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Reply to "Who is Black????"

Rather than rewrite, I'll just paste what I opined on this same subject over at on this thread...

... a few years ago, I learned that my mother is "biologically" just over 50% Africoid. The balance of her ancestry is evenly native and white. I don't know much of my father's ancestry, but all of the "mixed" features of my appearance come from him, so if my mother was 50% black, I imagine my father was less than that. And yet...

* they were descended from slaves

* they were descended from sharecroppers

* they lived in the south during Jim Crow, and Jim Crow applied against them;

* they moved north in the 1960s to find work in less segregated areas

Your heritage is biological, but it's also cultural and historical. The culture and history of a people is the culture and history of yourself. Those things I just bulleted are all part and parcel of the black experience in America. My "heritage" is as much about those things I just bulleted as it is about what percentage of my ancestors came from which continent. My parents were from different southern states, and had nothing to do with each other until they met in New Jersey. If their lives hadn't paralleled the "black experience" as I cited above, then they would never have met, and I would never have been born. Therefore, the "black experience" created me. Therefore, I am the black experience. Therefore, I am black.

I may have more native-American in me than most people who are members of Indian "nations" (what's THAT all about, right?), and I may be less mathematically "black" than even Halle Berry, but ETHNICALLY, even my 1/8 black grandmother was BLACK. The one-drop rule is not a rule of biology. It's not one-drop of black "blood;" it's one drop of inherited black experience that determines whether you are ethnically black.

When it comes to black people, "race" and "ethnicity" are interchangeable terms. But they both MEAN "ethncity." And even overcoming racism doesn't put you out of the ethnicity. If you had to "overcome," that's part of our experience. So ethnically, you are BLACK.

Sorry for writing a damn book, but perspectives that are alternative to long- and deeply ingrained concepts sometimes needs a detailed explanation to be understood.

[This message was edited by Vox on September 15, 2002 at 06:00 PM.]