Actor and singer Taye Diggs recently took to his Instagram account to defend his 6-year-old son’s right to make his own decisions regarding his racial identity. The actor might be black, but he wants people to know that his son Walker whose mother, actress and singer Idina Menzel, is white should be able to choose if he wants to identify as black, white, or mixed.
The “Rent” actor posted an image on Instagram that said: “I am a proud black man. I want my son to grow up to be a proud black man if he so chooses. He has a mother who is white. He has every right to be just as proud of his mother’s ‘blood’ as well. Please wake up, people. It’s not that deep.”
The Instagram post was a response to social media comments about his son and other mixed-race children. The social media firestorm was set off by statements he made in an interview for The Grio. The actor said that children from biracial families shouldn’t have to choose between black or white but should, instead, be empowered to embrace both racial identities.
“I think when you [call biracial people black], you risk disrespecting half of who you are,” Diggs said.
The actor explained that he doesn’t want his son to experience being in a situation where people expect him to have a black father and a black mother because he identifies as black.
” … and then when they see he has a white mother, they’re like, ‘What’s going on? Are you ashamed?'” he said.
The actor and his ex-wife Menzel were married in 2003 and welcomed their son, Walker Nathaniel, in 2009. The couple separated in 2013 and finalized their divorce in December 2014.
Diggs, who wrote “Chocolate Me,” a children’s book based on his own experiences growing up in a predominantly white community, is currently promoting the follow-up book, “Mixed Me,” which is about a little boy who is half-black and half-white.