Soledad O'Brien, Working Mom

Soledad with her husband, Brad Raymond, and Sofia Elizabeth (2000), Cecilia (2002);
Twins, Charlie, and Jackson (2004)

Soledad O’Brien told Professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr. that growing up in Smithtown, a predominantly white town on Long Island, NY, her mixed race heritage – her mother’s Afro-Cuban roots and her father’s Irish Australian roots – made it difficult to fit in. Soledad credits her parents with giving her the strength to overcome discrimination.

Soledad O'Brien is herself in an interracial marriage and the mother of four children.

In an interview, she was asked about learning sign language after she found out one of her twins, Jackson, had a hearing problem.
No. It’s so hard. I’m terrible at sign language. It turns out Jackson is a very good lip reader and so it [diminished the need] to learn sign language. He’s great at sign language but he doesn’t use it a lot. He has a lot of language because he lost his hearing late in life — he was 7. We try to get him to read lips more because there aren’t that many people who know sign language. I’m just so slow. [Then she demonstrated.] Sloooow, and I’ve never ­gotten faster.

Does Soledad think any of her children may want to follow her into working in television?

I don’t think a single one. The better question is how many of my nieces and nephews. They don’t really live it. It’s Aww, auntie has a cool job. My children have zero interest. Now they’re young, so I don’t know that they have interest in careers, unless going to the mall is a career. I think my nieces who are now in their early 20s have really started reaching out; two of them work in journalism. My kids are just too little. [The eldest just turned 16] and her conversation is all around, Can I drive? Can I drive your car? How late can I drive? Can I have some money so I can go do something when I drive?

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