A Pragmatic Cost/Benefit Analysis For African-Americans Considering Trying To “Pass” As Anything Other Than Black

LET’S HAVE A PRAGMATIC CONVERSATION ABOUT THE COST-BENEFIT EQUATION INVOLVED IN AN AFRICAN-AMERICAN BLACK PERSON RENOUNCING THEIR ETHNIC AND RACIAL IDENTITY

I’ve been avidly reading about a line of thought that another blogger I greatly respect (Evia, blog host of Black Female Interracial Marriage Ezine) has been promoting. She’s made several references to an idea that she calls “Passing as Black.” She can correct me if I’m misconstruing her position, but my understanding of her argument is that she feels the only way African-American Black women can escape being entrapped as self-sacrificing, exploited mules for the dead Black community is if they discard their ethnic identity as African-American Black women. And define themselves as something other than African-American or Black.

I hadn’t originally planned on dedicating a post to this issue; but I ultimately decided this issue was important enough to interrupt my scheduled blog posts. Even if I’ve misunderstood Evia’s position, I’d still like to discuss this “let’s drop the Black label” issue before moving on to the next book interview post. This is worthy of discussion because this topic is a recurring idea among African-Americans.

The quest to be something . . . anything . . . other than Black people who are specifically African-Americans is not a new idea. Actually, it’s a very old idea. An idea that dates back to slavery days. Ever since our West African ancestors were conquered, captured, and kidnapped into slavery there have been periodic calls among African-Americans to run from our racial and ethnic identities as racially Black people who are of specific African-American heritage. Over the years, these calls were typically made by a number of Black male religious leaders such as Noble Drew Ali (“Don’t call us Black, we’re Moors”) and Warithudeen Mohammed (Elijah Muhammad’s son, who encouraged his followers to adopt the attitude of “Don’t call us Black, we’re Bilalians”).

Whenever this “let’s drop the ‘Black’ label” idea comes up there’s usually an emotionally overwrought conversation that revolves around what folks perceive as the ethical aspects of trying to pass or be recognized as something other than Black. Or we get into idiotic, theoretical conversations about things like the one-drop rule. We never stop to ask whether there are situations in which the one-drop rule works for our interests, as opposed to working against our interests. In fact, we typically never even consider what our interests might be during most of those conversations.

Let’s not do that for this conversation. Let’s also refrain from fixating on any questions or objections we might have about: (1) the idea of applying slave-plantation-based terminology (“passing”) to ourselves; or (2) the assumption that the only way African-American Black women can escape being entrapped as self-sacrificing, exploited mules for the dead Black community is if they discard their ethnic identity as African-American Black women. I disagree with both of these points, but that’s not my focus here. Instead, let’s focus only on the practical questions of:

  • Cui bono–who, if anybody, benefits when an African-American Black person runs away from the “Black” self-description? What do they gain?
  • Who, if anybody, loses when an African-American Black person runs away from the “Black” self-description? What do they lose?
  • Has running away from the “Black” description ever worked in the past? If so, for whom, to what degree, for how long, and under what set of circumstances did it work?

We’ll also keep in mind there are two broad categories of benefits. There are emotional benefits and material benefits such as political, and monetary gains. Let’s examine these questions in various contexts.

At the end of the day, I don’t care what you choose to do with your racial and ethnic identity. Your identity is your identity. This is like the former Berlin Wall. If you have to imprison people to keep them counted as among you, then what is the point?

Nevertheless, I do care about the practical effects of certain ideas. While African-American Blacks are eagerly fragmenting into various Please Let Me Be Something Other Than Black groups, Latinos of all races and ethnicities in the US are busy making sure their group’s numerical head count is all-inclusive and thereby increasing. They are careful to count every partial and possible “Latino” as Latino (whether they’re White, Black, Amerindian, or any racial appearance in-between). One might even say that Latinos in the US are applying their own version of a one-drop rule in order to boost their political head count numbers!

I do care about things like the Congressional seats (and other political offices) that my ethnic group will lose because of our declining percentage of the population. Having my ethnic group gradually become disenfranchised by the loss of political representation does not benefit me. Part of why our percentage of the US population is shrinking is because increasing numbers of us are opting out of being counted as members of our ethnic and racial group. All these newly self-defined as Something Other Than Black ex-Black people represent subtractions from the African-American Black head count numbers. Those numbers aren’t being taken away from the White American head count, or any other head counts. I believe in free will and free choice, so I have no interest in blocking anybody else from making their own choices. I also get to choose. I can choose not to support somebody’s else’s actions. Especially when their actions harm my ethnic group’s interests. I’m not going to cooperate with having my throat cut.

My main point of concern with this “let’s renounce our racial and ethnic identity” idea is that many of us are not making informed choices when we support this idea. There’s never any serious cost-benefit analysis of this idea. There’s no pragmatic discussion of how various Black folks’ attempts at discarding the Black label worked or didn’t work. And no discussion of the underlying mechanisms that determined whether these previous attempts were successful, to what extent, and under what type of circumstances. The persistent lack of clear thinking about this issue is what concerns me. With this conversation, I hope to point out some things that many of you are unaware of and haven’t considered.

Ultimately, I want more African-American women to get in the mental habit of always asking “What’s in it for me?”

Because of the multiple layers and nuances involved in this issue, this will be a long post with a number of links to other materials. I’ll also need to review some important points that we’ve previously discussed. You might need several sittings to digest this post. Please be advised that there’s also going to be some REAL TALK here; I’m not going to be as diplomatic as I usually try to be. This is just too important for that; we need to seriously talk shop.

PRELIMINARY MATTERS—IF YOU IDENTIFY AS ANYTHING OTHER THAN A BLACK PERSON WHO IS OF SPECIFICALLY AFRICAN-AMERICAN HERITAGE, PLEASE STAY OUT OF THIS PARTICULAR CONVERSATION

For reasons I’ll explain in some detail later, there’s automatically confusion created when foreign-origin Blacks are allowed to enter conversations among African-American Blacks about African-American identity issues. Our different histories mean that we’re often talking about different things even when we use the same words such as “Black.”

This post is directed only to my own specific racial and ethnic group. I’m talking to other African-American Black women during this conversation. So, if you identify as anything other than racially Black, stay out of this conversation. If you’re racially Black, but count yourself as part of any ethnic group other than specifically African-American, stay out of this conversation. I’m talking to my own people during this conversation.

Any cost-benefit analysis we do has to be separate from these other people because their interests aren’t necessarily in alignment with our interests as a specific racial and ethnic group. In fact, in several contexts, biracials’ and foreign Blacks’ interests are contrary to our interests. Each group (and each individual within each group) has to do their own cost-benefit analysis. Nonblacks such as biracials and foreign Blacks already know how to look out for their own interests. African-American Blacks are the only people who are too clueless to examine the question of who benefits from certain ideas.

PRELIMINARY MATTERS—A NOTE FOR THOSE AFRICAN-AMERICANS WHO ARE CONFUSED ABOUT WHAT “AFRICAN-AMERICAN” MEANS

I would define “African-American” as being something parallel to the commonly understood (among themselves) definitions of “Italian-American,” “Irish-American,” “Hausa,” or “Jamaican-American.” In other words, being the descendants of a group of people that are—distinguishable from others—and connected to each other— by a shared set of historical experiences and cultural norms. When I say “African-Americans” I’m referring to those of us who are, distinguishable from others and connected to each other, by our shared historical experiences as descendants of those Africans who were held in slavery in the United States.

Just like every other ethnic group on the planet is—distinguishable from others—and connected to each other—by some shared set of historical experiences and cultural norms. Why is this concept so mysterious only when describing African-Americans? Answer: Because we’ve literally had our ethnic and racial self-respect beaten out of us. As a result, we slavishly look for validation from other people who do have some ethnic and racial self-respect for their own groups. Nature abhors a vacuum. Something will always rush in to fill one. Even if it’s something harmful, such as self-hatred.

Shared historical experiences and shared (general) cultural norms are not the same as the “acting Black” straitjacket. Sometimes an individual’s connections to their heritage, and to others from their group, are loose ones. That’s okay. Sometimes these connections are tighter (as I’ve noticed seems to be the general case among many Greek-Americans and Jewish-Americans). That’s also okay, for those folks who want closer connections with their group.

Many African-Americans say “Black” when they’re actually referring to what they (often mistakenly) believe to be African-American culture and shared historical experience.

This “acting Black” mess that many African-Americans speak is rooted in their ignorance of their actual history and cultural inheritance, and various types of dysfunction that they’ve lifted up (such as African-American gang subculture, African-American prison subculture). In short, the “acting Black” fools have confused their African-American historical and cultural inheritance with African-American gang subculture, African-American prison subculture, and African-American hip-hop subculture (which draws heavily from gang and prison subculture).

Many African-Americans have surrendered the “African-American” and “Black” labels to these nuts. And then many African-Americans run from the African-American and Black labels out of justified revulsion to the gang, prison, and hip-hop-based madness the nuts have defined as “Black.” But above and beyond the relatively recent decades of “acting Black” madness, there was much preexisting confusion among African-Americans. We often conflate “African-American” with “Black.” This confusion is leavened with large doses of racial and ethnic self-hatred.

I personally refuse to surrender the African-American and Black labels to the “acting Black” nuts. In my individual cost-benefit analysis, doing that would bring no benefit to me. I don’t have to discard the African-American and Black labels in order to not be a part of “acting Black” self-denigration.

When I ask the question “What would discarding the African-American and Black labels do for me?” the answer is “Nothing.”" But that answer is based on my specific personal history, temperament and circumstances. Other people might find some sort of benefit for themselves in doing that. If you believe you have something to gain by discarding the African-American and Black labels, then please feel free to do so. That’s the beautiful thing about free will and freedom. Folks can do whatever they want.

PRELIMINARY MATTERS—WHEN YOU’RE THE ONLY ONE DOING SOMETHING, THAT’S A CLUE THAT WHATEVER YOU’RE DOING IS A BAD IDEA

This has been a recurring theme. I talk about this in the FAQ page to this blog,

African-American women are the only group of people on this planet who worry about “Black love” to their own detriment. Black men have never let “Black love” or any other ideology stop them from dating and marrying White or other nonblack women. Overall, Black men have not reciprocated Black women’s sense of obligation to the Black community. Judging from outward actions and words, most Black men are not concerned about building Black marriages and Black families. Only Black women seem to be preoccupied with “Black love” and “the Black family.” Black men generally don’t question other Black men’s decision to chase and marry nonblack women. Only Black women seem to be preoccupied with Black men’s reproductive and marriage choices, and how these choices impact the Black community.

. . . Other women of color, including African women, have never limited their marriage options out of a misguided and unreciprocated sense of loyalty. African-American women are the only women of color who go around publicly saying that they won’t date outside their race. No other group of women on this planet engages in this behavior. Not African women. Not Latina women. Not Asian women. Not Arab women. African-American women are alone on this planet in foolishly limiting their marriage options.

PRELIMINARY MATTERS—AFRICAN-AMERICANS ARE THE ONLY TYPE OF BLACK PEOPLE WHO SLANDER AND RENOUNCE THEIR OWN ETHNIC IDENTITY. WHEN FOREIGN-ORIGIN BLACKS DISCARD THE ‘BLACK’ LABEL, THEY STILL PROUDLY HANG ONTO THEIR SPECIFIC ETHNIC IDENTITIES AS JAMAICANS, HAUSAS, AND SO ON

As I said in an earlier post:

African-Americans are the only Black ethnic group on the planet that’s so confused about, and often has an active aversion to, having our own ethnic identity.

I’ve never heard a foreign-origin Black person form their lips to disparage their own ethnic group by saying that they “don’t know what it means to be” Hausa, Jamaican, Panamanian, Dominican, or whatever else they are. African-Americans are the only ones who speak that form of negativity about their own group. You’re the only ones who do that.

. . . Remember, for some foreign-origin Blacks, their level of concern only extends as far as their own particular ethnic group. They only feel connected to: self, family, clan, and ethnic group. Not nation. And not race.

This means when foreign-origin Blacks throw away the idea of “Black,” almost all of them are still proudly hanging on to their specific ethnic identities as Jamaicans, Hausas and so on. It’s important to note that even the foreign-origin Black folks who say they “don’t know what Black means” still hang on to their particular ethnic identity (such as Hausas, Panamanians, Jamaicans, Dominicans). Even if they aren’t interested in anything “Black,” they never say they’re confused about what it means to be part of their own ethnic groups.

Meanwhile, when you as an African-American throw away the idea of “Black,” you’re throwing away the only smidgen of identity that you have! This is because most of you never took the time to develop any specifically African-American ethnic identity. While you’re busy making yourself . . . nothing . . . but a culture-free, “race is an artificial construct,” human being . . . these other types of Black folks are still proudly identifying with their specific Hausa, Panamanian, Jamaican, Dominican ethnic heritage as well as being “race is an artificial construct” humans.

They still (proudly) keep their ethnic “cards” in their pockets when they make these statements, while you completely empty your pockets when you do the same. Unless you develop any sense of specific ethnic pride, you leave yourself empty-handed when you throw away the racial identity card.

Can you see the difference between these two positions? Can you see that African-Americans are the only ones who are so confused about what it means to be part of their own ethnic group? Can you see that nobody else on this planet is claiming that type of confusion? When you’re the only one doing something, that’s usually a clue that whatever you’re doing is unwise.

These “I don’t know what Black means” statements don’t necessarily have the same effect or meaning when uttered by foreign-origin Blacks. This is because, unlike most African-Americans, foreign-origin Blacks are often making these statements in the context of maintaining their own ethnic self-respect. Their context is different from your context of having nothing but a racial identity (as “Black”-Americans).

. . . These other types of Black people have another way of identifying themselves (as Hausas, Jamaicans, Panamanians, and so on). As confused African-Americans, YOU’RE the only Black ethnic group that doesn’t recognize any identity more specific than “Black” for yourselves. You’re the only ones who call yourselves “Black” only. Sometimes, when foreign-origin Blacks are talking negatively about “Black,” they’re talking singularly about African-Americans. They’re talking about YOU.

I firmly believe that charity begins at home. Every culture on this planet has unhealthy aspects. Having unhealthy aspects is not the same as having nothing of one’s own and being a blank slate. Healthy people recognize that yes, they are part of the overall human race, and that on one level, race is an artificial social construct. However, healthy people also have more specific cultural identities besides simply human.

. . . African-Americans Can Learn Some Things From Foreign Blacks, Such As The Importance Of Ethnic Self-Respect
. . . I’ve spent a fair amount of time traveling abroad. To say that African-Americans are very Westernized, and specifically very Americanized, after centuries of living here does not negate the fact that African-Americans are a separate, identifiable ethnic group. African-Americans are a people that are distinguishable from others, and connected to each other, by a shared set of historical experiences and cultural norms. African-Americans are not ethnic or racial blank slates.

African-Americans have legitimate cultural practices of our own. Is every single artifact of our African-American culture “legitimate”? No, but I vehemently disagree with the notion that African-Americans have absolutely nothing that’s real. I disagree with the idea of giving respect to everybody else’s cultural heritage while disrespecting my own by saying that I don’t have one. Or by saying that mine doesn’t count relative to other people’s cultural heritage.

For example, I don’t believe that West Indians or the various Black Latino ethnic groups have any more of a “real” cultural heritage than African-Americans. If African-American culture is a hodgepodge—as I’ve heard many African-Americans say in public—then the same applies to other Western Blacks. I never hear the African-Americans who make these statements apply the “hodgepodge” label to the cultures of other Western Blacks. They reserve that particular dismissive term and attitude for their own people’s culture.

The bottom line is that ALL Western Blacks are enmeshed in whichever European culture was and is dominant where they live.

English-speaking West Indians are enmeshed in British culture. African-Americans are enmeshed in British-descended, WASP culture (with pockets of also being enmeshed in French culture in Louisiana). Black Latinos are enmeshed with the culture of their former slave owners, the Spaniards.

Before somebody says that all these other Western Blacks have cultures that are more “real” than ours because they have their own independent countries, please consider the following questions. Are any of these other Black folks’ countries independent in the same way that China is independent of the US? Or are some of them independent the same way Mexico is “independent” of the US? Finally, are some of these countries independent to roughly the same extent the city of Detroit is independent? (For example, note that Puerto Rico is not an independent country.) Let’s be clear about all of this.

Even the straightened hair, green-contact-lens-wearing, skin-bleaching Sammy Sosa is not claiming confusion about his specific ethnicity as a Dominican. He’s not saying, “What is Dominican? I just don’t know what that means.” He simply wants to be any race but Black. Mr. Sosa is a good example of a Black person who has racial self-hatred, but not ethnic self-hatred. He’s thrown away “Black,” but he hasn’t thrown away the “Dominican” part of his identity.

African-Americans’ cultural heritage is no more (and no less) made up than those of these other Westernized Black people.

I’m not going to assign a rank to my cultural heritage that’s less than the rank these other Western Blacks assign to their cultural heritage. I don’t hear these other Westernized Blacks saying that they don’t have any culture of their own, or that they don’t know what it means to be part of their own ethnic group. I suspect this is because these other Western Black ethnic groups never demonized having ethnic self-respect as being something negative.

This is something positive that African-Americans can learn from other Black ethnic groups.

I strongly disagree with the idea of characterizing my ethnic heritage as consisting of nothing but pain. I’m not going to slander my own heritage like that. There have always been many good and admirable aspects to traditional African-American culture. Things such as a cultural tradition of emotional warmth, generosity, and hospitality that have nothing to do with pain, crisis, outsiders, or oppression.

PRELIMINARY MATTERS—OTHER TYPES OF BLACKS WHO SHOULD BE ASHAMED OF THEIR ETHNIC CULTURES NEVER RENOUNCE THEIR ETHNIC IDENTITIES

What I find interesting (and instructive) is that the foreign Blacks who should be ashamed of their ethnic cultures somehow aren’t. No matter what sort of practices their people back home are engaging in. Such as the numbers of children being tortured and murdered after being accused of witchcraft in Nigeria. Such as East Africans hunting down albino people like animals because they believe that albino people’s body parts have special, magical powers.

My God, what kind of people do things like that? Real talk: Those are some sho’nuff Satanic activities. I don’t know, and I don’t particularly care, how prevalent these depraved practices are in those various African countries. Any is too many. Anything more than a handful of people doing these sorts of things says something extremely ugly about a particular culture. The bottom line is that significant numbers of Africans are doing disgusting, shameful things that nobody else does in large numbers (like hunting down and dismembering albino people).

Despite all of this, one never hears Africans from these cultures making the sorts of “I don’t see any value in my ethnic culture—my culture only consists of pain” types of statements that many African-Americans are fond of making. Africans from these cultures don’t make those sorts of statements because there’s no benefit for them in doing so. There’s nothing in it for them to make those sorts of statements. Instead, they hold their heads up, minimize, gloss over, or tell lies about the depravity within their own cultures. If they can’t deny and outright lie about the atrocities going on in their home countries, many of the Africans you’ll encounter will try to characterize their various cultures’ dysfunctions as the result of war.

No matter how painful and downright evil their ethnic cultures might be, Africans from these cultures never do what many African-Americans do—they never denigrate their ethnic heritage by saying that there’s nothing of value in their culture, or that their culture only consists of pain. I admire that in them; and I share that particular trait with them. Just like them, I refuse to abase myself; especially in front of outsiders.

PRELIMINARY MATTERS—AFRICAN-AMERICANS SHOULDN’T LISTEN TO FOREIGN BLACKS CONCERNING IDENTITY ISSUES BECAUSE THEIR CONTEXT IS OFTEN TOTALLY DIFFERENT THAN OURS

As I said in an earlier post,

Another problem is that most African-Americans are tone-deaf, and can’t hear the nuances in various statements. This is one reason why we end up being subservient to, and run over by, most other types of people that we encounter. Most African-Americans have the childish mental habit of assuming that other people, and especially Blacks from other ethnic groups, see the world the same way we do, and think just like us. They don’t. See this conversation at the previous blog that touches on this issue.

When African-Americans make these “I don’t know what Black means” statements they are publicly advertising their general lack of ethnic and racial self-respect. Most African-Americans have no sense of ethnic identity, and only a vague (and negative) sense of racial identity.

When foreign-origin Blacks make these statements they are, at best, neutral statements reflecting normal human patterns of how people set priorities. It’s normal human nature to take care of folks in this order: self, family, clan, ethnic group. With many people in many countries, “nation” isn’t even on that list. For other people, “race” also is not on that list; their concern only extends as far as their own ethnic group. With most people, outsiders are almost never on the “take care of them” list.

Most African-Americans have the “take care of them” list backwards compared to every other group of people. We put outsiders first and put ourselves last. African-American women put themselves dead last on the “must be taken care of” list. Our misleaders have programmed most African-Americans to look to create over-arching coalitions with anybody and everybody else . . . in the absence of taking care of self, family, clan, and finally, ethnic group.

Our misleaders have also programmed us to fixate on being “fairer than fair” to anybody and everybody except ourselves. This is why so many African-Americans will come to Black blogs to fight with other Black people to champion the interests of NON-Blacks (such as the “don’t you dare call me Black” so-called biracials, other so-called “people of color,” and so on). (Note that these other “people of color” generally only use that term to describe themselves when they want something from African-Americans. Many other “people of color,” such as many Latinos and Arabs, are heavily invested in self-identifying as “White” in every other context.)

All the above confused thinking is upside-down and backwards. And it doesn’t work.

On a practical level, you automatically create a lot of confusion when you allow foreign Blacks to enter conversations among African-American Blacks about African-American identity issues. Our different histories mean that we’re talking about different things even when we use the same words such as “Black.” Because they’re from all- or majority-Black countries, many foreign Blacks (Africans in particular) never had any sustained, everyday experience with racial competition. Their universe revolves around family, clan, and ethnic group/tribal interactions and rivalries. They’re not alone in this. One interesting thing I’ve learned from Korean friends and acquaintances is how clan-based Korean culture is. There’s still a certain amount of competition and friction between Korean clans whose ancestors lived under different historical Korean kingdoms.

All of the above means that when many foreign Blacks talk about dropping the Black label, they’re not throwing away anything that ever had any real substance or weight in their people’s history. Because even when they drop “Black,” they’re still holding onto what really matters to them—their specific ethnic identities as Hausas, Yorubas, and so on.

Meanwhile, for most African-Americans racial and ethnic identity are conflated and fused together. When we say “Black,” we’re referring to ourselves and our specific African-American ethnic identity. So when we spit on and throw away “Black,” we’re left with an empty space where one’s ethnic identity should be.

PRELIMINARY MATTERS—WHY TALK ABOUT SPECIFIC AFRICAN-AMERICAN IDENTITY ISSUES?

I talk about these specific African-American ethnic and racial identity issues because I want you to be as comfortable and relaxed with all facets of your identity as other people are with theirs. I want you to be relaxed and self-confident enough to enjoy all this world has to offer. Right now, most African-Americans can’t do this because we have emotionally charged relationships with various aspects of our identity.

I want you to hold your head high as you travel this world. Just like other people take what is good from the wider world without feeling compelled to discard their own identity. There are two unhealthy and extreme positions that insecure African-Americans take regarding their ethnic and racial identity. The first unhealthy position is to try to:

(1) minimize (“I’m 1/8 Cherokee, 1/27th Irish, 1/58th German, and . . . umm, I’m too dark to deny it, so I guess I have to say . . . Black”),

(2) deny (“I don’t know what Black means”), and finally

(3) erase (“I’m Cablanasian, biracial, multicultural, anything-but-Black”) the African-American and Black identities that most of us are deeply ashamed of.

The second, and ironically equally self-hating, position is to outwardly show fanatical levels of fixation on one’s racial and ethnic identity. Perfect examples of this second manifestation of feelings of inferiority are the legions of “Blacker than thou” Black male leaders who chased, sexed or married light, nonblack, and White women. Elijah Muhammad and his light-skinned, teenaged secretaries. Many if not most of the Black Panthers; see Bobby Seale’s autobiography A Lonely Rage for the details of the Panther leadership’s exploits while chasing nonblack women. Harry Belafonte. Amiri Baraka.

In fact, there’s currently at least one minister in the Nation of Islam who is married to a nonblack woman. I’m referring to one of Elijah Muhammad’s illegitimate children by one his light-skinned secretaries, Minister Ishmael Muhammad, who is married to a Mexican woman. For more examples regarding a number of Black male Pan-Africanist leaders, see this post by Halima, blog host of Black Women’s Interracial Relationship Circle. The list can go on.

I never understood either of these extremes. My parents raised me to have a healthy and most of all, relaxed sense of self-respect for every aspect of my identity.

It’s interesting. Without being “Blacker than thou” fanatics, they managed to raise me so that it never occurred to me to feel “less than” based on being a girl, or being Black, or being “Afro-American.” (That was one of the popular terms for us when I was a small girl.) While growing up, it never occurred to me to try to emphasize the White ancestry that led to the light skin and brown hair that runs through my family.

As a pre-teen, I was not excited to hear about the White family in the Southern town that my grandfather came from that has the same surname as him. I never denied that these particular White folks existed. Or that they were most likely related to us, but I didn’t feel any compulsion to emphasize them when the topic of my ancestry came up. Without knowing the term “reciprocity,” this concept was the basis for my indifference and apathy about these rumored White relatives. Since these particular Whites weren’t trying to track us down and claim us as relatives, why in the world would I want to chase them down or go out of my way to claim them?

At the time, I knew some other African-American 6th, 7th and 8th graders who were extremely frantic (every chance they got) to point out all the distantly related nonblacks in their family tree. I remember thinking how strange it was that they were so focused on people who weren’t equally interested in them. In fact, it sounded like many of these distantly related nonblack folks didn’t claim any kinship to them at all.

I was only interested in hearing about, and later on researching, the history of those ancestors who cared about having a connection to the rest of us.

My parents raised me to have ethnic and racial self-respect without disparaging other people. It’s possible to reject whatever injustice exists without engaging in stereotyping, or painting other people with a broad brush.

I also never understood the second extreme of “Blacker than thou” behavior. This includes the years I spent as a Black Nationalist. I didn’t hate Whites or nonblacks. I wasn’t fixated on outward displays of so-called Black consciousness. I wasn’t a natural hair evangelist who berated and harassed other Black women for wearing relaxed styles. I wore my hair however I felt like wearing it, including relaxed styles.

I was a Black Nationalist because I wanted my own people to have the good things that others have. Things like racial and ethnic self-respect, functioning communities, and so on. When I (briefly) considered joining the Nation of Islam during law school, it wasn’t because they talked about White people. It was because they talked about being a free and independent people like everybody else. It was because they took action in support of providing the “money, good homes, and friendship in all walks of life” that Elijah Muhammad promised for as many Black people as possible. It was because they were the only Black group I saw that had visible, tangible, consistent, long-term achievements in improving the lives of large numbers of African-Americans.

Anyway, both of the above-described extreme positions reflect insecurity and an inner belief that one’s own heritage is inferior. Healthy people don’t have emotionally-charged relationships with the various facets of their identity. They simply appreciate and when relevant, celebrate, their identities and go on with their lives.

Now that these preliminary matters are out of the way, let’s get to the mechanics of opting out of being Black, and seeking recognition as Something Other Than Black.

ON A WHITE-DOMINATED PLANET, ONLY WHITES HAVE THE POWER TO GRANT OR DENY EFFECTIVE RECOGNITION OF A STATE OF NON-BLACKNESS

On a White-dominated planet, these Something Other Than Black self-definitions only work and “stick” to the extent that large numbers of Whites agree to it. Whites (and where relevant, other nonblacks such as Arabs in the Arab world or the Whiter-looking Latinos in Latin America) are the ones who get to decide which (full or partially) Black people are recognized as Something Other Than Black.

Over the years, plenty of African-American Blacks have tried to be recognized as Something Other Than Black. Some examples of this are the “Don’t call me Black, I’m Moorish-American” members of Noble Drew Ali’s Moorish Science Temple of America; and the “Don’t call me Black, I’m Bilalian” followers of Warithudeen Mohammed (Elijah Muhammad’s son). There are also the “Don’t call me Black, I’m just a Muslim African-American Sunni (“orthodox”) Muslims. This has never worked; these folks are still identified by others as “Black” on employment, police, and other official records. This hasn’t worked because White Americans generally haven’t bought into this. They have no reason to do so. There’s nothing in it for them in most of these situations.

IN GENERAL, WHITES ONLY RECOGNIZE FULL OR PARTIALLY BLACK PEOPLE AS SOMETHING OTHER THAN BLACK WHEN THEY GAIN SOMETHING BY DOING SO

In contrast to the masses of self-sacrificing and politically suicidal African-Americans, nonblacks consistently act in ways that advance their groups’ various interests. Nonblacks generally only recognize full or partially Black people as Something Other Than Black when there’s something to be gained by doing so. When there’s nothing for Whites to gain by granting Something Other Than Black status to various Blacks, they generally apply the “one-drop rule” to the Blacks around them. Here are some examples of situations where it has been to Whites’ advantage to grant the avidly sought-after recognition of non-blackness to various Black folks.

WHEN WHITES ARE LIVING AS AN EXTREMELY OUTNUMBERED MINORITY AMONG THE BLACKS THEY’VE CONQUERED

When you’re living among the people you’ve conquered as a very small minority, it’s in your extreme self-interest to keep the conquered population as divided as possible. For examples of this, see apartheid era South Africa, the island of Hispaniola (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic), and Louisiana during the French and Spanish colonial periods. Creating a hostile-to-Blacks, fifth column of “nonblacks” from among the conquered Black population was often a matter of physical survival for minority White ruling populations. I’ll note that in the Louisiana example, the ruling White male population wasn’t as outnumbered as in other situations, but there were emotional and sexual benefits involved, which I’ll discuss next.

WHEN THERE’S A SHORTAGE OF WHITE WOMEN AVAILABLE FOR MARRIAGE IN A COLONY

In various colonies, such as French and Spanish Louisiana, the recognition of a group of nonblacks from among the Black population had its origin in the shortage of available White women for marriage. French and Spanish White women with good reputations had very little interest in moving to Louisiana, Hispaniola, or other such places.

