What is Vin Diesel’s ethnicity? What we know about his parents

Dominic Toretto’s commitment to family motivates his fearlessness in the Fast & Furious. It has also made Vin Diesel, Dominic’s actor, a popular meme on social media. Diesel’s bald face and muscular trim is the go-to photo for any meme that involves family. 

Diesel is also the go-to guy for any producer looking to make millions from a film. Due to his immense fame, Vin is ultra-bankable – a far cry from the struggling actor who couldn’t land a role due to his ethnicity. 

Vin Diesel was born Mark Sinclair on 18th July 1967 to Delora Sherleen Vincent in Alameda County, California. He grew up alongside his fraternal twin brother, Paul. 

Delora’s African American husband, Irvin H. Vincent, later adopted Paul and Vin. Diesel has never met his biological father and is therefore unsure of or unwilling to reveal his ethnicity. Delora has Scottish, German, and English, but his father’s ethnicity remains unclear. 

Diesel describes himself as a person of color and racially ambiguous. He once said:

“I don’t know what I am. I’m a combination of many things. I never knew my biological father. I’ve always had less information than I would have liked to have had. All I know from my mother is that I have connections to many different cultures.”

Vin credits his adoptive father for his upbringing and motivation to join the entertainment industry. Vincent was an acting director and theater manager. “The man who raised me is black,” Diesel said. “Culturally he made me who I am. He was a theatre director so he also guided me artistically.”

Diesel’s ambiguous ethnicity hindered his progression in the acting industry. Casting directors would either dismiss him as ‘too black’ or ‘too white.’ Frustrated by the racial discrimination he faced, Diesel created and starred in the short film Multi-Facial. The film caught Steven Spielberg’s attention, and the rest is history. 

His perceived weakness became his strength: Everybody related to Vin because of his racial ambiguity. “You don’t know what he is, and it doesn’t even matter, because he’s everybody,” Rob Cohen, director of The Fast and the Furious, said. “Everybody looks at Vin and goes, ‘I see myself.’”

Race and ethnicity have never mattered to Vin. “I guess I’ve always looked past the exterior and the ambiguity that my existence represents,” Diesel told ABC News. “When I was in my mother’s stomach, it was still illegal in parts of America for people of color and white people to procreate.”

To Vin Diesel, the name Mark Sinclair didn’t sound tough enough for a bouncer. 

Diesel worked as a bouncer in New York as he tried to establish himself as an actor. He had the muscles, height, and deep voice, but Mark Sinclair couldn’t cut it as a bouncer, not in Vin’s eyes. 

He adopted the name Vin from his father’s and mom’s last name, Vincent. Vin’s friends christened him Diesel due to his seemingly boundless energy. Mark Sinclair, therefore, became Vin Diesel.