Since when is Questioning the "blackness" of African American's a thing ????

Jan 2016
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Colorado
#71
Must be before my time... ;)
No less than J.R.R. Tolkien used the phrase 'the swarthy men' in his Lord of the Rings saga, in reference to an invasion of Gondor by "swarthy men from the East".

'The Dead Marshes' near the Gate of Mordor, in which Sam and Frodo were almost lost in their quest to destroy the One Ring, were the result of the long-ago battle that defeated this invasion.

Just FYI.

:nerd:
 
Likes: StanStill
Jan 2012
970
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#72
Mods I'm not trying to be offensive. The topic covers certain material. Please reach out if there is a complaint and I can adjust language, labels, etc.

well, you're leaving out about 500 years of history. The media didn't have anything to do with the origins of the current racial classifications that we use in America. Race, as we know it today in America , was an invention of early European colonial imperialist who needed to justify their savage treatment of slaves and Native American's. Jesse Jackson is credited with popularizing the term "African American". But, there are records of it's usage dating back to 1782.
Well that is about half the story. When you use European it doesn't mean all of Europe because not all of Europe colonized the United States. Not only did the people back then have much less refined perspectives on race, they often conflated race with nationality. If you had told an Englishman from that time that he was the same race as an Irishman or Italian, you'd have a pretty big fight on your hands.

Grouping all people into groups by people of color and people of other or white is a very recent phenomenon. There is a reason it has happened and it has little to do with slavery or those colonists back then.

If you ask me, it sounds like a coded rewording of racial categorizing the "blackness" of people. I mean, we don't use the terms anymore, but how different is this questioning from all the colonial categorizing of people as 1/2 or 1/4 or 1/8 African?

I mean... the idea of attempting to kick someone down a peg because they aren't "pure blooded" enough to qualify as "truly black"? I just can't get my head around the doublethink it takes to convince oneself that this isn't just a throwback to the age of scientific racism. And if they are "half" what does that even mean? Anything? Is the achievement of someone more impressive if she has an Indian parent, or is it less impressive? If people always assumed her to be "black" and this was the designation people gave her, does she not get to be a card carrying member of the black community or something?

And this is a serious question, but do people in the Black community when talking about these politicians ever casually insert into the conversation comments like "you know she's only half black, right?" Seems unlikely to me.
Actually there were two different racial systems in use back then and they were created by different laws and of course that most important law, the law of unintended consequences. In the U.S. you had a "white" majority trying to control an African minority. On top of that importation of new slaves was outlawed so the "one drop" law was passed to try to continue slavery and grow the pool of slaves as large as possible.

Outside of the United States the Europeans who were controlling Mexico and Central and South America were always in the minority. In these areas a Mestizo caste type system developed that was quite elaborate and was based completely on the types of categorizing you mentioned.

I have heard blacks refer to those with bi racial parents as "light skinned".
If "white privilege" is such a thing, would not a child born to bi racial parents be more apt to claim "white" as apposed to "black"? Why is such a child automatically assumed to be black and not white?

This is a serious question but i doubt I will get a serious answer beyond "racist".
Actually if you dig deeply into this, it is the origin of the word "colored" versus "black/negro". There is a lot of history around these understandings and the allegations, animus and aspersions cast about. Beyond the field hand/house issue that many have mentioned, the descendants of slave owners who were of lighter skin were often freed and moved up north. They were often far better educated, established so when the great migration happened, there were disparities and conclusions drawn from them often based on skin color. Additionally if you had someone who was light or intermarried again, they could easily pass for white at times and the phrase which BigLeRoy mentions down below was strongly associated with the lightest skin "black" people called "high yellow."

This has deep roots in American culture. Listen to this song from the 1930's, which was also performed by Louis Armstrong and Fats Waller. But I have always been fond of this version by Ethel Waters. Note that she is lamenting that even black men tended to prefer lighter-skinned black women ('the high yellows' in the song), whereas women who were deep black would be shunned. And we know that this prejudice goes back to at least the 1890's in places such as New Orleans.

I think the "Yellow Rose of Texas" goes back to at least the mid-1850's.

Since when is Questioning the "blackness" of African American's a thing ????
Since about the same time questioning the "whiteness" of european americans became a thing....
The concept of "whiteness" is a very recent thing. Before you would not have been white if you were Irish or Italian or Catholic, etc. All of these things were considered very different than Anglo-Saxon Protestant.

colonists from Europe are the ones that invented "whiteness" in "the new world" in order to justify their savage treatment of slaves and the indigenous population. So your comment doesn't even make any sense .
Slave and savage treatment of people was a norm back then on all accounts. You can find cases where almost everyone has been an oppressor or oppressed at various times.