Meanwhile, French men and Spaniards needed wives of some sort in order to form families and grow the ruling population. Marrying Black African slave women was too much of a gamble to effectively serve that purpose–the odds were too high that these enslaved Black women might keep their primary loyalties with their own [Black] people. White male colonists needed concubines who would not identify with, and who had no loyalty to, other oppressed Blacks. In order to grow a population that would be loyal to France and Spain.

The solution was to create a new group of concubines from among the enslaved Blacks. And so French and Spanish conquerors recognized the children they had with enslaved Black African women as something other than Black. They then chose long-term concubines from among these newly-recognized nonblacks that they named “mulattos,” “quadroons,” and “octoroons.” This was the origin of the plaçage system, and the so-called “Creole” nonblack-Blacks in Louisiana.

This widespread granting of nonblack status to their half-Black children enabled White colonists to reverse their numerical status as an outnumbered minority among the Black people they conquered. Instead of being a tiny number of Whites ruling over what had been overwhelming numbers of conquered Blacks who shared the same racial identity and loyalties, they became a group of Whites ruling over a plurality of various categories of nonblack-Blacks. With all of these newly recognized as Something Other Than Black-Black folks looking to them for validation, and giving their allegiance to them. With the “official,” remaining Blacks becoming a much smaller percentage of the population.

This process is how it came to be that there are modern-era countries filled with racially Black people who choose their presidents and prime ministers from among the handful of White-looking people in the population. If these nonblack-Black populations weren’t “tripping” about their actual racial identity, they’d be more likely to choose political rulers who look like themselves. The Dominican Republic is a good case study for this point. [And for another point about the sometimes genocidal levels of anti-Black racism that many of these biracials and other nonblack-Blacks harbor against Black-Blacks; we’ll get to this later. ]

In the case of the Dominican Republic, take a look at the pictures of some of the early presidents of that country. Notice that in the 1800s a couple of men with highly visible Black ancestry such as Gregorio Luperón and Ulises Heureaux managed to acquire that office. Then look at the racial appearance of the presidents that followed them, including modern Dominican presidents such as Rafael Trujillo (who ordered the 1937 massacre of thousands of ethnic Haitians living in the Dominican Republic even though his grandmother was Haitian), Joaquín Balaguer, and Hipolito Mejia. We’ll get back to this massacre later.

It took a very long time for the Dominican Republic to get back to having a president like Leonel Fernandez who resembles the majority nonblack-Black population of that country. This sort of disempowerment is what happens to Blacks (including the nonblack-Blacks) in a multiracial society when Blacks fragment themselves into various nonblack categories. The final result is that all categories of Blacks, including the nonblack-Blacks, end up powerless. This is what will ultimately happen to African-American Blacks as we continue reducing our census-based numbers by championing full- and half-Blacks opting out of being counted as part of our group.

Once they were no longer so outnumbered, Whites often started taking away whatever perks had been previously associated with Something Other Than Black status. Things changed after Whites overturned their original minority status (either by an influx of Anglo Whites such as in Louisiana, or by the creation of a majority of nonblack-Blacks like in the Dominican Republic). The nonblack-Blacks began to lose the advantages they had relative to the Black-Blacks. In the US, whatever little perks that had been granted to known “creoles,” “mulattos,” “quadroons,” and “octoroons” were withdrawn. Think about Homer Plessy the “octoroon” who was the plaintiff in the Plessy vs. Ferguson case.

Once the population shifts like that, then generally only the very Whitest people in the society have the opportunity to move forward. Once that shift happens, ruling Whites no longer have anything to gain by allowing certain Blacks to advance. There’s no longer a potentially hostile, conquered Black majority to pacify with the hope of being granted Something Other Than Black status. The nonblack- Blacks are still conquered and poor, but they’re satisfied with having the crumb of being recognized as different than (and superior to, according to White supremacist thought) the fewer remaining Black-Blacks. Their thinking becomes very similar to that of poor Whites in the US. They’ll endure any kind of mistreatment from the ruling Whites and any amount of impoverishment, just as long as they can feel different than (and superior to) the Black-Blacks.

Like poor White Americans, the nonblack-Blacks’ self-esteem becomes intertwined with stepping on the Black-Blacks. Self-respect is measured by distance from the Black-Blacks. And what better way to make the point that you are distant from Black-Blacks than by harming them? Again, just like many poor Whites, the more racism and oppression they heap on the Black-Blacks, the better many nonblack-Blacks feel about themselves. And so you have half-Blacks like Tiger Woods going out of his way to tell anti-Black racist jokes in the presence of a reporter. We’ll get back to Tiger Woods.

Once the population shifts in a way that Whites are no longer extremely outnumbered, then only those nonblack-Blacks who have a physical appearance that can deceive Whites into believing that they’re totally White can effectively partake of that society’s opportunities. Remember how long it took for the Dominican Republic to get back to having a president that has highly visible Black ancestry like most of the population.

WHEN A WHITE MOTHER OF A HALF-BLACK CHILD DOES NOT WANT TO FURTHER DAMAGE HER STATUS AMONG OTHER WHITES

This motive is what has been driving White mothers of half-Black children to have their children recognized as something other than Black. That was the origin of the craze to have their half-Black children identified as “biracial” instead of Black. To be the mother of a “Black” child is to take on part of that Black child’s stigma. White women who are mothers of Black children usually try to distance themselves from that stigma as much as possible. One way to do this is to deny that their child is Black. Let’s not be confused by drawing false equivalents to the context surrounding half-Asian children.

Unlike African-Americans, Asians (except for Filipinos—which is a large part of why they’re not respected by other Asian nationalities) never lost sovereignty over defining membership in their own race, ethnic groups, and bloodlines. Regardless of what any non-Asian parent of a half-Asian child thinks or wants, most Asian cultures only consider a person truly Korean, Chinese, and so on if that person is 100% genetically Korean or Chinese. Coming from the Asian side of the equation, the option of a part-Asian mixed race person being considered genuinely Korean and so on by other Koreans, etc. was never really on the table in the first place.

Anyway, these White women’s motives for denying that their half-Black children are Black are the reverse of an African-American Black parent’s motive for denying that their half-Black child is Black. The White woman is trying to stem the damage she’s done to her own status among other Whites by having a Black child. She’s trying to distance herself from the perceived stigma of her child’s Black ancestry. Meanwhile, the “don’t you dare call my child Black, s/he’s biracial” Black parents are trying to attach themselves to the perceived superior status of their child’s nonblack ancestry. These are some of the emotional and social payoffs involved in this behavior.

WHEN THE FULL OR PARTIALLY BLACK PERSON IS CONSIDERED AS ASSET THAT CAN BE ACCESSED INSTEAD OF A LIABILITY–”MONEY WHITENS”

When the full or partially Black person (usually a man) has money or other resources that nonblacks in his circle want to get their hands on, then they’re motivated to play along with his quest to be identified as Something Other Than Black. One can see this in the Tiger Woods example. White women who are angling to access his money have a motive for playing along with him describing himself as Something Other Than Black. White men, such Fuzzy Zoeller (who made the “fried chicken” comment about Woods) have nothing to gain by describing him as Something Other Than Black.

The above sorts of cost-benefit calculations are why Whites sometimes decide to cooperate with granting nonblack status on a full or partially Black person. Let’s review some other cost-benefit ratios.

ARAB AND OTHER NONBLACK MUSLIMS REAP THE MOST MATERIAL BENEFITS FROM AFRICAN-AMERICAN MUSLIMS SAYING “DON’T CALL ME BLACK, I’M JUST A MUSLIM”

Tariq Nelson advocated what he called The New Passing, which he described as a discussion about

the merits of black converts playing up their non-black heritage in the Muslim world and/or marrying non-blacks in order to lighten up their families and (hopefully) allowing their children to “pass” into non-blackness to avoid racism

Who benefits from this? And how? Arab and other nonblack Muslims benefit from having “Don’t call me Black, I’m Just A Muslim African-American men marrying their daughters and thereby transferring whatever wealth they can accumulate into these nonblack families.

Arab and other nonblack Muslims also benefit because the type of African-American Muslim who seeks recognition as Something Other Than Black will typically also want to heavily support Arab causes, such as the Palestinian struggle. So, whatever resources that formerly Black Muslim might have contributed to help alleviate the suffering of other African-American Blacks will typically be diverted to support Palestinians, Saudis, Pakistanis, Kashmiris, and any other nonblack category of Muslims one might name.

WHAT DO BLACK PARENTS GAIN FROM RAISING “DON’T YOU DARE CALL ME BLACK, I’M SOMETHING OTHER THAN BLACK” CHILDREN?

Why would any Black person raise a half-Black child who does not in any way identify with Black people, who has zero loyalty to other Black people, and who in many cases hates Black people? Well, enslaved women were generally powerless to create any other outcome. Other than the monetary support the nonblack-Black Creole concubines in New Orleans gained from having their less and less Black children, I don’t see much material gain for the Black parents of these Something Other Than Black folks. Instead, the primary payoffs seem to be emotional ones. The “don’t you dare call my child Black, s/he’s biracial” Black parents are trying to attach themselves to the perceived superior status of their child’s nonblack ancestry. They are hoping to vicariously share in their child’s Something Other Than Black status.

Having a self-proclaimed nonblack child makes these sort of Black people feel like they’re different, special and apart from “typical” Blacks. In their own eyes, it raises them above other Black people. It helps them feel a little less Black themselves, which makes them feel better about themselves. This type of Black parent (like Tiger Woods’ father) will often start emphasizing whatever distant nonblack heritage they might have. This is when they get hot and heavy with the “I’m 1/8 Cherokee, 1/27th Irish, 1/58th German, and . . . umm, I’m too dark to deny it, so I guess I have to say . . . also Black” sort of talk.

This emotional payoff of getting to feel a little less Black is the reason many African-American Black parents are hysterical about trying to have their children recognized as Something Other Thank Black. They don’t care if their children are anti-Black racists like Tiger Woods. Self-respecting African-American Black folks could always tell that Tiger Woods is an anti-Black racist. Self-respecting Black folks aren’t oblivious when self-proclaimed Something Other Than Blacks are anti-Black racists. But, for those who are confused, I’ll mention a few quotes from Mr. Woods. These are some “jokes” that he told in 1997 while in the presence of a reporter.

“What I can’t figure out,” Tiger Woods asks Vincent, the limo driver, “is why so may good-looking women hang around baseball and basketball. Is it because, you know, people always say that, like, black guys have big d*cks?”

. . . “He puts the tips of his expensive shoes together, and he rubs them up and down against each other. ‘What’s this?’ he asks the women, who do not know the answer. ‘It’s a black guy taking off his condom,’ Tiger explains.”

See here for more about that.

The Black parents who are seeking Something Other Than Black status for their children don’t care about any of this. They’re happy to commit political suicide. They will usually celebrate any and all biracials, including the biracials who are anti-Black racists. They also don’t care if fragmenting the Black voting public causes the disempowerment of African-American Black people such as themselves. None of these considerations outweigh the emotional gratification they get from vicariously experiencing a state of non-blackness through their children. That’s their cost-benefit ratio, and it works for them.

NURTURING “PLEASE LET ME BE SOMETHING OTHER THAN BLACK” ATTITUDES CAN BE DANGEROUS TO THE REMAINING BLACKS—THE PARSLEY MASSACRE

Nurturing Please Let Me Be Something Other Than Black attitudes can be dangerous to the remaining Black-Blacks. Sometimes it can end up costing lives. There’s a long history of enmity between the two countries that share the same island of Hispaniola, Haiti and the Dominican Republic. There are numerous historical reasons for that enmity. For some background, check out an article from Time Magazine titled, Haiti and the Dominican Republic: A Tale of Two Countries.

One can’t ignore the racial dimension of this enmity. Whatever else is going on, one country consists of mostly racially Black people who recognize that they’re Black (Haiti). On the other side, you have a country of mostly racially Black people who prefer to believe that they’re Something Other Than Black (the Dominican Republic). You know the nonblack-Black folks in question are some rabid racists when a White magazine like Time describes them as:

The lighter-skinned Dominicans looked down on the darker-skinned Haitians: in 1965, even as the Dominican Republic was embroiled in civil war, Haitians were working in Dominican fields and not the other way around.

In early October of 1937, between 15,000 and 35,000 Haitian men, women and children were massacred in the span of five days by order of Dominican President Rafael Trujillo. He wanted to ethnically cleanse the borderlands between the two countries.

It’s called The Parsley Massacre because the Dominican soldiers who killed the Haitian immigrants used parsley as a test to distinguish Haitians from Dominicans. The Dominican soldiers would hold up some parsley and ask the people they encountered to identify it. French and Haitian Creole-speaking Haitians who did not trill the “r” in the Spanish word for parsley (“perejil”) were hacked to death with machetes. The need for resorting to a linguistic test like this lets you know that many Dominicans look the same as Haitians. In other words, they’re racially Black.

This highlights another danger to remaining Blacks created by nurturing Please Let Me Be Something Other Than Black mindsets: Nobody ever challenges self-proclaimed biracials and other nonblack-Blacks to clean up the anti-Black racism in their ranks.

NURTURING “PLEASE LET ME BE SOMETHING OTHER THAN BLACK” ATTITUDES CAN BE DANGEROUS TO THE REMAINING BLACKS—UNLIKE MAINSTREAM WHITE AMERICANS, SELF-PROCLAIMED BIRACIALS AND OTHER NONBLACK-BLACKS NEVER DO ANY SELF-POLICING OF THE ANTI-BLACK RACISM IN THEIR RANKS

One thing I notice about the self-proclaimed biracials and other nonblack-Blacks is that they don’t do any self-policing of the anti-Black racists among their own ranks. Unlike mainstream White American society, the biracials have never really acknowledged any anti-Black racism on their part. They’ve never done anything to clean it up. Similar to the self-described Good Black Men™ who never do anything about the not-good Black men, the self-described as Blameless In Oppressing Black People™ biracials never do anything about the racist, oppressive ones.

And African-American Black folks never require self-proclaimed biracials and other nonblack-Blacks to do anything about the anti-Black racists in their ranks. I’m continually amazed at how stupid so many African-American Blacks are. Nothing seems to register to us as anti-Black racism and hatred unless it’s coming from a Caucasian person of fully European descent. That’s crazy. Like I said before, a lot of these biracials are anti-Black racists in exactly the same way as poor Whites whose self-esteem is based on stepping on Blacks. Their self-respect is measured by distance from the Black-Blacks. And the quickest way for them to feel distant from Black-Blacks is by doing things to harm us. But we’re too stupid to see or sense the hatred underlying their frantic efforts to be recognized as Anything But Black. In part, because many of us are still dealing with unresolved childhood and teenage resentments against other African-American Black people in general.

MANY AFRICAN-AMERICAN BLACKS WHO WANT TO BE SOMETHING OTHER THAN BLACK ARE STILL WORKING THROUGH CHILDHOOD AND TEENAGE ISSUES OF BEING TEASED BY OTHER AFRICAN-AMERICAN CHILDREN, OR BY THE “ACTING BLACK” NUTS

From their comments, I get the feeling that significant numbers of the people who are attracted to the “let’s drop the ‘Black’ label” idea are still working through childhood issues of being teased by other African-American children, or by the “acting Black” nuts in high school. So they hate anything and everything that is unapologetically African-American and Black-identified. It’s the same pattern of life-long resentment that you hear from a number of embittered Black males who are still angry that they weren’t as popular as the athletes when they were in high school. Ten, fifteen, twenty years later these men are still carrying around their high-school-era envy of athletes and thugs.

And so it is with many of these “let’s drop the ‘Black’ label” folks who were teased by other Black children ten, fifteen, twenty or more years ago . These people can’t let it go. You can tell from what they’re saying that those wounds are still just as fresh as they were during childhood.

KHADIJA’S PRAGMATIC BOTTOM LINE: IF YOU NEED TO DISCARD YOUR AFRICAN-AMERICAN BLACK ETHNIC IDENTITY IN ORDER TO HAVE A SEMBLANCE OF PEACE OF MIND, THEN DO SO

More real talk: According to my individual cost-benefit analysis, this idea of trying to be recognized as Something Other Than Black does not bring any benefit to me. So, it’s not an attractive idea to me. Based on my appearance, I could never fool anyone into thinking I was White. But I suppose, if I wanted to, I could start tripping like The Formerly Known Artist Prince and deceive others into thinking I was so-called biracial instead of a light-skinned Black woman. If I wanted to, I could start emphasizing my distant White ancestry. I just don’t see anything to be gained by doing that.

I’m not as uptight as some Black folks are about various other Blacks opting out of their African-American Black identity. This is because I don’t plan on remaining vulnerable to what I expect to be the negative effects of their mass opt-out. I don’t plan on being stuck in the US; I expect to get a 2nd passport.

As I said at the beginning, I don’t care what others choose to do with their identities. I figure that anybody who’s unhealthy enough to need to discard their heritage in order to cope with life, should do so. I’m not going to berate them. I’m also not going to cooperate with the lies they tell themselves and others. I just hope the thoughts expressed in this post help you make some thoughtful, informed choices as you consider this idea.

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131 Responses to “A Pragmatic Cost/Benefit Analysis For African-Americans Considering Trying To “Pass” As Anything Other Than Black”

  1. Dr. Igia says:

    Khadijah,
    Once again another well written post. I swear your posts aids in keeping me mentally stimulated. You mentioned a myriad of different points that I wanted to comment on; so bear with me on the long comment.

    You said:
    “At the time, I knew some other African-American 6th, 7th and 8th graders who were extremely frantic (every chance they got) to point out all the distantly related nonblack in their family tree. I remember thinking how strange it was that they were so focused on people who weren’t equally interested in them. In fact, it sounded like many of these distantly related nonblack folks didn’t claim any kinship to them at all”

    Exactly! I’ve been saying this to myself for years! I’ve always hated when black people would be so proud to claim to have mixed blood consisting of Native American, European, or Hispanic heritage. These people who they are steady claiming have no darn interest in them. Many times they hate blacks! If people knew more history, they’d know that these racial groups (and of course others) have always been prejudiced towards blacks and darker skinned people. It’s retarded because [ebonically speaking] they checking for people who aint checking for them.

    You said:
    This is because most of you never took the time to develop any specifically African-American ethnic identity. While you’re busy making yourself . . . nothing . . . but a culture-free, “race is an artificial construct,” human being”

    So true! When I see African Americans engaging in this behavior, it makes me thing they’re trying to emulate the behaviors of WASP’s. White Americans view themselves as “culture free, race is an artificial construct, human beings”. But let’s really analyze them. Many Wasp’s have no culture outside of capitalism/finances.. Something funny with their money…they kill themselves. Many whites that I encounter are mentally/psychologically fragile (especially the women). When simple life events occur, it devastates them. They’re more prone to suicide, substance abuse, exploiting people, and not having strong family ties (I’m not talking about the ethnic whites). Many whites simply live for money/finances. Nothing else. With that being said, I believe African Americans need to retain their ethnic identities. We have much to be proud about…more so than many WASP’s.

    You said:
    ‘I’m continually amazed at how stupid so many African-American Blacks are…. we’re too stupid to see or sense the hatred underlying their frantic efforts to be recognized as Anything But Black.

    After reading your post, I have realized that too many African Americans have an unhealthy dysfunctional and plain stupid love for white people. Too many Negro’s desire to be like whites. Even the BWE blogs that focus on quality IRR for black women, often times seem to exemplify whites as our saviors. From the historical perspective that you’ve presented in regards to the issues surrounding the denial of Blackness or Anything But Black; one thing is evident: white people! They are the ones who initiated all of these racial identity conflicts, and colorism issues. So I have to implore of other Black women: Why do you want to deny your blackness, and try to assimilate to white culture (or anything else for that matter)? Do you really want to be like these individuals?

    I know the image of the African American woman has been assaulted from a myriad of different sources. I even understand why many would want to dissassoicate themselves from this image; but at the end of the day…we’re still viewed as African American women. Even if we were viewed as some other nationality, we have to ask ourselves is that necessarily a good thing. Last I checked, WASPS, Hispanics, Indians, or Asians LOOK DOWN ON ANYONE WHO IS BLACK-hell for that matter dark skin! Don’t matter your nationality/ethnicity….a Negro is still a negro in their eyesight. So it’s not beneficial to try to be something else…you still a Negro. Sorry.

    At least be prideful in being a African American woman. God knows I am. Yeah we have it bad to a certain extent, but last I checked black women from other nationalities don’t have the opportunities we have, the same backbone as us, and even the same swag. Check the details, b/c unless I’m mistaken, I haven’t seen an Oprah, Beyonce, bell hooks, Patricia Hill Collins, Fannie Lou Hamer, Angela Davis, Maya Angelou, etc of other nationalities. Black women of other nationalities don’t have it like us-they can never have the same spotlight or liberties as African American women-b/c their countries are still entrenched in deeply backward thinking that differs from America. Black women of all nationalities know that if you want success, fame, etc…come to America. And even then they try to be like us African American women. I can’t count how many times I see African, Haitian, Jamaican, Bajan, Hispanic women trying to emulate the behavior of African American women. They literally try to copy our swag. With that being said that makes me even cockier about being an African American woman.

    The real pride in being an African American woman is when people of all races can look at me, and naturally tell I’m not like the other misguided downtrodden Negro’s. I don’t have to proclaim to be anything else; I don’t have to revere or imitate someone else’s culture. It’s all in the way that I carry myself.

    Thank you for writing such an engaging and thoughtful post Khadija! Hopefully more African American women start acknowledging that they are such-we’re losing our numbers/legacies when we opt out of being African American women!

  2. Dr. Igia,

    Thank you for your kind words about the post; I truly appreciate it.

    However, I must point out that most of your comment is an example of what I don’t want for this conversation: I don’t want a “they should have some ethnic self-respect” type of conversation. Not to mention that I disasgree with several of the points you’ve raised (such as how many WASPS view themselves; the “Whites as saviors” notion—which is a false claim that BWE opponents make against BWE—I’ve never seen anybody say that, nor is that the impression I’ve gotten from the various conversations and blog posts I’ve seen; and a couple of other points that I don’t want to get off track to focus on here).

    Instead, I want to focus on the PRACTICAL, PRAGMATIC issues surrounding the notion of AAs discarding their ethnic and racial identities.

    First of all, I’m curious as to what prospective “passers” are going to tell Whites and others they are. “Mixed,” “biracial,” “multicultural,” “Cablinasian”? I would guess that much of this depends on one’s physical appearance. The more racially ambiguous one looks, the easier I would think it would be to adopt these identities.

    Secondly, I’m curious if the darker, definitely NON-ambiguous prospective “passers” have considered trying to get people to believe that they’re from some other type of Black ethnicity. Since the only “Black” identity these folks seem to feel needs to be dropped is the AA one. For example, have they considered trying to pass as being of West Indian descent?

    Third, I’m wondering what the prospective “passers” will say, if anything, if asked about their (Black) parents? Traditionally, those AA Black folks who were serious about passing as White cut off ALL family ties. Period. Because acknowledging kinship to visible and/or self-described AA Blacks would hinder their ability to trick Whites and others into thinking they were White.

    Like I said, I want to focus on PRACTICAL matters here. I don’t want to have a pep rally about why AA Black people who don’t value their AA heritage should. They DON’T; and they want to move on. I’m interested in thinking through the mechanics of effectively moving on—as opposed to the failed attempts by the “Moors,” “Bilalians,” etc.

    *Addendum*
    Not to get off track, but before I forgot, I did want to mention that it’s been my observation that various other so-called “people of color” are MUCH more racist (specifically in terms of being anti-Black) than modern mainstream White Americans. That’s why it’s a trick when folks suggest that AA BW focus on dating from among so-called “people of color.” The odds of an AA BW finding a quality husband—whose family is less likely to permanently hate her for racist reasons—are better among WM. This isn’t about anybody being a “savior,” it’s about a pragmatic look at how various situations have been observed to play out, and drawing some conclusions about the odds.

    *Addendum #2*
    Another thing is that I’m never really clear about what people mean when they say “assimilate.” From my point of view, AAs with old-school values have more in common with most White Americans than with many types of people of color, such as Africans, East Asians, Arabs, or South Asians. How is anything described as “assimilating” when one already has a shared set of Western values with some other Western people?

    This is what I mean when I say I want us to get away from speaking in jargon, and instead focus on practical questions.

    Expect Success!

  3. Karen says:

    Dear Khadija,

    We are in the “Twilight” of the African American experience. That is to say that too much has been lost. When I digest and reflect on your essay, I submit the following responses to your questions:

    * Cui bono–who, if anybody, benefits when an African-American Black person runs away from the “Black” self-description? Every other ethnic or “protected (i.e. White women)” group gains. What do they gain? They gain all the benefits and priviledges that our group fought for which we was a collective allowed to be “watered down” to include all (i.e.Rainbow Coalition) versus being narrowly defined for African Americans.

    * Who, if anybody, loses when an African-American Black person runs away from the “Black” self-description? African Americans lose What do they lose? We lose in a reduced presence, political influence and ultimately we will become insignificant with regards our participation in the U.S. Our history will become a footnote

    * Has running away from the “Black” description ever worked in the past? If so, for whom, to what degree, for how long, and under what set of circumstances did it work? To my knowledge it has only worked on a individual basis and there was no generational or legacy benefit to this action. In my mind, it only served on a “short term” basis.

    Which brings me to my final point, the inability for our people as African Americans to think, plan and act on a “generational” viewpoint, meaning doing actions that will not only have some benefit in the here and now but secures benefit to further African American generations, is why we have come to the point where all will be lost.

    I am African American and will die as one. I have too much to be proud of to discard it. Am I dismayed at what has happened to us as a collective, most certainly, but it in no way diminishes me or who I am….an African American Woman

  4. Dear Karen,

    I 100% cosign; you’ve perfectly summarized my thoughts about the questions I asked in the post.

    Yes, this is the Twilight of The AA People. As you noted, too much has been lost (and carelessly thrown away) for us to recover. I’ve accepted this. Since this process is too far gone to be halted, I’m wondering if there’s a way for enterprising folks from among the remaining AA Blacks to make some money off of these trends.

    For example, Mexican illegal aliens need and buy fake social security cards. I’m wondering if there’s anything, or any market niche, that an enterprising AA could position themselves in to make money off of the ever-increasing numbers of AA Blacks who will opt-out of being AA Blacks. (Legal enterprises only, of course—LOL!).

    Expect Success!

  5. Zoopath says:

    Excellent analysis, Khadija. It’s amazing that you do this kind of stuff for free. I spend a lot of time thinking about this issue because my husband and I plan on starting a family soon. I want to have a strong strategy to shape our future children’s ethnic identities so that they have a deep respect and affiliation to both ethnic identities. However, I’m the one the uphill PR battle.

    To answer your questions:

    Cui bono–who, if anybody, benefits when an African-American Black person runs away from the “Black” self-description? What do they gain? The passing individual and the newly adopted group both benefit from successful passing. The individual gains a higher social status and the adopted group gains the energy and resources of the black refugee.

    Who, if anybody, loses when an African-American Black person runs away from the “Black” self-description? What do they lose? All the remaining black-black people lose the energy and resources of the refugee. In addition the fact that all who can are fleeing the category further degrades the social status of black AA people. Each person that leaves the base of the pyramid makes the load heavier for those left behind.

    Has running away from the “Black” description ever worked in the past? If so, for whom, to what degree, for how long, and under what set of circumstances did it work? It works very well for individuals who successfully pass into whiteness, never to be heard from again. It works for the buffer class…until they’re no longer needed, then it doesn’t work anymore YMMV.

    The recent census data shows that the AA population grew very little. I think it’s on it’s way to shrinking. Violence, attrition to other categories and disease are beginning to take their toll on our population. The only thing keeping it afloat is OOW births but at a certain point the quantity of offspring doesn’t compensate for the poor quality of child rearing. Not to mention the cessation of government programs that make this kind of population growth possible in the first place. It’s my opinion (in fact I view it as a certainty) that AA’s as a group are set on self destruct. We are not going to have any real political power going forward. It’s impossible to expect to weild power when our numbers are declining, a large percentage of our population is extremely dysfunctional and our ethnic self-respect (especially our boudaries) is practically nonexistent. You may not want to surrender the category to those AA’s that are feverishly digging our community’s grave but it’s all about percentages. As you mentioned, only whites have the powere to recognize designations. That also applies to our desire to have the ethnic category of AA being defined in alignment with our values. Even AA’s that share most of our values go merrily along with allowing various evil subcultures to be uplifted as genuine AA culture. The only way to make outside groups recognize the authentic non-perverted AA ethnic idenfication is for most AA’s to show this version. That’s not happening at the moment.

    So back to our ongoing self-destruction. I think that our community in this form is going to collapse because destruction is the ultimate result of what’s become normal AA culture. There will always be AA’s but there’s going to be fewer and they’re going to be more fragmented into smaller subcommunites. I think that those who don’t get sucked into the vortex will then have enough relative numbers to restore our cultural inheritance. I think we’re well overdue for a renaissance. Black people in general and AA’s in particular were not created to suffer and be despised. The way that things are now cannot be the way it has always been and always will be for us. I’m as certain of that as I am that we’re going to go through a collapse.

    • Zoopath,

      I’ve had some time to think about your comment. You said, “The recent census data shows that the AA population grew very little. I think it’s on it’s way to shrinking. Violence, attrition to other categories and disease are beginning to take their toll on our population. The only thing keeping it afloat is OOW births but at a certain point the quantity of offspring doesn’t compensate for the poor quality of child rearing. Not to mention the cessation of government programs that make this kind of population growth possible in the first place. It’s my opinion (in fact I view it as a certainty) that AA’s as a group are set on self destruct. We are not going to have any real political power going forward. It’s impossible to expect to weild power when our numbers are declining, a large percentage of our population is extremely dysfunctional and our ethnic self-respect (especially our boudaries) is practically nonexistent. You may not want to surrender the category to those AA’s that are feverishly digging our community’s grave but it’s all about percentages.”

