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MIAMI – Dolphins coach Mike McDaniel, who clarified comments this week in which he said he identified himself “as a human being”, confirmed that his racial background is not something he simply identifies as – that’s what he is .
“First of all, I’m biracial. My mom’s white, my dad’s black. I’ve been extremely proud of that all my life,” McDaniel told ESPN on Friday. “It’s a unique experience to be a race and then to fully acknowledge that most external observers, when they perceive you, identify you as something other than the race you are. When you are younger, and it happens. , it’s very, very confusing. “
The Dolphins introduced McDaniel as their 14th head coach this week. During a press conference Thursday in Miami, McDaniel was asked what his experience was growing up and whether his success can serve as an example for people with similar backgrounds.
He called the idea of identifying himself as something “strange” and added that he did not necessarily identify himself as anything other than a human being.
“I think people identify me as something, but I identify myself as a human being,” McDaniel said Thursday. “It’s weird that it shows up because I’ve just tried to be a good person and I think my background opens my eyes a little bit. I have no real experience with racism. But I know my mother experienced “When she married my father. I know my father has experienced it and it’s in my family. It makes me a human being who can identify with other people’s problems.”
However, McDaniel’s biracial background exposed him to bigotry as a child. On several occasions, his friends were not allowed to spend the night in his home. McDaniel initially had “no idea” why, but after a series of tantrums, his mother, Donna, finally told him. He and his mother were also ostracized by members of her family for her decision to marry and have a child with a black man whom McDaniel called “eye-opening”.
McDaniel said a trip to his grandmother’s home when he was 5 years old was the first time he realized he was different when he noticed that his skin was a far lighter shade than anyone else in his grandmother’s photographs. Growing up with people who did not identify him as biracial, he said he was trying to find a way to understand the confusion.
“I’m thinking what I said [Thursday] is that you have to come to a realization at some point, you have to have a level of comfort, you have to have a decision when you are younger, and you have these weird things happening to you, “he said.” And for me , it was, ‘OK, you’re a human being.’ That was my decision. For my experience, this is how I have solved it. I think it’s something that helped me not to feel so confused throughout the process.
“It shaped a very unique perspective for me because I’m biracial, and I know these things are wrong, but people identify me as something else, so it does not happen to me. It’s a conflicting feeling.”
McDaniel joins the Dolphins after four seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, after serving as the team’s offensive coordinator in 2021. The 49ers will receive a third round in each of the next two drafts as part of the NFL’s diversity development and hiring program.