I was happy to come across this article (http://www.politicalarticles.net/blog/2009/06/17/are-you-black-black-enough-and-who-decides/) on the notion of “black enough.” I’m wondering today why, when I call attention to the absurd and potentially damaging rigid notions of blackness and whiteness, people feel the need to challenge me instead of challenging these notions. And the one that says that black and white cannot co-exist without the degradation of one, maybe even both, of them. I do not agree with Taylor’s assertion that “it may be too late in history as well as potentially dangerous to be tampering with the socio-cultural definition of blackness even though the definition is a product of slavery.” I think it dangerous not to tamper with it. I think the American consciousness is infected with racism (colorism at best). We trace the disease back to slavery. I don’t think we will heal and prosper and achieve the greatness intended for the nation until we rectify this situation. These definitions. I certainly do agree with his last statement though.
By Robert Taylor
In the wake of the claims of Tiger Woods and the election of a mixed race but Black President, a question has been raised in black internet chat rooms around the country as to whether there is a legal or biological definition of who is black.
Actually, there is no law operable today which defines what percentage of “black blood” makes one black. The oft-repeated notion that one drop of black blood makes one black is a cultural definition which has neither a legal nor biological foundation…It is basically a socio-cultural attitude based in major measure on how a person looks.
…Simply put, in America, if you “look” in anyway black, you “are” black. That is not law. That is not science. It just is – a practical reality. Thus Tiger Woods’ mother may be from Thailand and Tiger may object to being called black. But it does not make a practical difference.
Further, it may be too late in history as well as potentially dangerous to be tampering with the socio-cultural definition of blackness even though the definition is a product of slavery. When the Census Bureau decided a few years ago to include a category called “mixed race” in the census, many people rightfully saw it as potentially divisive, asking what practical good does the “mixed race” category serve, but to further divide people along largely artificial lines.
Finally, if one just has to ask the question, the real question should not be “who is black” but instead “who is white.” The scientific theories of Evolution and “Out of Africa” are very clear: There is only one “race” on the planet Earth and it had its origin in East Africa (around present-day Ethiopia) and then spread to all other parts of the world. Adapting to environmental conditions such as the degree of sunlight and developing in relative isolation, some groups evolved lighter skins and others evolved darker skins…Thus technically every person on the planet – from the darkest skinned person in the Congo to the lightest skinned person in Sweden – is of African ancestry.
Therefore the answer to the question above is YOU decide if you are Black enough and whether you realize it or not that gives you tremendous power.