      This is why I’m convinced that this is the Twilight Of The AA People. The percentage of AAs who are doing a variety of things that undermine our collective interests is simply too large.

      You said in your later comment below, “As for attrition to other groups I say we are richer for having lost them. Yes, we lose numbers. However once all the people who really don’t want to be black have departed to other categories we can finally regain our ethnic self respect and boundaries. There would be much less internal oppression and betrayal.”

      In theory, I would agree with this; but I don’t think this is how the situation would play out. Mostly because the remaining AA Blacks are too confused to have the will to get things back together internally. Too many AA Blacks who aren’t all that keen on opting-out have bought into other damaging ideas, such as being timid about calling out the depravity of hip-hop/(c)rap, etc., and the destruction caused by OOW. I hope I’m wrong about this angle.

      Expect Success!

  6. Zoopath says:

    As for attrition to other groups I say we are richer for having lost them. Yes, we lose numbers. However once all the people who really don’t want to be black have departed to other categories we can finally regain our ethnic self respect and boundaries. There would be much less internal oppression and betrayal. So I’m all for any and every person who does not truly want to be considered AA leaving the group. Please leave now and don’t come back. I agree with Kola Boof in that not just *anyone* can be us. We will raise our children to consider themselves both AA and chinese but I betta not ever catch them trying to make my non-black ancestry available for fractions a la Tiger Woods’ father so as to diminish and downplay their AA heritage. I pretty sure that if I give our children a strong foundation of what true AA culture is they be able to be both without having the need to object if someone refers to them as just chinese or just AA.

  7. Evia says:

    Khadija, I’m happy you’re covering this issue so thoroughly because it gives everyone a chance to think about various aspects of it and to continue to accept their societal definition or self define as they choose. It’s each woman’s choice. It has never mattered to me more than a whit what people call me; it’s what I answer to that counts (paraphrased, based on that saying). What I call myself counts the absolute most because I will behave in accordance with my own view of myself and people will mostly behave towards a person according to the way the person carries her/himself–particularly these days.

    That societal definition/label of “AA/BW” has life and death (mostly deathly) consequences for AA women because it’s obvious how accepting the label of an AA woman has choked the life out of so many wonderful AA/Black women in the U.S. For sure, practically every single AA/Black woman I know offline has been or is being strangled to death totally or to a cruel extent by that label. Look at poor Oprah. No amount of money and/or education alone frees a “BLACK/AA” woman. I appreciate Oprah, but I shudder at the life she’s had, as she hugs her beautiful dogs.

    Those sad sisters literally do all they can to fit into that “AA or Black” label that is handed to them both by the black “community” and the general society so that both of those entities can benefit the overwhelming most. I know by now that practically anything others in the bc or the society freely hand me is a way for them to benefit from me. So, IMO, when I ask cui bono, the bc and the general society benefit a lot more THESE DAYS from me being a “BLACK/AA” woman than I personally do. This varies, I’d guess, from bw to bw.

    I’ve conceded that the ABCs have taken the “Black/AA” label and they control it. Other than that, we wouldn’t even be discussing it. IMO, it’s a bad investment to invest in it anymore.

    I’ve thought about this issue daily for about 15 years. This is why I’ve constantly talked to the point of sounding like a broken record for years about the critical need for sensible AAs to develop a RUCOSS and/or intentional communities. What’s puzzled me is that the bulk of card-carrying AAs with common sense (I considered myself one of these before I self-defined recently and permanently as a PAB) are too ??????, maybe fearful to start doing either of these. Many of them cower, afraid of the “BLACK” police who take their orders from the abcs. The overwhelming most of sensible, sane blacks like Bill Cosby are totally silent. They merely whisper among themselves and try their best not to be noticed by the abcs.

    I decided that I’ll simply be a PAB person in my RUCOSS. I’m not even going to pretend to be a part of the insanity anymore. The people I came from would curse me for remaining in it. That goes against all of their struggles.

  8. A. says:

    EXCELLENT POST, BRAVO!

    I was raised in Louisiana. We still have people who believe just because they are lighter in complexion they are somehow better. Oh, really? Some choose to forget that their great-grandmothers were more than lightly taken, sexually speaking. I doubt seriouly if many of those African women had much of a choice.

    IMO, foolish men such as: Tiger Woods(the world thinks of him as a bm), Quincy Jones(He had a DNA test done and he was over joyed to learned that he had a high percentage of white in his DNA.), and others are simply damaged when it comes to their race. They do not like their race and especially the women of their race.

    • A.,

      Thank you for your kind words about the post; however, your comment doesn’t respond to any of the questions I raised in the post.

      Expect Success!

  9. Formavitae says:

    Whew! You put a lot of work into that post! (Thanks, BTW.) I just completed the introduction and wanted to post a few brief comments. I’m then going to tackle it section-by-section. I, too, have read about Evia’s mentioning of “passing as black (PAB). My impression was a little different. I interpreted it as meaning that she identifies as “black” but has different values than the present day community, therefore she’s “passing as black” (identifying as one, though not really BEING one).

    The questions you brought up about whether black Americans benefit from being labeled as “other” have been in my mind as well. I’ve always been open to IR marriage, but I wanted my children to identify as black American on the census count. I never wanted my kids to think they were “superior” or to be ashamed of their African heritage. My undergraduate degree is in political science, so I understand the implications of dwindling numbers (PARTICULARLY for an ALREADY DISENFRANCHISED group). Unfortunately, black Americans don’t value their community or its needs. So, they don’t make choices based on what’s best for the group overall. Our population is already somewhat stagnant due to abortion, homicide, and illness. But, now, we have additional erosion from the new “bi-/multi-” racial “classes”. (And, it’s never acknowledged that there isn’t much meaning to “bi-/multi-” racial. Chinese and Puerto Rican IS NOT the same as Swedish and Egyptian. Yet, both of these would fit the “bi-racial” category”, having nothing in common. And, you know what, I’m “bi-racial” too. My great-grandfather was only HALF black. But, since I have brown skin and kinky hair, no one thinks I need to acknowledge my ENTIRE heritage.)

    When I was in undergrad, I learned about a research/thesis project that a “bi-racial” student completed. (I don’t necessarily think she didn’t identify as “black” however. But, since I never met her personally, I’m not sure.) Anyway, she studied the push for the reclassification of mixed blacks to “bi-racial” identification. What she found was that the pressure to make the change was coming from the white mothers of half-black children and not the children or fathers themselves. (I personally interpret that as white women trying to totally free THEMSELVES from the “disadvantages/tarnishing” of miscegenation. But, that is only MY opinion.) I personally have become very tired over these matters. Blacks value looking and being accepted as “non-blacks” more than they value their own existence. If they want to reclassify themselves into obsolescence, so be it. I want to marry a man from a different culture and raise my children in his culture. But, I don’t have any fanciful notions that his “community” will automatically accept my children as “one of them”, since I am a black myself. But, I’ve pretty much decided to raise my children to be proud of who they are (and not ashamed of their blackness) and to let them self-identify as adults. The “ship” that is the black community is going down, and it’s only being hastened by matters such as this. I’m going to continue reading your post. But, my preliminary answers to your questions are: No, blacks don’t benefit from reclassification. And, no, the efforts haven’t worked well in the past (on a mass scale). That’s why “bi-racial” blacks have been called “blacks, negroes, n*ggers” up to this day.

  10. Zoopath,

    Thank you for your kind words about the post; I truly appreciate it. You said, “It’s amazing that you do this kind of stuff for free.”

    Yes, it IS “amazing.” {chuckling}

    Anyhoo, I’ll reply to your comment later (after I’ve had some time to think it over some more).

    *Addendum*
    I replied to your comment above.
    __________________________________________________

    Evia,

    I’m happy you raised the issue; this topic is a recurring one among AAs, and it’s good to explore it from various angles.

    You said, “That societal definition/label of “AA/BW” has life and death (mostly deathly) consequences for AA women because it’s obvious how accepting the label of an AA woman has choked the life out of so many wonderful AA/Black women in the U.S. For sure, practically every single AA/Black woman I know offline has been or is being strangled to death totally or to a cruel extent by that label. Look at poor Oprah. No amount of money and/or education alone frees a “BLACK/AA” woman. I appreciate Oprah, but I shudder at the life she’s had, as she hugs her beautiful dogs.”

    Well, I’m still thinking over your comment. In the mean time, I will say this: I believe we need to be precise in our post mortems of various situations. I’ll mull it over, but I’m not convinced that the AA Black ethnic identity is what has killed so many AA women. That’s kind of like saying that Debra Dickerson’s choice to marry a WM and to raise critical questions about “Blackness” is what has caused the turmoil and distress in her life.

    These are both blanket statements, and I’m inclined to think the truth behind both these situations is something more precise than those sorts of blanket assessments.

    For exmaple in Debra Dickerson’s case, it seems more likely to me that her recent problems have been caused by certain specific choices. Specific choices that might or might not be related to her choice to marry a WM and to raise critical questions about “Blackness.” Even if her problems are related to these 2 choices, without further scrutiny one doesn’t know what sort of nexus there might be between those 2 choices of hers and her recent problems. In other words, even if related, her problems might not be directly related to those 2 choices. And even if related, those 2 choices might not be THE cause of her recent problems.

    I don’t know. I’m just saying that I suspect the causese are more specific than blanket assessments.

    I will also say this: I think that—like other people—AA women have been following along with their home ethnic group’s consensus. Most people around the world unquestioningly follow along with their own group’s cultural norms. The problem for AA women is that we’ve been following along—without question—as our home ethnic group’s publicly stated consensus has been morphing into something toxic.

    For me it’s like I’ve said all along—old school AA values were more or less comparable to other Western folks’ values. It’s this new school stuff that has mutated into something that does NOT resemble human norms.

    Anyhoo, I’ll think over your comment some more and probably reply later on in a bit more detail.

    Expect Success!

  11. Formavitae says:

    Oh, “Cui bono”? Anyone trying to wrestle power and influence from the black community. PRIMARILY whites and Hispanics (who seek to become the “powerhouse” community of color–MY OPINION). I took a Minority Politics class, and I learned that black Americans are (have historically been) the MOST politically unified and politically active group of color in this country. Even though we are not a monolith, we have always come together for political purposes. I personally believe that is one of the major reasons why whites don’t want other communities of color to identify with us (not that they have to work to hard, because other communities of color are EXTREMELY RACIST and have no desire to identify with blacks anyway). I once read (parts of) various works by Thomas Sowell (a black conservative). I remember reading that the English who enslaved blacks in North America didn’t have a concept of “whitening”, whereas the Europeans who enslaved in South America did. And, (as long as one wasn’t PURELY black African), it was possible to change your “race” if your economic status changed. So, you could advance from “mulatto, quadroon, etc.” to “white”, if your money was “right”. (LOL! I know LOTS of people look forward to that happening in the U.S.) Also, (I’m not sure if it was the same book), but he mentioned how the way whites treated people of color depended upon THEIR OWN numerical status. Where whites were the majority (e.g. U.S.), they classified everyone pretty much as “black/colored” (“other”). In other words, they pretty much oppressed all non-white groups similarly. Where whites were the minority (e.g. South Africa), they utilized stratified (my own usage, not his) systems of oppression (apartheid), in an effort to maintain their status of preeminent power. I personally believe the only reason the efforts to reclassify people as “bi-/multi-” racial are gaining any headway is because whites are losing their numerical advantage and will SOON no longer be the numerical majority in this country. It’s “funny” how many whites talk about how it doesn’t “make sense” to call someone who has a white (non-black) parent and a black parent “black”, even though they’re the ones who established the system and denied their own partially black children in the first place. (As if whites don’t know or remember that…They have a knack for “selective amnesia”.) Anyway, I need to continue reading the post. I just wanted to slip in my preliminary answer to the “Cui bono” question.

    • Melissa Q. says:

      Personally, I do not think we need to ditch the ethnic label “African-american”. What is necessary is to distinguish the negative cultural values. The African’s that hold on to their ethnic labels even with the ‘albino hunting’, have the advantage of being far separated from their country and semi-establishing themselves as a ‘model (black) minority’.

      The acceptance of half-blacks as biracial not only means a loss of numerical count, but also means a more fragmented political power. AAs are already losing to the Asians and Latinos politically and ‘when’ (or ‘if’ AAs pull together) these groups come into power by stepping on AAs, they will Not ‘play nice’ or be suffering from ‘white guilt’. They will not care about courting AAs, and ruthless behavior will follow.

      • Formavitae says:

        Melissa,

        I agree with your assessment that “ruthless” behavior will follow. People who are new to the U.S. often (try to) use black Americans as a “footstool” for elevation in this country. Once they start gaining their own economic and political clout, their oppression of blacks will be similar to their activities “back home”. And, unfortunately, black Americans will have few if any allies to protect “their backs”.

  12. Formavitae says:

    RE:

    “PRELIMINARY MATTERS—IF YOU IDENTIFY AS ANYTHING OTHER THAN A BLACK PERSON WHO IS OF SPECIFICALLY AFRICAN-AMERICAN HERITAGE, PLEASE STAY OUT OF THIS PARTICULAR CONVERSATION”

    I just had to say, “LOL!”

  13. Formavitae says:

    “there’s automatically confusion created when foreign-origin Blacks are allowed to enter conversations among African-American Blacks about African-American identity issues. Our different histories mean that we’re often talking about different things even when we use the same words such as “Black.” “

    This is why I personally don’t agree with the label “African-American”. I prefer BLACK American. I think the term “African-American” should be reserved for modern day individuals who immigrate from Africa and gain U.S. citizenship. And, AT LEAST as far back as my great-great-grandparents, my family has been born on U.S. soil. If that doesn’t qualify us as FULLY “American”, I don’t know what does (besides our labor, sacrifice, and service in the military).
    ____________________________________

    [Khadija speaking: The problem with using "Black" only---without anything specifying our particular ethnic origin---is that having only a racial identity leaves the door open for foreign Blacks to steal from us. They're also racially "Black." So they could legitimately start calling themselves "Black-Americans" once they gain US citizenship. At which point, there's no way to distinguish them from us when they want to commandeer/steal for themselves the affirmative action set asides and other spoils of OUR AA civil rights martyrs and movement.

    (And incidentally, we get to name our own ethnic group whatever we want without consulting outsiders---similar to how many Amerindian groups named themselves "the people" in their various languages).]

    • Formavitae says:

      As I continued reading, I understood your perspective. Actually, what you typed above is the “flip side” of my perspective. I use “black” American because any person from Nigeria, Morocco, Tanzania, etc. could claim to be an “African” American (which is true. They ARE from Africa. I’M the one born and bred in the U.S.) I (like you) want the distinction in our experiences and histories to be acknowledged. I just don’t know how else it will be achieved, unless we start classifying people as Nigerian-American, Moroccan-American, etc. (I don’t see that happening.) OR, as you mentioned above, we could select a classification of our own (but, unfortunately, I don’t see that happening either. I think the goal these days is to just be “other.)

  14. Sisterlocgirl says:

    Hi Khadijah!
    A very deep post indeed. I am an African American woman and I cherish all that this term engenders. For a split second I too lamented the ” we need another moniker ” parade to separate ourselves from the ABCs of our country. My personal plan is to RECLAIM the term African American from the degenerate “blacks ” that surround us. As I tell my 17 year old nephew no one can define your African American for you. My heritage speaks to people who persevered, achieved, invented and accomplished despite the entire system being set up against them. I have NO EXCUSE for NOT achieving and I will accept no excuses for laziness. Yes, we are an endangered species but that makes those of us who have old school African American values stand out that much more. I can’t pretend to be something i’m not, and I have no energy left for engaging in various attempts at self deception. I refuse to dishonor the memory of my father, grandparents, aunts and uncles by trying to cast myself as ” other “. My African American is defined by intelligence, perseverance, hard work, pride, respect, dignity. There’s no room for the dysfunction of the ABC degenerates. Just my 2 cents. The people who benefit from our collective self hatred would be anyone who wants to piggyback on the hard work of the Civil Rights movement with minimal risk to self. And that list includes basically every self-proclaimed minority group in America.

    • Sisterlocgirl,

      Thank you for your kind words about the post; I truly appreciate it!

      You said, “My personal plan is to RECLAIM the term African American from the degenerate “blacks ” that surround us.”

      I would very much like to see that happen, and I do what I can on an individual level. I’m very vocal in dissenting from the depravity that new school AAs want to pretend represents AA values.

      The problem is that there are so few normal, old-school AAs who speak up anymore. A lot of they-think-they’re-well-meaning AAs (who should know better) are confused about the need to draw a line against the new school depravity. Many are also confused about the idea of AAs having and enforcing boundaries (the “we’ve always got to be nice to, and look out for, others” foolishness). And others know better, but they’re simply too cowardly to ever open their mouths. This is why I’m not optimistic about any of this.

      Expect Success!

      • Melissa Q. says:

        I do not believe that the majority of normal, old-school AA men are confused. I believe that they are afraid to do what needs to be done. I think they know, but they believe that they can’t do anything because situation is hopeless and the ship has sailed. (Scarily, this could be true now because of their inactivity and applying to some…self-centeredness). Likely, they have given up, ran off, and invested in the All BLACK MEN For Themselves Strategy™. LOL! I have many older female family members that that are old school, and have warned me against marrying/socializing with an AA man, and have suggested that I ‘check’ for Non-AAs to mate/marry. I believe that they see this degeneration, and want me to cut off from it.
        Men police other men, not women. We women don’t even have our male counterpart to do ‘check low/no value men’, since this is their job. Bill Cosby and other self-respecting AAs have bought this up, but their voices are in the minority. They have gone to the podium/TV and have spoke out about this, but their messages have fallen on deaf ears, because many didn’t want to listen and wanted to continue the “same-ol’ same-ol’ strategy”. This reminds me of something I learned of previously, the Normalcy bias.

        The normalcy bias refers to a mental state people enter when facing a disaster. It causes people to underestimate both the possibility of a disaster occurring and its possible effects. This often results in situations where people fail to adequately prepare for a disaster, and on a larger scale, the failure of the government to include the populace in its disaster preparations. The assumption that is made in the case of the normalcy bias is that since a disaster never has occurred that it never will occur. It also results in the inability of people to cope with a disaster once it occurs. People with a normalcy bias have difficulties reacting to something they have not experienced before. People also tend to interpret warnings in the most optimistic way possible, seizing on any ambiguities to infer a less serious situation.

        When the **** hits the fan, they will not know what to do, and there will be chaos. I do not want to find out what will happen if the entire US goes into a crisis…especially if the US dollar loses its Reserve Currency status, which provides many of our nice benefits in the good-ol’ USA.

        Many of the MEN that could have ‘checked’ this issue, the so called ‘good AAs’ have been corrupted. Many are beginning to spew some of this mess themselves. And the problem with the current situation is that it is going to be difficult, if not impossible, to ‘check’ these boundaries as the days go by and nothing is done. The percentage of corruption is too high. Even if these ‘good’ men rallied together and policed as they are supposed to do, it might be too late to salvage the “AA-Ship”.
        We need to follow the Tune Out Low/No-Value AAs Strategy™ and WRITE THEM OFF 100%. Have pride in the AA label, but cut yourself off to this so called ‘black culture’. Marry well, and manage your finances. Find a ‘safehouse’, a safer part of the USA, or even internationally that you can move to. And always make sure to diversify, or as they used to say, “don’t put too many of your eggs in one basket”. I have already started. When I meet the “ghetto ABC behavin’ crew” don’t even humor them. To me, they’re foreigners or ‘shamefully borrowing’ my ethnic label, nothing more than imposters.

        • Melissa Q.,

          You said, “I do not believe that the majority of normal, old-school AA men are confused.”

          Whenever I speak of AAs with old-school values, I’m talking about AA women. At this point, most of the AA men with old school values have already passed away. Or the ones who grew up in previous eras and therefore should know better have decided that it’d be more fun to adopt new school corruption (disgusting creatures like Morgan Freeman,etc.).

          I’d say that only around 2% of the AA men who are currently alive have old-school AA values. That’s such a small percentage that for all practical purposes, they’re nonexistent. I don’t factor them into any type of analysis—there are simply too few of them to make any difference about anything.

          Expect Success!

  15. Evia says:

    @Khadija, I’m not trying to convince anyone of anything or argue against your thorough covering of this issue. I’ve taken my own position and I’m satisfied with how I’ve benefited. That’s why I know the issue of identity is critical, however we each may be on a different path, to some extent. I often ask myself what is the difference between me and the next similar black woman who I observe receiving cruel blows from life, and it’s usually connected in various, sometimes intricate ways to how she identifies and/or what that identity means to her.

    that’s kind of like saying that Debra Dickerson’s choice to marry a WM and to raise critical questions about “Blackness” is what has caused the turmoil and distress in her life.

    I hear ya, but I would never connect those, just like I would never automatically connect her writing “The End of Blackness” to her marriage to a WM. Most so-called intelligent people tend to be more complex than that. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dealt with people who read my site or hear me express my views and think I have my views BECAUSE I’m married to a WM. LOL! I had virtually all of my views for a long time, even while I was married to my very black first husband.

    Personally, I know nothing of the turmoil in Dickerson’s life. I haven’t taken the time to read anything about it. Many bw have turmoil in their lives; she’s personally no more important to me than any of them.

    old school AA values were more or less comparable to other Western folks’ values. It’s this new school stuff that has mutated into something that does NOT resemble human norms.

    Yes, but the new school madness has taken control of the bw’s image. It dominates, without any doubt. It has submerged old school everything.

    The BLACK/AA woman as a “mule” was first mentioned to my knowledge by Zora Neale Hurston, (‘the black woman is the mule of the world’) so that’s been around for a long while. IMO, the “MULE” is a solid wall of steel in the AA/BW’s identity. Even new school bw are mules in most cases. They may be new school mules, but they’re still performing mule work, in MOST cases. Both the old school bw and the new school bw overwhelmingly consider the “mule” to be a part of the AA/BW’s identity. Other than that, the bulk of women of both of these groups would just walk away. It’s not actually benefiting them to hold up the “community.” On the positive side, if anyone wants to see a positive, I guess that’s one thing they have in common with each other.

    Anyway, I remember I went to a play about 8 years ago written by a Black/AA woman and I wept at one of the lines of a black woman character in the play who said the following to describe the lack of romance and tenderness in her parent’s relationship. She said, and I quote almost verbatim, “I would lie in bed and listen to my parents having sex. My father didn’t have sex with my mother; he rode her like a mule.” I cried because that captured so accurately the way I see so many AA/BW getting treated–volunteering to be worked like mules with no guaranteed reciprocity.

    • Evia,

      I don’t mind dissent; we’re all adults here. We can thoroughly discuss various points, and disagree on some points, without going crazy. {chuckling}

      You said, “I hear ya, but I would never connect those, just like I would never automatically connect her writing “The End of Blackness” to her marriage to a WM. Most so-called intelligent people tend to be more complex than that. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dealt with people who read my site or hear me express my views and think I have my views BECAUSE I’m married to a WM. LOL! I had virtually all of my views for a long time, even while I was married to my very black first husband.”

      It seems to me that you’re making my point—to describe AA Black ethnic identity as THE source of AA women’s suffering is to make a HUGE leap (one that’s imprecise and unjustified in my opinion).

      Now that I’ve thought a bit more about your comment, here’s my response:

      Their AA Black ethnic and racial identity isn’t what’s been causing AA women’s suffering. It’s AA Black women’s collective choice to humor AA males’ many and massive deficits that has been causing their suffering.

      You’ve previously talked about this. In fact, I quoted you at length talking about this during the post Catering To Damaged Black Men By Deliberately “Getting It Twisted”. In that post I quoted your statement that,

      Halima, virtually all of the confusion among bw regarding this issue and many others is due to bw contorting themselves to accommodate the damaged thinking and behavior of bm.

      Since the bulk of black males in the West have adopted the thinking and behaviors that are out of sync with the norms of most cultures, societies and groups in the world, black women suicidally adjust their thinking and behavior to follow suit. This is THE pattern of behavior of the masses of bw.

      For ex. I cannot imagine more than a handful (if even that many) of bw arguing that it’s fine for them to have massive numbers of children OOW by white men or Asian men. LOL! They would NEVER do that. It’s only because they’re having these children by black males who won’t marry them and assume the role of men and responsible fathers, that these women are making this foolish argument. Why? It’s because so many AA women and bw of that type have been programmed for centuries to adjust and (emphasis added by halima) be self-sacrificing for non-reciprocating, hateful bm..

      Well, that’s it! AA women continuously catering to increasingly defective AA males and their desires is the primary source of AA women’s problems; not their ethnic identity in and of itself. All this deranged new school mess boils down to accommodating damaged AA males and their refusal to perform the normal functions of men.

      It’s quite doable to maintain one’s AA ethnic identity while rejecting all the new school “getting it twisted” (mostly for the purpose of accommodating defective AA males) mess.

      Expect Success!

      • Zoopath says:

        Khadija said: It’s quite doable to maintain one’s AA ethnic identity while rejecting all the new school “getting it twisted” (mostly for the purpose of accomodating defective AA males) mess.

        Oooooo! I like that. I liken it to holding onto an stock that I know is valuable. Even if it isn’t trading very high these days. Once the company is under better management everyone else will recognize the value I’ve that has been there all along. However, expecting to control the image when there isn’t a quorum of decency isn’t very probable.

      • squarlymade says:

        Wow, Khadija-I really like how you precisely divided out what the real issue is! I recently ran into this with a friend. He’s a wm-a PHD medical professor graduated from Duke on a scholarship I’ll call him M.H. We’ve been spending a lot of time around each other and he’s been around my kids more and more-and we talk about social things in front of the kids. One day I spoke with him about things I’m uncomfortable with him talking about around my children concerning racial issues-because he may have a different opinion then the one I’m trying to raise my kids in. He comes from a place of always being alarmed and offended at racism-where as I just feel sorry for the people, and believe it derives from jealousy. I under stand why he’s always alarmed and ready to point out a discrepancy-he has an inside view into places that I don’t, he says he frequently is at parties where someone (at lest one) will use the n-word. He also was an RA at Duke University and says he’s 99% sure those guys raped that woman, because the guys there are ‘real jerks’ and so entitled and he went on to name all the disgusting things he had to deal with-with those frat boys and how he mostly had to cover for them because no-one wants to be the RA who gets them kicked of campus on their watch. But still I don’t think racial issues are a focus to quick point-out and get bent over by them. I told him that I have rich melanin in my skin and tightly coiled hair and those are the only things that connect me to or link me to being black( ‘PAB’ idea)-and he quickly pointed out that there were historical triumphs and other natural ethnic heritages that greatly define my creativities and unique abilities. I didn’t have a reply to that, but I thought about it, and it’s certainly true. There is more to ‘blackness’ then just hair and skin…there are other heritages that don’t need to be thrown out with the rejection of the fake ‘black’. Yes I’m an individual, but I also have all of those other wonder characteristic that have only and could only come from the perseverance that my family line held to. And those very unique characteristics are what attract great and wonderful things. I know for M.H.-he has an uncle who has been successfully married to a black woman for decades-and that relationship has been what has made him interested in seeing me-a black woman.

  16. Formavitae says:

    What you’re saying about groups clinging to their ethnic identities is something that I’ve only recognized and understood over the course of time, as I’ve spent more time in personal contact with others. In my Minority Politics class, it was mentioned how Hispanics and Asians didn’t see themselves as “Hispanics” or “Asians” but rather as “Mexicans”, “Chinese”, etc. The “Pan-” ethnic identity was something that was developing among these groups. But, I’ve noticed that these people cleave STRONGLY to their individual ethnic identities and distinctions.

    My current impression is that black American tendencies to cast off their identity as a group is their effort at escaping oppression. (Not a “rocket science” concept) But, my line of thought is that black Americans have become “entranced” and satisfied with REFLECTING an “image” of something rather than BEING something. What I mean is this. Black Americans have tried and have been successful at establishing their own businesses and infrastructure in the past. However, they were often penalized, sabotaged, and murdered when doing so. Over the course of time, for various reasons (all of which I do not know), blacks became more focused on having the material outcomes of infrastructure rather than having the infrastructure itself (ALONG with the material outcomes). So, LOOKING like a person who possesses a solid infrastructure was more meaningful (and attainable) than establishing and developing that infrastructure (much more difficult).

    To tie it into ethnic pride, I think it is fair to say that a sense of pride can motivate one to invest in their own community, cherish and protect their community members, behave in a manner that uplifts the name and image of the community, value and invest in children, etc. (Oh, gosh. I lost my train of thought.) But, suffice it to say, the ills of the current black American community have a strong relationship to our desire to maintain facades rather than developing substance (ethnic pride and independent infrastructure). You’re correct. Other groups do not have this problem. That’s why they are able to come to the U.S., establish businesses, and become highly competitive and wealthy. They establish a power base (because they are INDEPENDENTLY successful), while we gain the “privilege” of being labeled “other”, so that we can APPEAR to be more advantaged than what we are.

    As I mentioned before, I identify as “black” American rather than “African” American, because I view an “African” as a person who was born and/or raised in Africa, speaks the language(s), identifies with the land, etc. I consider us Americans who are “black” and have a shared history of slavery, etc. But, I still consider us (full) “Americans”, because this is the only context the majority of us have known for hundreds of years. Personally, I identify with the black American community from slavery to a little after the Civil Rights era (and the people who reflect those values/character). I know (you know) there were blacks in the U.S. prior to slavery. But, since I am a descendant of slaves, I identify with that lineage. I honestly don’t identify with the younger black “community” much anymore. For example, recently, a young black starlet was asked which black American woman she considered her hero (or something along those lines). She answered, Madame C.J. Walker, otherwise her hair wouldn’t be so straight. (No lie) When I heard that question, I immediately thought, “Harriet Tubman”, because I’ve absolutely looked up to her since I was a young kid and have always wanted to possess her personal strength and stamina. That’s just ONE example of the “disconnect” I feel with the future black “community”. So, I find myself attached to/identifying with the past but not so much the present or (seeming) future.

