Do we have another race faker here? He has claimed to have been subjected to racism: “I was raised in rural Kentucky,” he told the blog Generation Progress. “It was actually pretty rough. African Americans faced a lot of racism and discrimination growing up. I never really experienced overt racism myself until high school,” said King. “I was put into a weird position when a huge group of students (who called themselves “rednecks”) hated me for no reason.”
Yet, in recent weeks, rumours have been circulating about his ethnicity. A 1995 police incident report lists Shaun King’s ethnicity as white. And blogger Vicki Pate, who has been assembling forensic accounts of Shaun King’s background and family tree on her blog, “Re-NewsIt!,” has published her findings.
She claims that King is entirely white and says a birth certificate, which Breitbart has since independently acquired from the Kentucky Office of Vital Statistics, names a white man as his father.
King’s case echoes that of Rachel Dolezal, a civil rights activist from Washington who claimed to be biracial while in fact being of caucasian origin. Dolezal continues to insist she “identifies as black,” despite her parents revealing that she is entirely white.
If Pate is right, Shaun King, who often uses black and white photographs of himself online rather than colour images, may have misled African-American hero Winfrey by applying for and accepting an Oprah Scholarship to the historically black Morehouse College. Oprah Scholarships are given exclusively to black men.
In his Daily Kos diary, King refers to himself as a “brother,” writing: “Oprah Winfrey paid my way through Morehouse. The leadership scholarship that I received from her is why I have a college degree today. Five hundred other brothers have the exact same story.”
Shaun King’s biography has attracted the attention of bloggers and journalists thanks to several bizarre inconsistencies in his public claims. He often struggles when asked to recall basic facts about his own life. For instance, in August 2014, King wrote on Twitter that he was father to three “black girls,” while, six months earlier, he claimed to be father to four.
It is of course possible that a family tragedy is responsible for the inconsistency, but the unexplained change in biographical details is not a one-off. In October 2009, King claimed to have endured four spinal surgeries. By February 2010, the number of surgeries had shrunk to three. There is also some confusion about when an alleged car crash may or may not have happened.
As it turns out, these explosive new racial allegations are just the latest in a string of controversies surrounding Shaun King: on July 21, a conservative blog reported that his account of a “brutal, racially-motivated beating” in 1995, which at least two reports have described as “Kentucky’s first hate crime,” did not match up with a police report from the case.
“King, 35, has related the story of the hate crime on his blogs and in his recent self-help book, seemingly to bolster his credibility as an activist and as a self-help guru,” wrote the Daily Caller‘s Chuck Ross. “While King has said that he was attacked by up to a dozen ‘racist’ and ‘redneck’ students, official records show that the altercation involved only one other student.”