Talking With Soledad - Time Magazine

Soledad O'Brien spoke with TIME senior reporter Andrea Sachs about growing up with racial prejudice and falling in love with the television business.

I was surprised reading your book how difficult it was for you growing up.

I remember once when I was in college we were in a class on African-American studies and somebody was talking about the tragic mulatto. At some point it dawned on me, they were talking about me. I was the tragic mulatto. In some ways it was a very regular, fun, normal, middle-class Long Island existence. We had beaches, we had pets, we had a big yard. But there was always this sort of undercurrent of not blending in, of not fitting in and of people not necessarily wanting you there. It was very, very difficult for my parents.

Your parents were not legally allowed to get married because of their different races.

Students gasp [when they hear that]. I tell that story a lot when I speak to college students, and I think it helps provide a framework for them on how far we've come, and also what other people have had to overcome.

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