    • Formavitae,

      You said, “My current impression is that black American tendencies to cast off their identity as a group is their effort at escaping oppression. (Not a “rocket science” concept)”

      Yep, it reminds one of the Dr. Seuss story, The Sneetches, and the star-on/star-off machine (to put and remove stars on the sneetches’ bellies).

      You said, “But, my line of thought is that black Americans have become “entranced” and satisfied with REFLECTING an “image” of something rather than BEING something.”

      That’s one of several things that I’ve always found so appalling about the NAACP Image Awards. Note that they’re not called “Achievement” awards. {sigh}

      You said, “That’s just ONE example of the “disconnect” I feel with the future black “community”. So, I find myself attached to/identifying with the past but not so much the present or (seeming) future.”

      Well, that’s how I feel. I can’t—and don’t want to—relate to these deranged, new school mutants.

      Expect Success!

  17. Melissa says:

    This post is wonderful Khadija! You’ve articulated so much of what I think many people are thinking but cannot express it so well, so thank you for this.

    You said:
    “WHEN WHITES ARE LIVING AS AN EXTREMELY OUTNUMBERED MINORITY AMONG THE BLACKS THEY’VE CONQUERED. When you’re living among the people you’ve conquered as a very small minority, it’s in your extreme self-interest to keep the conquered population as divided as possible. For examples of this, see apartheid era South Africa, the island of Hispaniola (now Haiti and the Dominican Republic), and Louisiana during the French and Spanish colonial periods. Creating a hostile-to-Blacks, fifth column of “nonblacks” from among the conquered Black population was often a matter of physical survival for minority White ruling populations.”

    Living as the “Other” has very little benefit for the overall survival of any group. I think African Americans should be mindful that Whites will once again become a minority in the US in about 30 years. The same racial dynamics Whites used during slavery for survival will once again be used but maybe under another disguise, so it’s important that we learn from history and position ourselves better for when this happens so that we are not used the same way again. Also, with the growing Hispanic and Asian population, I really don’t think Whites will be really “checking” for African Americans like before when there is SO much more to gain from those other groups.

    • Melissa,

      Thank you for your kind words about the post; I truly appreciate it.

      You said, “I think African Americans should be mindful that Whites will once again become a minority in the US in about 30 years. The same racial dynamics Whites used during slavery for survival will once again be used but maybe under another disguise, so it’s important that we learn from history and position ourselves better for when this happens so that we are not used the same way again.”

      I agree—this is why White Americans have been expanding the definition of “Whiteness” over the past 2 decades. They want to keep a “White” majority for as long as possible, even if this means including some previously excluded, non-European others (Latinos, Arabs, part-Asians like Keanu Reeves, etc.) into the “White” definition.

      Yes, it would be good if AAs positioned ourselves to make the best use of these trends, but I believe we’re too confused and disorganized for that. I hate to be a “downer,” but we’re having a pragmatic, talk shop-type of conversation—and that’s how I see things. I hope I’m wrong.

      Expect Success!

  18. Evia says:

    Khadija, this is like trying to separate the white from the rice. The question is: is there a separation between a typical black/AA woman’s OWN identity and her strongly felt need to be a mule? I don’t think so in the overwhelming most cases. This is exactly why she consents to perform as a mule. Being a mule for the man, the children, the community, the church, etc. IS her basic identity and informs all of her functioning. I’m not talking about you and some of your readers. I’m talking about the typical AA woman.

    AA women continuously catering to increasingly defective AA males and their desires is the primary source of AA women’s problems; not their ethnic identity in and of itself. All this deranged new school mess boils down to accomodating damaged AA males and their refusal to perform the normal functions of men.

    Muledom has EVERYTHING to do with carrying the bulk of the burden in her relationship to the black man and the community, so the bm is virtually always involved. IMO, there is NO separation and that’s why I know he’s going to keep using that po’ bm, or “Black & suffering” card to keep using her. That’s his connection to the typical black/AA woman. If the typical AA/Black woman could shove the typical non-reciprocating bm off, she could soar in many instances or fly much higher. That’s why I’ve always known that in order to improve things for bw, they have to KNOW they have choices in men. Other than that, they will cling to the bm who uses “black”ness to control her.

    Halima’s current post details the numerous ways that bw cater to the madness of bm culture. That’s what I mean. If and when bw don’t do that, they’re quickly accused of hating bm and colluding with de evil wm to bring a ‘brotha’ down. IMO, her black/AA identity and embracing bm is inseparable for the typical bw.

    This is why as soon as I point out that bw ought to give wm consideration as mates, I’m accused of presenting wm as a “savior.”

    • Evia,

      You said, “Khadija, this is like trying to separate the white from the rice. The question is: is there a separation between a typical black/AA woman’s OWN identity and her strongly felt need to be a mule? I don’t think so in the overwhelming most cases. This is exactly why she consents to perform as a mule. Being a mule for the man, the children, the community, the church, etc. IS her basic identity and informs all of her functioning. I’m not talking about you and some of your readers. I’m talking about the typical AA woman.”

      We’ll have to agree to disagree on this particular point. Here’s why:

      Any AA woman who claims to do what she does because she’s so concerned about the AA children, the AA community, and the AA church NEEDS to drop catering to AA males. Sincerely caring about all of that stuff is a powerful reason to drop catering to AA Negro males. Because AA males have disconnected themselves from ALL of those entitities!

      AA Negro males are OUTSIDE the church.

      AA Negro males have disavowed any responsibility for the so-called community.

      AA Negro males have also disavowed any responsibility for the fate of AA children.

      One cannot sincerely support the church (which purports to be operating based on Godly values, like integrity)…

      …the so-called community…

      …or AA children AND cater to AA males at the same time. You can’t serve “both masters” because everything that AA Negro males desire is contrary to the survival of the Black church, the so-called community, and AA children.

      Everything AA Negro males want brings death and destruction to the Black church, the so-called community, and AA children.

      So these AA female mules are NOT sincerely following traditional AA values. And their muling is not about the Black church, the so-called community, and AA children. It’s about their idolatry of AA Negro males. And they use church, community and children as a cover story for what’s actually their idolatry of AA males. Because anybody who is actually serving those 3 entities (church, community, and children) HAS to cut the vast majority of AA Negro males loose!

      In fact, at this point, I believe one can measure the sincerity and effectiveness of anybody’s purported service to AA church, community, and children by the amount of distance they’ve put between themselves and DBR AA males and these DBR AA males’ wishes. Because it’s impossible to do any good deeds while humoring the whims of defective AA males.

      Anybody who wants to be true to traditional, old school AA values needs to cut new school AA Negro males loose. With a quickness.

      Expect Success!

  19. Vinindy says:

    I am a black woman, with dark skin, I could not pass for anything but black. I understand E’s PAB post, in the generic I am seen (without knowledge of me personally) as the mule of the BC because of my femaleness and dark-skin. (or assert anything else non feminine) I am not that. I respect K’s insight, and thought provoking post on the ramifications of opting out of black. What happens to me/where/who am I if decide to not be black?

    However, in my opinion, the single most significant issue is that the discussion is taking place – identity as it relates to black women descendants of African slaves brought to America. But I’m not in a black power feminist university course: I’m in cyber space. Wow. My ancestors would be proud of that.

  20. Evia says:

    This is my last comment on this thought-provoking topic. I think the typical AA women is at a critical crossroad.

    @ Vinindy re:
    I am a black woman, with dark skin, I could not pass for anything but black.

    This has NOTHING to do with complexion. The culprit is the THOUGHT System embraced by the overwhelming most of AA/Black women of ALL complexions. It’s a thought system that is anti the interests of black women in the short or long run. The overwhelming MOST of bw are mules, including the very lightest of them. Complexion has no bearing on this.

    I just came from a BW’s function at a gorgeous church and 98% of the women there were AA/Black women. When the topic of men came up, the highly popular lead speaker (an AA/BW) urged the women to (1) work on their men or their husbands, to teach them how to be better men and to never give up. Or (2) they should just accept them the way they are since God made them that way. So in addition to already carrying the bulk of the load, those women also have to now “train” bm or just accept them as they are. They were told it’s the Godly thing to do. SMH

    ALL of those BW (light bright to dark chocolate) sat their nodding their heads. Everything that MOST AAs spout is a part of the indoctrination of AA/bw to remain mules. That’s why I say it’s impossible to separate bw’s muledom from their identity without intense de-programming, re-programming, and then separation from the poison channel (other AAs).

    By saying I’m a PAB, I mean that I’m a woman of AA descent who is labeled as “black”, but I do not hold or embrace the VALUES of the vast majority of AA/black women of practically any age. My thought system is almost entirely different. I’m convinced that you are what you think you are. The overwhelming MOST of bw these days are NEW SCHOOL, non-common-sense thinking AA women, and suicidal-prone. Even many older (50+) AA women have also succumbed to new school thought or won’t really criticize it. That new school, abc bw has become the face of the AA/Bw. That’s just a fact. However, that face does not represent me, at all. So, I’m merely passing as a black/AA woman, a PAB.

    • Faith Dow says:

      Your thoughts on this subject are very nuanced, but Evia you know any use of “passing” and “black” is going to evoke that negative legacy of denial of “blackness”. Perhaps not to YOU, but who else is in that type of position to be able to make that type of break/distinction with their integrity and pride intact?

  21. Formavitae says:

    I just finished your post. I see you covered several topics I mentioned, but in more detail. Thanks for the history lesson.

    Political Science broke my heart. More accurately, Political Science, COMBINED WITH AFRICAN HISTORY, broke my heart. After studying those subjects, I realized racism and prejudice weren’t the result of ignorance or unfamiliarity, but rather were the conscious choices of people who were trying to secure certain measures of power and resources. I realized bigotry and racism would never go away, because too many people were invested in the system (whites and nonwhites alike).

    I agree with your assessment of the reasons why various people support the “something other than black” campaigns. I have struggled with how I will identify my children, since I intend to marry a nonblack man. I was staunch in my belief that they should be classified as “black”. However, I began to fear that identifying so strongly as “black” would also lead them to feel comfortable identifying with other “black” characteristics I didn’t approve of. On the other hand, I didn’t want my children viewing themselves as “nonblack”. I finally achieved my own peace of mind by deciding to raise my children to be proud of themselves and to embrace/acknowledge (WITH PRIDE) their black heritage. They can choose how to classify themselves, once they become adults. The most important thing to me is that my descendants are highly educated, successful, capable of developing/growing infrastructure, honorable to God, and TRUE leaders rather than followers, with STRONG families.

    When I think of the kind of man I want to marry, there are many communities of color that don’t attract my interest, because they are so racist and unproductive. While I’ve always wanted my resources and those of my ancestors to stay in the hands of “people of color”, I find that I don’t want the nasty attitudes of many of these people passed down through my lineage. At times, it seems the best way for me to have children who don’t feel “superior” because they are mixed or “inferior” because they have a black mother is to give them a white father. Go figure. As it currently stands, I only have interest in whites and a (VERY) few of the Asian groups.

    But, back to the topic at hand, blacks are the DEFINITE LOSERS of reclassification. I just don’t see how it can be avoided. Blacks are already doing the same thing to themselves through breeding. They’ve been sticking to the notion that “mixed is still black”, to justify their efforts to eradicate their Negroid characteristics. I say it’s probably time to cut the BS and just let blacks go ahead and classify as “other”. When the (more visible) members who have extreme wealth and influence are running away from black designation (e.g. Russell Simmons, Beyonce) and choosing to become enriched by the black population without making a substantive investment in them, “the writing is on the wall”. Black Americans have just become a mechanism for other groups to gain wealth, power, and privilege they would not likely achieve on their own. Blacks have ceased to have much value to each other or their own selves. Black men are valued for the easy, frivolous, and massive wealth transfers they provide (if they are fortunate enough to attain wealth in the first place). The days and pride of the Civil Rights era black community is over. There are a few remaining survivors and those of us who have been raised with those values and aspirations. I think black women are going to need to keep an “individualized” focus to secure their own success. This post just highlights another challenge we will likely face in the near future. I am going to do my best to instill pride in black American heritage, into the hearts of my children. Then, hopefully, they will bring honor to that heritage, with their lives.

  22. Formavitae,

    You said, “While I’ve always wanted my resources and those of my ancestors to stay in the hands of “people of color”, I find that I don’t want the nasty attitudes of many of these people passed down through my lineage. At times, it seems the best way for me to have children who don’t feel “superior” because they are mixed or “inferior” because they have a black mother is to give them a white father. Go figure.”

    Well, that’s the reality that I’ve observed. The bulk of these other “people of color” are vicious, nasty racists who are FAR WORSE racists than most of the Whites one will encounter.

    You said, “But, back to the topic at hand, blacks are the DEFINITE LOSERS of reclassification. I just don’t see how it can be avoided. Blacks are already doing the same thing to themselves through breeding. They’ve been sticking to the notion that “mixed is still black”, to justify their efforts to eradicate their Negroid characteristics. I say it’s probably time to cut the BS and just let blacks go ahead and classify as “other”. When the (more visible) members who have extreme wealth and influence are running away from black designation (e.g. Russell Simmons, Beyonce) and choosing to become enriched by the black population without making a substantive investment in them, “the writing is on the wall”.”

    Indeed. With a connect-the-dots map added on for those AA women who are paying attention. With their chasing of ever lighter, brighter, and Whiter women, AA males have been on a “work the West African features out” breeding program for decades.

    You said, “Black Americans have just become a mechanism for other groups to gain wealth, power, and privilege they would not likely achieve on their own.”

    Yes, again.

    You said, “Black men are valued for the easy, frivolous, and massive wealth transfers they provide (if they are fortunate enough to attain wealth in the first place).”

    Yep.

    You said, “There are a few remaining survivors and those of us who have been raised with those values and aspirations. I think black women are going to need to keep an “individualized” focus to secure their own success. This post just highlights another challenge we will likely face in the near future.”

    I totally agree. This is why I’m pushing AA women to get in the habit of always asking “What’s in it for me?”. There are lots of different folks who benefit from AA women continuing to take ourselves out of the global competition, and continuing to engage in suicide-martyrdom behaviors.

    There aren’t any “mainstream” AA voices who will give AA women good advice. All these folks that most AA women listen to (from Steve Harvey down the line of other corrupt voices) have a vested interest in continuing to deliberately give AA women and girls bad, life-damaging advice. So AA women are going to have to learn how to stay focused on advancing their own interests.

    Instead of listening to stupid, lack of common sense, okey-doke like silly arguments against the same one-drop policy that Latinos are using to boost their political power in the US.

    Expect Success!

    • Formavitae says:

      Black American men sabotage their women on purpose. On other blogs, I’ve told black females to stop doing things black males encourage them to do then turn around and “slap them in the face” for. Furthermore, the things black American women do to “appeal” to their men makes them unattractive to the rest of the men in the world–in other words, THE MAJORITY (I know you know that).

      I, too, have noticed how people don’t have a problem with mixed people being labeled “Hispanic/Latino”. It’s only when they’re labeled “black/AA” that it becomes a problem. I’ve hypothesized that the reason people (of color) get upset is because if someone who looks like them or is “whiter” than them can be considered “black”, what does that make them? (You KNOW how these other groups LOVE denying their African ancestry, even when it’s as obvious as the nose on their faces.) Otherwise, why does/would anyone care what a black person calls their child? People only want to influence what goes on in the black community to secure their own interests. They have no concern for us. But, as long as the black man can get up a nonblack woman’s skirts, he’ll give away the keys to his “kingdom”. (That’s why he WON’T be having any control over MY resources.)

      As an aside that illustrates the folly of the black man and that black women need to “wake up and smell the coffee”: The actor Tracy Morgan got his former black fiancee to donate one of her kidneys (he didn’t ask his brother, momma, or other family members…mind you). He (had already possibly) left her for a white female. (Living off her kidney, with his bad habits.) I see that he now has an Asian female. (I guess the white female got tired of him being sick and half “broke down”.) I wonder how long this Asian lady will last. Now, having endured the suffering of surgery, his former fiancee only has one kidney to preserve her own life, with none to spare for her own momma. But, hey, he paid the medical bills. I guess that makes it a “fair trade”. It’s TRULY TIME for black women to ask, “WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?!”

      Keep telling the truth!

    • Formavitae,

      You said, ” People only want to influence what goes on in the black community to secure their own interests. They have no concern for us.”

      Exactly. I don’t blame the outsiders for using situations to their advantage; that’s what sensible people do. I blame AAs for being so stupid and gullible. “Find a fool, bump their head.”

      You said, “As an aside that illustrates the folly of the black man and that black women need to “wake up and smell the coffee”: The actor Tracy Morgan got his former black fiancee to donate one of her kidneys (he didn’t ask his brother, momma, or other family members…mind you). He (had already possibly) left her for a white female. (Living off her kidney, with his bad habits.) I see that he now has an Asian female. (I guess the white female got tired of him being sick and half “broke down”.) I wonder how long this Asian lady will last. Now, having endured the suffering of surgery, his former fiancee only has one kidney to preserve her own life, with none to spare for her own momma. But, hey, he paid the medical bills. I guess that makes it a “fair trade”. It’s TRULY TIME for black women to ask, “WHAT’S IN IT FOR ME?!”

      Oh, wow…just wow. {shaking my head} Yet another example of “Find a fool, bump their head.” Wow…

      Expect Success!

  23. [...] else (including non-AA blacks) got ahead of us in society. Go read the definitive essay on the analysis of African-American ethnic identification at Sojourner’s Passport and let it sit with you for a [...]

  24. Faith Dow says:

    Here are my stream of conscious thoughts unedited:

    AAs have allowed the collective to be sucked into and defined by the Vortex Of Coonery. We don’t need to list the examples or the statistics that bear this out. We’ve been discussing these various trends and the mentalities that create and fuel them for quite some time.

    As always thank you for this detailed and nuanced conversation. It was needed and I am satisfied with the way you’ve defined it as well. Individuals may do as they please but what happens is everybody else picks up on something without weighing the costs or consideration all of the ramifications and go off the deep end with a concept that may have had merit under very specific circumstances within a limited time frame.

    For example when you discussed steering AA girls to choosing “alpha” dominant males because of the succession of comments at my and other forums I felt it was important to remind BW to not go from chasing after DBRs to assuming they should then only focus on the next Bill Gates ignoring the majority of decent men.

    There’s such a huge pendulum swing of extremism rampant amongst AAs. It’s like a bird that flies into a glass door to get to the other side – repeatedly. We’ve had to continually place caveats and clauses into every point and counterpoint and it gets tiring.

    Just because some (many? most?) blacks and AAs specifically act “a fool” does not mean we throw away the baby with the bathwater. I want to also add that I’m not keen on allowing interlopers and infiltrators take over the BWE title either. The same with discussing how we position ourselves to find and marry stable and accomplished men. I as an individual cannot choose the behavior of others, nor as a woman can I police the behavior of the DBRs and their helpers but I can make all the changes I need in my life to move ahead and lead by example showing the best of the core values and ethnic pride that more African-Americans once held in higher numbers as a people.

    The “AA wheel” is going to continue turning whether I’m present or not. I’d at least like to participate in greasing it since everybody else in the world (as represented by their ethnic, racial and social group) will be present.

    We have to stand and take a stand in order to be counted. The silence from many who do know better is even more galling than what would be making an end-run or taking corrective measures to addresses the coonery, apathy and denigration.

    There’s a nuance at play in self-determination that others may miss. I may refer to myself as a Bohemian Mocha Princess but obviously I am black. Since many blacks and even outsiders (non-blacks) use the AA classification interchangeably it must be addressed.

    I’ve always appreciated the fact you stood up for our heritage online as you clearly do in real life.

    As to the matter of defining AA heritage as solely one of pain, I think many of us can recognize that is how many other AAs define themselves, some of whom are famous and wealthy, like Oprah imo. Yet, that stems from unexamined and long-held viewpoints related to suffering, struggling and “getting over”.

    They define black = AA = Pain/Struggle/Strife/Slavery. It’s why it’s often one of the first excuses used for mediocrity and lack of accountability. It fuels the white hegemony fight. It removes the “burden” of responsibility from individuals if they can say “this is what happened to my ancestors and I am forever messed up because of it”.

    Yet, we live in Western society and built this country. Our physical and intellectual capital still benefits everyone else but us collectively based on how “we” view ourselves. As losers. Really, it’s spitting in God’s face and we reject the abundance we’ve worked for and deserve.

    There is also the Spirit Of Sabotage at play here and too many of us have listened to the Flat Earth Theorists and voices of diminished capacity. We’ve also squandered opportunities. Everyone else benefits from our chaos and confusion about our place in the world. It’s time we address it, learn and move on. I believe this will be done as individuals and small groups, not the masses. Yet, these conversations will be helpful in our own personal evaluations and will encourage others to change course or stand firm(er) in who they are.

    The same way we are realizing our true value and beauty as seen through the eyes of non-blacks, we have to move out of the toxic environments to get a clear picture.

    I do know we who have pride and confidence and reject the death mentality of the dead black community as well as some outsiders who want to place us in boxes have to face off against that. Still, I cannot in good conscience give up on the sacrifices my ancestors made so that the future generations would benefit. Perhaps if they’d known what was to come – overall benefits for a few but the mass collective spiraling the drain they would’ve ended it all right there. Yet, we must have hope. We have the desire to address these evils and our complicity as part of divine order. This was meant to be. I don’t know the outcome of these conversations, but I know they have benefit.

    It’s telling how Evia mentioned Oprah because she epitomizes this dichotomy of success and sabotage we must fight against. Her refusal to get professional help in addressing the sexual abuse she’s “survived” is galling. It would anger me but it’s her (diminished) life – despite her wealth, friends and perks. This is why it’s so much better to resolve the “pain” than letting it define you and influence every aspect of your life in ways we can’t imagine.

    I think some will benefit from mentioning how those of us 4 + generations ago whose ancestors built this country went from Negro, Afro-American to African American (not even going to mention any variation of the N word).

    Jessie Jackson, Sr. has been credited for coining the term African-American. Yet the irony of his touting a “rainbow coalition” that is counterproductive for AA self-interest is not forgotten. It’s not the identity per se – it’s the meaning attached to the identity that’s the issue here. We could be black, purple or starfish. Changing the name won’t address the dysfunction or the mentality. Is someone going to see themselves differently on Wednesday than on Sunday just because the day is labeled something else?

    If there is a “need” to be a mule it’s due to indoctrination and an imposed limited capacity because it’s suicidal thinking. It’s a misappropriation of a so-called Christian tenet. (Which I see you’ve mentioned).

    • Faith,

      You’re welcome!

      You said, “Individuals may do as they please but what happens is everybody else picks up on something without weighing the costs or consideration all of the ramifications and go off the deep end with a concept that may have had merit under very specific circumstances within a limited time frame.”

      What’s scary is that most AAs are too stupid-on-purpose to consider that there’s always some type of price tag attached to any idea. And that it’s better to consider the price before signing onto something. We want to focus on how good certain ideas make us feel; as opposed to considering yucky details like what these ideas will cost us.

      I think about all the I Checked The Box For Everything And Anything BUT Black On The Census-AA morons who are gleefully checking the boxes for anything and everything but Black on every government form they can get their hands on. All because they’re caught up in the rapture of feeling a little bit less Black. These same stupid individuals will look up a couple of years from now and wonder why being a native speaker of Spanish (= Latino) has become a REQUIREMENT for the “good government” jobs and other jobs they’re seeking in their area.

      And when these I Checked The Box For Everything And Anything BUT Black On The Census-AA idiots find themselves moaning, groaning, and crying the blues about how they can’t get hired, they won’t see the connection between their joblessness and the Latinos having the political power to shut ALL non-Latinos out of the job market—like Latinos have already done in places like Miami!

      You said, “For example when you discussed steering AA girls to choosing “alpha” dominant males because of the succession of comments at my and other forums I felt it was important to remind BW to not go from chasing after DBRs to assuming they should then only focus on the next Bill Gates ignoring the majority of decent men.”

      That sort of twisting of a common sense idea was another example of stupidity-on-purpose. It’s tiresome.

      You said, “I’ve always appreciated the fact you stood up for our heritage online as you clearly do in real life.”

      Thanks. It’s disturbing to see how few defenders we have. And how little self-determination we have or even want to have for ourselves.

      You said, “As to the matter of defining AA heritage as solely one of pain, I think many of us can recognize that is how many other AAs define themselves, some of whom are famous and wealthy, like Oprah imo.”

      I see that, and it’s as galling to me as the Black folks who said The Cosby Show couldn’t possibly be an accurate representation of an AA family and AA family life. All because the AA family in The Cosby Show was affluent, healthy, happy—and normal, unlike the class-envy-hateration-based caricatures of affluent AAs presented by The Fresh Prince TV show.

      You said, “Yet, we live in Western society and built this country. Our physical and intellectual capital still benefits everyone else but us collectively based on how “we” view ourselves. As losers. Really, it’s spitting in God’s face and we reject the abundance we’ve worked for and deserve.

      …Everyone else benefits from our chaos and confusion about our place in the world. It’s time we address it, learn and move on. I believe this will be done as individuals and small groups, not the masses.”

      I agree.

      Expect Success!

      • Faith Dow says:

        I know a Latina who has been denied similar access for not speaking Spanish as TPTB have now dictated as a requirement. Still, she got her foot in the door – that will be denied up front to AAs. I don’t want to venture too far off topic, but there’s that additional angle of how it’s often the immigrants who are also enforcing a draconian interpretation of “ness” that they will apply across the board as they position themselves for dominance. Unless there’s going to be new political and social capital from the “mixed/other” population they’re going to have to pick one at the end of the day. We already know whites are not going to let part-blacks in no matter what. I suppose some of them are hoping for a reversal by clinging to the belief that “white” will be a minority. I just don’t see that happening.

      • Faith,

        You said, “I don’t want to venture too far off topic, but there’s that additional angle of how it’s often the immigrants who are also enforcing a draconian interpretation of “ness” that they will apply across the board as they position themselves for dominance. Unless there’s going to be new political and social capital from the “mixed/other” population they’re going to have to pick one at the end of the day. We already know whites are not going to let part-blacks in no matter what. I suppose some of them are hoping for a reversal by clinging to the belief that “white” will be a minority. I just don’t see that happening.”

        I expect that the visibly half-Black self-proclaimed biracials, Cablanasians, and other multiculturals will have a very nasty surprise when Latinos and Asians become entrenched as the political powers that be in the US. Latinos and Asians come from countries that DON’T even have the pretense of being nonracist, open societies.

        There’s a reason why Kimora Lee Simmons has to market her trash to silly AAs. Her Asian peeps are NOT interested in her. This reminds me of a very interesting experience a friend had. She and her family went on vacation in Vietnam a couple of years ago. She was surprised that she didn’t see a single Amerasian person who was in the age range to have been born during the US portion of the Vietnam War. Not a single one.

        When she asked the various Vietnamese tour guides about what had happened to all those Amerasian children US troops had sired, they played coy and claimed that “all” of those kids had been sent to the US shortly after the war ended. Well…that’s not plausible. {eye roll}

        What’s more plausible is that the Vietnamese folks KILLED the bulk of those half-American children that they could visually identify as half-non-Asian. As ruthless and evil as that was, I can see the pragmatic, self-protective reason why they did that. Because they didn’t want to have a fifth column of dangerous, disloyal “biracials” or “creoles” sabotaging their [Communist] society from the inside.

        Which is exactly what the bulk of those half-American children would have grown up to do. I can hear it already. A bunch of so-called “tragic mulatto”-type of “tragic Amerasians” talking about how they “can’t” be loyal to Vietnam or the Vietnamese people because after all, they’re half American too…blah, blah, blah.

        The US government would have been able to use those half-American children the same way French and Spanish colonial slaveholders used their sexual creations—as a means of divide, disrupt, and (remote) control over Vietnam. Well, it appears that the Vietnamese stopped anything like that from happening before it could even get started.

        Anyhoo, visible half-Blacks like Tiger Woods get by on the sufferance of those individual Anglo White Americans who, for their own personal advantage, play along with them. The bulk of Asians don’t have any affection for, or predisposition to being bothered with, anybody with visible Black heritage. And the bulk of Latinos are racist against their own countrymen who have visible Black ancestry. They certainly have no affection for non-Latino half-Blacks.

        So, Tiger Woods and his ilk are in for a rude awakening when Asians and Latinos become entrenched as the powers that be. But that’s not my concern.

        Expect Success!

        • Trenia says:

          This is interesting, I’ve been to Vietnam and traveled around with a small group of friends and my experience was the exact opposite. I saw many descendants of those Vietnam vets, the Vietnamese people were also very warm and embracing. Additionally, in the natural history museum in Ho Chi Minh City there are replicas of people from ancient Vietnamese civilizations with very negroid facial features.

          I guess it just depends on your experience.

          • Trenia,

            I’ve never been to Vietnam. I’m just repeating what my friend described of her experience. She said that the Vietnamese she encountered were friendly enough (to tourists such as herself). But that she was struck by how she didn’t see a a single Amerasian person who was in the age range to have been born during the US portion of the Vietnam War. Not one. Which seemed odd to her.

            Expect Success!

  25. Oshun/Aphrodite says:

    This is a really powerful conversation.

    I honestly have never given this much thought as it never occurred to me to not claim AA. Particularly after the conversation that we had – I can’t remember if it were here or at Muslim Bushido about AA identity, not knowing what AA meant etc. I went back and did family research/history in addition to AA history and found things that make me proud and strengthen my emotional attachment to the label/term African American.

    I can’t remember who posted the comment earlier about the term African American more accurately describing someone directly from Africa. I disagree. We were here first. They would not be here if it were not for us. We don’t know our specific origins, but they do. I see nothing wrong with terms such as Nigerian American for example. In my mind that is no different than Italian American or Cuban American. Both labels are based on country and ethnicity. In my mind that is more appropriate and accurate.

    In asking who benefits as others have stated it would be the group with the power – more political/financial/social clout for them.

