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Why Do You Call Yourself Black? Maybe It Is Time To Embrace Your Whiteness?

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At the Web site The Root, eminent scholar/historian/researcher Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. has posted a
fascinating, provocative piece about genetic lineage of American descendants of
African slaves.

 

Link: http://www.theroot.com/views/exactly-how-black-black-america


In this evidence-based piece, using genetic analysis research he explores and exposes lies and legacies of slavery, racism, and Jim and Jane Crow in America.

 

In the process, he blasts Grand Canyon-sized gaps in longstanding myths and folklore, drawing startling but verifiable conclusions:

 

(1) A whopping 35 percent of all African-American men descended from a white male ancestor who fathered a mulatto child sometime in the slavery era, most probably from rape or coerced sexuality.


(2)  African Americans and Native American ancestry is a myth. 

 

 So that Native American grandmother or great-great grandmother talked about for generations in your family was really a white woman.  


(3) The racist “fixed race” pseudoscience of the 18th century was simply a ploy to justify slavery

 

Perhaps, this analysis could be a catalyst to a move away from referring to people by Crayola colors.  

 

In the 18th century and earlier, terms like mulatto, quadroon, octoroon, Creole, mestizo were used to described people of mixed-race heritage.

 

It was not until the 20th century with the enactment of Ku Klux Klan-promoted racial purity laws (one-drop rule) in Virginia (1910) and Tennessee (1924) did the notion that Americans were either black or white became a national standard.

 

So maybe a return to terms like mulatto is long overdue.

 

Or perhaps simply mixed race or colored would cover all darker skin shades. .

 

Links: http://www2.vcdh.virginia.edu/encounter/projects/monacans/Contemporary_Monacans/racial.html


http://www.mixedracestudies.org/wordpress/?p=14135

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It's for this reason that I often use the term "AfroAmerican" when talking about our people here in the United States, or "AfroLatino" when talking about our people in Latin America.

Even if they have no other races in their ancestry, most people of African descent aren't actually "Black" but various shades of Brown.

But in my opinion the world "Black" should be reserved for those over a certain threshold, and not every person of African descent.

President Obama, Alicia Keys, Miguel and other's who have one White or non-Black parent in my opinion aren't "Black" but they are AfroAmerican meaning Americans of African decent.

Actually, although neither of her parents are actually White, I wouldn't consider lightskinned keen featured people like Beyoncé "Black" either.
She clearly is of mixed ancestry even if it isn't immediate.


 

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Pioneer - I am quite happy with Black or colured. For two reason it sounds snappy and is more inclusive. A few examples might help to demonstrate the idea. Black is Beautiful, Suicide for Colored Girls when the Rainbow is Enuf. Also Black is an attitude or expression.

sometimes less definition leads to more possibility.

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Delano

I hear what you're saying but you're looking at things from a creative and cultural aspect.

Black being more of an ideal. A style of dress, attitude, music, and historic struggle.

I'm looking at things from a more scientific and regulatory aspect.

The word "Black"  being far too inaccurate in describing how most of our people look and increasingly how they think.

 

 

 

sometimes less definition leads to more possibility.

That's the problem.

It's leads to more confusion and more people can "play around" with the definition.

If ANYBODY with Black ancestry can be called Black.....

When we demand more "Black" new anchors on television they can run out and get some nearly White "octaroons" with only an eighth of Black ancestry but pretty much look like other White people and prop them up as "Black".

I personally like a more clearly defined society.

But then again, I tend to be more left-brained so I love categorizing and classifying anyway.

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All this confusion and flawed subjective reasoning is more proof why we should stop using racial terms as if there was in fact more than one race.

 

In the article the Need2ritefatser linked, I share the following quote;

 

"So there is a lot of genetic variation within our ethnic group, as is obvious to anyone even casually glancing at black people just walking down the street."

 

This staement makes no sense, as one can not look at someone else and determine that individual's genetic variation realtive to someone else.  It is just wrong to suggest say anyone can do this.  In the very next sentence, however, we find;


"What this means is that even the most phenotypically "African" (or what used to be called "Negroid") African Americans have dramatically significant levels of European ancestry, a fact that would have astonished many of our forebears, both black and white."

