within the Creole community and the black community," she says. It's perplexing and vexing how to work out this idea.
I can see how the one drop rule is why we have so much colorism in our society. "Black plus white doesn't equal black or it doesn't equal white.
He muttered under his breath: "Making us look bad." She understood her father was ashamed of those black kids, that he fancied himself not one of them. "He didn’t like for me to have dark-skinned friends. But I know." She asked him once if she had ancestors from Africa. Then, he said: "Maybe, Northern Africa." "He wasn't proud of being black," she says.
Cross' black father and her white mother never married.
Blackness, she says, isn't so easily defined by words.