    As you stated in the post I agree that AAs lose – as well as all the off black folks. I thought of Brazil when you mentioned the DR. Brazil has a large slave descended population and worked hard to create lots of off black folks. I can’t remember the quote in Portugese but it was something to the effect of “there is no racism here”. But whenever I watch amateur videos online and documentaries I see lots of off black folks: the beloved morenas, and even some that can pass the eyeball test for a white ethnic – walled in alongside regular black looking folks in the favelas.

    I think that something like this has the potential to make everything 10 times worse than it already is for AAs It could dial everything back to 1940 as if the civil rights movement never happened and everyone else (like they currently do) will continue to benefit from the spoils and hard work of our ancestors. Time as you and other have said is running out and there is some defacto amount of this going on, but a larger number of people would hasten the process.

    • Oshun/Aphrodite,

      You said, “I honestly have never given this much thought as it never occurred to me to not claim AA. Particularly after the conversation that we had – I can’t remember if it were here or at Muslim Bushido about AA identity, not knowing what AA meant etc. I went back and did family research/history in addition to AA history and found things that make me proud and strengthen my emotional attachment to the label/term African American.”

      You’re referring to THIS POST from the previous blog. I would urge those AA readers who haven’t already seen it to take the time to read. During that post, I said:

      I’m saying all of this to say that nature abhors a vacuum. You CANNOT successfully walk the sojourner’s path while trying to be an ethnicity-neutral, blank slate. You will end up as a refugee.

      The world is filled with others who have at least some semblance of ethnic self-respect and pride. Whenever “nothing” encounters “something,” the “nothing” loses out! If you try to travel among others as a “blank slate,” you will lose out.

      As sojourners we need to honestly work through the following questions because the answers we find determine the fate of our individual journeys and the path itself:

      1. Do you feel good about being an African-American woman?

      2. If not, are you going to look into your family history and our people’s collective history to FIND reasons to feel good about being an African-American woman? If we search, we will find something and somebody within our family tree to be proud of. I’m not talking about “history book” types of achievements. I’m talking about the wisdom, perseverance, and courage that our forebears had. If at least several somebodies within your personal family tree didn’t have those qualities, then they wouldn’t have survived. And you wouldn’t be here.

      I’ll be blunt. A lot of times, we try to do things the lazy way. The “business as usual” way. Well, the sojourner’s path does NOT work like that. You’re going to have to make an effort, go out of your way, and do some internal work if you want to travel the path successfully.

      African-Americans are so vulnerable to becoming refugees because we generally don’t make the effort to find out about our OWN proud history and true culture.

      Bottom Line: When we fail to protect our ethnic self-respect, even our solutions become new, self-destructive problems. This is exactly what our people have done with previous paths such as integration and multiculturalism. As a result of not securing our ethnic self-respect, many of us have started performing guard dog and Mammy services for other people (nonblacks, foreign Blacks, “biracials,” and so on).

      You said, “I can’t remember who posted the comment earlier about the term African American more accurately describing someone directly from Africa. I disagree. We were here first. They would not be here if it were not for us.”

      Let me amplify this point for unaware AA readers by repeating something I mentioned during an earlier post:

      BEFORE THE AFRICAN-AMERICAN CIVIL RIGHTS MOVEMENT, WHITE AMERICANS WERE ADAMANT ABOUT KEEPING NON-WHITE IMMIGRANTS OUT OF THIS COUNTRY

      For me, the starting point of any squabble with non-White, non-European immigrants is the fact that my people’s Civil Rights Movement led to, and influenced, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965. Prior to African-Americans’ Civil Rights Movement, White Americans were quite clear about keeping non-Europeans out of this country.

      You said, “As you stated in the post I agree that AAs lose – as well as all the off black folks. I thought of Brazil when you mentioned the DR. Brazil has a large slave descended population and worked hard to create lots of off black folks. I can’t remember the quote in Portugese but it was something to the effect of “there is no racism here”. But whenever I watch amateur videos online and documentaries I see lots of off black folks: the beloved morenas, and even some that can pass the eyeball test for a white ethnic – walled in alongside regular black looking folks in the favelas.”

      Oh yes, I also thought of Brazil. And Cuba, for that matter, with its off-White ruling class presiding over multitudes of Blacks. I felt the Dominican Republic and its Parsley Massacre can serve as a warning about what racist nonblack-Blacks are capable of doing to the remaining Black-Blacks.

      You said, “I think that something like this has the potential to make everything 10 times worse than it already is for AAs It could dial everything back to 1940 as if the civil rights movement never happened and everyone else (like they currently do) will continue to benefit from the spoils and hard work of our ancestors.”

      Well, that’s where this is headed in my opinion. I hope I’m wrong about this. I believe that when the I Checked The Box For Everything And Anything BUT Black On The Census-AA morons finish the process of causing AAs—themselves included—to be politically voiceless and powerless, I expect VERY bad things to happen. As I asked another reader, how did that first Reconstruction experience of being politically voiceless and powerless work out for AAs?

      All of this is yet another reason I don’t plan on being stuck with no options other than living in the US.

      Expect Success!

    • Formavitae says:

      Oshun/Aphrodite,

      I’m the one who considers “African” to be a proper label for people who were born/raised in Africa. I understand the perspective of those who consider “African American” to be a proper classification for American blacks. I personally feel that the way whites can say they are “American” without having to add a “qualifier” is also a “right” of black Americans. Again, I feel that if I went to Africa today, I would physically look like many people there, but I wouldn’t know the language, customs, etc. of the various communities there. I wouldn’t look at the land and feel like I was “home”. “Home” for me (unfortunately–LOL!) is Ohio, USA. No matter how much I LOVE to leave and visit other places, when I’m driving across the Ohio countryside (I’m from the city), that’s when I feel “at home”. I would approach a trip to Africa the way I would approach a trip to China, Italy, Chile, etc. I identify with African blacks and dark peoples all over the world, but I consider myself “American”.

      You mentioned Brazil. I took a Latin American government class in undergrad, and Brazil was one of the countries we studied. First of all, the disparity in wealth/opportunity in that country is RIDICULOUS. Studying Brazil and Chile (history pre- intra- post- Pinochet) made me SO THANKFUL to be a U.S. citizen, and I realized how FORTUNATE we are as Americans (relative to so many other people). I lament the idea that the U.S. would become like Brazil. But, I could see us moving in that direction (at least in terms of social organization) as the numbers of Hispanics and people who think like them increase in proportion and influence. People constantly benefit from the struggles and sacrifices of black Americans, but they aren’t grateful and don’t want to acknowledge that they SHOULD BE. As I stated above, black Americans are primarily used to help other people advance within this society. And, it’s the blacks’ (men particularly) OWN FAULT. Blacks LOVE to be “the wind beneath the wings” of others, whilst being the “millstone around the neck” of their own. All of this is a “bit much” for me emotionally. So, I have withdrawn and now focus on my family and descendants. It appears the path has been charted and a “change of course” is unlikely.

  26. Melanie says:

    I understand your point regarding the political clout of AA being diminished by some choosing to be labeled anything but black. And you have stated in the past that as more ‘people of color’ obtain more political clout AA can forget about playing on any white guilt in order obtain political favors. These other people of color are not having it. But for me most of what is considered ‘good’ for AA politically I believe is bad for the AA soul. When one thinks of ‘black’ political issues it’s usually something to do with things for the poor that son;t actually help the poor move out of the ranks of the poor…just keeps them there. If you are against afirmative action (the type where there are quotas etc instead of increased outreach) then you are not on the same page as those who believe this is a win for AA. If you think that there should be a limit on welfare benefits then again you are against what is supposed to be good for AA. I don’t believe that these programs are good for AA, nor do I believe that these programs have much of a future due to the changing demos.

    • Melanie,

      You said, “I understand your point regarding the political clout of AA being diminished by some choosing to be labeled anything but black. And you have stated in the past that as more ‘people of color’ obtain more political clout AA can forget about playing on any white guilt in order obtain political favors. These other people of color are not having it. But for me most of what is considered ‘good’ for AA politically I believe is bad for the AA soul. When one thinks of ‘black’ political issues it’s usually something to do with things for the poor that son;t actually help the poor move out of the ranks of the poor…just keeps them there.”

      With all due respect, the assumptions underlying what you’re saying are incredibly short-sighted.

      Assumption #1: You’re assuming that only the policies you don’t like would be cut after AAs become politically voiceless and powerless. How do you know this? You’re also assuming that anything any significant number of AA voters want will always be something you feel is harmful. Yesterday, today, and forever more. How do you know that?

      It reminds me of the “Reagan Democrat” type of blue-collar White voter. Or to put it in the modern era, the White police and firefighters in Wisconsin and other places who voted for Tea Party lunatics—without realizing that the Tea Party nuts’ policies could/would adversely affect THEM also. They assumed that the Tea Party politicians would only make cuts that affect what they perceived to be programs that AAs use or benefit from. Well, they found out the hard way that this was not the case.

      Assumption #2: The assumption that it can somehow be safe to be politically voiceless and powerless. Why would anybody ever think that? How can anybody not understand how incredibly dangerous it is to be voiceless and powerless in this (or any) country? Especially given AAs’ past historical experiences of what sorts of things were done to us while we were politically voiceless and powerless. How did that first Reconstruction experience of having no political representation work out for our people?

      Considering Nos. 1 and 2, how does it benefit you or any other individual AA for AAs to have no political representation? How does it benefit you or any other individual AA for AAs to be voiceless and powerless?

      I don’t get that. It’s always better to have a voice and a choice. What one decides to do with that is a separate issue. One can always make course corrections when one has choices. To be powerless is never a good thing.

      Expect Success!

  27. Missy says:

    As an AA woman who married a South African coloured, your post has me sitting here thinking about all the boxes I check for my children and why I check them. Who benefits? (Certainly them if I check Black for scholarship opportunities.) You cut down to the nitty-gritty of it all and I will take this moment to be honest with myself and stop trying to be cute with checking all those other ethnic boxes. Thanks for continuing to shine the bright light on AAW areas of self-defeating behaviors.

    • Missy,

      You’re welcome and THANK YOU for being willing to reconsider some things. There’s no shame in being willing to say to oneself, “Hold up, let me rethink this…” In fact, the willingness to reconsider one’s position in light of new information or circumstances is the mark of a wise person.

      Expect Success!

  28. APA says:

    A lot of interesting points were raised in this post, so I had to take some time to think about everything.

    1. Who benefits from AAs dropping their cultural identity?

    Everyone, but AAs, benefits from AAs dropping their cultural identity. There has always been a push from outsiders for AAs to downplay their ethnicity because acknowledging race forces whites and non-black groups to examine their and privileges, which they don’t like. In addition, not acknowledging our cultural identity makes it easier for them to do away with some legal benefits/protections that have been given to people of color such as affirmative action, the right to sue your employer for discrimination, etc. If AAs don’t believe that we have a legitimate cultural identity, then there isn’t a need for affirmative action or protections against racial discrimination or violence. Not only is there not a need, but AAs can’t mobilize politically and socially to fight when moves are made to do away with these things because it’s not a necessity since their cultural identity isn’t important to them.

    I’ve also noticed that even though people are quick to deny AAs the right to proudly and unapologetically identify as black that they reserve their own rights to self-identify as they please. For example, during the presidential election black people, who asked the question what is President Obama going to do for us, were chastised and told that President Obama is the president of everyone, so we can’t expect him to cater to us. However, other groups have reserved their right to self-identify and are demanding that President Obama do things that only benefit them. I read a news article where celebrities, public figures, and regular folks are saying that Obama is a total disappointment because he hasn’t actively supported gay marriage. I don’t why they are so shocked or salty because Obama has always said that he supports civil unions, but the main point is that they are organizing for their own self-interests and not being made to feel guilty about it. Making black folks feel guilty about advocating for themselves and their race is how non-blacks maintain the status quo.

    2. Who, if anybody, loses when an African-American Black person runs away from the “Black” self-description?

    The black folks who throw away their cultural identity lose. See my response to the first question.

    3. Has “passing” worked in the past?

    On some levels, passing worked for those who could get away with it. Passing allowed them access to privileges and resources that they wouldn’t have if they chose to identify as black. However, passing also led to great psychological stress, so while they had material things, they were also miserable. I believe AA women, who throw away their cultural identity, will suffer a similar fate. They may receive some benefits for downplaying their cultural identity, but they’ll resent not being able to express/identify with their cultural identity in healthy and legitimate ways.

    African-American women can live full, free, rich lives without throwing away their cultural identity. Just because you identify as AA doesn’t mean you have become enmeshed with all the negative elements that exist within your culture. I think about AA women, who have lived extraordinary, fulfilling lives without denouncing their heritage, so I know that doing away my cultural identity isn’t necessary or even helpful to achieve my goals. There’s a lot of value in AA culture. There are so many trailblazers in the arts, science, etc. It shouldn’t be discarded just because some people have worked to tarnish its reputation.

    Khadija, I want to make a little disclaimer. My parents are Nigerian. However, I was born and raised in the U.S. and have always identified as myself as an African-American when asked to declare my ethnicity. I also feel that the issues affecting African-Americans affect me and should be a priority for me, and I feel that the history of African-Americans in this country explains a lot of the racial, social, and political issues that I’ve had to deal with growing up. I don’t know if I qualify to participate in this conversation.

    • APA,

      I appreciate your disclosure—I let your comment through because: (1) It was respectful; and (2) it presents a chance to illustrate something for confused AA readers.

      Like I said in the post itself, this is a nuanced and multilayered issue. You asked whether I felt you “qualified” to participate in this conversation. I’ll answer your question with another set of questions.

      Hypothetically speaking, let’s say that I had the reverse of your experience. Let’s say that both of my parents were AAs (which they are in real life), but let’s also say that they moved to Nigeria before I was born. Let’s go on to say that I and my brother were born in Nigeria and then grew up to adulthood in Nigeria. Here’s my rhetorical (because we all know the answer to this) question:

      Would the above circumstances qualify me or my brother to identify ourselves as Hausa, Igbo, Yoruba, etc.? Would the above circumstances qualify me or my brother to claim to be members of any of these Nigerian ethnic groups?

      Extra bonus question: How does anybody think Nigerians from any of these ethnic groups would feel and respond if I told them that growing up around them automatically made me a member of their ethnic group—despite the fact that I have NO genetic connection whatsover to their bloodlines?

      We all know the answers to these questions. It’s interesting how this stuff never works in reverse. And folks automatically know better than to try—because non-AAs have boundaries.

      So for the purposes of this kind of serious, have-a-voice-in-”tribal”-life-and-death-matters type of conversation, my answer would be no, you’re not AA. You’re not part of our bloodlines. On a social, casual level, I don’t mind you referring to yourself as AA. But no, you’re not an insider for the purposes of this type of serious, our-own-people-only conversation.

      I published your question because it highlights yet another nuance to the issue of AA ethnic identity. There can and often does come a point when some of “them” (foreign-origin Blacks) become totally part of “us” (AAs). Especially when they marry into our bloodlines. That sort of transition takes time.

      If I remember correctly, Min. Farrakhan’s mother was West Indian—I recall hearing him mention that in speeches while imitating her Caribbean accent as he quoted some of the things she used to tell him when he was growing up. Now that I’ve been briefly looking it up, I see some references that his father was also a West Indian immigrant.

      In any event, Min. Farrakhan doesn’t “register” as “foreign-origin” to me, and I’m not giving the side-eye to him having leadership over an AA organization (like I ordinarily would). Here’s why: Unlike a lot of foreign Blacks who come among AAs and immediately want to put themselves OVER AAs in what are supposed to be AA organizations, Min. Farrakhan SERVED—for decades—under AA leadership.

      Unlike so many other folks who only want to “boss” AAs, Min. Farrakhan was willing to take orders from an AA hierarchy and leadership. So, after all of his service under AA leadership and time, he doesn’t feel “foreign” to me even though he’s not part of AA bloodlines. His children and grandchildren are part of AA bloodlines (I’m assuming that his wife is AA), but he’s not.

      Expect Success!

      • APA says:

        As to whether Nigerians would consider a person born in their country, but whose parents are originally from the U.S., as a full-blown Nigerian, I believe that many Nigerians would hold the same opinion as you. It’s okay for the person to identify as a Nigerian ethnic group because they can speak the native language and understand and appreciate the culture. However, they would make a distinction between such a person and a Nigerian, who had Nigerian parents, when it comes to more serious matters. In fact, many Nigerians differentiate between children, like me, who grew up abroad, but have Nigerian parents, and children born and raised in Nigeria. They also differentiate between the different ethnic groups/regions.

        So I can definitely see where you coming from. I’m going to sit and listen for the rest of the conversation.

        • Zoopath says:

          @APA: I’m trying to remember the last time nonwhite/nonAA person demonstrated the type of such respect and empathy for AA ethnic boundaries that you have shown with your comments. You demonstrate understanding of our situation and could totally see someone with a similar grasp of the situation insisting on being regarded as an insider. And yet you didn’t do that at all. I can’t think of a previous conversation on any forum or blog that I’ve observed this phenomenon. That’s really quite disturbing now that I think about it.

          @Khadija: Thanks for letting the APA’s comment through so that I could least see such and rare event with my own eyes.

          • Zoopath,

            You’re welcome!

            I know what you mean. Like an earlier sane hair conversation that took place here, seeing that was like watching a unicorn gently prance across the field.

            I’ve had to delete a couple of comments from some non-AA folks who assumed it would be okay for them to barge into this conversation. Even though I explicitly said not to do that at the very beginning of the post.

            Yes, the (unfortunately quite rare) way that APA handled that demonstrates that she’s actually capable of seeing us from the inside as we see ourselves. And understanding for us the same things she understands for her own folks. Which is the mark of true fellowship.

            As the Prohpet Muhammad (PBUH) described true fellowiship: wanting for your brother (in faith) the same things you want for yourself.

            Most of these other people come to AAs with the view that there’s one set of things that are appropriate for them. And a lesser, inferior set of things that are appropriate for AAs. This reminds me of when I had to check one of these disrespectful foreign Blacks during a post at the previous blog, Beware of Advice From Outsiders Who Want You to Do As They SAY, and NOT as They DID For Themselves. This broad had arrogantly tried to shout down AA women who argued in favor of fleeing Black residential areas during several conversations at an AA woman’s blog!

            There’s a whole of bunch of West Indians and Africans who want to tell AA women that what was good for these immigrants (leaving their Black countries in search of a better life in the majority-White US) is NOT appropriate for AA women (running for our lives out of Black residential areas—even though OUR ancestors built this country—and the ENTIRE country is part of our birthright).

            Not only was that hypocritical, but it was insulting. The message was, “You AA n*gger heifers must stay and die in US Black residential areas (for my amusement). But me and my fellow Caribbeans are free to do whatever works best for us—including leaving our Black countries to reap the benefits of living in majority-White America.”

            Then there was the West Indian-origin Negro male who appropriated the AA historical figure Harriet Tubman for himself, and threw her name around while disparaging the idea of AA women saving their lives by leaving Black residential areas.

            Then there was the Nigerian chick (who I banned from this blog—every once in a while she tries to ignore the fact that she’s been banned by submitting comments that I of course delete) who felt entitled to quibble about African-Americans calling ourselves “Americans.” As if she and other outsiders get to veto the decisions AAs make about how we choose to identify ourselves.

            But as I’ve said all along, the problem isn’t with these foreign Blacks. The problem is that AAs routinely fail to set and enforce boundaries with other people. These other people only do what we LET them do. That’s not their fault, that’s on us.

            Expect Success!

  29. Who benefits from AA people checking ‘everything but black’ on the census? Certainly not AA women; being politically disenfranchised is never a position any group of people want to purposely or through inaction find themselves.

    Those checking ‘everything but black’ on the census throw their numbers and support to ‘people of color’ who have no interest in reciprocity; people who care not one whit about policies beneficial to AAs. I don’t just mean policies stereotypically associated with AA women, I mean policies like affirmative action or programs through the Small Business Administration.

    As you say, native-speaking Spanish only, is a wonderful example of a looming problem for AA women in local, state and federal government. If AA women are uncertain of what a loss of political clout looks like; I suggest they follow the case in Miami, not about the guilt of innocence, rather the power dynamics at play between AAs and Latinos. Life can be more precarious for AA women when there voices are lost or ignored because everyone involved in this particular situation is a so-called ‘person of color’.

    In this case, selecting ‘everything but black’ leaves AAs disempowered and without redress when institutional biases (racism) are impacting those who have chosen not to or are not allowed to ‘pass’.

    Peace

    • SouthlandDiva,

      Guurl, I 100% cosign. All the silly AAs who love to recite “Blacks and Latinos” as a mantra need to take a long look at how our people have fared under Latino rule in Miami. It’s not a pretty picture.

      Expect Success!

    • l. says:

      I agree. Most Latinos will NOT be so incline to share certain political and employment opportunities and the same goes for most other foreign born bp people. IMO, these other minorities will not drop the ball of opportunities.

      I agree. Some of our government officials and corporations are catering to illegals because they are cheap labor, cheap for now.

  30. Adrienne M says:

    My, how neurotic.

    I have also encountered people who are truly *desperate* to identify as anything other than American-heritage “black.” Why does anyone care to that extent at this point in time? People of other groups with far more shameful heritages walk with pride and use their unique perspectives to their advantage. Simply trying to dissolve into the ether of being “biracial” (generic as hell), or Hispanic (who appear in denial of racism among themselves as well) hardly addresses the elephant in the room that most black people and people of color have wholly subscribed to; the basic adage

    White= superior,good
    Black= inferior, bad

    So nothing “black” holds anything of value, desirability or significance for the world.

    Each culture develops a philosophy for dealing with life. I’m curious to identify what is the historical “cultural philosophy” of African Americans, and how it compares to others.

    Usually, people when they think of the *idea* of “black”, don’t think of it in philosophical terms–just politics and bad memories; the term for African-Americans is so emotionally *charged* with the negative, no wonder people don’t want to identify with it. I’m always amazed at biographies of people in the (seemingly far more oppressive) past who managed to transcend the hatred of others–by their simple, non-neurotic value of self. And they used their unique cultural perspective to their advantage; as a tool for success.

    I’m an artist, so I think of my tools as objects of great value and desirability that I want to protect (art supplies are expensive!)

    Seeing oneself, clan, and culture as an expensive, luxurious, precious resource, is something seemingly no one does. Even our enemies ask to themselves “how can I exploit this valuable resource?” That is perhaps why many have no problem with casting their heritage off so lightly. It reminds me of the Biblical Esau selling his birthright for some stew.

    We must unravel the neurosis!

    • Adrienne,

      You said, “I have also encountered people who are truly *desperate* to identify as anything other than American-heritage “black.” Why does anyone care to that extent at this point in time? People of other groups with far more shameful heritages walk with pride and use their unique perspectives to their advantage.”

      Yep, like the Albino-Hunting East Africans, and the Child-Torturing-And-Murdering Nigerians. That’s why I mentioned them and those news stories about some of the evil practices that are apparently part of their cultures.

      You said, “I’m always amazed at biographies of people in the (seemingly far more oppressive) past who managed to transcend the hatred of others–by their simple, non-neurotic value of self. And they used their unique cultural perspective to their advantage; as a tool for success.”

      I often think about that too. Modern day AAs are so much LESS than our ancestors. And in so many ways.

      You said, “Seeing oneself, clan, and culture as an expensive, luxurious, precious resource, is something seemingly no one does. Even our enemies ask to themselves “how can I exploit this valuable resource?”

      This is yet another point of amazement for me. We can’t see the diamonds in our own cultural heritage but everybody else does, even people who hate us. They see the value, which is why they steal from us. We don’t assign any value to what we have, while everybody else swoops in to snatch up our cultural diamonds.

      Everybody else imitates—and appropriates for themselves—HUGE chunks of our cultural heritage. I recall the video that Evia posted a while back of some South Koreans in South Korea doing some AA-style praise singing. They had taken the time to get ALL of our little moves and vocal inflections down pat. It was something to see. Like the White girls who had taken the time and energy to master our “stepping” and won some step show competition. I won’t even get into the legions of non-AA singers who have built entire careers off of imitating us.

      You said, “It reminds me of the Biblical Esau selling his birthright for some stew.”

      Indeed.

      Expect Success!

      • Adrienne M says:

        Khadija,

        Haha, I know what you mean. I lived in South Korea for 3 years–and found so many Korean people who seemed to identify so heavily with Black American culture: B-boys, double-dutch teams, rappers, jazz, gospel and R&B singers. Maybe they identify more because of their own historical oppression.

        I was on a crowded train in Seoul, and this guy just started busting a rhyme. His girlfriend just rolled her eyes at him.

  31. Jamila says:

    RE: “Passing as Black”
    I’ve also read this phrase over at Evia’s blog and I think that it has bothered me for much of the very same reason that it is bothering you. As a woman who is proud of her ethnic heritage, I would wish that anyone who paints contemporary blackness with such as broad stroke as to think that it is all, or even mostly, negative, should probably just stop identifying as black altogether and call themselves Negro, Colored, or whatever it is that you want to call yourself. As a proud black woman I am not trying to claim anyone—and that includes biracial, multiracial, etc., people–that do not want to proudly wear the black label. To be sure, there is a too large component of the African American community that is mired in multi-generational poverty and dysfunction (and that dysfunction is/has been creeping upwards into the black middle- and upper-classes) but, at its worst, to flatly associate “blackness” with all things dysfunctional reeks of some self-hate while at its best demonstrates a lack of understanding of the contemporary situation of African Americans and a lack of knowledge regarding the historical context that created the present day situation of many blacks.

    Basically, I’m opposed to the idea of always associating ‘blackness’ with “the lowest denominator that black people have reached.”

    I’ve been reading Evia’s blog lately and I think she is writing wonderful stuff—and I will be buying one of her books—so I think that her heart is in the right place and that she truly wants to help black women. I just don’t think the phrase “passing as black” is helpful when so many black women already have deep-seated issues with accepting their unique beauty as black women.

    While African-American Blacks are eagerly fragmenting into various Please Let Me Be Something Other Than Black groups, Latinos of all races and ethnicities in the US are busy making sure their group’s numerical head count is all-inclusive and thereby increasing. They are careful to count every partial and possible “Latino” as Latino (whether they’re White, Black, Amerindian, or any racial appearance in-between). One might even say that Latinos in the US are applying their own version of a one-drop rule in order to boost their political head count numbers!

    Sheer numbers do not count for what they used to. There was a period of human history in which sheer, overwhelming numbers could be used to win the war against an enemy. Then there came a period in which the wars were won by technology—I have a gun while you have a bow and arrow, I have a horse while you have to travel on foot. We are now entering (if we haven’t already entered it) a period in which the course of human history is being decided by faceless multibillion dollar, international corporations and the heads/board of directors of those corporations. I recently completed reading “The Negro Family in the United States” by E. Franklin Frazier; the book was published in 1939. In that book one of the many prescient things that Frazier stated was that the world is becoming ruled by corporations while Negro leaders are stressing personal thrift as the way to upward mobility for black people. This was in 1939! While personal thrift is definitely the first step in a long journey towards raising the milieu among blacks, it is only the first step. And black people will continue to be left behind if they think personal thrift and having greater numbers than their opponents are the last steps.

    Regarding the numbers of “Latinos,” many of these groups can’t stand each other based on historical reasons and see nothing in common with other so-called Latinos. Anyone who compares the statistics on oow childbearing, poverty, college graduation rates, etc., between Cubans and Mexicans will see that lumping all these folks together under the Latino banner is inaccurate. The idea that Latino groups wield great power is a façade. They don’t. Very little is being done about illegal Mexican immigrants in this country on the federal level because corporations and other businesses profit from their low wage labor, not because of the Latino lobby pushing legalization of illegal immigrants.

    Black people are the only group of people that I ever hear who seem to believe that having a large voter turn-out and increasing their congressional seats will increase black power. I say they’re wrong. Look at the so-called “overseas Chinese” in places like the Philippines and how they dominate control over the economy despite being a minority. Look at how people from immigrant groups—such as the various people from African countries—come here and within one to two generations many of them are very wealthy and their children consistently attend the most elite universities. Look at the Jewish people; how they never dominate in sheer numbers anywhere they go but almost always end up controlling key money-making industries and generally attaining a high-level of group wealth compared to other minorities in a country. Being “represented” at the table is a fool’s errand. If you are the puppeteer pulling the string of the “representative” then you have all the power that you need.

    It took a very long time for the Dominican Republic to get back to having a president like Leonel Fernandez who resembles the majority nonblack-Black population of that country.

    I have a problem with the “he looks like me, therefore he has my best interest at heart” thesis. And this goes back to the desire of black people to see themselves ‘represented’ at the table; hence, we attend Tyler Perry movies because we want to see ourselves represented on the big screen and we blindly support organizations fronted by black people despite the fact that said organizations are not controlled and funded by black people. Putting a token black person out in front to satiate the desire of black people to see images of themselves is a very old trick. While I understand the desire to see positive images of oneself reflected in print and various other media, I would encourage black women to not be so easily deceived because the person speaking looks like you and instead investigate where this person comes from, what is this person’s modus operandi, how long have they been involved in this movement, and most importantly—what is this person saying/doing that will most directly benefit me and my people?

    This sort of disempowerment is what happens to Blacks (including the nonblack-Blacks) in a multiracial society when Blacks fragment themselves into various nonblack categories.

    The fragmentation of black America became inevitable as soon as the barriers stopping integration of the larger society began crumbling down and as soon as the Immigration Act of 1990 began allowing ever increasing numbers of well-educated, well-connected Africans from other countries to come to America.
    There is no putting the cat back into the bag in terms of defragmenting black America. The only way that I can see black America coming back together as a more-or-less monolithic group on the basis of their racial identity is if we turn back the clock on integration of schools, churches, and other public locations; if we send the African immigrants back home; if you can force the black folks who have managed to escape from the ghetto to return to those same ghetto’s so that black communities can once again be class-integrated, i.e., poor and not-so-poor blacks all lived in the same neighborhoods due to redlining etc.,; if we can stem the tide of interracial marriage. I can’t see any of these things happening.

