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:

zendayapost1 Zendayapost2 Zendayapost3
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:



*Eye roll*

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

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  • Ms. A

    This convo is getting old – there’s light skinned people with cocoa cousins in every blood line. It’s what makes us special, we come in different shades. A relative could pass for White and have a PURPLE baby looking like Aunt Lillie Mae (my aunts name). And Barbie been breaking barriers with different dolls – so this is a non issue.

  • KnowbodyXXX

    Some of yoacial elf-hating and envious of light skinned or bi-racial blacks…GET OVER IT! The did not create this social order that grants them privilege over darker blacks. I do resent those who go along with it or perpetuate it because it benefits them. However, we shouldn’t resent people like Zendaya or Amandla Stienberg who forsake that privilege and challenge that thinking, putting their own careers on the line. Most of you who resent Zendaya for claiming her blackness are the same ones who got angry ar Raven-Simone for not claiming hers. Nothing they say or do will satisfy you because it’s not about what they believe, you don’t like THEM.

    • elle D.

      Quietly though, some of them are the same ones who got mad at Beyonce for claiming her French heritage in the cosmetics commercial as well. It’s like which is it? Mixed people can’t claim Black and Black folks can’t claim being mixed :/

    • Noirluv45

      I don’t think it was Beyonce’s idea to claim her French heritage. Beyonce, in the past, has always claimed to be a Black woman. The media likes to make Black women of a lighter hue “mixed” in order to make them acceptable.

    • elle D.

      Hey Noirluv, no doubt the media (and other corporate conglomerates) is behind most of it…

    • Noirluv45

      Yes, ma’am, you know it, Elle.

  • elle D.

    Thank you.

  • Dr.Rue

    As a Biracial person who also identifies as Black, I’ll be the first to tell you that just because I choose to identify as Black does not mean that I’m disowning or discrediting my European heritage.