I don’t usually do this, but…

I don’t usually respond to negative comments, but I am compelled to do so here because I feel there is an opportunity for dialogue on a subject that many struggle with and is very relevant in today’s times.

As the most popular post on my blog, ‘Why Don’t You Look More Like Your Mother?’, continues to receive a lot of attention, one recent comment has brought me back to the subject of race, specifically, mixed race, and the desire of some truly ignorant people to deny the existence of others, because they do not ‘fit’ the stereotype of how ‘mixed race’ people should look.

Here is the comment left on November 3, 2017:

I’m sorry, but just like your mother’s biological father was kept from her, your real mother was kept from you. Eartha pretended to have a baby that she didn’t actually have.. she adopted and pretended that she gave birth. It’s sad. There is nothing wrong with adoption, but lying and pretending is wrong!

I’ve seen countless black women with half white children..and they look HALF white AND even if the child looks more like the white father..there are still traits from the mom.
You can’t hide DNA and you can’t fake it.

Your childhood pics are of a little WHITE girl..not a biracial girl.
Heidi Klume is about as white as anyone can get and her mixed children look MIXED and LOOK LIKE HER. I think it was a disservice to you to lie to you. I also don’t know why Eartha felt she was Light-SKIN..she was brown and didn’t resemble anyone biracial.
These pics show a completely WHITE child who looks absolutely nothing like Eartha Kitt.
It’s one of the biggest lies ever told!

Eartha had such a distinctive look, her biological child would look like her in SOME way. There’s absolutely no way anyone can believe that these pics of a white child, actually came from..[biologically] from Eartha Kitt. Sorry!

Reply

This is not like me but…

People who know me will tell you that I tend to shy away from controversy. My mother was the outspoken one in the family, but since she is no longer here, I will step up and let my voice be heard.

I do not bring up this person, whose real name I do not know as he or she only identifies themselves as ‘Truth’ (which in itself is telling), to ‘gang up’ or ’embarrass’ him or her. I use this person’s commentary to show how ‘being different‘ makes one a target. OK, I know many of you are rolling your eyes and saying “Duh, Kitt. Tell us something we don’t know”, and I’m certainly not throwing a pity party here or feeling sorry for myself. But, I do find it interesting that because (in this instance), I don’t fit the multi-racial look for this person, they feel compelled to deny that I am even who I am.

This is something my mother struggled with throughout her life. Because of her skin color, she was called a ‘Yella Gal’ as a child in South Carolina, and that was a memory she carried all of her life. As an artist of color, record labels wanted her to be ‘Jazz. Gospel. Blues’, and she fought that need to be ‘categorized’.

Now, one of the things I often mention when I speak or give interviews, is the great joy my mother got from having given birth to this ‘mutt’, a child who would be hard to confine to one racial box. She would say to me, “You are like a walking United Nations. You either break every rule or fill every quota, depending on where you are.” My mother despised society’s need to neatly categorize everything. Especially people and art. When asked what race she identified with, she would say, “the human race”. This is not to take away from those who choose to call themselves whatever they choose. That was what she felt was the beauty of ‘Freedom’. The right to choose for oneself. She was not one to judge. My mother raised me to respect EVERY thing and EVERY one, and see the beauty in ALL.

So, when a person says to me that I was adopted, and my mother hid that from me all my life, because I don’t possess the ‘features’ that person feels I should have, is in a way, denying my very existence. And, I feel, it is that need to ‘fit another person’s idea of what one should be’, that creates conflicts in all aspects of our world.

Please don’t get on me saying that there’s nothing wrong with adoption. I know that. I think adoption is fabulous. I am only making reference to my self and my life with my mother, in response to what Mr. or Ms.’Truth’ has said.

Eartha Kitt and Kitt Shapiro

Eartha Kitt with daughter Kitt Shapiro

A bedtime story my mother often read to me The Sneetches, by Dr Seuss. If you aren’t familiar with it, I highly recommend you get it, in fact, I think it should be a must-read for everyone.

