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What's A "Real" Black Person How Black Is Black Enough?

Updated on November 28, 2013

Dark And Light Skin "Black" People

Color Crazy

Copyright 2012 VVeasey Publishing

12.26.2012

Do you have to wear braids?

Talk slang?

Talk shit?

Like Hip Hop?

Like all the things associated with a certain class of "black" people to be considered "black" or "black" enough? Are highly educated "black" educators, business people and others, who speak standard English, considered to be black or black enough by those "blacks", who don't?


Exhibit number one:

ESPN talking head Rob Parker (who is "black"), said this about whether Washington Redskins quarterback, Robert Griffin III, aka RG3, was black enough in response to, Griffin saying that, he didn't want to be categorized as just an African American Quarterback. (I don't blame him. Seems reasonable to me)

Parker said "I've talked to some people in Washington, D.C. Some people in Griffin's press conferences. Some people I've known for a long time. My question, which is just a straight, honest question, is ... is he a 'brother,' or is he a cornball 'brother?' He's not really ... he's black, but he's not really down with the cause. (What cause?)

"He's not one of us. He's kind of black, but he's not really like the guy you'd want to hang out with. I just want to find out about him. I don't know, because I keep hearing these things. He has a white fiancé people talking about that he's a Republican ... there's no information at all. I'm just trying to dig deeper into why he has an issue.Tiger Woods was like, 'I have black skin, but don't call me black.' People wondered about Tiger Woods early on -- about him." (Sounds like Parker has some personal issue with Griffin, jealousy?)

When asked what he thought about the fact that Griffin wears braids (like many young black men do and even some young white men), Parker said. "It makes you feel like ... I think he would have a clean cut if he were more straight-laced or not ... wearing braids is ... you're a brother. You're a brother. If you've got braids on." (What an idiot!)

First Parker says Griffin is not really a "brother" but now he is because he wears braids? Parker never noticed this before? Wow! Parker definitely has some issues...the guy is confused.

So now, one of the criteria for determining who's a "real" black person or a "real brother" is wearing braids? Give me a break!

But least you think that he's the only knuckle-headed "brother" giving Black people a bad name.

In 2002, in an interview on the Larry King show, musical legend, Harry Belafonte, compared then Secretary Of State, Colin Powell, a Republican, to a "house Negro" as in the days when the plantation master would allow certain slaves to live and work in the "big" house, while others had lived and work in the fields. The house house Negroes were seen as being more loyal to the slave master than the field Negroes.

This created a conflict between the field Negroes and the house Negroes.

Jim Crow

Back during the days of slavery, Jim Crow, the civil rights, the black is beautiful and the black power movements.The answer to the question of who was black or black enough was much clearer. Because it didn't matter if you were biracial, light or dark skinned, the majority of whites saw all of these people as black or as they were called then, Negroes (Spanish for black).

It didn't matter how light or dark your skin was or how straight, curly, nappy or kinky your hair was, you were still discriminated against as to where you could live, where you could work, by law enforcement, the judicial system and how high you could go in society. "Black" people had to stick together, because they knew that no matter what part of the country they lived in, that they were all in the same boat.Out of necessity, they had to start businesses that catered to their needs, because white businesses didn't (some did but the majority of them didn't).

They had to start their own newspapers and magazines to show themselves in a positive light that dealt with the issues that were important to them, because the white newspapers and magazines didn't.

But now that those dark days are behind us. Some "black" people seem be discriminating against those "blacks" who don't fit their stereotype of what a "real" black person or a "real brother" is.


Whether this was true or not

It's only natural and to be expected, that there would be some jealousy or feeling of being left out or of being treated unfairly, by those who had to watch others of their kind, receive better treatment then they did.

The field Negroes would be the "real brothers' and the house Negroes would be the "non-brothers". or the "Uncle Toms" (From Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe).It seems that this issue of who was a real "brother" was a problem for Belafonte, in 2002, as it is for Parker, with his comments about Griffin. in the present.

After getting rightly criticized for his comments, Parker backed away from his critique of Griffin and apologized. But the apology just covers up his real feelings about the situation. Do really think Parker would be apologizing if hadn't taken heat for his comments?

I don't think so.

A lot of "white" people view who is really " black" or a "real"brother" the same way Parker does.I was recently in a discussion with some associates about why there doesn't seem to be any black science fiction writers.

James, who's white and a writer said that he was going to write a black character into a story he was working on. He said the character would have the "black" style or "character".We got into a discussion about what is the "black" character..

James said "You know. The black character. Don't you think there is a black character?" I said "no I don't". "I said describe what you call the black "character". So James starts doing these 1980-90 type syncopated hip hop arm and hands movements as if he's a 80's or 90's Rapper.

It was so ridiculous, silly and absurd, I started laughing...but it was also pathetic...because he was serious...he really believed that was the black "Character". (And you wonder why black people are still complaining about being typecast in the media and movies)

James is an intelligent guy..but this is how he seriously saw the "black" character". That this is how all "black" people of all classes, rich, poor, educated, uneducated, Ph.Ds and those with no degrees, act. I said, "Yeah... every time you see me that's what do (mimicking his movements).That's what President Obama, black business men, politicians, executives, all do (still mimicking his movements)"

He stared at me, glassy-eyed, as if he was in suspended animation, then....just burst out laughing at how crazy he sounded.

So, this stereotyping of the "black "character" is not all done maliciously.

People have been conditioned, intentionally, unintentionally or just as result of living and growing up in a culture, where these types of characteristics, are psychologically superimposed on "black" people of all classes, by well meaning as well as, racist people of all kinds and "colors".

