Thursday, July 9, 2009

Not Black Enough?

Adam Clayton Powell

A conversation with some friends during the 2008 presidential campaign revealed a bit of latent racial nuttiness. I don’t know if it was the time of evening, the moon being in its last phase before fullness or the 1998 vintage wine. The conversation change came to whether then Senator Obama was “Black enough” (He's not? But President Clinton was? OK.). That change of topic came out of the mouth of a dark-skinned Black woman that had her hair dyed a blazing shade of blonde.

My eyes latched onto her hair - I won’t say what I wanted to ask her.

The change of topic betrays again to me the extreme level of a-historical and anti-scientific thought that is simply the norm within my community. The then senator is exactly an African-American. Genetically, he probably has more African (or Black) in him than the average Black person in this country. The mix of African, European, some Native American, and some Asian elements is the basis of what makes an African-American. There are no genetically pure Black people, at least, not in this country. I would say that ‘the mix’ is one of the main markers of “African-American-ness.” So what was she talking about?

Is it because his “mix” is recent and traceable? Or, is it something else?

Now – to me, I mean, if you want to sub-categorize Black folks, I think there are three kinds of "mixes" in this country that are born amongst us. I have my own terminology. There are: 1. Early Mixes (born from 1619 to 1867 – the slave rape period), 2. Middle Mixes (born from 1868 to 1960 - the miscengenation period) and 3. Late Mixes (born from 1961 to the present – the mostly consensual, but-be-sure-to-check-anyway period). Hey - there you go, we’re all mixed. To hell with “biracial.” I roll with the “one drop rule.” I do so because - yes, there may be several genetic categories to identify and classify, but there was and is in this country, depending on where one is on a certain perceptual scale - only two kinds of treatment: White Treatment, and Nigger Treatment.

So – who among us is black enough?

My unresearched estimate is that almost half of the second generation (Early Mixes) of Black people born on American soil were of the same proportional mix of African and European genetics as Senator Obama. Ever hear of Frederick Douglass or Booker T. Washington? Same deal. And what we see now, are the ever continuing outcomes, from the many beautiful gifts of rape, generously given, by the OWNERS of our great-grandparents, to all the sexually desirable slave girls and women.

One must also consider, from then, till now, the racial mozaic that we now call "Black" comes from the genetic “early and middle period folding in” and "late period re-folding-in" of traits of different African ethnic groups, American Indian, Asian, and the further addition of occasional (consensual) European-American infusions. And that still expanding mozaic is as it is, from just us having relations with each other.

We have many Black people in this country that are genetically "whiter" than Obama (take former U. S. Congressman Adam Clayton Powell - as a historic example). You regularly see very light-skinned Black people with unmistakably African features. You see medium-brown and dark-skinned Black people with Asian features (especially in California). You see very dark-skinned Black people with European-like features (real light-eyed - with no blue contacts!). All this diversity, within the Black community, with no recent sexual contact with self-identified whites or others.

Depending on the genetic matrix of a particular family, certain racial traits (like some of the wide natural variations of Black hair texture) will manifest within that family, again and again, this because of genetic re-mixing and infusion processes. But there will be no mistaking that these folks ARE Black, and in most cases, will identify themselves as such. No Black person should ever question the genetic heritage of anyone who self-declares himself to be African-American.

Especially when you have certain Black folks that push back on the African-American label (like Tiger Woods ass). These people want to be known as “bi-racial” or “Cablinasian” (my computer’s spell-check does not recognize that last word), but they aspire to whiteness.

The strange thing about my people, when it comes to the treatment of those whose “mix” is recent and identifiable, is that we want to chase away the ones who voluntarily self-identify as one of us (“Senator Obama? Oh, he’s mixed – he ain’t all the way Black”). And we try to reel-in those who do not want to identify as one of us (“Tiger Woods need to quit, he know he Black”).

I say if Tiger wants to go, let him go.

Multi-racials and Cablinasians always find their way over to the Black side of the tracks whenever the power structure or the legal system puts a negative focus on the Negro part of their heritage.

"Thaw out the wings, and mix up some kool-aid baby – company IS coming!"

Like I said, I roll with the “one drop rule,” and by that standard, now President Obama, at least genetically, has a bigger drop than the majority of us.


  1. It depends on the context. Obama is most definately black, especially considering his predecessors. Same applies for Tiger. Now people like Blake Griffin? It opens a whole new can of worms. As a mixed person myself, given that I'm fairly dark and grew up in a black neighborhood consider myself to be black. Environment, skin color, facial traits, and parenting are all factors in determining where we are located in this made up social construct. Daswann

  2. You Wrote: "Multi-racials and Cablinasians always find their way over to the Black side of the tracks whenever the power structure or the legal system puts a negative focus on the Negro part of their heritage."

    Exactly. See: Woods, Tiger... lol