Taye Diggs and ex-wife, actress and singer Idina Menzel have a beautiful 6-year-old son, Walker. Although his son is half-Black, Diggs wants Walker to embrace his White background inherited from his mother. The “Murder in the First” star also wants others to recognize all parts of biracial people’s heritage, not just the Black side.
In an interview with theGrio’s Chris Witherspoon, Diggs talked about Mixed Me, a follow-up to his last children’s book, Chocolate Me, which was based on his own experiences growing up as a Black boy in a predominately White neighborhood. Mixed Me was written to help mixed children love their biracial identity, but it’s also meant to outline the experiences his own son goes through. Speaking on how he wants Walker to deal with his identity, the actor explained that he doesn’t want his little boy to allow “other people’s impressions to influence” the way he sees himself, and he doesn’t want him to choose one race over the other.
“You risk disrespecting that one half of who you are, and that’s my fear,” Diggs said. “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 they see a White mother, they wonder, ‘Oh, what’s going on?'”
Diggs used President Barack Obama as an example for why it could be troublesome for a biracial person to be viewed as Black. Obama has stated that he is a Black man with a mixed background, and while he is generally considered a Black man, Diggs says it “would be great” if people referred to the President as “mixed.”
“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,” he said. “Everybody refers to him as ‘the first Black president.’ I’m not saying it’s wrong, I’m just saying that it’s interesting. It would be great if it didn’t matter and that people could call him mixed. We’re still choosing to make that decision, and that’s when I think you get into some dangerous waters.”