 

Again, only someone who thinks they can determine another's ancestry by looking at them would be surprised.
 

Then we have statement like Pioneers that further complicate things;

 

"Black being more of an ideal. A style of dress, attitude, music, and historic struggle."

 

Of course these types of statements are purely subjective and as such do not mean anything to anyone outside the group who uses them or believes such things -- including many Black people like myself.

 

__________________

 

As a complete aside. Long ago, when the Neanderthal man walked the Earth there were in fact two different species of homosapiens running around.  After man left Africa, there was some inbreeding between modern man and the Neanderthal.

The people who stayed behind in African would not have any of the Neanderthal's genetic code.  However the Black folks in descendant from the Europeans would (i.e. African-Americans).  Maybe that is what is wrong with us? :(

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Troy

 


Then we have statement like Pioneers that further complicate things;
"Black being more of an ideal. A style of dress, attitude, music, and historic struggle."
Of course these types of statements are purely subjective and as such do not mean anything to anyone outside the group who uses them or believes such things -- including many Black people like myself.



I think you misunderstood what I was saying to Delano.

I wasn't AGREEING that Blackness is an ideal, style of dress, attitude, or music.
I was empathizing with Delano's point of view showing that I understand that this is HIS position before moving forward to offer my own.

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Oh, my bad Pioneer.

 

Del do you think calling your children, for example, "Black" makes sense?  Would you want your kids or yourself for that matter, to be defined by some stereotypical, prejudiced and artificial definition? 

 



 

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I'm certainly at the point of allowing myself to question my racial persuasion. I don't how to identify myself anymore.  My loyalty to blackness is dissipating, mostly because there doesn't seem to be any cure for what ails the black condition in America, a disease characterized by the ignorance and self-destructiveness that disgusts me.

 

 I've  never confronted this dilemma before because I  rejected the idea of a black person wanting to be white.  I always found oreo types  obnoxious and pathetic.  Now I know it's possible to circumvent the negative stereotypes of both blackness and whiteness, and that it is all about one's frame of mind.

 

Currently,  I just want to be me, to embrace what I relate to in both races. From what I know of my ancestry, I have the bloodlines to legitimately do this. Even my appearance is hybrid.  I have fair skin but my hair is not straight  and my features not particularly keen. I am also "bilingual", able to speak in both the black and white syntax.  But I remain in the limbo of a society that categorizes people by entrenched standards. Because I am in retreat, however, this ambivalence is no big deal. 

 

Were I young and still out there in the mix, what would I do?  This I know for sure; I would never exorcise my black soul.

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Cynique, exactly. 

 

Many of the limitations we have are there because we allowed society to place them on us and we accepted them.  I'm Black so I have to like certain things and behave a certain way.  Otherwise people look at you sideways and began to doubt yourself.   It is almost as if we have to "come Out" as unique human being

 

For example, as a kid doing well in school or speaking properly was considered "acting white" and a rational for ridicule or even a beat down -- seriously.  I understand this is STILL an issue for Black kids in the inner city?!

 

I know many people who limit the friends they have, the food they eat, the music they listen and even the places they go -- simply because they have self imposed constraints on their behavior.

 

It is the same attitude, that rubs me the wrong way, whenever I hear some ignoramus proudly exclaim that America is the best country in the world has ever seen.  While they, themselves, have never been more than a 1,000 miles from home, never had a passport and have limited knowledge of Global history. 

That is one reason our friend Del is so cool.  He, as far as I've observed, never let anyone define him (he an I were in B-School in together in '91 we both worked in the computer lab helping students with WordPerfect, Lotus 123, and DB2 -- while learning it ourselves)

 

I suspect many of you who post here, who so freely share your opinions and ideas, have similar characteristics.  You are not afraid to let people know what you think.  Some of you are even willing to adjust or even change your position which is a pretty rare quality :-)

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Although I wasn't raised in the Black professional class, I've always liked the idea of a Black Bourgeoisie.

I think there is some truth to the Talented Tenth theory as suggested by WEB Dubois, and thought Black leaders should have embraced the idea rather than reject it

Starting in the 60s.........as an act of challenging the contemporary societal norm which was racist and exclusive to them, a lot of Black people started embracing the negative element of society and values attributed to ghetto low-class behavior as a form of rebellion.