    I just finished reading “Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America” by Eugene Robinson and he makes the case that black America has been in the process of splitting for some time. He states that there are now 4 black America’s. The Transcendents: these are the Oprah Winfreys, Valerie Jarretts..basically the ultra-rich black elite that wields considerable wealth and even more considerable influence. The Mainstream: these are your garden-variety middle-class black folk. People don’t always realize it, or care to acknowledge it, but under standard definitions almost 4 out of 5 black people would be considered middle-class. You have the Emergent(two groups actually): these are the growing number of “black” people who identify themselves as biracial, multiracial, etc., and; the other emergent are the African immigrants who have been streaming into the country since the late 80’s and whose children are basically outrunning, and outranking native-blacks at every turn. Lastly, you have the Abandoned; these are the black folks mired in multigenerational poverty and dysfunction. These are the people who have not been able to get a hand-up since the Reconstruction era. When we talk about Rowan Towers, Dunbar Village, or any of those other majority black communities where the dysfunction is so thick we could slice it with a knife we are talking about the neighborhoods populated by Abandoned blacks.

    African immigrants for the most part do not see themselves in the same way as native-blacks and the biracial people of yesteryear—think Barack Obama, Mariah Carey, Halle Berry—who see themselves as black because even their white mothers told them they are black will decrease in the future. As more and more children are born to black/non-black parentage, more and more of them will see themselves as biracial and are less likely to have an allegiance to black causes. I would have thought that all the BWE bloggers who encourage interracial dating would be able to see that the very thing that is necessary for black women to get married in ever increasing numbers is also going to further fracture the black community. How can you simultaneously encourage black women to marry non-black men, flee “black communities”–as opposed to advocating fleeing “crime-ridden, poverty consumed” communities regardless of the color of the people who live there–and who speak in such a way as to brush the black community with a broad stroke of “dysfunction” when the dysfunction is largely concentrated in Abandoned black communities…well, I don’t understand how you could not see that this will all contribute to deeper fault lines within the already fractured black community?

    Don’t get me wrong: I actively date white men and I will probably marry a white man. And yes, I am an African American woman. However, I completely understand that if I marry a white man I will have a greater allegiance to my white husband than I will have to any random black person that I meet on the street whom the only thing I may have in common with is our skin color. At this point in my life I identify with “Black Women,” hence my attraction to BWE blogs and I identify with “Abandoned” black blacks. And as I’ve already said, I also take pride in my African/African-American heritage. I simply do not subscribe to the idea that African American people will ever again be a monolithic group, with” black” leaders to speak for us, and enough goals in common to constitute a “black” agenda.

    Bottom line: what is good for black women may not necessarily be what is best for black people in general. It may be in the best interest for black women to continue to be mules for black folk, but that is not in the interest of black women as individuals.
    Just like “black love” and the “black community” are dead, or, at least those phrases are increasingly coming to be seen as meaningless, “the black agenda,” as it was once known no longer exists either.

  32. Jamila,

    I like multilayered, nuanced comments—thanks for providing one that helps move this conversation forward.

    Before I respond to your comment in detail, let me put forth a foundational principle that I happen to believe in: Having access and choice is ALWAYS better than having no access and no choices.

    Rhetorical questions: Why is this basic idea so hard for so many of us to comprehend? Why is it so easy for us to be convinced to sabotage our own ability to have access and choice?

    Let me give the example of the Jewish collective, which has extremely high rates of intermarriage (and all that flows from that, such as having children who don’t identify as Jewish) and most of whom have chosen NOT to move to Palestine/Israel:

    Whether or not any individual Jewish person plans to marry within or outside their own ethnic/religious group…

    …and whether or not any individual Jewish person plans on ever spending any time in Palestine/Israel…

    …the vast majority of them (as in 95%-plus) act in ways to ensure that:

    (1) the current state of Israel remains viable as a relocation option for themselves; and

    (2)they maintain their group’s economic affluence AND political influence in the other countries (including the US) that they live in.

    This is all about maintaining their own group’s level of ACCESS and CHOICE. They’re able to maintain extremely high levels of access and choice, while large numbers of them intermarry and the majority of them never move to Israel.

    Okay, now on to my replies to your comments.

    You said, “To be sure, there is a too large component of the African American community that is mired in multi-generational poverty and dysfunction (and that dysfunction is/has been creeping upwards into the black middle- and upper-classes) but, at its worst, to flatly associate “blackness” with all things dysfunctional reeks of some self-hate while at its best demonstrates a lack of understanding of the contemporary situation of African Americans and a lack of knowledge regarding the historical context that created the present day situation of many blacks.”

    I agree—to my way of thinking, “to flatly associate ‘blackness’ with all things dysfunctional” is just plain inaccurate and wrong.

    You said, “I’ve been reading Evia’s blog lately and I think she is writing wonderful stuff—and I will be buying one of her books—so I think that her heart is in the right place and that she truly wants to help black women. I just don’t think the phrase “passing as black” is helpful when so many black women already have deep-seated issues with accepting their unique beauty as black women.”

    I agree. The intentions are good, but this unfortunate “passing as Black” phrase plays into some pre-existing self-disrespect issues that have only gotten worse since the era of Only Light, Bright, And As White As Possible Women Will Be Lifted Up As Beauties In AA Movies And Music Videos.

    You said, “Sheer numbers do not count for what they used to.”

    I agree. However, quantity is a start to getting a foothold, especially when a group does not have the quality of organization of a group like the Jews. Since we don’t have the mass distribution of quality in our group (due to mass OOW and fatherlessness), we need something to work with. Maintaining our numbers (for political purposes) is a start. Failure to maintain our numbers, as we’re doing, will be the cause of Reconstruction 2.0.

    You said, “In that book one of the many prescient things that Frazier stated was that the world is becoming ruled by corporations while Negro leaders are stressing personal thrift as the way to upward mobility for black people. This was in 1939! While personal thrift is definitely the first step in a long journey towards raising the milieu among blacks, it is only the first step. And black people will continue to be left behind if they think personal thrift and having greater numbers than their opponents are the last steps.”

    Nobody here said anything about personal thrift and having greater numbers than our rivals was the last step. I AM saying that preserving our head count numbers is a prerequisite to keeping whatever little gains and footholds are left of our civil rights martyrs’ legacies. In the 21st century America, losing what little political positioning we have left means ultimately losing ALL access to resources and ALL choices. Never to regain them again. Because the ruling political elites will be a different set of people (Latinos and Asians) who WON’T be receptive to arguments and strategies that worked with White Americans in the past.

    You said, “Regarding the numbers of “Latinos,” many of these groups can’t stand each other based on historical reasons and see nothing in common with other so-called Latinos. Anyone who compares the statistics on oow childbearing, poverty, college graduation rates, etc., between Cubans and Mexicans will see that lumping all these folks together under the Latino banner is inaccurate.”

    Oh yeah, there’s a lot of mutual hostility based on national histories AND racism—within their own various countries and toward Latinos from other countries. Latinos from countries that don’t have Blacks (such as Mexico) are quite racist toward Latin countries and cultures that do have Blacks (Puerto Ricans, Dominincans, etc.). Mexicans and others are also simultaneously extremely racist toward the indigenous Amerindians who remain in their countries. Despite all of this, these various types of “Latinos” have the sense to come together long enough on the surface (and pimp each other) for the purpose of getting over in the US. You don’t have to have any affection for folks to hold their hands just long enough to get over the hump with them.

    You said, “The idea that Latino groups wield great power is a façade. They don’t. Very little is being done about illegal Mexican immigrants in this country on the federal level because corporations and other businesses profit from their low wage labor, not because of the Latino lobby pushing legalization of illegal immigrants.”

    The fact that, unlike every previous group of immigrants—these Mexicans and other Latinos are NOT required to learn the language of this country IS power. The fact that this country CATERS to their refusal to learn English and creates bilingual requirements for various jobs in this country IS power. The fact that increasing numbers of these illegal immigrants are given amnesty and allowed to become citizens—despite their illegal entry into this country—is power. Power that will only increase as more of them get into various offices.

    We’re so quick to forget the pattern that got earlier waves of immigrants over the hump. When the Irish first got to the US, there were signs telling them that they need not apply for various jobs. As their voting numbers increased, and they got a political foothold in several major cities along the East Coast and Midwest, they gained access to “good government jobs.”

    They eventually came to dominate those cities’ police and fire departments. Those Irish-dominated police and fire departments provided good, stable employment for generations of Irish and Irish-American men. These men used part of their salaries to help fund the political campaigns of increasing numbers of Irish-heritage politicians. These men used another part of their salaries to support and sustain an Irish-created network of Catholic schools. The Irish founded the bulk of these Catholic schools, not the Italians, Poles, or other European Catholics. These Catholic schools provided a good education for their children. These good, solid educations, and the money their fathers saved from their good government jobs, enabled increasing numbers of them to enter college. And from there they started entering the professions.

    A large piece of the puzzle that enabled this rise was in having sheer numbers in certain cities.

    You said, “Black people are the only group of people that I ever hear who seem to believe that having a large voter turn-out and increasing their congressional seats will increase black power. I say they’re wrong. Look at the so-called “overseas Chinese” in places like the Philippines and how they dominate control over the economy despite being a minority. Look at how people from immigrant groups—such as the various people from African countries—come here and within one to two generations many of them are very wealthy and their children consistently attend the most elite universities. Look at the Jewish people; how they never dominate in sheer numbers anywhere they go but almost always end up controlling key money-making industries and generally attaining a high-level of group wealth compared to other minorities in a country. Being “represented” at the table is a fool’s errand. If you are the puppeteer pulling the string of the “representative” then you have all the power that you need.”

    First, nobody here said that having access to a seat at the table automatically leads to power. However, a group DOES need to have some type of access to various levers of influence and resources in order to have any power. Second, you know the masses of AAs are not sophisticated enough to be able to execute the sort of puppeteer strategies that others are savvy enough to use. Point blank, the masses of AAs are just too stupid for that. So, since most of us are too stupid for that, what’s left for us to do to keep our foot in the door? To keep our foot in the door long enough to have a chance to educate more of our people into better strategies?

    I never said that having access (= foot in the door) was the be-all and end-all. My thing is that as long as we have our foot in the door, there’s the opportunity to educate ourselves and learn how to implement more sophisticated strategies. [Nominally] Communist China did not start off with the sort of sophisticated weaponry and infrastructure that they have right now. They had to work up to that. And it took several generations. But they had to have the primitive types of power to keep other competitors and predators off their back while they got themselves together as a country.

    That’s what I’m talking about here—the bare minimum level of political representation needed to keep the very worst of what various other people intend for AAs at bay. Again, let’s all try to keep in mind what happened to our people the last time we were politically voiceless and powerless—and how long all of that went on. You really can’t do anything when all avenues of escape (much less advancement) are closed to you.

    Once AAs are totally cut off from access, we won’t be able to execute ANY type of strategy and certainly not anything as sophisticated as the puppeteer thing that others do. During Reconstruction 2.0 we won’t even be able to protect ourselves—just like during Reconstruction 1.0.

    You said, “I have a problem with the “he looks like me, therefore he has my best interest at heart” thesis.”

    Nobody said anything like that. What I’m saying is that when NO Black-looking person can have access to any political offices, then there’s NO hope of voting in a representative who does have Black folks’ interests at heart. Quality is a separate question from access. You have to have some type of access to even be in a position to get to questions of quality.

    Access is a prerequisite for quality. When Black folks are totally shut out and have NO access, then it’s impossible to have quality. You don’t have anything at all when you don’t have any access. Nuthin’ from nuthin’ leaves nuthin.’ Again, let’s jog our memories of how things worked when AAs had NO access during Reconstruction 1.0.

    You said, “There is no putting the cat back into the bag in terms of defragmenting black America.”

    You’re probably right. This doesn’t mean that I’m going to cheerlead the I Checked The Box For Everything And Anything BUT Black On The Census-AA morons while they continue cutting my throat politically (as well as their own, but they’re too clueless to see it). And if I point out the effects of this choice, maybe more of them will reconsider what they’re doing. My thing is to do what I can to maintain our people’s foothold for as long as possible. If that only extends our survival for 5 more minutes, so be it—I did my little part to preserve our lives a little bit longer in this country.

    You said, “The only way that I can see black America coming back together as a more-or-less monolithic group on the basis of their racial identity is if we turn back the clock on integration of schools, churches, and other public locations; if we send the African immigrants back home; if you can force the black folks who have managed to escape from the ghetto to return to those same ghetto’s so that black communities can once again be class-integrated, i.e., poor and not-so-poor blacks all lived in the same neighborhoods due to redlining etc.,; if we can stem the tide of interracial marriage. I can’t see any of these things happening.”

    I disagree on this point. If AAs had some common sense, then we could maintain operational unity regarding our core interests similar to how the Jews maintain operational unity on their core interests (despite their high rates of intermarriage, and not necessarily living around each other in enclaves). The example of the Jews show that it IS possible for individuals from a group to “do their individual thang” while still advancing their collective interests.

    You said, “I just finished reading “Disintegration: The Splintering of Black America” by Eugene Robinson and he makes the case that black America has been in the process of splitting for some time. He states that there are now 4 black America’s….”

    That sounds like an interesting book. I’ll check it out when I get the time.

    You said, “I would have thought that all the BWE bloggers who encourage interracial dating would be able to see that the very thing that is necessary for black women to get married in ever increasing numbers is also going to further fracture the black community. How can you simultaneously encourage black women to marry non-black men, flee “black communities”–as opposed to advocating fleeing “crime-ridden, poverty consumed” communities regardless of the color of the people who live there–and who speak in such a way as to brush the black community with a broad stroke of “dysfunction” when the dysfunction is largely concentrated in Abandoned black communities…well, I don’t understand how you could not see that this will all contribute to deeper fault lines within the already fractured black community?”

    I’ve NEVER been talking about “the Black community.” As I’ve repeatedly said, “the Black community” has been dead for some time, as far as I’m concerned. I’ve always been talking about protecting and advancing a set of strategic CORE interests that AAs have—the same way the Jews maintain their strategic core interests while large numbers of their people are intermarrying and doing their own individual things. I want AAs to have the same things that Jews and other various groups in the US have secured for themselves:

    (1) Continued access to higher education. Which is being undermined by so many colleges and universities filling up “diversity” slots created by AA civil rights martyrs with foreign Blacks. I talked about that at the previous blog during the post Charity Should Begin at Home, Part 1: ‘Study: Universities prefer foreign black students’.

    (2) Continued access to “good gub’mint jobs.” This should not be the be-all and end-all that so many AAs have made it into. Nevertheless, other groups use access to municipal monies (city contracts, etc.) in order to help build and maintain their private businesses.

    (3) Enough political representation and/or influence to be able to put the kabosh on any pending legislation that we truly don’t like (such as how the Jews do).

    These are some MINIMAL things. Bad things happen to collectives who don’t have these 3 things. I’m sure if I took the time I could think of some more items to add to that list, but you get the idea.

    Finally, AAs don’t have to be physically or emotionally all hugged-up together in our traditional segregated enclaves to have and maintain these 3 core interests. I know that our segregation-era stuff is the only model of (forced) internal cooperation that we’re familiar with. But it’s not the only model that exists. Again, look at the Jews in the US (and elsewhere).

    Expect Success!

    *Addendum*
    Doing our own individual thing does NOT automatically have to = cutting our own people’s throats politically; or sabotaging our own ethnic group’s CORE interests.

  33. Josei says:

    Another great post explaining the roots and current legacy of anti-black racism and white supremacy. In my opinion, if an African-American person claims to “look” like a different nationality (i.e. I look Puerto Rican, etc.), it displays their ignorance about the people of that nation. Thanks again for the lesson!

  34. Trenia says:

    I’m new to your blog and still fairly new to the BWE blogs, so I’ve mostly just been reading past blog posts, but I really wanted to comment on this one.

    There is a line in a song by Boogie Down Productions in which KRS-One says “White man is European, Black man is African. White man never says Euro-American, so why should the Black man say “Afro-American?” I’ve never really liked the term African-American, but I understand that we use it for lack of something better and to group ourselves together, if anything we’re more akin to something like Black “United Statesians” if such a phrase existed.

    I think so much of where you stand on this topic depends on the information and people with whom you surround yourself. For example, one of my best friends is a black psychologist, her husband is a black professor and most of their friends are other successful black couples of varying ages. Their entire world is pretty much comprised of people just like them and they are proud of being who they are. On the other hand, if everything you ingest about other black people comes from the capitalist media monopoly and statistics, things won’t look so good and it makes sense to want to distance yourself. I don’t believe in being a martyr and trying to carry the weight of the entire black community on your back, but I do believe in playing your part and every African-American no matter the context they live in, is living the Black experience and contributing in some way.

    People can choose to leave the so-called black community or stay, but know that every group has its destructive side. Black people may tend to be more self-destructive, but other groups are more other-destructive, destroying unions and collective bargaining rights, war and sex trafficking come to mind, and those are just the items that make the short list. I say that to say no group is perfect, but African-Americans seem to be the only ones who want to abandon their own ship for what appears to be greener on the other side, most of us just don’t value what we have.

    We are also one of the only groups I can think of that allows other people to masturbate in our culture and challenges, take the pieces they want and appropriate it for themselves to make it more acceptable. Rap, hip hop and break dancing were all seen as jungle and street music until the white and Asian kids started doing it, now it’s seen as art. Black teen mothers were/are called welfare queens and drains on society, white teen mothers get reality shows on MTV (Teen Mom) and get sitcoms completely dedicated to them (The Secret Life of the American Teenager), and it’s on ABC’s Family network no less. A black woman gets 20 years in prison for selling and possession of crack cocaine while a white woman gets 8 years for selling and possession of Meth. When the HIV/AIDS epidemic broke out in the white gay male community, benefits were held and research commenced for a cure. Now the rates of HIV/AIDS amongst black women are soaring and they are being castigated and criticized for their sexual practices. If you go to a jazz concert or club these days, you could probably count on one hand the number of black faces in the crowd, we don’t even take advantage of the good things we’ve created. I hope you see my point.

    Black Americans have a wonderful history and legacy, unfortunately most of us have forgotten it but it’s worthwhile just the same. If anyone wants to leave it, I think they should go, good riddance. But for anyone who still wants to be a part, you don’t have to be a part of all of the craziness to be seen as part of the black community, anything that you do to better yourself like finding the great love of your life and living your life to the fullest and best of your ability are wonderful contributions. In my estimation, there are Black Americans and there are n*ggers, and every group has them, some people want to build and others want to tear down. You can’t control other people’s actions, but you can control what you do.

    • Trenia,

      You said, “We are also one of the only groups I can think of that allows other people to masturbate in our culture and challenges, take the pieces they want and appropriate it for themselves to make it more acceptable.”

      Indeed. AAs allowing other folks to take mini-vacations (and as you bluntly yet accurately described it, “masturbate”) in our culture annoys me to no end.

      You said, “Rap, hip hop and break dancing were all seen as jungle and street music until the white and Asian kids started doing it, now it’s seen as art. Black teen mothers were/are called welfare queens and drains on society, white teen mothers get reality shows on MTV (Teen Mom) and get sitcoms completely dedicated to them (The Secret Life of the American Teenager), and it’s on ABC’s Family network no less. A black woman gets 20 years in prison for selling and possession of crack cocaine while a white woman gets 8 years for selling and possession of Meth. When the HIV/AIDS epidemic broke out in the white gay male community, benefits were held and research commenced for a cure. Now the rates of HIV/AIDS amongst black women are soaring and they are being castigated and criticized for their sexual practices.”

      Not to get too far off track, but I want to make a point about the White gay male HIV/AIDs die-off of the 1980s; and the contrast with what’s happening to AA women today. I’ll touch on this because it ties into basic self-respect issues.

      I was in high school and college during the 1980s when the gay male mass die-off from AIDs went down. I also remember how, at the very beginning of the AIDs crisis, Haitians were stigmatized as being a “risk group” for being carriers of AIDs. I saw what happened. By the late 1980s and early 1990s, it felt like everytime I turned around, some distant acquaintance or some celebrity had dropped dead.

      Sylvester
      Alvin Ailey
      Franklyn Seales
      Max Robinson
      Larry Riley
      Raymond St. Jacques
      Rock Hudson

      …and many, many other dead folks.

      Concerning Rock Hudson, there was a long-running drama about whether or not he had AIDs, and whether or not he had endangered an actress’ life by kissing her during a romantic scene in the TV show Dynasty. From Wikipedia:

      In addition, there was controversy concerning Hudson’s participation in a scene in the television drama Dynasty in which Hudson shared a kiss with actress Linda Evans. When filming the scene, Hudson was aware of that he had AIDS, but did not inform Evans. Some felt that Hudson should have disclosed his condition to Evans beforehand.

      At the time, it was known that the virus was present in low quantities in saliva and tears, but there had been no reported cases of transmission by kissing. Nevertheless, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention had warned against exchanging saliva with members of groups perceived to be at high risk for AIDS.

      According to comments given in August of 1985 by Ed Asner, then president of the Screen Actors Guild, Hudson’s revelation caused incipient “panic” within the film and television industry. Asner said that he was aware of scripts being rewritten to eliminate kissing scenes. Later in the same year, the Guild issued rules requiring that actors be notified in advance of any “open-mouth” kissing scenes, and providing that they could refuse to participate in such scenes without penalty.

      Linda Evans herself appears not to have been angry at Hudson: she asked to introduce the segment of the 1985 Commitment to Life benefit that was dedicated to Hudson.

      [I recall being p*ssed off about him doing that romantic scene without warning his costar. That was ultra FOUL---but that's the reality of how many people act when they have infectious plagues.]

      White gay men were definitely not in the “Let’s have sympathy for them”-protected group like White women. Mainstream White society did NOT lift a finger or in any way mobilize to help the White gay men (and other gay men) who were dropping dead like flies (after suffering through some of the most horrid, lingering illnesses) during that era. And the vast majority of straight Americans (of all races) DID castigate White gay men for their sexual practices during those plague years. I remember a common “joke”/expression from that era: “‘Gay’ stands for ‘Got AIDs Yet?’”

      However, what turned the tide was that White gay men loved themselves enough to start saving their own lives. By altering some of their more irresponsible sexual practices. And by engaging in sustained activism on their own behalf. That’s when activists like Larry Kramer came on the scene. Since he’s one of my activist heroes, I did a post about him at the previous blog, in which I mentioned:

      Larry Kramer is one of my activist heroes. I believe that aspiring activists can learn a lot from his example. He helped found both Gay Men’s Health Crisis and ACT-UP. Here are some excerpts from FRONTLINE: the age of aids: interviews: larry kramer/PBS [My comments are in blue]…

      During the comments, I said,

      I think the White gay male community got a taste of what social disintegration REALLY means during the “dying like flies” period of the late 1980s.

      They found out the hard way that a lifetime of one-night stands and superficial friendships often means that there’s nobody to look after you “in sickness and in health.” That’s when large numbers of gays learned the true value of stability and commitment.

      This is parallel to the social disintegration of the AA collective. We’re finding out the hard way what out of wedlock births and superficial friendships mean. SUFFERING, then DEATH.

      . . . As irritating as it is, there are always legions of people who seek to ride the coattails of other folks’ activism. It’s one of the inevitable “costs of doing business.” However, I believe that activists need to be aware of this and make every effort to hold folks accountable for benefitting from their struggles. No free rides!

      In the gay context, I suspect that this is part of why some folks started “outing” powerful gays who were freeloading on the benefits of other people taking risks through activism.

      I will also re-emphasize that Black folks living with HIV/AIDS (including straight Blacks) owe the (mostly White) gays who participated in ACT-UP a great debt. These medications wouldn’t have been as available without their efforts. And I don’t recall seeing or hearing of many Black gays participating in those initiatives.

      If you read the excerpts from the interview that I quoted during that post, you’ll see that during that era, White gay men activists in ACT-UP went so far as to do things like:

      (1) break into some FDA (Food and Drug Administration) offices to find out and protest why the research on HIV/AIDs medication was taking so long. They apparently got the drug approval process reduced from 12 years to 1 year.

      (2) publicly hanging an effigy of the head of the FDA (as Mr. Kramer explained, “Joe Papp, my great producer at the public theater, had his shop make an effigy of Frank Young, who was head of the FDA, and we hung him in effigy from gallows that we erected outside of the stock market…”).

      My point is that White gay men from that era saved themselves.* AA women will have to do the same. Or perish. It seems that the bulk of AA women have chosen to perish.

      [*As an aside, I'll note that one can draw a straight line connecting the dots of White gay men's mass die-off from AIDs during the 1980s to them suddenly discovering the value of marriage, and then seeking legal recognition of gay marriage for themselves.]

      Expect Success!

  35. evia says:

    (Evia, blog host of Black Female Interracial Marriage Ezine) has been promoting. She’s made several references to an idea that she calls “Passing as Black.” She can correct me if I’m misconstruing her position, but my understanding of her argument is that she feels the only way African-American Black women can escape being entrapped as self-sacrificing, exploited mules for the dead Black community is if they discard their ethnic identity as African-American Black women. And define themselves as something other than African-American or Black.

    (Sigh) Since my name has come up several times in this discussion, I’ll step back in here to say that:

    (1) just because I define myself as a PAB doesn’t mean my ethnic identity has changed!!! When does changing a label actually change the contents of anything or anybody? LOL! Advertisers try to get folks to believe that. Maybe some of the commenters here believe that??? Anyone who believes that changing a label changes a person is someone who I want to sell the Brooklyn Bridge to. I could make a whole VETTING lesson out of that.

    I’ll say this again: as long as many of you wrap up in that “AA/BLACK” woman” label, you’re going to be TARGETS for those who WILL use you as mules, mammies, martyrs, providers, sista-soldier protectors, cheap sex, women who are not like other women or she-males, STRONG, aggressive, unavailable to be loved, cherished, and adored, etc. You’re simply asking for trouble because very few Americans of any group can separate “BLACK/AA” women from these roles and traits mainly because so many “Black/AA” women act out and reinforce those traits. You can still be what you are INSIDE (with your full ethnicity intact–IF it’s intact) without a label that’s not helping you. Without that harmful TARGET on your back, you most probably will be better able to escape and soar.

    I chatted with a wm just yesterday who explained that he liked bw, despite what he’s been told about our “fiery personalities.” LOL! Unfortunately, many men, including a LOT of bm and many wm, view “BLACK” women in this way because this is one aspect of the stereotyped personna of a “BLACK”/AA woman. Many bw have disfigured themselves as women in numerous ways trying to be “BLACK” women and not lose their “BLACK” card, but they still cling to a label that is NOT helping them. YOU can be who you are with any label IF you know inside who YOU are–like I know who I am.

    After all y’all have seen and experienced and despite thousands of conversations about this, is this still rocket science? WOW!

    And these folks will succeed at using most of you because they’ve had hundreds of years headstart on learning how to manipulate you. You have an integrated chip inside of you that they can easily activate since you are a “black” woman and by wearing the label, you make yourself a clear TARGET.

    Khadija, in reading some of your comments, I’m seeing the ‘save alla our people’ message embedded. This is where you and I differ. At this point in time, I advocate that each AA/black woman needs to grab what she can TODAY, shed her bw TARGET label, and run for the hills–to save HERSELF, to LIVE. She can’t vote or help anyone else if she’s barely able to breathe, which is how I see MOST AA/bw. Maybe you see them overall as being in a healthier state? I don’t. That’s why I mentioned Oprah.

    I see many AA/bw are barely able to inhale, let alone exhale–from the highly educated AA/bw, higher income AA/bw to the bw on the system. I have diverse minglings. Most of the AA/bw I encounter, hear about, or read about on ALL socioeconomic levels spend a lot of their time and energy just trying to keep their mask intact. I’m not fooled by beautiful clothes, wonderful words, or masks. This is why so many AA/bw hate on each other and other women.

    They need to focus on their INTERIORs and build themselves instead of pontificating. They’re still trying to “save alla our people” as BLACK women have been trained to do and they don’t have enough of themselves left or never had it in the first place–to save other people AND save themselves.

    So I wonder why are some of you concerned about MY label. I may call myself an “alligator” tomorrow. That’s my choice–to self define as I choose without anyone’s permission or agreement. It’s not required for any of you to read my site or like what you read. I should not be YOUR focus. YOU should be YOUR focus. If YOUR identity is intact and you feel good in it, then you’re good to go. I or no one else should be of this amount of concern. I can assure you that any of you could give yourself whichever label, it wouldn’t make me pause because I know that a label does not change the contents. I always keep my eye on the contents. SHOWING your contents, not telling, is what’s critical.

    And Khadija, re Jews. They are starkly different from AAs because Jews have a CULTURE that they support. Even when they intermarry, they adhere to some of their cultural tenets. AAs do NOT have a culture! And AAs are not interested in building a RUCOSS as you’ve told me. So that’s THE END. I know that’s painful for some of you to read. I, however, do not have that delusion that AAs have a culture. For those who think AAs have a culture, it’s quite obvious that you and I define culture VERY differently. We’re simply using the same word to define very different concepts and practices.

    (2) I’ve never been the type of person who cared about other “blacks” “escaping” because I realize that anyone who I’d seriously want in my camp is not going to be disuaded by the “don’t leave me” plea. Smart people look at the brand and either invest in the brand or they don’t. Smart people are going to do what’s in their best interests to do and I’ve urged smart bw to do that because most of our brand is in the tank and under the control of the abcs who work hard to erase the best aspects of it. So I don’t care whether biracials or anyone else want to be black or white or whatever. I expect anyone to align themselves with whomever serves their interests best. That’s what women of other groups do, if or when they can and they were in a better position from the getgo than AA/BLACK women.

    One reason why so many bw can’t focus totally on “moving on” is because they keep taking one step out and then 3 steps back to come back and stir in the ashes to see whether there’s anything left to save. SMH Bw need to be like the Phoenix. Get out of the ashes and fly away. Save yourself!

    • Evia,

      Well…I’ll say this:

      First, your name has come up a couple of times during this conversation because this “Passing As Black” meme is something that you’ve been promoting. That’s why there’s been a couple of mentions of your name.

