Black Lives Matter activist fights back after being accused of lying about his race

Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King has refuted allegations that he lied about being biracial and actually has two white parents.

Reports from conservative outlets have alleged that Shaun King has two white parents

Activist Shaun King poses with his wife, Rai King, in a photo posted on Twitter, as accusations regarding his race went viral. (Shaun King/Twitter)

Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King is fighting back after several right wing news outlets claimed both his parents are white.

King, a blogger with the Daily Kos and a well-known face of the grassroots movement Black Lives Matter, has indicated in past interviews that he considers himself biracial. 

On Wednesday, Breitbart, a conservative American news site, accused King of lying about his race, reporting that his birth certificate lists two white parents. It then accused him of lying to get a scholarship for Morehouse College, a historically black university, through the Oprah Scholarship. 

The accusations went viral through social media and led to harassment of King and other members of Black Lives Matter.

King initially replied through Twitter that the report was inaccurate and that "in essence, what is happening to me now, is like conservatives demanding Obama's long form birth certificate."

Morehouse tweeted that they never consider race when awarding scholarships. 

In an article posted on the Daily Kos Thursday night, King explained why his birth certificate lists two white parents.

"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," he wrote, explaining that he's long known about his complicated heritage.

"All of my siblings and I have different parents. I'm actually not even sure how many siblings I have."

King also struck back at a claim in a report from another conservative website, The Daily Caller, that alleged he had lied about the details of a 1995 beating he received while in high school. The story, largely based on a police report on the incident, alleged that King exaggerated the extent of his injuries and the number of assailants.

An old schoolmate from King's hometown of Versailles, Ky. contradicted the police account on Facebook, saying he had witnessed the beating

"I didn't stop to count how many attacked him, but the number was easily in the neighbourhood of a dozen. They were big white farm boys," wrote Shae Gold. "As soon as the chaos attracted the attention of two teachers, it was over and the attackers deftly dispersed. There was blood all over the floor."

A retired teacher at King's school also corroborated his account of the attack on Facebook.

Willis Polk, King's friend since elementary school, further defended him on Facebook, asserting that he's always known King as biracial. He wrote that King was called the N-word, "as much, if not more, than myself or any of my black friends and family while growing up in Versailles."

In his post on the Daily Kos, King described the accusations as an attempts to smear the movements he represents and impede his ability to fight for change.

"It is horrifying to me that my most personal information, for the most nefarious reasons, has been forced out into the open and that my private past and pain have been used as jokes and fodder to discredit me and the greater movement for justice in America," King wrote.

Brietbart's information was gathered from a series of posts on Re-Newsit, a right-wing blog devoted to disputing facts around the shooting of black people. The blog declared King as the "next Rachel Dolezal," a Spokane, Wash. chapter NAACP official who claimed to be black. 


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?