Did a popular activist in the Black Lives Matter movement lie about being biracial?
Shaun King, a 35-year-old man from Kentucky, recently came under attack from conservative bloggers, who allege that he lied about having parents of different races. Amid an online backlash, the case has drawn comparisons to Rachel Dolezal, a civil rights activist born to white parents who sparked criticism for self-identifying as a black woman.
Shaun called the controversy, which drew the attention of scores of Twitter users, including Montel Williams, a "white supremacist conspiracy."
"If you have known me from when I was in elementary school at Huntertown Elementary until now, you've known me as black or bi-racial," he said on Twitter, where he has more than 172,000 followers. "Every single person who knows me BEYOND Twitter, beyond trending topics and HIT PIECES, knows I have never lied about my race."
Some bloggers are citing what they say is a 1995 police report over a school attack, in which Shaun was allegedly the victim. His race is listed as "white." The investigating detective told The New York Times that he had marked it as such due to observation alone.
In addition, the website Breibart published what it says is Shaun's birth certificate, which lists him as "white" and lists Jeffery Wayne King as his father. The New York Times said his dad is white.
"Shaun is a flawed and imperfect man. He has made many mistakes. Just like me and just like you," Shaun's wife, Rai King, with whom he shares five children, wrote on Facebook. "But regarding his race, he has never lied. Not once."
"He's no Rachel Dolezal," she added. "What's white about him is white, and what's Black about him is Black and always has been from the time he was a child...There is no part of his life that surprises me, his children, nor our closest family and friends. He has no secrets, but he does have a private life. And no amount of ignorance will force him to disclose the details of that private life until he's ready."