Who's questioning the "whiteness" of european americans ? I wasn't even aware there was any such thing as the "whiteness of european americans" ?
Do you think that Irish and Italians were considered the same as German's and English? This concept of slapping everyone together in a broad category is an American and fairly recent phenomenon. Certainly Japanese and Chinese didn't consider themselves the same race. If you look at Hitler his views on a master race did not include everyone we would say is "white" today. I doubt he would think many Americans "Nordic" enough to be "white" by his reasoning. In particular he considered the French, Italians, Spanish, etc all to be inferior.

The attempt to create two large groups consisting of POC and WHITE is a very recent thing. It is largely because most class based Marxism has been discredited and much of the pseudo-science behind it caused mass genocide not just in Germany but in many Communist countries. So a new model of oppressor and oppressed was formulated and now the oppressors because "white" and involved all of America, not just the German and English, but now those dirty Irish and Italians that so many laws had also been passed against. (I'm both Italian and Irish). The oppressed became the people of color including just about everyone else including those who normally wouldn't be seen as having any color even by Hitler or those like him. So if you are Japanese and Chinese Hitler would have made you the Asian version of Aryan (and they are among the lightest skin asians) but in this new model they are "of color" and oppressed. Indians from India who in the pseudo-scientific race model of caucasoid, mongoloid and negroid would be considered as caucasoid are now....of color and of course oppressed.

Now to bring this all back to Harris and Obama, their parents were from outside the United States and lived in countries or worked in ways that meant they were actually pretty privileged. They didn't live in the South. They didn't suffer under Jim Crow. They didn't migrate North and live in the ethnic enclaves there and suffer under the law. They lived outside the United States and came and went as necessary for school and work.

Here is what is written for Harris...

Kamala Harris was born on October 20, 1964, in Oakland, California, to a Tamil Indian mother and a Jamaican father. Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, was a breast cancer scientist who immigrated to the United States from Madras (present-day Chennai) in 1960.[3][4] Her father, Donald Harris, is a Stanford University economics professor who emigrated from Jamaica in 1961 for graduate study in economics at University of California, Berkeley.[5][6] Recalling the lives of his grandmothers, Donald Harris wrote that one was related to a plantation and slave owner while the other had unknown ancestry.[7] In a 2019 interview, Kamala Harris said, "'I am black and I am proud of it.'"[8]

Here is her early life and education....

Harris began kindergarten during the second year of Berkeley's school desegregation busing program, which pioneered the extensive use of busing to bring racial balance to each of the city's public schools; a bus took her to a school which two years earlier had been 95% white.[16][17] Her parents divorced when she was seven, and her mother was granted custody of the children.[9][7] After the divorce, when Harris was 12,[18] her mother moved with the children to Montreal, Québec, Canada, where Shyamala accepted a position doing research at Jewish General Hospital and teaching at McGill University.[19][20] Harris was enrolled at a neighborhood school for native French speakers.[21]

As a teenager she co-founded a small dance troupe of six dancers that played at community center and fundraisers.[22] At Westmount High School in Westmount, Quebec, she was a popular student.[23]

So in the case of her and Obama they both had profoundly well educated and often well off parents. They spent large chunks of their life outside of the United States and away from the variables that are part of the discussion today.

So people when they question their "blackness" are using it for a proxy about did they grow up poor or oppressed or being held back or limited. In the case of both of them the answer is clearly no.

Does that change their skin color? No. Does it mean their skin color gave them the same experience as someone who spent their entire life in the South or in Chicago or New York or New Orleans....also a big no.
 
Likes: all9Yards

The Man

Former Staff
Jul 2011
47,002
34,453
Toronto
#73
That sort of thing happens, unfortunately. Especially to people of mixed heritage. Sure as hell happened to me, back in Moscow, with my Armenian mother and Slav Russian father. I had some Armenians told me I wasn't really an Armenian. And Slavs told me I wasn't one of them either. To me, that was just fine. I reveled in being a half-blood. But, I know that other people would get beat down by that shit, after awhile... :(
 
Last edited:
Jan 2016
57,346
54,134
Colorado
#74
That sort of thing happens, unfortunately. Especially to people of mixed heritage. Sure as hell happened to me, back in Moscow, with my Armenian father and Slav Russian father. I had some Armenians told me I wasn't really an Armenian. And Slavs told me I wasn't one of them either. To me, that was just fine. I reveled in being a half-blood. But, I know that other people would get beat down by that shit, after awhile... :(
It was very progressive of you to have had gay parents back then, and especially coming from where you were born.

o_O:zany::winktongue::smirk:
 
Likes: The Man
Jul 2013
1,508
2,063
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#76
Mods I'm not trying to be offensive. The topic covers certain material. Please reach out if there is a complaint and I can adjust language, labels, etc.



