A family member revealed to CNN’s Don Lemon that Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King is white.
King, who writes about police brutality and legal injustice for Daily Kos, on Wednesday disputed conservative media reports that he was not black — but he never explicitly denied the allegations.
The activist blogger explained in a series of Twitter posts that he came from a multiracial family, and he and some longtime friends claimed he had been badly injured in a racially motivated attack at his Woodford County, Kentucky, high school.
But he did not directly address his own racial background, arguing — no doubt, correctly — that his critics were simply trying to discredit his reporting on racial injustice.
“This attack isn’t about me so much, but is about derailing Black Lives Matter and the movement against police brutality,” King told Lemon in a tweet.
Part of white supremacy is idea that white people get to define who is black. It's a form of power.
— Jeet Heer (@HeerJeet) August 19, 2015
But Lemon said he had spoken with one of King’s family members, who confirmed that both of the blogger’s parents were white.
The CNN anchor said he has asked King directly about his racial background, but he had demurred.
“Initially he did not answer but later referred to himself as biracial,” Lemon said. “But then when I asked him if that’s what it shows on his birth certificate, I did not hear back from him. No answer on that.”
The family member told Lemon that King had been the victim of a racially motivated attack, but said he was targeted because he was “a white guy dating a black girl.”
His wife, who is black and who he has been with since high school, defended King and his commitment to racial justice.
“Just know this, there is nothing fake about Shaun King. He’s no Rachel Dolezal,” wrote Rai King, referring to the former NAACP chapter leader who passed herself off as black. “What’s white about him is white, and what’s Black about him is Black and always has been from the time he was a child. There’s no spray tan, no fake Black hairstyles, no attempt to make himself appear any more ethnic than he already does. Whatever you think you know about him, you don’t. Whatever you think has been uncovered, hasn’t.”
King flatly denied Wednesday that he had misrepresented his race to get a scholarship from Oprah Winfrey to the historically black Morehouse College — which declined comment about the situation but said it did not grant admissions or scholarships based on race.