It’s the story about a group who felt superior to others because they had stars on their bellies. Along comes a salesman who can put stars on the ones that have none, and then the original star-bellied Sneetches want their stars removed so they can justify their nastiness. As the story progresses, the groups go in and out of the ‘star on/star off’ machine until no one is sure who is who anymore and realize after they’ve spent all their money trying to acquire a valid reason for being mean, that it was time, energy and money all wasted.

The irony is that if you look past hair color and skin color, I actually do look like my mother. No, I do not sound like her or have her vocal abilities. That talent seems to have skipped a generation, and now resides in my children. I do have her legs. One day I may show them to you. And, I have the gift of the love she gave me and the example she set on how to live a life to its fullest with kindness, acceptance and giving.

May we all strive to live that way.

Remember ~Treasure ~ Love.           Kitt

 

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44 Response Comments

  • Cindy Pollack  November 19, 2017 at 11:37 AM

    Mixing races can be very interesting and lead to exotic looks, depending on genetics. I have friends who are 1/2 white and 1/2 Guamese. They look like they are from Guam. Another woman had parents whose mother was a blonde, brown eyed Italian and father was Japanese. She had pale blue eyes and blonde hair. No one ever believed her father was Japanese. Talk about recessive gene dominance. For most people, we only know what race someone was a few generations back and not what our genetics carry from centuries ago. All of our prior genetics carry down to who we are and what we look like today.

    Reply
  • Michelle Thomas  November 19, 2017 at 11:49 AM

    “truth” is so very wrong. I have a first cousin, half-white, who looks nothing like his mother. Yet, we know he is hers……we were there when she carried him. AND you DO look like your mom, your smile, your eyes, etc. Some people are just so ignorant about these things. I am sooo very glad that I was at the Northwestern Auditorium in Chicago and had the opportunity to see her (you were in the audience) about a year before she died. I LOVED it when she came on stage and kicked that leg up in the air.???? She must have been a lot of fun!!

    Reply
  • Jack  November 19, 2017 at 11:57 AM

    Whoever wrote that message has a basket of issues all their own. I look at you and your mother and I definitely see the resemblance. Some people just enjoy being mean, like the Sneetches and they just don’t matter. Your mother was beautiful and amazing (we saw her cabaret numerous times), you are beautiful and you look like her, and I’m sure your children are beautiful and amazing. That is all that matters. People troll on the internet because they don’t like themselves and they try to make others feel worse. In this case, that person is clearly wrong.

    Reply
  • Lisa McLenfon  November 19, 2017 at 12:00 PM

    I also being a mixed race person who is now in my mid-50s, my mother being white from Germany my father being African-American born and bred between Virginia and New Jersey. My mother was a beautiful Caucasian woman my father was a very handsome African-American male. I am me I have attributes of both my mother and my father and I am proud of both. Just like you are. People used to say to my mother when I was a small child oh why did you adopt that little girl? Commons continue but I love who I am. Thank you for being you

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    • Shelly  March 24, 2018 at 8:30 PM

      Wow, it is 2018 and we are still having this conversation. I am a mixed-race human from my mother’s womb and genetically speaking, I carry equally my father a and mother. Males have the stronger gene normally. I had a friend giggle and say Creator made it that way so men couldn’t deny their children. Kitt looks like her mom but her father’s genetics are strong too and who has the right to tell her different. Dear Truth please add compassion, love and humility to your list of traits you have deemed yourself worthy of. I loved looking at your family photos. I have the one of your mom in the mermaid gown throwing something into the air on a vision board. I have her throwing a great big ball of light to get rid of all the shadows of race and definition and petty xenophobia. Thank you ladies, for letting me rant!

      Reply
  • Nicole  November 19, 2017 at 12:28 PM

    Beautifully written, eloquently explained!

    Reply
  • Kimba Lorber  November 19, 2017 at 12:51 PM

    What a beautiful response to such an ugly comment. You are pure Class..just like your Mother. Be well.

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  • Gary Acabbo  November 19, 2017 at 12:53 PM

    I am blown away by the audacity of Ms. or Mr. Truth to write such a ignorant and narrow minded comment. You don’t have to prove who you are to anyone. Not that it matters but the strong resemblance to your mom is evident. This sounds like the words of a mean spirited person who would actually tell a child that did not know he or she was adopted that they were. Your response could not be any more perfect.

