For Some, Racial Identity Is Not So Clear

On CNN's "Black in America," Yaba Blay discusses multiethnic identities.

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Kathleen Cross and her daughter (Giulio Marcocchi/Getty Images)

On Sunday night, CNN's "Black in America" series returns with its fifth installment, "Who Is Black in America?" Probing the different ways in which people of African descent see themselves and how others view them, CNN correspondent Soledad O'Brien connected with Yaba Blay, an assistant teaching professor at Drexel University and a CNN contributing producer. Blay's project, called (1)ne Drop, digs into the identities of numerous African-American project participants. One participant admitted that her father didn't value his or his daughter's blackness.

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. 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.

"My father was escaping blackness," she says. "He didn't like for me to have dark-skinned friends. He never said it. But I know."

She asked him once if she had ancestors from Africa. He got quiet. Then, he said: "Maybe, Northern Africa."

Read more at CNN.

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