The original Africans brought to this country as slaves were called Negroes (Spanish for black) because they had so much melanin in their skins, they were black or almost black. (Melanin: Any of a class of insoluble pigments, found in all forms of animal life, that account for the dark color of skin, hair, fur, scales, feathers, etc. Dictionary.com). But now, "black" is just a cultural designation for any person who has or looks like they have any African (black) characteristics, no matter how light their skin is.

So what is a "real" black person? And how black is black enough? And what is the "Black" character? What your answer to this question?

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    • vveasey profile imageAUTHOR

      The Medicine Man 

      4 years ago from Detroit,MI

      Yes we and everyone should be strong enough, enlighten enough, to embrace all facets of ourselves, historically, personally, culturally, spiritually and "racially".

    • Just-real profile image

      Just-real 

      4 years ago from London

      Sorry to post again but not showing up on my activity.

      A singular opinion:

      Hmmm...Divide & rule is still alive & strong I see... still having to justify cultural or sub cultural associations or deny them as 'too defining' for those who consider that upward mobility (in most cases potential western assimilation? as they still define that economic/class status) maybe impeded...

      Don't get it twisted- don't believe in being 'boxed in' to the stereotypical associations but don't believe I have to completely disassociate from them either- neither am I wont to...

      See...the thing is I believe the considered associations ' of being black' developed as a need to have a common denominator of our own that wasn't defined by white folks - a rebellion of sorts rather akin to the patois of the english language after our own languages were stolen & forbidden...

      Thus through modern transposition into a society that still had negligible appreciation of us we needed a means to appreciate ourselves & developed customs & language to that end , connotative associations particular to only us was a necessary safeguard to a society that would insidiously have us despise ourselves based on their value system...

      As with most things, over time rationale becomes forgotten & superseded by habit & comfort zones are not so easily ventured out of by some...

      Personally ...I myself am not curtailled by any constraints to do & experience anything this world has to offer as recognise a divine right to do so based upon my true knowledge of the real contribution & levels of civilisation our ancestors actually gave & had & am more than happy to embrace & carry with me elements of those cultural practises that distinguish us from other cultures as see no reason why one has to forego the other...

      However - maybe the issue is given what I read above-some folks seem to believe the two to be mutually exclusive... As they strive to escape all known associations with the term 'being black' they often just seem to be exchanging one box for another... as if all those things in the box have no worth or the people -their people-our people no longer needs support in a society by large still seeking to devalue & dehumanise those of us whom still have yet to find true knowledge of self.

    • profile image

      Just- Real 

      4 years ago

      A singular opiio:

      Hmmm...Divide & rule is still alive & strong I see... still having to justify cultural or sub cultural associations or deny them as 'too defining' for those who consider that upward mobility (in most cases potential western assimilation? as they still define that economic/class status) maybe impeded...

      Don't get it twisted- don't believe in being 'boxed in' to the stereotypical associations but don't believe I have to completely disassociate from them either- neither am I wont to...

      See...the thing is I believe the considered associations ' of being black' developed as a need to have a common denominator of our own that wasn't defined by white folks - a rebellion of sorts rather akin to the patois of the english language after our own languages were stolen & forbidden...

      Thus through modern transposition into a society that still had negligible appreciation of us we needed a means to appreciate ourselves & developed customs & language to that end , connotative associations particular to only us was a necessary safeguard to a society that would insidiously have us despise ourselves based on their value system...

      As with most things, over time rationale becomes forgotten & superseded by habit & comfort zones are not so easily ventured out of by some...

      Personally ...I myself am not curtailled by any constraints to do & experience anything this world has to offer as recognise a divine right to do so based upon my true knowledge of the real contribution & levels of civilisation our ancestors actually gave & had & am more than happy to embrace & carry with me elements of those cultural practises that distinguish us from other cultures as see no reason why one has to forego the other...

      However - maybe the issue is given what I read above-some folks seem to believe the two to be mutually exclusive... As they strive to escape all known associations with the term 'being black' they often just seem to be exchanging one box for another... as if all those things in the box have no worth or the people -their people-our people no longer needs support in a society by large still seeking to devalue & dehumanise those of us whom still have yet to find true knowledge of self.

    • vveasey profile imageAUTHOR

      The Medicine Man 

      5 years ago from Detroit,MI

      Levertis Steele

      You said "The child only knew white people. How then can he act like a "brother? "

      I agree. Let me ask you this

      What is brother?

      How do they act?

      Is a brother a "real" black man?

      Is a brother's behavior displayed by all "real" black men?

      And if you don't display it you're not a "real" black man?

    • Levertis Steele profile image

      Levertis Steele 

      5 years ago from Southern Clime

      People are who they are. A biracial is biracial, not one race or the other. A black is black and a white is white. I am weary of all of the mindchanging and confusion about who people are. Who is in charge of making those decisions? I think if we really want to know who people are, we should ask them and accept their answer because they know. I have seen people badger a biracial because he was reared by a single white parent. The child only knew white people. How then can he act like a "brother? It is unreasonable to expect it. He is biracial, and what else is there to be said?

    • Rodric29 profile image

      Rodric Anthony Johnson 

      5 years ago from Peoria, Arizona

      You must check out my article. I really am interested in this subject that you mentioned. I have been accuses of being not Black enough. Recently because of views I expressed on a site I visited I was told that my views of being Black are anecdotal at best and has not place in deeper Black concerns. Because my views are different I am not down for the cause. I don't even know what cause I am supposed to be down for! Voted up.

      I will be sharing your article. I am opposed to the use of profanity. I think you can keep it real without being distasteful, so I suggest you consider that.

      https://hubpages.com/politics/The-Truth-about-Bein...

    • Ericdierker profile image

      Eric Dierker 

      5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Very well done. I am thinking on it. Sometimes I do wonder what "heritage" really means.

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