Shaun King Bears The Burden of His Mother’s Sin

Shaun King isn’t the only child bearing the sins of his parents and the American obsession with divulging secrets, which is why we should mind our own damn business.
Shaun King on the sins of his mother.

Shaun King bared his soul earlier this week in a candid yet vulnerable defense of allegations that he pulled a Rachel Dolezal. The activist and staff writer for the Daily Kos divulged some heavy ish while trying to clear his name of  bogus accusations.

Initially when this story broke, I was ready to don my “black power shirt” and go ham on Mr. King but something about his actions made me reevaluate the situation.  Rachel Dolezal’s “blackness” wasn’t organic. She took, stole, and borrowed from what she perceived black life was. The braids, random twerking, donning blackface and forcibly inserting herself in black spaces were shitty caricatures of our world. Shaun King didn’t force himself in our spaces. He lived his experiences, our experiences. He has been hurt physically and emotionally. I can see that this has weighed heavily on his spirit.

This situation brought me to my family. Every family has secrets. Some are harmless  like the stash of money that Big Mama keeps in her sewing kit but swears she never has any money until someone needs it. However, there are other secrets that destroy entire families. Shaun King’s family is no different.

Infidelity is nothing new. Interracial affairs in the South aren’t new either. Why is it so far-fetched that Shaun King’s mother had an affair with a black man and she passed the baby off as her husband’s? I am sure she sighed with relief when he didn’t come out brown. How would she explain that?  Better said, no explanation would have been needed.

Shaun King isn’t even the first black person that I’ve seen look like this. We all know him or her. There are countless husbands fathering children that aren’t biologically theirs and their names appear on the  birth certificates. I couldn’t imagine the man who signed the birth certificate being willing to do that with an “obvious” black kid donning his last name.  Why wouldn’t a son protect his mother from the prying eyes of the American public? I’m certain that living in a small racist town where he was a target of violence had some bearing on that. Imagine what his mother must have endured.

Shaun as a sophomore.
Representing every boy I knew in high school.
Photo courtesy of

I am the member of a private group on Facebook and “T” posted this story. It opened up that discussion and I discovered that Shaun nor I were the only people carrying the burdens of our mother, father, or grandparents’ sins. We know they exist and we do what we need to keep the secrets safely tucked away. We do the same things our parents did for us and their parents for them. We don’t expect people to invade our personal lives trying to dig up dirt to throw back at us. We don’t expect to have to explain shit that didn’t have anything to do with us. We don’t understand why strangers think that it’s their damn place to reopen wounds that yet to heal. It’s enough to just live your life on your own terms without someone trying to bring you down.

Now we have to add assholes who think that they have the rights  to our life stories AND they want to tell it too? Fuck outta here! Families carry enough shame without having to worry about the shame of a stranger who means nothing. Sometimes it’s best to mind your own damn business. Nobody owes you anything.  We don’t owe you answers or validation. I have an immense amount of respect for him not only as an activist but as a man who did an amazing job preserving his reputation as well as his family’s good name. Shaun King was way more eloquent than I could have ever been. I would have given my accusers, naysayers, conservatives, haters and their mamas my ENTIRE ass to kiss.


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