    Reply
  • Nessie  November 19, 2017 at 1:51 PM

    Genetics are magical and mysterious, and in a good way! People should see the beauty in heredity and genetics, plain and simple!

    Reply
  • CDM  November 19, 2017 at 2:50 PM

    You have inherited your mother’s eyes, compassionate spirit and radiate her boundless love.

    Reply
  • D. Bruce Stevens  November 19, 2017 at 3:24 PM

    You’re such a classy mutt. Beautifully stated. It’s mind-boggling to me how people will ignore facts to support a belief of theirs. All one needs to do it to look at you and they’ll see the awesome DNA you’ve inherited, and with a few enhancements, made your own. And I’ve seen several photos of you as a child in which there was a hint of your african-american heritage. Besides, your mom had mixed DNA anyway. AND… in different photos her skin color can look darker or lighter. “Truth” doesn’t understand genetics and would probably be completely amazed if they knew the heritage of many of the people around them.

    Nearly always, when someone expresses an opinion based on ignorance, the motivation is not what they are really saying, but rather a prejudice of some sort. In the end, it’s THAT PERSON who has the problem.

    Reply
    • Michelle  February 8, 2018 at 3:45 PM

      This. If you look past skin and hair color, then you will see that Kitt DOES look like her mother. It’s an insult to suggest that Eartha secretly adopted a white child. Adoption is wonderful but Kitt is Eartha’s biological child. After all that Eartha went through, I think she would have told Kitt if she was adopted. Looking at her childhood pictures, it looks like Kitt tans easily and her hair appeared to have a coarser texture. Sometimes does change as one ages. It happened to me. I had an afro as a kid, now I have hair that is almost straight.

      Truth doesn’t understand a lot of things. If Eartha weren’t biracial, then why was her father’s name blacked out? Would they have done that for a black man in the deep South, in the 20s? Would there have been any NEED to? Eartha – and Kitt- would know how Eartha was treated in the black community in her day because she was light skinned. I doubt the black community would have rejected her if she weren’t. Unless you’ve seen Eartha in person and close up, you don’t know what her actual complexion was.

      If everyone had raised their children the way Eartha raised Kitt in those days, how much better would our world be today?

      Reply
  • Beverly Brown  November 19, 2017 at 8:20 PM

    I guess Truth would wonder how my half white, half black child turned out looking 100% Hispanic! I’ve know many, many children who were 1/2 or 1/4 black. Some looked black. Some looked white. Some looked in-between or like something else entirely. Sorry (not sorry) we don’t all fit someone else’s preconceived stereotypes!

    Reply
    • Kitt Shapiro  January 22, 2018 at 5:15 PM

      My mother got the biggest kick out of me not fitting the mold,“Here’s to not fitting the mold!”☺️

      Reply
  • Diane  November 19, 2017 at 9:00 PM

    I agree with you — you look exactly like your mother…inside and out. Blessed.

    Reply
  • Liz Flavin  November 20, 2017 at 7:07 AM

    You are so your mother’s daughter! xx

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  • Jeffrey Norris  November 20, 2017 at 7:23 AM

    There is something crucial that’s missing in the lives of people who spruik hate and division by spreading falsehoods.
    I adored Eartha kit, and now that I’ve discovered her daughter, I’m certain I adore her too; especially after having just seen a terrific 8-year-old interview of her via YouTube. Kitt seems like such a well balanced, beautiful soul!

    Reply
  • Sharon Hayes  November 20, 2017 at 9:15 AM

    Being a woman of color, I am always questioned about my nationality. I do not possess my mother’s complexion nor hair texture and my brothers look like her. I e always been asked if I’m adopted? I see my features in my mother in some pictures but regardless I am who I am…my mother’s child. My father is very light-skinned & off very diverse background so I took more so after him.
    Kitt, you replied eloquently to someone who knows nothing & desires to shade the truth of enlightenment. Much luv & respect to you.

    Reply
  • John Kalloo  November 20, 2017 at 12:43 PM

    You are a big girl now. You don’t have to please no-one. You don’t have to explain nothing to ignorant people. I’m sorry you have to put up with pathetic people.

