Recently there has been a lot of backlash involving the actress who once played Karen on “The Office” and is now playing a part-black woman on the new show “BlackAF” on Netflix. The backlash stems from the “seeming” reality that Rashida Jones is a white woman playing the role of a part-black woman.
This is quite problematic. And here’s a few reasons why.
Firstly, Rashida Jones is more than capable of playing this role both from her experience as an actress and from her roots as well. After all, her father is a black music mogul. Yeah, that’s right. Her father is a black man: Quincy Jones. He’s the one who gave then-rapper Will Smith the lead role on “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” that ran for six years back in the 1990s.
This means Rashida Jones is more than qualified in terms of where her heritage comes from to have the role of a mixed race woman…because she already is a mixed race woman. But many people on social media have complained that she’s not “black enough” to have the role of a part-black woman.
As if having a black father isn’t enough already? Yeah right.
Even Barack Obama had a white mother and a black father. Does that mean he was not black enough to be the first black American president? Come on.
Just as a side note: Obama’s white mother Ann Dunham reportedly had a African-American slave in her ancestral background too, according to a study that was reported in The Washington Post. So it appears that Obama has black blood stemming from both sides of his family. Not just from his father’s side.
But even if Rashida Jones’s ancestors were all white-as-snow Europeans since before Columbus ventured across the Atlantic, there is nothing wrong with her playing a mixed-race character on a TV show. Why is that? Because race makes no difference on one’s inherent abilities or the lifestyle they choose to live.
The fact that we still have to point this out in 2020 is awful but sadly it’s also not surprising. Racial prejudice is still prevalent today in every group sadly. This whole backlash with Rashida Jones being apparently white and playing a black role is just that: racism.
Some might argue that this anger over the role she’s been picked for is due to her downplaying the prejudice that black people face in the West. This is somewhat baseless, though. Just doing some simple research on her family history will show she is half-black anyway. Her father no doubt experienced bigotry and discrimination himself even if Rashida didn’t experience it as much.
There is no evidence or study that would show any correlation between a person’s skin color and his or her native abilities. The amount of melanin that makes up a person’s skin color only contributes to that: their skin color. Nothing more.
This is why Prophet Muhammad said 1400 years ago in his Final Sermon on Mount Arafat his famous words on racial unity: “No Arab has any superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab over an Arab, and no white has any superiority over a black nor a black over a white…except in piety and good actions.” This should be proof enough since the Prophet Muhammad, peace and God’s blessings be upon him, was the Final Messenger of Almighty God.
Whether Rashida Jones is a white woman or not is irrelevant as it makes no difference to her skills as an actress. The One and Only Almighty God created her with skin that looked white and He gave her immense talent as an actress. And the very fundamental nature of acting is to play the role of someone else. Race makes no difference in that if you can play the part well.