Taye Diggs: Mixed race people experience a unique type of ignorance
Taye Diggs wrote his new book Mixed Me because he doesn’t think people from racially mixed backgrounds should “have to explain” themselves.
The African-American actor shares five-year-old son Walker with his ex-wife Idina Menzel, an actress who is of Russian-Jewish heritage.
Taye collaborated on his children’s tome Mixed Me with illustrator Shane Evans, who also has a multiethnic background.
Taye previously worked with Shane on 2011 book Chocolate Me, which is inspired by his experience growing up as a black youth in America, and Mixed Me was written in reflection of what his son must be going through socially.
“Chocolate Me is about my own experience,” he explained to Entertainment Weekly. “I wrote Mixed Me after I had my son, and for me, it just made sense. I’ve always been exposed to people of mixed race. Being around them, you’re exposed to all of the silly, or ignorant, or interesting questions they get asked. Even me, when I met Shane! I tried to force him to delineate who and what he was, on every aspect.
“[Mixed Me] was just a natural progression. I want my son to not feel discouraged in any way, or feel any of those negative feelings, if and when people may approach him, because that’s just what people do. He shouldn’t have to explain himself to anyone, you know?”
Taye has been breaking racial boundaries throughout his acting career, as he recently landed the role of the titular German transgender character in Broadway play Hedwig and the Angry Inch.
He is encouraged by how the conversation of race is progressing, but the star admits the topic still lacks clarity.
“Yeah, I’ve been wondering about that, because I don’t want to make up a problem out of one that doesn’t exist,” Taye said of addressing racial issues with his son. “You want to warn them. I have no issue with opening up the discussion to give him an opportunity to say how his experience is different.”
- Cover Media