Shaun King Says ‘I’m Not White’ — I Believe Him

First, this situation is different from Rachel Dolezal.

She actually was white — and a liar on multiple fronts — and her family outed her. And let me emphasize these were members of her family who weren’t afraid to be explicitly named, and weren’t afraid to go on camera, Don Lemon. This thing with King is an attack. Media outlets are deliberately digging to find dirt in an attempt to discredit a strong voice in the Black Lives Matter movement.

It’s a distraction, and an attempt, to silence or stymie a movement that is growing stronger and shining an ever brighter light on the horrible treatment of African-Americans in this country by police.

Critics of this new wave of deep scrutiny on police brutality against blacks know shades of skin color is an issue in our community. Light is associated with better, prettier, more acceptable; darker with uglier, something undesirable. That has been perverted even further, and now King’s light skin makes him as much a target as brown skin in a nice car for the unenlightened.

I’m sure these same critics also know the black family is often fractured and complicated. By revealing King’s personal business, which he admitted he was embarrassed to have to discuss publicly, again, is an attempt to discredit and distract from his work.

King’s coverage of the Michael Brown killing in Ferguson helped to put him on the map. Since then, he has continued to cover the hashtag deaths, doing his part to bring light to these injustices. People look to him as a voice. Twitter is his medium, and that has made him a threat.

We should ask ourselves, who took it upon themselves to supposedly out this man? Why? To what purpose? I’m just thankful he’s remained strong, is telling his truth and using it to continue to fight against police brutality.

I’m hopeful this failed effort to distract from a growing movement, one capable of effecting change in the African-American community, is a signal that we’re on the right track. That the good work diversity executives and activists like King do every day is working to break down the barriers of bias and prejudice that haunt so many interactions of black life in this country.

Even if King was eventually proven to be white, who cares? We need strong advocates of all kinds to make diversity a good thing, something viable, actionable, reasonable, profitable, acceptable. King is such an advocate. Unlike Dolezal, one can actually see things he’s done to help others see the value of black life, of all people and their diverse contributions, experiences and viewpoints. The Civil Rights Movement had strength because white people took an active, supportive part. The Black Lives Matter movement is no different.

There’s a very old saying — I’ve no idea where it comes from — that it takes a village to raise a child. That sentiment is applicable here. It takes many hands, each with his or her own voice, to make a more fair and equitable world.