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  • Leslie Orofino  November 20, 2017 at 2:20 PM

    You are beautiful and your mother was beautiful inside and out. Love never dies and that’s all that is important. Your mother did a magnificent job of raising her beloved child. This person was nasty and instead of blowing him off you were patient and eloquent. Happy Thanksgiving Kitt. I look forward to meeting you one day. I am such a fan of your Mom’s and love singing her songs. xox

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  • Nora Baskin  November 20, 2017 at 2:22 PM

    As someone who lost their her mother as a young child..the pain you must have felt to have someone (who doesn’t know you or your mother) deny your bond makes me so deeply sad. Your response to her was gracious and probably undeserved. But thank you. ooxx

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  • Dan Alan  November 20, 2017 at 4:16 PM

    I don’t know who the RUDE/IGNORANT person who had the audacity to write a post that, besides putting their 2 cents when nobody asked… Has constructed an entire mythology of lies and deception to explain how you came to be raised by your own mother!!! And even in a situation where it was all true??? No one but a cruel, heartless, evil , hot mess of a poor excuse for a human being would throw it in a person’s face!!! Potentially throwing your whole sense of self and those who you most love into a whirlwind of insecurity, deception and confusion!!!

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  • Shazaam  November 20, 2017 at 4:46 PM

    I’m sorry you’ve faced people who’ve questioned and cast doubts on your origin. I’ll never understand the arrogance it takes for someone to opine on the life of a person they’ve never met. Does “Truth” have a degree in genetics? Doubtful.

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  • Terrell A Wilkerson  November 24, 2017 at 1:51 AM

    By this simple and eloquent response I have no doubt you are your mothers child and she lives and is flourishing inside your heart. God Bless

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    • Kitt Shapiro  January 22, 2018 at 4:55 PM

      Thank you. I have been and continue to be truly blessed. XXKitt

      Reply
  • Ria Rabun  November 25, 2017 at 3:39 PM

    I took one look at the picture of you and your mother and said, “That’s definitely her mother.” Then I read the paragraph below where you said that you do look like your mother except for hair color and skin tone. It’s sad that Mr. or Mrs. Truth couldn’t see past her own “racial identifiers” to actually see YOU. I’m so sorry you had to deal with that nonsense.

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  • Joy  November 26, 2017 at 9:59 AM

    I am huge fan of your mothers and watched many of her interviews. It is clear she adored and loved you. I understand the need for you to write this post because even though it shouldn’t, race, in our society, plays a dominant role and your mother experienced the brunt of that by not being accepted as a child within her own family. It shows you the impact of colonialism and white supremacy when people within their own race can not accept one another. Truth was just expressing an opinion and I can understand that hurts and you feel it is wrong, but it’s just an opinion and I do think that we shouldn’t shun people if they have an opinion that is contrary to ours. Not everyone can always agree and if you think about the context your mother grew up and lived in then I can see why Truth would have an opinion like that. Your mother lived in a time where black people were lynched, beaten, segregated, and not considered human by many. When I first saw you, I thought the same thing, my nieces and nephews are mixed and they look mixed. Genes are a funny thing and I don’t know what the possibilities are. Mariah Carey is biracial and looks white so it happens. I’m not saying it’s a right thought or comment to have but that’s all it is is an opinion of one’s own understanding and expression. I don’t think it was meant to hurt. It’s your blog but people should be able to express their own thoughts if it’s dialogue you want to create. You can’t create dialogue if everyone just agrees with you. I don’t think you should have to defend yourself and who you are either. It’s tough, I’m not in your situation, but wishing you well and at the end of the day you had what I think was a wonderful mother that really loved and adored you and that’s what matters.

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    • Kitt Shapiro  January 22, 2018 at 4:44 PM

      Joy, I couldn’t agree more and that is in fact why I posted the comment. My mother raised me to not be afraid of having a dialogue and sharing opinions. I feel this subject matter continues to be at the forefront of our society and in order to make progress, we need to become educated and keep the conversation going. Thank you for doing just that. XXKitt

      Reply
  • Vanessa  November 30, 2017 at 6:42 PM

    It is Wonderful you are celebrating your mother’s legacy. I just heard about Eartha Kitt Day today. I received a call about January 17th.