I think this was a big mistake because that negative element continued to grow and grow until now ghetto low class behavior has become so common in the Black American community that it's considered normal and to act like you are upperclass and have values isn't considered "keeping it real".

At some point, progressive Black Americans will have to separate themselves from the negative element and shake off the dead weight of unproductive negroes.

The will and need to just survive a more advanced society will eventually override the guilt of abandoning a large percentage of our people.

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Pioneer this has already happened.  But most professional Blacks could give a rats ass what is happening in the 'hood -- especially if they are more than a couple of generations out of the 'hood.  They are indistinguishable from their white counterparts.

 

They live in white suburbs, send their kids to white schools and socialize with each other in various clubs and organization that do not include -- indeed exclude ,people from the 'hood with memberships fees, selection processes and just sheer distance.

 

Sure many of them do the annual corporate sponsored charity event or volunteer effort to help less fortunate Black folks.  But there is no concerted effort from the group.  Some are struggling themselves and the others don't care.  Of course there are individual exceptions be they are rare.

 

Just abandon the idea of a "talented tenth" helping the remaining 90% -- it ain't gonna happen.  That would require sacrifice and a long term commitment which would be irrational to expect from this group.

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There are many brilliant, deep thoughts in this thread: @Troy, @Delano, @Cynique.

 

I am inclined to agree, as Troy smartly notes, that identity (what we call ourselves and/or what we accept) has created deep societal implications; for example, acting white, black community, “the hood,” brothers, etc., (no one called Harlem “the hood” when it was mostly Dutch or Jewish).


Indeed, there is no monolithic so-called black community because even in America for the most part economics trumps race. For example, in my neck of the woods, an Afro-American living in affluent Bethesda, Maryland, or wealthy McLean, Virginia, has no “community” connection with an Afro-American living in a lower income neighborhood in Southeast D.C. None. Nada. And folks need to stop deluding themselves that it does.


Skin color does not denote background, community, commonality, worldview, cultural attachment, religious views, taste in music, taste in books, taste in food, or all the other lies.

 

Perhaps, as Delano suggests, colored is not a bad concept. Taking that point further, I think black and blackness should be ditched as they have no cultural redeeming value whatsoever and instead have created much unneeded psychosis.

 

Perhaps simply mixed-race people is an easier, more accurate way out of this naming puzzle that Afro-Americans have created mostly by  themselves.


And, yes, I know, that too has limitations as it expresses no cultural or historical connection. Truly a complex mess made in America.  



 

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Troy Black is important cross culturally. My kids say Daddy is dark chocolate Mommy is white chocolate and they are caramel.

Works for. Them works for me.

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Need that is exactly why I like black. User defined. There was a similar debate amongst feminist about pornography. Some feminist wanted it ban others just wanted better porn/erotica etc.

it may have been Pat Califia (a leather loving SM Dyke. She said I don't want women defining what is acceptable any more than I want the patriarchy definig what is acceptable.

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Pioneer this has already happened.  But most professional Blacks could give a rats ass what is happening in the 'hood -- especially if they are more than a couple of generations out of the 'hood.  They are indistinguishable from their white counterparts.

 

They live in white suburbs, send their kids to white schools and socialize with each other in various clubs and organization that do not include -- indeed exclude ,people from the 'hood with memberships fees, selection processes and just sheer distance.

 

Sure many of them do the annual corporate sponsored charity event or volunteer effort to help less fortunate Black folks.  But there is no concerted effort from the group.  Some are struggling themselves and the others don't care.  Of course there are individual exceptions be they are rare.

 

Just abandon the idea of a "talented tenth" helping the remaining 90% -- it ain't gonna happen.  That would require sacrifice and a long term commitment which would be irrational to expect from this group.

 

((shrugs shoulders))

 

Perhaps a proper argument and request for their collective support hasn't been presented to them.

