Reading time: 3 – 4 minutes
I just saw the interview with DEBRA DICKERSON, author of THE END OF BLACKNESS, on Colbert Report who claims that for a Black person to have a right to claim he or she is “Black,” he or she must be descendants of slaves and regularly suffer discrimination. Ironically, I would think this BROADENS the range of people who could then be called “Black,” countering her efforts.
This question of “Blackness” seems to be raised by the wake of Barack Obama’s potential Presidential candidacy, who is Black, but… apparently NOT “Black enough.” According to several political commentaries and “officially” Black authors, bloggers, and writers and speakers, if a Black person does not suffer victimization on a constant basis and is not a direct descendant of slaves, then he or she is just… NOT Black. It’s even said that Oprah Winfrey is not Black “anymore,” which is meant as a condemning comment against her philanthropic wealth and her broad appeal, which happens to include a vast array of White women. So, this means you can actually LOSE your Blackness? It is also claimed that “Blackness” is a commodity that needs to be harnessed by the “appropriate” “Black” people so that it can be used more powerfully in politics and not as just another word for “Negro.”
Needless to say, I’m very confused.
I wonder why such an emphasis on this differentiation? I’ve even read it put as “they are not one of us!” To me, this is getting unhealthy, but maybe I am just not understanding. There are multitude versions of “Whites,” but no one nationality or group lays claim to it as a political power or eager banner of pride, and when they DO, they are considered extremists and they are really scary people (“White Power” bullshit).
So is all of this a matter of “Black Extremists,” or are they on to something legitimate here that we should begin to consider more seriously and carefully?