      Second, I’m not interested in “saving alla our people.” You’re reading something into my statements that simply isn’t there. I’m interested in maintaining the MAXIMUM amount of freedom of choice for me, myself, and I as an individual. I think we can all understand and agree that the more countries that are made/kept politically comfy and cozy for people like ourselves, the better that is. Or to put it the reverse way, it’s NEVER in any person’s interest to make or allow the place/country where they’re “nesting” to become uncomfortable or uninhabitable for them.

      The things that large numbers of individual AAs are gleefully doing in order to back away from their own ethnic and racial identity (such as checking off every and any box other than “Black” on the census, etc.) have very real political and overall consequences for any AA person who remains in this country. Including me (if I chose to stay here). Including you. Including whoever else is visibly Black. We’re all special and unique snowflakes, but that only goes so far when the category of people that one belongs to is politically disenfranchised and disempowered. The AA Black individuals who are checking off all these other boxes are helping to make the US uninhabitable for the remaining visibly Black AAs.

      There were AAs who were special and unique snowflakes during our previous disempowerment. Folks like Josephine Baker. Because of her category of people’s disempowerment in the US, she had to go to some place like Europe in order to breathe free as a special and unique snowflake.

      As I have said several times, including during the essay itself, I don’t plan to stick around to suffer the consequences of the Reconstruction 2.0 that these I Checked The Box For Everything And Anything BUT Black On The Census-AA morons are helping to create by their choices.

      Nevertheless, when I leave the US, I still want to keep all of my options as open as possible. This means I have an interest in the US continuing to be the sort of country where people who fit into my ethnic and racial category can live and breathe free, if I ever decided to come back. I would prefer to leave the US as a free spirit, not as somebody who has to leave in order to breathe free.

      Keeping one’s options as open and free as possible has nothing to do with “saving alla my people.”

      Third, that odds are quite high that what you mean when you say “Passing As Black” is something quite different than what the masses of unhealthy, self-disrespecting AA women mean when they use that same phrase. We’ve already noted how what was said was quite different than what was received by a number of readers when using the terms “vetting” and “reciprocity.”

      Fourth, I never told anybody not to leave the AA/Black category. As I explicitly said several times in the essay, if that’s what folks want to do, they should do so. In fact, that was the bottom line end to the essay. I’m simply asking people to take serious stock of the various costs and benefits attached to that idea.

      Finally, let me repeat: I’m going to have a 2nd passport, so I won’t be stuck with the Reconstruction 2.0 consequences that will be created by these folks’ choices. I’m encouraging other AA Blacks to think about these details, because the odds are that most of them will be stuck living amidst the negative consequences created by the legions who are checking off a zillion boxes other than “Black” on the census, and otherwise opting-out.

      *Addendum*
      I forgot to mention: I’ve been telling AA women to get out and save themselves all along. In fact, I’ve also provided actionable information about how to get ALL the way out—as far away as one can possibly get from the dead “Black community” by leaving this country and creating overseas relocation options for oneself. So nobody can honestly say or draw the inference that I’ve been trying to keep any AA woman in any particular box. I’ve been consistently talking about AA women maximizing and optimizing their lifestyle options.

      Expect Success!

  36. I apologize for the brevity, but I’m tired and don’t feel well. You might recall we had a similar discussion about black people and their disdain for identifying as American and how they essentially became refugees in their own country. This is simply more of the same. There is a reason why conquered people are first stripped of their culture and language. Culture and language are the basic building blocks of humanity, without those you are nothing. I would fight to the death to retain my African-American heritage. I love it and it’s my children’s birthright. However, I wouldn’t fight with anyone else about their choices. Frankly if they don’t appreciate it, I’m glad to see them go.

    • Roslyn,

      You said, “You might recall we had a similar discussion about black people and their disdain for identifying as American and how they essentially became refugees in their own country. This is simply more of the same.”

      Oh yes, I remember that conversation and the what I felt were the extremely important points you made during that discussion. I’ve been thinking about all of that a lot while I mull over the various comments that folks are making during this conversation.

      {hmmm…still pondering}

      Expect Success!

  37. Jamila says:

    Evia said: When does changing a label actually change the contents of anything or anybody? LOL! Advertisers try to get folks to believe that. Maybe some of the commenter’s here believe that???

    We are not talking about an inanimate box or other object. We are talking about actual flesh and blood people. And in this case words do matter. Advertisers know that words matter, that’s why they try to come up with ways to name things, because they understand that words leave impressions, words have meaning. How you choose to label something will influence the way that people feel about that something, and in the case of people, how you choose to label those people and the name that those people answer to has repercussions as far as how those people feel about themselves and how they see themselves in relation to others.

    So, I am one of those people that believes what you call somebody and what they choose to answer to do in fact have meaning.

    Evia said: So I wonder why are some of you concerned about MY label. I may call myself an “alligator” tomorrow. That’s my choice–to self define as I choose without anyone’s permission or agreement. It’s not required for any of you to read my site or like what you read. I should not be YOUR focus. YOU should be YOUR focus.

    When you choose to speak in the public domain anything and everything you say can be critiqued by other people. If you would prefer for your words and opinions to not be critiqued you can always stop blogging or you can make your site private. But as long as you say what you say in public then the public has a right to read and respond to it. As I’ve already said, I don’t have to personally like you or agree with everything you say to be able to find some usefulness in your writing. If at some point I think that what you write is more chaff than wheat, or I reach a point where I no longer feel it to be worth my time to sort through the chaff to get to the wheat then I will stop reading.

    I think there is a lesson here for black women: you don’t have to personally like someone or their entire message to be able to use at least some of what they suggest for your own benefit. There is nothing wrong with taking in the information that you deem to be useful, reforming and refashioning it for your own purposes, and chucking the rest. Everybody else does this, and you can too.

  38. Faith Dow says:

    I just wanted to point out for the sake of accuracy there are native black Mexicans, but they are few and far between compared to other countries where there is a larger and lengthier admixture. The same way there are many African-descended Iraqis, Saudis, etc due to the slave trade and indentured servitude, etc.
    ***
    We can still look out for best interests as individual women (to marry or not, have kids or not, live in the US or elsewhere, start a business or be an employee)and most importantly have pride in our identities and defend the best aspects of our heritage and historical contributions, keeping an eye on future developments (politically) without being mules or overcompensating our “blackness” by engaging in the dysfunctional, self-limiting habits of most AA women.

  39. Beverly says:

    I’m going to keep this short, because I don’t have a lot of time. Definition of culture “the attitudes and behavior that are characteristic of a particular social group or organization.” Every human being has a culture. Now whether or not you like or agree or adhere to that culture is a different matter. But I think it is absolutely critical to the survival of African American women for them to understand that they come from a culture. As someone who has a Jamaican father and an African American mother I have no doubt that there is a very distinct African American culture, I know that because I live it every day, I grew up in it and it is different from my father’s culture. I usually don’t argue this point with folks but I must speak out on this because it is critical that African American women learn about and understand the TRADITIONAL African American culture. That’s the culture that got us through slavery, Jim Crow and the other horrors in this country. It’s not perfect and I have discarded the bad as much as possible. That said, while we understand and respect our origins and our traditional culture we MUST move forward and onward. The African American ethnic group as it is now is DYING. We will be losing political and social power soon, know that.

    The following strategies are suggestions designed to save those of us who are remaining in this country, which is the majority of us.

    1. We must be involved in politics. No, I’m not talking about Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson politics, I’m talking about politics that will allow us to be in positions to stop any legislation that could harm us while simultaneously serving the communities which we live in which are NOT necessarily all black if we are following common sense. Remember, black residential areas are still dangerous and aren’t going to stop being dangerous because large groups of African Americans are still engaged in behavior which DESTROYS communities. So let’s go over this one more time for those who may not understand the complexity of this strategy. First you move out of the ghetto, then you get YOUR financial life and YOUR social life together and AFTER you are all settled, you may want to consider getting involved in your city’s community council or city council or whatever. You support the community you now live in, that non-violent community you moved in, and do the things that will bring value to that good community. Okay…so now you are in a position and one day when the “poop” hits the fan and someone decides they are going to pass a law that says all African Americans must wear a black star. Don’t laugh. I’m using this black star example because that is what happened to the Jews. You are in the position to help YOURSELF, YOUR family, YOUR FRIENDS and other random human beings who are black like you.

    2. We must bring value to anyplace we go. That means that when you FIRST move out of the ghetto and get your life together, you do things in your new community so that people will say, “Oh wow, Shawquanda sure is a nice girl.” That will keep people from turning on you when the “poop” hits the fan. That will also cause them to think twice about slaughtering other random human beings who are black like you. Your use of this strategy could save countless lives. A personal footnote, I am currently living in a nice city which is also mostly white. I am using this strategy and it is bringing great benefit to myself. In less than six months I have brought tremendous value to this community. People greet me when I walk through the door BY NAME. I am one of the few African Americans living here. I have only met two other African Americans. When I first arrived I experienced serious racism and resistance to my presence, all of that has stopped. I was even told by one person who initially didn’t want me around that he was happy I was in their community and that I was valuable. Ladies put your value where it will get a return. That return will benefit you, your family, friends and random human beings who happen to be black just like you.

    3. I also recommend that women who want to marry, marry well. Of course this strategy is already being suggested by Evia so I’m not going to rehash it here.

    Okay let me break this down once more so that I’m clear to everyone:

    1. Demographics is destiny. The loss of demographic numbers will mean more difficulties for African American women. Some of us will suffer more than others. What this does NOT mean is that African American women should go out and have a bunch of OOW kids by black men who have by and large abandoned their children. I just had to say that because I know that’s how many black women think.

    2. We will need to gain/maintain influence by being of value to our NEW communities. African American women are a great resource and people are willing to enter into reciprocal relationships with us. I know this because I am using this strategy. I just want to be clear that it is not wise to move into a new community and be an anonymous and DIFFERENT face who is adding nothing of value. Let’s be real, people already dislike African American people, when the poop hits the fan, that dislike may intensify. Be known as the valuable person in your new community, it is and will be a matter of life and death.

    3. You don’t have to be perfect, you are only human. I just had to say this because I know these changes are distressing to most of us and we may become paralyzed by this idea that we must execute some perfect strategy. You can live well during these big changes without being perfect. Be the best you can be and live your life to the fullest with the idea of always positioning yourself well and bringing value to your NEW and SAFE community.

    • Beverly,

      {long standing ovation}

      I 100% cosign!

      Expect Success!

    • Karen says:

      Dear Beverly,

      I 100% co-sign and can also validate that it works.

      I can only recommend the same to others.

      As Beverly stated and I will again emphasize:

      “..Be known as the valuable person in your new community, it is and will be a matter of life and death…”

  40. evia says:

    @Jamila re:

    How you choose to label something will influence the way that people feel about that something, and in the case of people, how you choose to label those people and the name that those people answer to has repercussions as far as how those people feel about themselves and how they see themselves in relation to others.

    I self-define as a PAB. ME. I’m not labeling any other person but myself. And if you don’t like me or my label, I won’t lose any sleep. This is a PERSONAL decision that I’ve mentioned on my blog and in various comments. I’m still not sure what this has to do with YOU or anyone else??? I’ve never said that YOU or anyone else should define yourself that way and even if I did, it’s YOUR choice to dismiss me if you disagree. We each have the right to define ourselves as we choose because we will reap the consequences. Many bw don’t understand that and this is why they allow other people to define them in a way that benefits others.

    I don’t need anyone’s permission, agreement, or even their understanding of what I’m talking about to define myself as I choose because I’m not asking you or anyone else for anything.

    I point out what, IMO, causes many AA/BW to be targets for much of their use and abuse. This is my opinion. Each bw has the CHOICE to entirely dismiss what I say about that too because she will have to deal with the consequences–good or bad.

    And since your comment is in the public domain, then according to you, I have the right to critique it. So let me suggest to you that you do something to help YOURSELF instead of crawling over my site and combing through my words to find things to debate with me about. Tell me how debating with me about MY self-definition–that is not going to change–benefits YOU. LOL! Cui bono? So you’re simply wasting your time unless you simply want to debate and debate and debate.

    I’ve always told everyone FOR YEARS to take what they could use from my site and comments and “toss the rest.” So your point is ?????? If you were doing that, you wouldn’t continue with this “debate” or whatever it is. If you can’t use my personal self-definition, toss it. I’ll say it again: Take what you can use and toss the rest. And if you don’t like my personal definition. I repeat: I won’t lose any sleep.

    Go and find your own self-definition and be happy.

  41. MsMellody says:

    Beautiful reply Barbara!! I too second your reply to Khadija’s on point essay.

    I am too tired right now from studying to actually form words beyond yours Barbara. All I can do right now is just second your very clear and to the point comment.
    Thank you Khadija for keeping us all mentally stimulated and morally active!!!!
    ____________________________________

    [Khadija speaking: You're welcome! I think the commenter you're referring to is Beverly. (a note from The Credit Where It's Due Department---LOL!)]

  42. Faith Dow says:

    I had to pop back in – well because this is soooo important to hash out! Thank you Beverly for your comment. It is reasonable and actionable.

  43. Felicia says:

    My position is everyone (including women of full or partial African descent) has a right to self define when it comes to identity as formal slavery in the western world is over. Therefor we’re all free to do as we wish and reap the consequences good or bad based on our choices. No one in their right mind should lose any sleep or get stressed (I’m not accusing anyone here of that) over someone else’s decision to self-identify in a way that is contrary to their own. Because in the end, most people (and definitely most non African-American identified women) – WILL eventually do what they perceive as best for them and those closest to them. Whatever that is whether others like it and/or understand and agree with it or not.

    So, I’m not going to get worked up (again I’m not accusing anyone here of this as we’re simply having a spirited and interesting discussion IMO) about someone else’s personal decisions.

    IMO it would behoove Individual BW regardless of background/culture who are interested in living, loving, and procreating well, to concentrate predominantly on getting where they wish to be in life. Because life stands still for no one. And we can’t recapture those lost years once they’re gone.

    Some BW have waisted years on these BWE sites/blogs (feeling empowered yet standing still) when they could have spent that same time getting where they wished to be offline on relationship and other fronts.

    These discussions are great and all and VERY interesting and thought provoking, but I just hope that marriage minded BW who are not yet where they wish to be in life would concentrate on getting there rather than concerning themselves unnecessarily with the personal choices of other free BW.

    Honestly, it takes enough time, energy, and dedication to do THAT. And, as I said, no one is really going to change another persons mind in the end anyway. Most of us are adults I assume (there may be some teenagers in the audience which would be great because these various discussions are important and deep and rarely had offline) and clearly set in our ways/viewpoints by now. When it comes to these controversial issues of race, identity, culture, etc… Especially when it comes to something personal like self-identity.

    I know I’m set in my thinking.

    So… I would hope that we don’t forget the commonalities we share. One of them being a desire for marriage minded women of African decent world wide and specifically AMERICAN black women (who’ve suffered in ways many other BW haven’t) to live, love, and marry (if they desire to) WELL to wonderful quality men regardless of heritage/”race”/national origin who will make wonderful fathers (if one wishes to have children and preferably in wedlock) regardless of background in the global village.

    AND to plan for the unexpected. Things don’t always go according to plan obviously and one MUST have a plan A, B, C, and so on. One must be able to depend on oneself and not have to rely on a husband to make it.

    I just want BW who ARE interested in marriage to know that they don’t HAVE to make it alone. They have wonderful options in the world marriage market. Just like non BW.

    In closing, I think it would be a shame to let these divisions that we will naturally have sometimes (and can be expected) overshadow the COMMON purpose that I believe we share.

    Sometimes we just have to agree to disagree and move on.

    Very thought proving discussion.

    • Felicia,

      I agree. As I’ve said during the essay and throughout this conversation, each individual should do their own personal cost-benefit analysis—and then do whatever they think will work best for themselves.

      Expect Success!

  44. HR Professional says:

    It took me a few days to weigh in on this post. I wanted to make sure I was not missing something. I am so not a fence rider, I typically have an opinion within the first few minutes of reading / listening to an argument. However, in a case like this, I see the validity in both your points. You both agree, the bc is no more. Where you both differ is the name you will call yourselves and the political ramifications of losing the title.

    When I read Evia’s initial post on PAB, I did not take her to mean that she was denouncing her race on any kind of government document. I took her to mean, that while her skin is phenotypically Black, she does not want to participate in anything that is stereotypically Black. Correct me if I am wrong, but was that not what the PAB post all about?
    Now where I see the validity in your argument, Khadija, is where there may be some women, who for reasons unknown, who may decide to check all boxes other than Black, because they are so fed up with the tomfoolery in the bc. When that happens, Khadija, you are right, we lose any political powers we may have wielded because she does not understand the true meaning of the phrase, PAB (or at least my definition of it).

    As far as changing the name of the group, a name change has never changed the groups dynamics. We see that whenever they changed names of streets to MLK Blvd, changed the name of housing projects and the names of schools. The inhabitants still have the same mindset as before the change.

    To be quite honest, I believe you both have similar thoughts; it is just that sticking point of nomenclature.

    • HR Professional,

      Based on your comment, it seems that you did not understand this blog essay, the comments that I’ve made during this conversation, or the underlying reasons I’ve given for both. From what you’re saying, it appears that you’ve totally twisted around several of the key points I had hoped to make.

      I’ll give one example. You said, “Now where I see the validity in your argument, Khadija, is where there may be some women, who for reasons unknown, who may decide to check all boxes other than Black, because they are so fed up with the tomfoolery in the bc.”

      I didn’t say that the reasons why these AAs are checking any and every box except Black were “unknown.” I also never said that these AAs were checking all these other boxes except Black on the census “because they are so fed up with the tomfoolery in the bc.” You’ve got it twisted around here.

      Instead, I talked about these people’s primary motivation for checking all those other boxes being the emotional gratification that such people get from feeling a little bit less Black.

      Since I’ve already used thousands of words to cover all of this as thoroughly as I possibly can, I’m not going to repeat what I’ve already said.

      *Addendum*
      It occurs to me that this twisting around/distortion might be the result of trying to harmonize what Evia and I are saying. There’s NO need for that. It’s perfectly okay for activists to have permanent points of disagreement.

      Expect Success!

  45. Neecy says:

    PART 1

    Khadija,

    I’ve been trying to wrap my brain around this post for over a few days and I still don’t understand the uproar.

    I’ve been trying to hold back and not respond b/c I’m really trying to not feel like I’m reading a post making certain BW feel responsible for “saving” Black people.

    I’m at the point that African American women have the right to chose their own paths without being made to feel guilty or as if they are messing it up for everyone else. I’m sorry but this post reeks of this. If one BW says she no longer wants to claim or be aligned with African American as a culture or a label then that is her right and choice and said BW should not be made to feel that her choice is somehow going to ruin it for all Black people if a certain BW chooses that path.

    It doesn’t affect me b/c frankly as long as ANYONE looks VISIBLY Black it doesn’t matter what you label yourself – you are still BLACK. This is almost as similar to the argument the Black comm. has for Blacks who marry or pro create IR. That they are decreasing the numbers of Blacks by creating “watered” down Blacks who may or may not identify with being Black. Or IR’s are full of Blacks who are running away from thier Black heritage. If others choose not that path, then that’s their right. There is no right or wrong in this. If anyone here is for a “free” BW then how can you turn around and make such BW feel as if they are responsible for acknowledging that by doing for self could hurt the whole of AA’s, especially if you are PRO IR”s for BW? How is this any different from the Blacks who denounce IR’s between Blacks and other?

    My question is WHO are these Black people calling themselves “other” and what “other” are they calling themselves? If any Black person wants to deny or downplay their Black heritage then why would anyone besides that person be concerned? This topic is almost the same as the anti IR Black people sticking their noses into IR’s and claiming the Black BW who participate in them are running away from their Black heritage, hate BM, hate themselves or want watered down Black kids. How is this any different from what is being done here? You can’t change the way people see or think about themselves. Just as those who are anti IR’s can’t change the fact that some BW chose that path and doesn’t mean they are choosing it b/c they hate being Black. See how easily the finger can be turned right back around at many of you all here who desire IR marriage or who are open to dating out of your race? So why do it to someone else? Spending time trying to denounce the Blacks or Bi racials who downplay their Black heritage doesn’t CHANGE anything – just as denouncing BW who cross the color lines won’t change anything if this is in fact what they want to do for right or wrong reasons. if you want to help keep the numbers of AA’s alive through political, social, economic or whatever else then DO YOU. Spending time preaching about the Black women or Blacks who don’t doesn’t move your agenda forward IMO. They will still do what they are doing. At the end of the day anyone who looks visibly Black will be labeled and identified as such no matter what box they check on the forms or who they marry.

    The best we or ANYONE in this world can do is to understand and look at the bigger picture and understand that you cannot change other people by brow beating, complaining or having discussions about them. The bigger picture here is BW don’t have a community (yes I said it) – just a label. If you feel protected by that label then great. At the end of the day whether you deny or water down your Black heritage or uplay and freedom fight for all things Black – it doesn’t matter b/c in the world people see you just as you physically are. So it’s a wash.

    If anyone here even supports the notion of AA women moving on by crossing the color lines, then you also must be prepared and ACCEPT that many or some of these AA women will be creating families with other Non Black men who MAY or MAY NOT want their children to be identified or even labeled as Black but rather “mixed” or bi racial (what they are). If anyone here even blinks at that, then maybe considering crossing over should be reconsidered. Either way these mixed offspring children WILL NOT be African Americans. If I were an anti IR black person I could create a solid argument about IR’s and how they can hurt AA’s if I chose. We need to just let it go already. Not all BW or Blacks or even bi racials feel the same about this and we need to accept that.

    And for those of us here saying we BW need to marry well (which mostly will include marrying White males) do you HONESTLY think these males will identify their half Black offspring as African Americans??

    • Neecy,

      I’ll probably only do this one rotation of exchanging views with you because this isn’t that complicated or deep to me—in fact, it’s parallel to my refusal to lend support to fat acceptance ideology. Let me begin by noting that I reject the underlying premises of what you’re saying:

      First, I reject these premises because nobody can can “make” an adult of sound mind feel any kind of way about anything. How any adult feels about anything is up to them. Adults are responsible for their own feelings, choices, and so on.

      Second, I also reject your efforts at twisting this around into a “save Black people” thing. It’s not any such thing. Similar to how my posts expressing my disagreement with the fat acceptance dogma were not about “saving Black people.”

      I didn’t say that the fat acceptance cheerleaders were “messing it up for everyone else.” Essentially, I said they were messing themselves up. When there are large numbers of fat-accepting AA women, their individual choices combine to create negative collective effects for AA women in general. It doesn’t matter how upset the fat-acceptance folks get about me pointing out these yucky details—that doesn’t change anything because it is what it is.

      In this case, I’m pointing out that these I Checked The Boxes For Everything But Black folks are messing themselves up politically. [Because most of them will continue to live in this country.] When there are large numbers of I Checked The Boxes For Everything But Black AAs, their individual choices combine to create negative collective political effects for AAs in general. It doesn’t matter how upset some folks get about me pointing out these yucky details—that doesn’t change anything because it is what it is.

      In both cases, people are free to think and do whatever they want (and reap whatever consequences). How many times must I repeat the “do what works for you” message through various posts and comments? My dissent from various ideas (such as the fat acceptance and the “I Checked Every Box But Black” ideas) does not take away anybody’s ability to do what they think works best for them.

      All along, it’s been about presenting information so people can make informed choices. So they can make their individual choices based on what prior experiences have revealed to be the observed consequences (positive or negative) of various choices. As opposed to making choices based on unquestioned dogma or taboos. Or groupthink. Including any groupthink or taboos that might exist in various overlapping BWE, BF-IRR circles.

      Furthermore, it’s not about “denouncing” anything. I’m simply calling things as I see them, and stating the reasons why I believe certain choices are unhealthy, unwise, and ultimately unproductive—including for most of the people who make those particular choices. Anybody who feels secure in making these various choices shouldn’t care about—much less get overwrought about—my analysis of the effects of their choices. A good and worthy idea can withstand new information, and it can withstand the fact that not everybody agrees with it.

      In the marketplace of ideas, people are free to accept, reject, or ignore the various ideas that are being spread. There’s no need to get overwrought about it. The same way I don’t care—at all—about the fat acceptance cheerleaders’ disagreement with what I believe. I do get annoyed when some of them try to misrepresent what I’ve been saying (such as by telling the lie that disagreement with fat acceptance dogma somehow equals wanting BW to take up anorexia and other eating disorders, etc.).

      But other than being irritated with some of them engaging in dishonesty while arguing their points, I just don’t care about them clearly stating what they believe. They’re free to do that.

      Like I said, for me this is the same as me stating my beliefs about the negatives attached to fat acceptance:

      (1)(a) Somebody (in this case me) pointing out the observed negative consequences of obesity does not equal anybody “being made to feel guilty or as if they are messing it up for everyone else.”

      (1)(b) Similarly, somebody (in this case me) pointing out the observed negative political consequences (past and present) of Blacks opting out of their racial identity does not equal anybody “being made to feel guilty or as if they are messing it up for everyone else.”

      (2)(a) Somebody (in this case me) pointing out the observed negative consequences of obesity does not equal me somehow taking away other people’s ability to choose and do whatever they want, and do whatever they think is best for them.

      (2)(b) Similarly, somebody (in this case me) pointing out the observed negative political consequences (past and present) of Blacks opting out of their racial identity does not equal me somehow taking away other people’s ability to choose and do whatever they want, and do whatever they think is best for them.

      (3)(a) Somebody (in this case me) pointing out the observed negative consequences of obesity does not equal me somehow creating these consequences. Just because other folks might prefer to see no consequences, hear no consequences, and speak no consequences does not mean that I’m under any obligation to join them in ignoring all of that.

      (3)(b) Similarly, somebody (in this case me) pointing out the observed negative political consequences (past and present) of Blacks opting out of their racial identity does not equal me somehow creating these consequences. Just because other folks might prefer to see no consequences, hear no consequences, and speak no consequences does not mean that I’m under any obligation to join them in ignoring all of that.

      The fat acceptance folks can trip if they want to, but I don’t have to join them in that. And I’m not required to remain silent.

      Finally, I’ve never been interested in trying to change anybody’s mind about anything. All along, I’ve simply been pointing out various things that people might not have considered before. All along, this has been about information that helps people make informed choices. What people choose to do with the information I’ve been providing here—accept, reject, ignore—is up to them. The same way my views are up to me. Everybody’s free to think whatever they want.

      Expect Success!

      • Neecy says:

        Khadija,

        But my main question is this – if these Black people who hate, deny or want nothing to do with their Black heritage are checking the “everything but Black box” how are these people benefitting collective Blacks if they simply check a Black box but walk around with internal and external dissapointment, hatred, shame or embaressment about who they are? How does this help Blacks? the only thing they would be doing is contributing to NUMBERS. Is this about numbers – that lead to increased social, political gains? if it is, then i guess i have no more to say. but if its about creating a pool of black people who actually have self pride and respect despite how little their numbers are, then I can jump on that bandwagon.

        regarding the fat dogma acceptance people. Same thing. They are really only hurting themselves and not BW as a collective in the long run. b/C having a smaller number of healthy BW live longer, healtheir is much better than having more numbers of BW in which more than half are unhealthy and plagued with illnesses that lead to death. So if the fat acceptance BW don’t want to get the message then they will continue to drop dead from health related issues eventually leaving the BW who did get the message. These healthier thinner BW may be a smaller number of BW in the beginning, but isn’t that better than having more numbers of BW who simply don’t care to do what’s right for thier bodies and health?

        Jewish people have been discussed here and I think they are a wonderful example. Jewish people are a huge minority in this country, yet b/c they have the right Jewish people on board they as a collective have been able to push forward. They are not just trying to recurit any and everyone of the jewish faith b/c they need more numbers.

        i don’t get the obsession with numbers (not just you but people in general) especially if the MAJORITY of the people in your group are zombies who are really making it worse for you than better as a collective. They are not helping the overall cause.

        Aren’t these “everything but Black” people better off claiming and trying to be something else than adding to the ranks of Blacks? Let them take their issues elsewhere b/c frankly there are too many people claiming Blackness solely for their own benefits. I say let em go i don’t need their numbers. Power is not always in numbers imo. i believe jewish people have proven this in this country. if you have a small number of powerful people with their heads right as opposed to a large number of people where over half are zombies, its a wash IMO.

        • Neecy,

          Like I said, I’m only willing to invest the time in doing 1—okay, let’s make that 1.5—LOL!—rotation(s) with you about this. Because, from my point of view, you’ve been doing a lot of twisting, playing dumb and strawman stuff that’s similar to what the fat acceptance, and “marriage is not important” folks do.

          For example, you said, “i don’t get the obsession with numbers (not just you but people in general)…”

          What “obsession” with numbers? I’ve pointed out the significance of numbers. If numbers aren’t important, then why are others (like the Latinos who are doing their statistical version of the one-drop rule) paying careful attention to their numbers? This is similar to the AAs who play dumb and pretend not to understand why marriage matters—meanwhile, others like the gays are scrambling to get legal marriages for themselves.

          I can’t chase conversations in which the conversation partner is playing dumb. That’s not a good use of my time.

          As I’ve said all along, please feel free to believe and do whatever you want.

          Expect Success!