Most professional Black people in the upper income range.....unless they got there through some natural talent like singing or playing ball....tend to be very educated and only deal with other highly educated professionals. Like you said, most of them run in their own circles and hang out int he suburb.  I also believe many are embarrassed by the ignorant and stereotypical behavior exhibited by so many of the Black underclass and don't know what to do about it so they try to hide from it as much as they can.

Not having a college education I haven't had lot of opportunities to sit down and talk to members of the professional Black community. But being in that community I'm sure YOU have quite a few friends who wouldn't mind coming on this site and engaging in meaningful discussion with people like me and others who have ideas of how they can help themselves through helping others.

While no doubt Whites have experienced devastating lost, some say this depression recession and real estate collapse has all but erased MOST of the wealth AfroAmericans have accumulated the past 30 years!

 

Any negro intelligent enough to earn a degree and achieve success should be intelligent enough to know the importance of protecting the success they achieved. 

Surely the wealthiest and most educated AfroAmericans can't feel too secure living in a bubble to themselves while they see the bottom  dropping out from so many other upper income Black households.

 

 

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Del all your kids are describing are skin colors -- which is fine.  I don't have a problem with this.  What I have a problem is when people start to make judgements based upon skin color; as in the lighter people are smarter than the darker people.  

 

This is scientifically proven nonsense, which I wish we could dispense with yesterday.

 

Pioneer, sure, I have a lot of friends who are have college educations and others who do not. Their relatively intelligences (subjectively assessed by me) are uncorrelated with their degree of educational attainment.  Their opportunities, without a doubt, are correlated with their level of education.

 

But most of my friends, like most people in general, have no interest in coming here (or anywhere else for that matter) to discussing things of substance, devise strategies, and take direct action as a result to make things better for all of us. 

 

I spend a LOT of time tying to do get people involved with independent media to work in our collective self interest and it is VERY difficult.  Basically people are concerned with themselves or their own businesses with work collectively. 

 

Any negro intelligent enough to earn a degree and achieve success should be intelligent enough to know the importance of protecting the success they achieved. 

Surely the wealthiest and most educated AfroAmericans can't feel too secure living in a bubble to themselves while they see the bottom dropping out from so many other upper income Black households.

 

Pioneer, I agree with both statements.  The issues is the strategies these people engage in to protect what they have.  Those strategies are purely selfish.  They protect what THEY have - as in the every man for themselves model.

 

I believe we are better served by protecting not only what we have but what we ALL have. 

 

My growth does not come at your expense.  I don't "win" by beating you into the ground.  My self worth is not measured by how much more I have than you.  This is how we operate today.  Classic crabs in the barrel...

 

So until the 1% or the talented 10% start thinking about someone else other than themselves we are all headed for much more pain.

 

The "race" issue is a distraction that only hurts the so called "Black" people.

 

I discovered recently part of my lineage goes back to a 15th century English merchant (which is also supported by my DNA), whose descendant impregnated one his slaves.  That enslaved woman was ultimately freed and became my 5X great-grand mother.  At the end of the day this means nothing.  I can no more embrace my English ancestry than I can my African Ancestry.

What I do know is that we are all related, family.  I think the actual figure is that all of humanity is at least 50th cousins. 

 

Perhaps we should simply embrace our humanity.

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Troy - I admire your mission. Although I couldn't do it your way it would be too frustrating.

Self interest is not new.

People sometimes ask me what is my lineage. I tell them i don't know and I am not interested. To say I come from kings us irrelevant to me. Since about 7 I have thought about who i am and what is important to me.

I have narrowed it down to a small set: Dancing, Conversation, Reading, Esoteric and Exoteric Knowledge.

I believe in what you are attempting.

Which is why i check your forums. I am presupposing but I believe we both feel that community and the commerce if ideas is important.

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Need - There are loads of communities. There is a movie download site, that a friend uses. People post comments about the movies and their quality. I asked my friend why di people upload the movies. He said he asked himself that sane question.

I used to drink at a dive bar. I had some really good conversations there. On Sundays they would feed there patrons for free. I said to Big Mike this is a society. He laughed until I read the definition, then he agreed. It was home for some, me too.

The manager had a few patrons over for Thanksgiving and he gave me a TV that he no longer needed.

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I believe white and black society are equally dysfunctional.

