03 Mar 2011
- Written by Jason Johnson
Dr. Jason Johnson
The Chris Lee scandal reminds us that white America has a funny way of dealing with interracial issues, but some black people do as well. While on the surface Halle Berry appeared to be her typical glamorous self at the Oscars, in reality she represents a potential headliner for the interracial broken heart tour. Her ongoing nasty custody battle with her white, baby-daddy model Gabriel Aubrey is another example of what the American press doesn’t want to say about race relations today.
Let me begin by saying this is not a personal criticism of Ms. Berry. She deserves a pass from many a barbershop brother who gives her drama for who she dates at this point her life. For whatever reason, she ended up with brothers such as David Justice and Eric Benet, who cheated on her or beat her, (allegedly). And she never seemed to be able to make it work with guys such as Michael Ealy. But she certainly gave brothers more of a chance than many brothers have given sistas (“cough,” Wesley Snipes).
Seeing as how the Oscar winner never was aligned with the Hip-Hop community’s eligible bachelors, it’s no surprise that she had to look elsewhere when she was staring down 40 years old and wanted a baby. So she picked up a pretty boy model, who she knew could give her a pretty baby but who’d never be “Irreplacable.” Madonna did the same thing and got two kids out of it.
Now after four years, Berry and Aubrey are in a bitter custody battle for daughter Nahla where the racial accusations are flying. Suddenly Aubrey’s ex-girlfriend is pulling a Mary Harvey and saying that she was shocked he got with Halle Berry after her since he had always held and expressed some fairly racist beliefs. This is further bolstered by some of Berry’s friends saying that Gabriel used to call her “nigger” when they were dating and insisted their daughter was not black.
While the mainstream TMZ press only wants to focus on Berry’s looks and bank account, there is a larger sociological phenomenon going on in this story that is often overlooked. Maybe “Storm” (Berry’s “X-Men” character) is a terrible judge of character or she’s a bad liar, but something in this story is not being reported clean.
Berry is a bad judge of character if at 40 years old she started dating a white guy and couldn’t figure out if he didn’t like black people. I’d like to think that nobody today is stupid enough to believe that just because you are sleeping with someone that they can’t be prejudiced against your people. Men will sleep with anything and anyone that is attractive, and will hide whatever ignorant, offensive, racist or sexist beliefs they have long enough to sleep with someone. It’s a terrible truth but one that Halle should’ve figured out by this point in her life.
On the other hand, if she’s lying about all of these racial slurs from Aubrey in an attempt to sway public sentiment in her favor, that won’t work either. Most of her older white fans don’t care and won’t believe her, and plenty of her fans across the globe could care less. An equally disturbing observation is the way in which the mere suggestion of racism and bigotry within the relationship of an African-American celebrity is simply swept under the rug. Where is the crying and gnashing of teeth over one of America’s sweethearts getting the business from her ex?
The deafening silence is because Halle Berry – through some of her own actions but mostly America’s still incompetent relationship with race – simply does not want to accept or acknowledge what her relationship dissolution means.
African Americans who become famous get to be “de-facto” whites and thus discrimination they face in Hollywood, by police or even in their legal issues, must be seen in terms of class rather than race lest the gossip columnist in America are forced to pay attention to some ugly truths: A white man had a child by a beautiful black woman but was still a bigot.