Robert King has many identities: actor, writer, comedian; white and Black; and most recently, dad, L.A. transplant, and Scribd Originals author. As someone who always felt like the odd one out as the funny biracial kid, King really means it when he tells parents and other mixed race individuals: You're not alone. Don't listen to the voice of imposter syndrome. You matter. In No One Here Is Like Me, King's Scribd Original, he hones in on some of his most defining memories of being biracial and his fears as a parent. Here, he opens up further about the weight of being a father of mixed-race kids.
No One Here Is Like Me tells deeply personal stories of race, family, and fatherhood. At what point did you decide you wanted to share these stories in the written word?
Robert King: I began writing some of these stories down over a decade ago, just for myself, as an outlet for some of the things I was feeling. Over the past couple years, as I had kids and connected with so many other people who shared similar journeys, I felt the need to share these stories (and some of the new ones I’ve experienced), in case other people reading them might be able to relate to them in some way.
What do you hope people will take away from No One Here Is Like Me?
Robert King: Especially as it relates to the fatherhood part of my life, I hope parents out there will see that those feelings of self doubt, imposter syndrome, or feeling like you’re all alone, are not true. Those feelings, although they seem very real, are not. We’re not alone as parents, and if we can find ways to keep going, keep giving our children our all, we’re going to be okay.
Your sons are currently four years old and seven months old. What has been the biggest surprise in terms of being a parent to two boys?
Robert King: I think a lot of men of my generation were raised to be “tough.” Because “men should be tough” and strong, and blah blah blah. It’s taken me longer than I’d like to admit to release myself from that way of thinking as an adult. Reprogramming myself to put way less emphasis on being “tough,” and so much more on being things like caring, understanding, or empathetic hasn’t always been easy. Raising two boys, it’s been surprising how much of that old way of thinking, or that old way of parenting boys, can creep in if I’m not careful. Teaching them that what matters is being open, honest, and willing to share their feelings has actually been surprisingly difficult for me. But I’m working on it.
What’s your biggest hope/fear for your sons?
Robert King: My biggest hope is that they will find things, and people, in life that make them happy. My biggest fear is that I will get in the way of that.
Is there one key piece of advice or sentiment that you’d like to share with them when they’re old enough to read this?
Robert King: You don’t ever have to accept a label or value that someone else wants to assign you, if it doesn’t match up with how you see yourself.
You have numerous writing, acting, and producing credits. A Hollywood triple threat. Is there one area that you prefer over the other?
Robert King: If I could just sit back and act in incredible projects that other people write, that would be the dream. I honestly only began writing as a way to give myself opportunities, but then I found writing to be a great way to express myself and get what was inside of me out. At this point I could never stop writing, it’s too meaningful to me. But, again, if I could get paid Tom Cruise money and jetset all over the world making Mission Impossible movies … I’d probably be okay with putting the laptop down for a bit.
You recently relocated from the tri-state area to LA. How’s the west coast treating you? What’s the biggest difference you’ve encountered so far?
Robert King: I think everyone knows the first answer to this: the weather! It’s perfect out here. Although, it’s almost too perfect. It’s a distraction. There have been many days when I had intended to get some writing done, but instead found myself on a golf course. First world problems, for sure. Los Angeles definitely has a more laid back vibe, which I like, but I hope to never lose my New York “hustle” mindset.
In this Scribd Original, King, a writer-comedian and a dad, relays formative moments in his life when being both Black and white made him feel like he didnʼt belong (“If the ʻBlack cardʼ was a real thing, mine would only work at certain stores”), and how these experiences inform his outlook on parenting. Donʼt worry: There are plenty of dad jokes throughout.
About the Author: Ashley McDonnell
Ashley is a Senior Editorial Associate at Scribd who loves Ernest Hemingway, “The Hunger Games,” and ice hockey. When she’s not reading or at the rink, she’s making nerdy podcasts about anime and manga.