        • Faith Dow says:

          Neecy – you don’t hear black males discussing anything of significance except for what they think will directly benefit them in the short term. I suppose I could ask you with this line of response you’ve issued – why are you still focused on what they are or aren’t talking about? It’s a rhetorical question so please don’t answer! The post is about weighing the costs of behavior and choices, not dictating what that behavior or choices should be. We are all free to do whatever we want….as part of a dwindling collective of diminished capacity/capital whatever choices we make will have cause/effect regardless. Some positive and some negative. How we feel about that or whether we care is of no consequence as it will not occur in a vacuum. Analyzing certain possibilities is part and parcel for making well-thought out decisions. It by no means makes us obligated to anyone else but ourselves. Josephine Baker renounced her US citizenship after moving permanently to France. It worked for her. It was an informed choice on her part. If other BW decide they will do that if granted citizenship or permanent residency in foreign countries that are amenable to them that is an option to be explored. There’d be ramifications here that are not the responsibility of those women who choose to do so, but recognizing them doesn’t diminish the right of any woman to do so. And numbers do count when it comes to th Census and how cities and states get funds allocated from the federal gov’t – whether we like it or not. The real-life consequence of the non-white and partial-black heritage non-Latino folks separating themselves (as is their choice) makes for a statistical limbo when it comes to funding programs though. They’re not being added to the “white” column” or the “black” one either for that matter. Since there is no current established infrastructure for part-black mutli-culturals/racials then those potential resources are being used in a wya that would benefit anyone. The same way the “Rainbow Coalitions and “people of color” tags don’t benefit blacks. I believe that is what nedds to be considered (and likely rejected by those who don’t think considering any of this serves their interests). It is what it is though regardless by the decision-makers who wield the power.

  46. Neecy says:

    PART 2

    If Evia were telling BW deny being Black and claim another race, then yes, I would concerned.

    The way I see it is, she is simply acknowledging herself as what she is – a BLACK person. This post does sound very familiar in “save alla people” meme. What is there to save or salvage? And why do BW (especially ones who are more likely to be crossing the color lines) have to be the ones who make the conscious effort to make sure this doesn’t change? How many BM have theses discussions with each other? Why does a label spark so much concern? Why are we even concerned with who labels themselves what? How many labels have African Americans given themselves over the last 4-5 decades? First it was “colored”, then “Black” Black people complained about that so we asked everyone to call us “Negore” then that wasn’t sufficient so we settled on African American…..It seems we keep defining ourselves by things that don’t matter. It also seems Black people tend to be very defined by labels. And in every label change, we were and are still BLACK. As Evia said, whatever you call yourself doesn’t change who or what you are. If a BW simply chooses to say she is “Black” and not refer to herself as “AFRICAN AMERICAN” I am not sure what the concern or real difference is. So it doesn’t matter what you call yourself. If you live in America and are Black, you will be seen and treated as such. So what’s the uproar? Did I miss something b/c unless Evia is telling BW to call themselves another race or deny their race I’m confused. How does BW using a term “PAB” (not saying she is trying to pass off as something else or another race) evoke so much fear?

    the term African American brings and conjures up such negative thoughts in most people worldwide b/c of the CURRENT culture that yes, some BW or others with Black heritage may not want to be associated with it anymore. Honestly who can blame them? especially since its been African American women who have been its unfortunate beneficiaries of all things painful, hurtful and suffering. Having been treated like CRAP within the American Black Diaspora. BW have been the mules and mammies to uplift BM AND EVERYONE ELSE in what we refer to as African American culture/race/community.

    I’m not sure what political gains or losses can be made simply b/c some BW refuse to call themselves African American and chose a simple label as Black.

    Now while I will ALWAYS refer to myself as an African American woman, I can totally support and understand another BW who simply decides she no longer wants to be labeled with what currently stands for African American and call herself simply a BLACK woman – what she is.

    I also never see BM being pressured to do anything in regards to culture and race. Yet we BW (even the ones who claim to be “free”) still want to brow beat each other into things that concern Blacks and how we need to be aware of our actions as to not hurt the whole of AA’s??? How is this line of thought not falling in step with the same old idea that its BLACK WOMEN who should constantly be aware of making sure she does or doesn’t do this or that to save Black people?

    Its a different world today. The stakes are different. BW have been sent to pasture by Black people WORLDWIDE. BW don’t owe ANYONE ANYTHING. BW have done more than our fair share collectively to try and save Blacks and AA’s and our communities and people – politically, socially, economically and INDIVIDUALLY. And better believe if you promote IR’s between BW and Non Black men one has to know that once these relationships increase and continue to grow, that there will eventually be less people of African descent identifying as Black or AA. . B/C once BW leave its a wrap. We have been the only string/glue holding Black people together and that is about to break and SHOULD. If BM want to salvage what is left of AA culture/race and people then they can have at it! Its time for them to do something. I feel many BW (even the progressive ones) are still holding onto to outdated ideas. And yes I am going to say this and I don’t care who has a problem with it – any child of mine born to a Non Black father will NOT call themselves African American unless they decide to after they have become of age and have chosen that identity themselves. They will not be raised to call themselves BLACK or African American. Neither will they be raised to call themselves WHITE or other. They will be BI RACIAL, Mixed, Half Black/half White. IOW’s they will call themselves WHAT THEY ARE. If they have a Black father (by chance) then yes they will be called BLACK/African American.

    Whatever AA’s have been doing up until now (politically, socially, economically) has NOT BEEN WORKING. AT ALL – at least for the collective. Unless for SELF/INDIVIDUAL. There is never any pressure on the successful BM with money who leave and marry out to “think about protecting their AA culture, numbers and heritage” or the possible political losses that can occur when they abandon their communities and women.. At this point, BW have nothing more to lose in either direction. We have been moving backwards as a collective for the last two decades. And frankly, I aint interested in trying to salvage or save all Blacks or our numbers. That is the price that is paid when a culture/race and community offer up its women and girls as road kill & nothing more than mules who are to protect the best interests of MALES at all costs. And one that NEVER holds the men accountable or responsible for things that regard salvaging the race and culture of Blacks.

    Other races don’t have a one sided culture or community that downgrades the women and girls while solely uplifting/protecting the men. They don’t expect the women to be the sole glue/strings that keep the race together – politically, socially, economically or individually. they can afford to “stick together” and worry about the collective numbers b/c no one on either side looses. AA women today LOSE when they cling onto a notion of claiming a group or identity that has and does nothing for her as an individual or collective. WW, AW, and other races of women are not faced with the same dilemma that most African American women are facing these days. Also, other races have been benefiting off of Blacks since the beginning of time – so what’s going to be different? When you have WOMEN in a race/culture/community who are constantly downgraded, placed beneath the men, unprotected then expect some of those women to leave and never look back. Why? B/c at this point BW have nothing more to lose by leaving. So we need to be willing and able to deal with that by not making certain BW feel that they are creating a problem for the “whole American Black” race/culture/community b/c she is doing for self.

    I ONLY care about like minded BW and AA women. Everyone else can keep it moving b/c they are doing for SELF FIRST.

    Its a different day. Some BW simply don’t care to save the Black race anymore – in any way shape or form. And many of you NEED to understand – not every single Black person was raised with a foundation to love and accept and appreciate their heritage. And the way Black people act these days, I can see how easy it would be for someone who did not grow up with decent Black people surrounding them to give them a little more self pride and self respect. Why denounce them when we already know why most people don’t want to be associated with being Black?

    I have been reading and reading before responding and I understand you are saying this is “NOT” what you are getting at, but I feel this way b/c the message is still “BW need to be concerned for their actions if they don’t call themselves AA’s and how its going to effect Black people, our numbers, social, political etc if they don’t”. . WHY? No amount of political power AA’s have had yesterday or today has positively changed the plight of Black people OR BLACK WOMEN. in fact, Blacks have gone backwards.

    It seems that so many AA’s are caught up in projecting their own FEARS onto others who chose not to fall step in line with their mind frame. I never hear BM discussing these topics or having these issues or pressuring themselves as men to think about their individual actions hurting the whole of Black people in general. Once again its us BW.

  47. zoe1231 says:

    Khadija,

    This was truly an awesome, thought-provoking discussion. I had to take time to read and digest what was being said and think on some things.

    Thanks for continuously keeping us focused on all aspects that we may face because of our unique position as bw. I believe that the points that you and Faith both gave are extremely important since we all know that “our folks” have a tendency to jump from the frying pan into the fire when it comes to critical issues (or even things that should just be common sense). It is kind of sad that we have to have these “cui bono” discussions because we are not used to looking out for our own interest. When reading Evia’s post, my mind never jumped to defining myself as anything other than black, especially for something as important as the census. I mean, I never (ever) got anything like what we are discussing here from her statement. However, I do see how others can misconstrue Evia’s position and do just that…

    It seems that your post and the commenters have already covered all bases, so I have very little to add. I’m glad that you brought up the subject of how the Miami minority/majority (Cubans) conduct themselves. This I can speak of. Notice that the Cubans have taken a page from Jews in that they will “marry-up” and for all intent and purposes become “white”. However, they will also continue to make sure that the upkeep of their ethnic groups are funded by these white men too. By doing this, the Cubans ensure that their interests are promoted by the whites in power. They do not ever sell themselves short. Why should they??? Again, other folks do for themselves what we deem as impossible. BW don’t have go the exact same route, but we have to do something. Why not let the white man fund our future? That plan has always worked me, I don’t see the problem.

    This brings me to my next point. The only time that being a “passer” would work is if that person could really being seen to be fully white (not mixed/biracial/multiracial/etc.). That would be the only time that they would be let into the upper echelons in order to manipulate events and/or fund black interests. But I honestly do not see that happening.

    Lastly, these same minorities do have the mentality that we as blacks deserve less. For example, I have a spanish coworker who is Cuban. One day we were discussing random issues and I cannot remember how, but we got on the subject of dating. It seems to really bother her that I only date white men, and I could tell it bothers her because she just couldn’t believe it or understand why. She brought it up once in a really inappropriate way and everyone was silent, because it was just really random for her blurt that out at that moment. I know she felt really awkward – good!!! But get this — she will not date a spanish man and only dates white guys herself.

    Khadija said: “As the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) described true fellowship: wanting for your brother (in faith) the same things you want for yourself.”

    This is so on point, and is what I have used to decide if a person really has my best interest at heart. I believe that this is the flip-side to your “cui bono” challenge. Would they desire for themselves, that which they desire for me???

    • Zoe1231,

      You’re welcome!

      You said, “Thanks for continuously keeping us focused on all aspects that we may face because of our unique position as bw. I believe that the points that you and Faith both gave are extremely important since we all know that “our folks” have a tendency to jump from the frying pan into the fire when it comes to critical issues (or even things that should just be common sense).”

      Well, that has been our people’s pattern and practice—we have a tradition of implementing our proposed solutions in a way that creates new catastrophes. When one looks at the historical record, it’s obvious that for the most part AAs have totally mishandled every porposed solution. From how we mishandled desegregation (mass abandonment and destruction of the AA business sector) to how we have mishandled the opportunities to create our own entertainment content (Black Exploitation Television, hip hop videos, and all the ills that flow from such things). All of it.

      In each case, we’ve turned our solutions into new disasters. I see hints of similar things brewing in this context with the manner in which some readers have been running with various memes mentioned on BWE and BF-IRR blogs. Regardless of whatever Evia might mean when she advocates “Passing As Black,” there are certain predictable ways that large numbers of self-disrespecting AAs will interpret and use such statements.

      The ways that mostly self-disrespcting AAs will use certain statements and ideas is totally predictable based on what the rest of us have been watching such folks do for centuries. Like I said in the post, these recurring memes among AAs (and some other categories of Western Blacks such as the Dominicans) are not new. They’re very old. And they have a very long, very old observed track record of producing certain types of consequences. Similar to how obesity has an observed track record of producing certain types of consequences. Similar to how smoking has an observed track records of producing certain types of consequences.

      People can trip and pretend like they don’t know this, or that they haven’t seen these effects staring them in the face. Or they can get angry when somebody mentions these unpleasant consequences. Or they can pretend that none of these consequences could ever touch their lives in any way. People are free to do all of that sort of tripping, if they want to. But that doesn’t change observed historical and present-day FACT about the types of consequences that various choices tend to create.

      You said, “It is kind of sad that we have to have these “cui bono” discussions because we are not used to looking out for our own interest.”

      It is sad. And quite pitiful. And what’s most pitiful is that it’s usually the “cui bono” questions/conversations that generate some of the most hysterical responses. That’s what happens when inconvenient questions are raised about cherished dogma. And what ends up happening is that emotionally overwrought dissenters automatically jump to inventing strawman arguments, while totally ignoring the substance of whatever was actually said. With the ignored material consisting of things they can’t refute. Such as the inconvenient FACTS (past and present) I presented in this post.

      All of this is part of why my attention has been shifting since the beginning of this year. There are some more shifts to come. Soon.

      You said, “It seems that your post and the commenters have already covered all bases, so I have very little to add. I’m glad that you brought up the subject of how the Miami minority/majority (Cubans) conduct themselves. This I can speak of. Notice that the Cubans have taken a page from Jews in that they will “marry-up” and for all intent and purposes become “white”. However, they will also continue to make sure that the upkeep of their ethnic groups are funded by these white men too. By doing this, the Cubans ensure that their interests are promoted by the whites in power. They do not ever sell themselves short. Why should they??? Again, other folks do for themselves what we deem as impossible. BW don’t have go the exact same route, but we have to do something. Why not let the white man fund our future? That plan has always worked me, I don’t see the problem.”

      Oh, yeah. There are plenty of different categories of people doing all these various things AA women love to proclaim are “impossible.” The pattern is that instead of attempting to do what we’ve arbitrarily proclaimed is “impossible,” individual AA women try to convince themselves (and dissenters like me) that various methods of cutting our own throats (fat acceptance, checking a zillion boxes other than Black, etc.) are actually hip and self-actualizing ideas. Ummm…no.

      You said, “Khadija said: “As the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) described true fellowship: wanting for your brother (in faith) the same things you want for yourself.”

      This is so on point, and is what I have used to decide if a person really has my best interest at heart. I believe that this is the flip-side to your “cui bono” challenge. Would they desire for themselves, that which they desire for me???”

      Indeed!

      Expect Success!

  48. evia says:

    Did I miss something b/c unless Evia is telling BW to call themselves another race or deny their race I’m confused. How does BW using a term “PAB” (not saying she is trying to pass off as something else or another race) evoke so much fear?

    Exactly, Neecy. PAB stands for passing as “black,” so I’m not sure how it could be interpreted by anyone that I’m trying to “pass myself off as another race” or as non-black. LOL!!!! I’m a bit more creative than that and would use another label if I were.

    How is it that my name, my PAB label, and “passing myself off as another race” is even being discussed here AT ALL?

    Khadija, I think the info you’ve presented in this post gives much food for thought, however, I’ve still not seen the connection between the info here and my label. I think this may be confusing some of your readers. It’s certainly confusing me.

    I could be wrong, but it seems that my PAB label has fanned the flames of the deep seated FEAR in some of you that some of us are trying to “escape.” SMH

    But the ‘please don’t leave us’ plea is not going to work with smart(er) people because there is next to no value left in the brand and smarter people are going to alter or define themselves as they see fit–to enhance their ability to survive and thrive. If indeed those white mothers of black children are trying to label their children as biracial in order to escape blackness as it’s presently perceived, I don’t blame them. It’s cowardly “BLACK” people who stood around and allowed the ABCs to drive the value of the brand into the tank. So it’s not actually intelligent for anyone to hold onto a label that’s in the tank, no matter how valuable/meaningful it once was. It’s obviously not the same anymore. Intelligence is strongly correlated with ‘surviving and thriving.’ More intelligence = better able to survive and thrive. That’s the only definition of “intelligence” that ultimately means anything. What good is any amount of intelligence if you’re not using it to survive and thrive at the highest level possible. That IQ silliness is just for academic discussions and racist hustlers.

    Personally, I don’t believe the AA brand should be invested in any more. It is too riddled with massive problems that continue to get worse. The overwhelming MOST of AAs have lost all vestiges of COMMON SENSE and/or are too cowardly to use it. Even owners of failing companies look for a way to get out of them with as many of the assets as they can even if the company has been their family’s company for hundreds of years. As the song lyrics say, “you have to know when to hold ‘em (cards) and know when to fold ‘em” and switch up.

    So, I’m being mentioned more and more in connection with this post and aside from the puzzling connection of me to it, this is mindboggling since I’ve certainly beat the drum from day 1, almost begging bw to ESCAPE while they can, to grab what they can and run for the hills, etc. What’s new?

    As I and many of you have pointed out, anyone who is perceived as black will be considered black in American society, so I’m puzzled too about the strong opinions expressed here that are connected somehow to my PAB label???? What has my label got to do with anyone else or any of this?

    Again, I’ve gone on record many times to emphatically say that I actually WANT as many bw as possible to “ESCAPE.” What exactly has changed????? I’ve gone on record to say to heck with NV or LV AAs because there is either no reciprocity or not nearly enough reciprocity coming from them to support a living well life for typical AA women and there is no functioning community to reciprocate, considering the heavy investment that an AA woman is usually pressured to make. This is why there are all of these increasingly dreadful statistics connected to AA women of ALL socioeconomic strata due to the roles that AA women are indoctrinated to play. Mules, mammies, martyrs, sista-soldiers, she-males, sapphires, or let’s call these roles: mmmsss.

    I repeat: there is no separation in the minds of typical Americans (black, white, etc.) or in the minds of the lion’s share of AA women between a “BLACK” (American) woman and a mule, mammy, martyr,sista-soldier, she-male, and sometimes a “sapphire.” Strongly refuse to act out one or more of these roles and watch how you will astonish others. LOL!! They will wonder who in the world do YOU think YOU are!! Or they’ll accuse you of being angry or having a ‘tude or chip on your shoulder. The overwhelming most of AA women cannot withstand the onslaught of pressure and condemnation (when called “acting white” or “sellout”) that comes of not being a mmmsss and usually gets back into “her place” (role). I see this every day–as when the bm told the little tearful black girl whose feelings had been crushed: “Black girls don’t cry.” She dried those tears.

    I, however, am not a “BLACK” woman. I’ve self-defined as a PAB and I comfortably think and behave as a PAB, so I can easily dismiss pressure and all condemnation. I’ve been successfully doing that for years. For me, ANY condemnation is a tiny price to pay for what I’ve gained because my PAB identity gives me the freedom to act in any way that I morally see fit to promote me and mine. “BLACK/AA” women are seriously constrained and do not have that freedom. They self-limit to the max to be a mmmsss. I’m not trying even to save “summa our people,’ aside from what anyone can use from my essays, that I’m mainly writing now to be historical documents.

    And Khadija, unfortunately, others ARE going to ravage and pillage what’s left of what was once AA’s crisis management ‘culture.’ It was truly a glorious, unparalleled achievement from our ancestors!! But it was meant to be temporary to get us from point a to point b. Their descendants (we) have not developed the RUCOSS to move us on, and as you’ve pointed out, the descendants are overwhelmingly too damaged to do that now. I agree. I’m fortunate that I experienced our proud heritage and will always carry it with me. And like my elderly aunt, I will always be a proud “Old School” bw.

    So, I understand how you feel, but the experiment called the “black experience in America” has FAILED. I believe that the overwhelming bulk of AAs are on life support and will not come out of this coma alive. I’ve finished my grieving about that. The bright side of this is that our ancestors who made all of those sacrifices are not alive to witness any of this. Many of the commenters here and other AAs elsewhere are grieving about this comatose but simultaneously actively poisonous state of AAs. They cannot finish grieving because no one has OFFICIALLY declared that anything is dead. So there is lack of closure. This is what I see here. Closure is very important and this is why funerals are important.

    And Neecy, I AGREE with you that the typical AA woman does not have anything significant left to lose and everything to gain by leaving. This is why–with each of my essays–I’ve exhorted AA women to get fit emotionally, physically, spiritually, intellectually, etc. to fan out all over the world and into other more functional populations. I am convinced that with a more self-enhancing thought system, their female card and an adequate level of know-how and fitness, just about any AA woman can do that much, much better and have a substantially higher quality of life. However, I KNOW the overwhelming number of them are not going to budge, and I believe that most of them don’t even want to know what’s coming down the pike. “Ignorance is bliss.” I’m at the point where I just want those who don’t want to budge to go peacefully. So, I fully agree that there’s no point in trying to beat up the ones who are leaving (if anyone is inclined to do that) or the ones who are staying put.

    • Evia,

      Respectfully, I’ll repeat much of what I said in my reply to Neecy.

      From my point of view, at a certain point in this conversation, you got off into doing some twisting, playing dumb and strawman stuff that’s similar to what the fat acceptance, and “marriage is not important” folks do.

      For example, you said, “Exactly, Neecy. PAB stands for passing as “black,” so I’m not sure how it could be interpreted by anyone that I’m trying to “pass myself off as another race” or as non-black. LOL!!!! I’m a bit more creative than that and would use another label if I were.

      How is it that my name, my PAB label, and “passing myself off as another race” is even being discussed here AT ALL?”

      Now, you’ve spoken at length for years about the Black-hating, self-disrespecting pathologies that many AA males have about their own identities. And how these anti-Black racist AA males twist various things around to suit their preconceived notions.

      Are you really claiming not to know that there’s a similar segment among the AA female population? You never knew that? You just can’t imagine that there’s probably a large chunck of similarly unhealthy AA women who will eagerly twist anything—including phrases like “Passing As Black”—around to serve their own neuroses?

      You never knew that there were some BW who twisted your earlier statements around into the false notion that you were saying “quality man = WM”? You had no idea of this? It never crossed your mind that folks might do the same thing with your “Passing As Black” phrase?

      My goodness. If you genuinely don’t know any of these things—and they never crossed your mind—then it’s not for me to tell you. Like I said to Neecy, I can’t chase conversations in which the conversation partner is playing dumb to any significant degree. That’s not a good use of time.

      Expect Success!

  49. Felicia says:

    Neecy,

    I’m giving you a high five and a BIG cyber hug regarding specifically Part 2 of your comment about this issue.

    Thank you for this. Baring your soul like you have. You speak for a lot of BW who wouldn’t dare make it plain like that in a public (or private for that matter) forum.

    IMO individual American women of any perceptible degree of African-Ancestry determined to live, love, and marry well must have a TAKE NO PRISONERS approach to finding her PERSONAL happiness and bliss.

    Because like you correctly said – when it comes to group dynamics – IT’S A WRAP.

    Therefor, IMO individual BW shouldn’t be concerned about the way her personal decisions – whatever they are – effect the whole. Because at this point in time, the whole is totally UNSALVAGEABLE. PLUS like you said, it’s BM’s responsibility at this point (it was all along but they on a group level are – and apparently always have been – perfectly content playing the female role and passing on a man’s responsibility to build/protect/save on to BW who were/are always thought of as trusty, dependable, protecting mules) to salvage the so-called “community”. Let them at it.LOL RIGHT. (As if they care… NOT)

    Now we ALL know the vast majority of BM don’t give two you know what’s about “the community” or salvaging anything associated with blackness.

    Again, that’s NOT individual BW’s cross to bare or problem to solve. It’s certainly not mine.

    Actually, I think if MORE BW internalized and accepted that time IS up, the game is OVER, and it is a WRAP, that would give them the impetus to MOVE the hell ON and DO FOR SELF.

    Whether anyone else likes, understands, and/or approves of it or not.

    And WHATEVER ideology/identity (African-American or non African-American) is going to help get sisters where they wish and deserve to be, so be it.

    I don’t care what women of perceptible (or non perceptible) African ancestry the world over call themselves. All I care about is BW and our children (however we and our husbands choose to identify them) LIVING WELL.

    Because it’s OBVIOUS that the “black community” the world over doesn’t give a DAMN about BW and our children (not in comparison to BM and black boys) collectively. Otherwise BW and black children – especially girls – wouldn’t be suffering so much the world over in comparison to most Western white women and white children.

    Now there ARE INDIVIDUAL BM the world over who are doing their BEST to provide for and protect the BW and black children they PERSONALLY love. BW in their personal orbit who they care about. And thank God for them. But on a GROUP level, MOST BM have let BW and black children down to defend themselves (and women including BW CAN’T defend themselves in this harsh cruel world we live in. Women need MEN for that) and have pursued THEIR personal bliss/freedom regardless of the consequences.

    It’s long past time BW did the SAME. Without regard for how her personal choices – WHATEVER they are – effect the whole. Since the whole is FAR GONE and won’t be resurrected.

    Heterosexual BW need certifiable MEN and need to stop thinking and acting like pseudo men with all of this “how are my personal choices going to effect the community” nonsense. That’s a MAN’S job to worry and be concerned with all of these community issues. Not a woman’s job. OUR job is to NURTURE the next generation.

    And you can’t do a successful job of that when you’re constantly under attack. And BW ARE under attack these days. And mostly in our own so-called black “communities” BY DBRBM.

    A well nurtured, well loved, well educated, well provided for people – the majority of whom grow up in two-parent married households – can’t help BUT to build a positive culture.

    These are the people I want BW to produce.

    This is the good life I what for BW who desire it. A normal civilized existence for themselves and their young.

    I want BW – and specifically American black women – to know that the world is FULL of wonderful marriage minded men who will take on these burdens for BW (safety and living well concerns) and actually SOLVE problems that arise instead of complaining (not doing caca) and blaming WM, BW, slavery, colonialism, and so on and so on…

    We must remember that large segments of the whole (what’s left of the “community”) do NOT have individual BW’s – ESPECIALLY those of us who are living well with WM and other non BM spouses or wish to be – best interests at heart. Large segments would rather leech off of us and drain our life blood than to see us happy. Especially with non black spouses.

    So… IMO at this point in time, it would behoove BW determined to live and love well, to NOT CARE ONE IOTA about the outcome/ramifications to the “community” (that doesn’t give a damn about them anyway) of her identifying one way or another.

    WHATEVER works (and brings good results like a happy, successful, and well provided for life for a sister and her children) for individual BW is FINE BY ME. Because at this point in time, NO ONE else (unless it’s your family and every BW doesn’t even have that) cares about the fate of BW and specifically American BW of African descent. No one else cares. So why in God’s name should BW – specifically American BW – care the least bit about what ANYONE else (or “community”/ethnic/racial group) thinks about them and their choices regarding anything?

    If BW could just get over that hurdle (caring about what others – even other black people- think about them and their choices regarding whatever), BW could SOAR and be truly free.

    I know that many of us were taught in black studies classes that black folks are collectivistic and white people are individualistic. And that black people were morally superior because of this. But this is a LIE. White people (WM leading the pack) do a FAR better job of collectively taking care of their people. The ONLY ones collectivistically thinking these days – and who are actually taking care of the “community” (while being cursed, abandoned, killed, and raped in higher numbers than everyone else) – are BLACK WOMEN. BM take the cake when it comes to individualistic thinking
    AND behavior.

    So.. That’s the one and ONLY thing of value that modern BW can learn from BM.

    BW – and specifically American black women – need to take this individualistic mindset (the same one every other woman on planet earth is using to her PERSONAL benefit especially in regard to marriage) and PLAY IT TO THE HILT.

  50. foreverloyal says:

    (3)(b) Similarly, somebody (in this case me) pointing out the observed negative political consequences (past and present) of Blacks opting out of their racial identity does not equal me somehow creating these consequences. Just because other folks might prefer to see no consequences, hear no consequences, and speak no consequences does not mean that I’m under any obligation to join them in ignoring all of that.

    To me this is very clear. By all means, do what you feel is best. Just consider the consequences, if any.

    This post has been extremely illuminative, one of your “Greatest Hits” if you will. I actually plan on printing it out and saving it for my children. I want them to take the long view on all the major decisions in their lives, with due consideration to historical patterns and precedents. Your post distills a few volumes down to a few pages. Thank you. (And may I also add, I’d be happy to purchase “The Sojourner’s Passport II, especially if it includes this essay)

    Cui bono–who, if anybody, benefits when an African-American Black person runs away from the “Black” self-description? What do they gain?

    For those who are phenotypically white-or-latino-or-asian etc., they themselves can gain a smoother life. Assuming this is full-blown “passing”, the group with which they identify themselves likely gains much of their disposable income, social capital, and energy.
    For those of a mixed or black phenotype, there may be increased emotional calm as they are no longer emotionally attached and feeling accountable to improve/change what goes on with “black” people as a whole at personal cost.

    IF this goes into full blown (“social passing”? not sure what to call this) The group with which they align themselves likely gains much of their disposable income, social capital, and energy.

    Who, if anybody, loses when an African-American Black person runs away from the “Black” self-description? What do they lose?

    For those who are phenotypically white-or-latino-or-asian etc., assuming they go into full-on “passing” mode, they lose emotionally as they would have to distance themselves from family and part of who they are. It also can’t be easy to live in fear of being “found out” by friends, colleagues or a spouse. The stress of having kids alone would be ridulous (because sometimes latent genes pop up when you least expect it.) I think the emotional cost would be greater stress, and we all know constant stress isn’t healthy.

    Of course the AA collective loses in headcount, which counts politically as has already been discussed.

    Has running away from the “Black” description ever worked in the past? If so, for whom, to what degree, for how long, and under what set of circumstances did it work?

    For the phenotypically non-black,(full-on passing) it works for just as long as they are willing to deny their family/childhood friends, and as long as they are never “found out”. It seems to have worked very well, probable emotional costs aside. It generally required moving to a different city, state, or region altogether. It was also helped by the non-ubiquity of image-recording devices and the internet. Full-on “passing” would be more difficult in this day and age and would require more work.

    For the phenotypically mixed, it can work, assuming the goal is marrying up,and a degree of “mainstream” acceptance. It seems to require leaning more to the “white/other” in appearance and doing whatever to enhance that (keep hair styled straight, perhaps a nose job), marrying “white/asian/latino etc.” and keeping distant socially from too many black people (and “too many” could even mean having 1 close black friend).

    Phenotypically black would be more complicated for “social passing”, but I imagine it could, possibly work similarly in the circumstances descibed above.

    I imagine that for those that identifying as “black” meant accepting mule duty, or wincing, feeling guilty about being happy/safe/educated,or being lumped in with deviants, castng off the label would bring some major emotional benefit. This is what I understood Evia to be saying in the earlier conversation.

    Thank you again for this post and conversation. I’m sure this will be rolling around in my head for awhile, and perhaps I’ll be back with another long-winded contribution.

    • ForeverLoyal,

      You’re welcome! No, I don’t expect to write any more AA/Black-oriented materials. My side business (and any other projects I have planned for the future) are oriented toward the nonblack mainstream consumer. But thanks so much for your kind words; I truly appreciate it.

      Expect Success!