Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King explains his recent entanglement in a scandal that almost pinned him as the next Rachel Dolezal.
In a revealing letter, King explains his biracial background, and tarnished family secrets that he would have liked to keep private.
Over the past 72 hours I have been attacked with lies by the conservative media, lies that have been picked up by the traditional media and spread further. I have kept silent at the advice of friends and mentors, but I will do so no longer.
The reports about my race, about my past, and about the pain I’ve endured are all lies. My mother is a senior citizen. I refuse to speak in detail about the nature of my mother’s past, or her sexual partners, and I am gravely embarrassed to even be saying this now, but I have been told for most of my life that the white man on my birth certificate is not my biological father and that my actual biological father is a light-skinned black man. My mother and I have discussed her affair. She was a young woman in a bad relationship and I have no judgment. This has been my lived reality for nearly 30 of my 35 years on earth. I am not ashamed of it, or of who I am—never that—but I was advised by my pastor nearly 20 years ago that this was not a mess of my doing and it was not my responsibility to fix it. All of my siblings and I have different parents. I’m actually not even sure how many siblings I have. It is horrifying to me that my most personal information, for the most nefarious reasons, has been forced out into the open and that my private past and pain have been used as jokes and fodder to discredit me and the greater movement for justice in America. I resent that lies have been reported as truth and that the obviously racist intentions of these attacks have been consistently downplayed at my expense and that of my family.
For my entire life, I have held the cards of my complicated family history very close to my chest. I preferred to keep it that way and deeply resent that I have been forced to authenticate so many intimate details of my life to prove who I really am. This, in and of itself, is a form of violence. The same sources who falsely reported my family history—including Breitbart, the Daily Caller, and The Blaze—have also falsely reported that my wife and I were never in a brutal car accident, that I lied about how many kids we have (we have 5 now, but have had more/less because we’ve fostered, adopted, housed many of our nieces and nephews), that I lied about my race to get a scholarship from Oprah, that I lied about how many back surgeries I’ve had, and more. All of those things were completely and totally false, but have simply been ignored at my expense. I don’t know why this shocks me, but it does.
Let me share some of my peculiar American story about race, my unwavering love for my mother, and my gratitude for an entire community of people who’ve walked with me through this for my entire life.