Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King (Instagram Photo)
Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King cleared the air Aug. 20, addressing critics who have called his ethnicity into question and compared him to Spokane, Washington’s former NAACP president Rachel Dolezal, via his blog for the Daily Kos website.
Forcing family secrets into the spotlight, King posted a lengthy response, divulging information about the blended family he grew up in—not unlike many found in American homes today.
“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,” wrote King, also acknowledging that he and his siblings all have different parents.
“My mother and I have discussed her affair. She was a young woman in a bad relationship and I have no judgment,” King added. “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.”
King’s name and image began making the rounds on social media and news broadcasts on Wednesday after Breibart.com, a conservative news outlet, questioned whether he lied to Oprah Winfrey to procure a scholarship to the prestigious Morehouse College, a historically Black institution.
Like Dolezal, who left her post as president of the Spokane, Wash., NAACP after her claims to be African American were discredited, King has been accused of lying about hate crimes and discrimination often faced by African Americans.
As evidence that King has identified as “White” in the past, Breitbart and other news outlets such as The Blaze, cited the ethnicity box checked on a 1995 police report King filed for an assault.
Adding fire to the flames surrounding the prominent Black Lives Matter activist, CNN’s Don Lemon disclosed a text message conversation with King about his race, saying, “Initially, he did not answer but later referred to himself as biracial.” Lemon said that upon questioning further, King stopped responding to the messages, and interviews with family members lengthened the shadow cast on King’s history of claims that he has been a victim to hate crimes because of his race.
King’s supporters have not backed down, and took to their own social media accounts to respond to the allegations.
Using King’s Twitter handle, Rev. Jamal Bryant, pastor of Baltimore’s Empowerment Temple, said, “The Morehouse College family and those of us united for justice stand with @ShaunKing. The enemy can’t choose our friends.”
Bryant continued, calling the King allegations the “same cycle” meant to “discredit the leadership to destabilize the movement.”
While King said that he plans to continue his activism with the Black Lives Matter movement, he won’t speak publicly about his ethnicity any time soon.