Equal opportunity will have a black cop firmer Navy Marksman shooting people then himself. Or women who rule just as badly as men. There are usually communities you just have to look. And there's always community if you create it. Book clubs and discussion groups are thriving. Check out Meetup. People always need community. Even gated communities are communities. So if you find a lack of community create one. You will have at least 3 or 4 members.

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Troy

 

Pioneer, sure, I have a lot of friends who are have college educations and others who do not. Their relatively intelligences (subjectively assessed by me) are uncorrelated with their degree of educational attainment. Their opportunities, without a doubt, are correlated with their level of education.
But most of my friends, like most people in general, have no interest in coming here (or anywhere else for that matter) to discussing things of substance, devise strategies, and take direct action as a result to make things better for all of us.
I spend a LOT of time tying to do get people involved with independent media to work in our collective self interest and it is VERY difficult. Basically people are concerned with themselves or their own businesses with work collectively.



It's like trying to herd a bunch of selfish cats together the same as you would sheep, lol.

 

 



 


Pioneer, I agree with both statements. The issues is the strategies these people engage in to protect what they have. Those strategies are purely selfish. They protect what THEY have - as in the every man for themselves model.
I believe we are better served by protecting not only what we have but what we ALL have.



Ofcourse.
Even in the Mafia, the bosses know to give their capos and soldiers a decent cut of the profits and treat them with respect....to keep them happy and loyal.
He doesn't really give a damn about them, but he has enough sense to know that if his subordinates aren't happy they'll abandon him so that the feds take him away or another family takes him out.

Most rich Black people STILL haven't learned from OJ Simpson the importance of staying in touch with and sharing some of your wealth and influence with your community, if only as a form of insurance so that they come to your aid when you need them.

Likewise, too many Black people with money are indifferent to the various laws and other legislative activity of their local communities and often become concerned when it's too late and those laws end up eating away their wealth.

You mean you're worth 5 million but you didn't know what the tax policies in your county was until the sheriff's department slapped a yellow sticker on your window?

 

 



 


The "race" issue is a distraction that only hurts the so called "Black" people.
I discovered recently part of my lineage goes back to a 15th century English merchant (which is also supported by my DNA), whose descendant impregnated one his slaves. That enslaved woman was ultimately freed and became my 5X great-grand mother. At the end of the day this means nothing. I can no more embrace my English ancestry than I can my African Ancestry.

What I do know is that we are all related, family. I think the actual figure is that all of humanity is at least 50th cousins.
Perhaps we should simply embrace our humanity.


I understand what you're saying.

If I'm in trouble the first One I call on is God, but if a man/woman can save me I don't care WHAT color they are.....I'll take the help and be very appreciative of it.


But let is reason together over something...........

You and I both know most of our people don't know how to speak in coded language let along understand it.

If we didn't use the terms "Black this" and "Black that" and specifically target Black people to get their act together, often times things go right over their heads and somebody else picks it up and uses what was meant to help them.


I don't know how many times I'm in a book store or at an event and start talking about how we need to get our schools together and clean up the crime in our neighborhoods.....I could be talking to a group with both Blacks and Whites but the White people will start nodding thier heads and join the conversation while the Blacks will start playing on their cell phone.
I often have to say "Black schools" or "Black neighborhoods" to get thier attention.

We should all live together as decent human beings but very few people are going to respect you as an equal if you have nothing to offer.

Arabs, Koreans, Cubans.....they don't come to America and operate as "human beings" as much as they operate collectively as Arabs, Koreans, and Cubans setting up thier own little enclaves and doing business with eachother.
 

In a capitalist society you are in constant competition with other people not only as individuals but as groups.

 

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"The difference between those groups and us is culture, language and homeland."

 

Exactly.  This difference is tremendous and amazingly overlooked by people when they compare Black people in America to recent immigrants . Often the language boundary is enough to keep these group cohesive.  Religion is also a glue that keeps people together.

 

So called "race" is not enough to keep people working together -- obviously.

 

Why we continue to think that, a completely made up idea like race, invented by some some white guy a few years ago, should keep all Black people in Kum Baya harmony regardless of economic background, religion, educations, etc is astonishing.

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