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  • Vanessa  November 30, 2017 at 6:46 PM

    It is interesting that our non-profit is having a fundraiser on March 17th, 2018 traveling to Augusta to celebrate the late James Brown’s legacy.

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  • Roxann  January 15, 2018 at 7:21 PM

    Apparently Mr or Mrs Truth was the one who did the adoption papers for your mother. Sometimes I really wonder about people, people like ‘Truth’. Truth is probably mixed as well and is envious of the way you look in comparison to themselves and to compare you both with Heidi and her kids, I think Truth should go grow some common sense. Let me leave them alone because I am so mad, I would say things that may get my comment removed. You, my dear handled that idiotic comment beautifully. You are so Miss Eartha’s child and you DO LOOK LIKE YOUR MOTHER, and another thing you inherited from her is that ‘PURE HEART’ – ‘BLESS YOUR HEART’. Keep doing what you do and being who you are and it’s fantastic to see that the ‘Idiotic Truth’ couldn’t keep you down.

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    • Kitt Shapiro  January 22, 2018 at 4:29 PM

      Roxann, You have touched my heart with your words. Thank you. My reasoning for posting “Truth’s” comment was to use the opportunity for awareness and dialogue. Like my mother, I believe that we need to share in order to bring awareness and effect change. XXKitt

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      • Aaron  January 25, 2018 at 9:05 PM

        Mission accomplished!!!

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  • p  April 4, 2018 at 9:44 AM

    Don’t let it bother you dear, there are a lot of small minded people out there who obviously have not lived.

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  • Ms. day  April 18, 2018 at 9:39 PM

    Dear Kitt,
    Where do I begin…There is a story in my family, that my aunt Myrtis was the woman who assisted your mom in getting the audition with Katherine Dunham. She looked a great deal like your mom, and they were both from South Carolina. However, here’s what I’d like to say about you. I have similar features and a complexion to your mother as well. My father genetically is 80% Caucasian, blue-eyed and blond. My mother was dark brown skinned. I turned out bronzed like your mom. I married a man who was Italian. My daughter was born blue-eyed. She is olive skinned with thick long braids that are 3A in texture. When she was born in an Italian hospital, they almost gave me the wrong baby because they were accustomed to seeing PURE black women with White husbands who had light-skinned children. They weren’t accustomed to seeing the effect of a mother who is 44% Caucasian with a pure white husband.

    People are stupid. They have very little knowledge about genetics. I’ve even had people accuse me of not being a biological mother to my daughter because her eyes are blue and “black” people don’t carry the genes for blue eyes. They’re so accustomed to partially black people representing black people that they think all mixed race people look like seal and Heidi Klum’s children.

    Nonetheless, don’t worry about it. I saw a lot of pictures in my aunts photo album from her days with Katherine Dunham. I wish there was some way to affirm the story, because it was something passed along in my family for years. Unfortunately, my aunt passed away in 2004.

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  • execdir  May 2, 2018 at 4:49 AM

    Amazed at how relevant this thread continues to be, and that we seem to be regressing in time with our current cultural and political climate. Eartha’s life example and you as her living legacy of that stellarly transformational life, Kitt, are more needed than ever in these times. I addressed the insensitive “Truth” in a previous post; But in doing some further reading on your Mom’s situation and the shameful way she was treated in the South, I wish I’d come on this information earlier. I’m certain you can get your Mother’s biological Father, through DNA / genetics match sites. It’s your best chance, to at last put the mystery to rest and salve what still may be an open spiritual wound waiting to heal. As well as your curiosity about your Paternal side. You have every right to know about your Mother’s family, and where her phenomenal resilience, gifts and courage come from. As many have said, your compassionate, common-sense and gracious response is so perfectly Eartha, she raised you up in her shadow in all the best conceivable ways. All blessings as you continue on her journey and your own, together.

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  • Tanya Fitzpatrick  May 17, 2018 at 3:55 PM

    You have a lot of your mother’s facial features. I think you and your mom are beautiful. I also identify my race as human. Why does color matter? Your mom is a legend and I would have loved to have met her. Maybe one-day I can meet you. I have a small circle of friends. I don’t trust many people. Enjoy your life may God bless you.

    Reply

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