Sofia Richie, Lionel Ritchie’s daughter, says she’s had to endure people saying racist remarks in front of her because they don’t realize she’s black.
During an interview for Complex, Richie had this to say:
I’m very light, so some people don’t really know that I’m black…I’ve been in situations where people will say something kind of racist, and I’ll step in and they’ll be like, ‘Oh, well, you’re light.”
Having the “you’re light” card thrown at her makes her pretty upset, she says
That still doesn’t cut it…It’s 2016 — you better get your s— together before you get slapped out here.”
I think it’s awesome that Sofia doesn’t try to “pass” or deny her “Black” DNA.
My question for you all, though, is what makes someone Black? For me, it’s a combination of both physical features and one’s experience in the world. I tread lightly when it comes to having an opinion about how someone chooses to identify herself. However, when someone doesn’t possess overtly black features (which plays a large role in the Black experience in America), and they still identify as Black, I’ve always wanted to ask the question: What is Blackness to you?
I’m not here to police anyone’s blackness, but opinions vary so much on the topic my head often spins. I’ve found that race, in America, doesn’t have much to do with DNA, but more about the perceptions and opinions people form about you based solely on your appearance. So where does that leave folks like Sofia?