Redefining ‘black’

Joyce King, writing for the Christian Science Monitor on Redefining ‘black’

From my physical features and peanut-butter color, people are comfortable categorizing me as black. That label does not begin to define what produced me, and so I have decided to redefine what America

I’m black, but I’m also more than black.

My maternal grandmother was part native American and one of the strongest, most amazing women I ever met. She mothered 13 children, 45 grandchildren, 63 great-grandchildren, and three great-great little ones before her death a few years ago. Her stories pertaining to my “Indian” heritage and that side of the family went with her to the grave well before I was interested enough to ask. As for the other side, I am now getting information on a paternal grandfather who was half black, the spitting image of his handsome white daddy.

That would make me an African-native American-European without a descriptive box to check. Colored rules of engagement state that if you look black, you are black. In Louisiana, where I grew up, there is still an ancient law on the books that any citizen, no matter how white he or she appears, with “a single drop of black blood,” be classified as black. Were he alive today, W.E.B. DuBois might agree that the “color line” in America keeps shifting.

Read the rest here. This entry also posted at One Drop Rule and Taking The Gloves Off.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *