Taye Diggs is coming under fire for saying that the doesn’t want his biracial son to be labeled “black.”
The actor has a 6-year-old son, Walker Nathaniel, with his ex-wife, Broadway and “Frozen” star Idina Menzel.
Speaking with The Grio to promote his new children’s book, “Mixed Me,” about the experiences of mixed-race children, Diggs made it very clear that he doesn’t want his son to have to choose one side over the other.
“When you [call biracial kids black], you risk disrespecting that one half of who you are, and that’s my fear,” Diggs explained. “I don’t want my son to be in a situation where he calls himself ‘black’ and everyone thinks he has a black mom and a black dad, and then when they see he has a white mother, they wonder, ‘Oh, what’s going on? Are you ashamed of your white [side]?'”
Following his comments, the actor came under fire from Twitter users who accused Diggs of “self hate issues.”
Biracial Americans with a mixture of white and black parentage were initially classified as black because of the “one-drop rule” during slavery which said that if a person had “one drop” of black blood then they were black.
But Diggs is defiant in his views and says it’s up to his son to identify himself, and not how society wants him to be portrayed.
Diggs also spoke about the way President Obama is described.
“As African Americans, we were so quick to say, ‘OK, he’s black, he’s black,’ and then there were the white people who were afraid to say he was biracial because, who knows,” Diggs mused. “Everybody refers to him as the first black president. I’m not saying it’s wrong, I’m just saying that it’s interesting.”
Diggs went on TMZ Live later Wednesday to talk about his comments and his feelings on the push-back he was receiving.
“I want him to be proud of who he is,” Diggs said of his little boy. “I want him to be able to on his own terms, include both parents. So if anyone has an issue with that then they can go fly a kite.”
“I want my son to be able to choose what he wants to be referred to. I don’t want him to dis-include his mother,” he said. “His mother is white, his mother is a part of his make up, and the buck stops there.”
When asked how he would feel if his son wanted to identify as white when he got older, Diggs laughed he would tell him, “Good luck with that.”
“If somebody came to him and said, ‘You are white,’ I would defend him and say, ‘Well, your daddy’s black as well so don’t forget that.'”
Diggs later took to Instagram to further clarify his comments after seeing the backlash.
“I am a proud black man. I want my son to grow up to be a proud black man if he so chooses,” he wrote. “He has a mother who is white. He has every right to be just as proud of his mother’s ‘blood’ as well. Please wake up, people. It’s not that deep.”