Well that is about half the story. When you use European it doesn't mean all of Europe because not all of Europe colonized the United States. Not only did the people back then have much less refined perspectives on race, they often conflated race with nationality. If you had told an Englishman from that time that he was the same race as an Irishman or Italian, you'd have a pretty big fight on your hands.

Grouping all people into groups by people of color and people of other or white is a very recent phenomenon. There is a reason it has happened and it has little to do with slavery or those colonists back then.



Actually there were two different racial systems in use back then and they were created by different laws and of course that most important law, the law of unintended consequences. In the U.S. you had a "white" majority trying to control an African minority. On top of that importation of new slaves was outlawed so the "one drop" law was passed to try to continue slavery and grow the pool of slaves as large as possible.

Outside of the United States the Europeans who were controlling Mexico and Central and South America were always in the minority. In these areas a Mestizo caste type system developed that was quite elaborate and was based completely on the types of categorizing you mentioned.



Actually if you dig deeply into this, it is the origin of the word "colored" versus "black/negro". There is a lot of history around these understandings and the allegations, animus and aspersions cast about. Beyond the field hand/house issue that many have mentioned, the descendants of slave owners who were of lighter skin were often freed and moved up north. They were often far better educated, established so when the great migration happened, there were disparities and conclusions drawn from them often based on skin color. Additionally if you had someone who was light or intermarried again, they could easily pass for white at times and the phrase which BigLeRoy mentions down below was strongly associated with the lightest skin "black" people called "high yellow."



I think the "Yellow Rose of Texas" goes back to at least the mid-1850's.



The concept of "whiteness" is a very recent thing. Before you would not have been white if you were Irish or Italian or Catholic, etc. All of these things were considered very different than Anglo-Saxon Protestant.



Slave and savage treatment of people was a norm back then on all accounts. You can find cases where almost everyone has been an oppressor or oppressed at various times.



Do you think that Irish and Italians were considered the same as German's and English? This concept of slapping everyone together in a broad category is an American and fairly recent phenomenon. Certainly Japanese and Chinese didn't consider themselves the same race. If you look at Hitler his views on a master race did not include everyone we would say is "white" today. I doubt he would think many Americans "Nordic" enough to be "white" by his reasoning. In particular he considered the French, Italians, Spanish, etc all to be inferior.

The attempt to create two large groups consisting of POC and WHITE is a very recent thing. It is largely because most class based Marxism has been discredited and much of the pseudo-science behind it caused mass genocide not just in Germany but in many Communist countries. So a new model of oppressor and oppressed was formulated and now the oppressors because "white" and involved all of America, not just the German and English, but now those dirty Irish and Italians that so many laws had also been passed against. (I'm both Italian and Irish). The oppressed became the people of color including just about everyone else including those who normally wouldn't be seen as having any color even by Hitler or those like him. So if you are Japanese and Chinese Hitler would have made you the Asian version of Aryan (and they are among the lightest skin asians) but in this new model they are "of color" and oppressed. Indians from India who in the pseudo-scientific race model of caucasoid, mongoloid and negroid would be considered as caucasoid are now....of color and of course oppressed.

Now to bring this all back to Harris and Obama, their parents were from outside the United States and lived in countries or worked in ways that meant they were actually pretty privileged. They didn't live in the South. They didn't suffer under Jim Crow. They didn't migrate North and live in the ethnic enclaves there and suffer under the law. They lived outside the United States and came and went as necessary for school and work.

Here is what is written for Harris...

Kamala Harris was born on October 20, 1964, in Oakland, California, to a Tamil Indian mother and a Jamaican father. Her mother, Shyamala Gopalan Harris, was a breast cancer scientist who immigrated to the United States from Madras (present-day Chennai) in 1960.[3][4] Her father, Donald Harris, is a Stanford University economics professor who emigrated from Jamaica in 1961 for graduate study in economics at University of California, Berkeley.[5][6] Recalling the lives of his grandmothers, Donald Harris wrote that one was related to a plantation and slave owner while the other had unknown ancestry.[7] In a 2019 interview, Kamala Harris said, "'I am black and I am proud of it.'"[8]

Here is her early life and education....

Harris began kindergarten during the second year of Berkeley's school desegregation busing program, which pioneered the extensive use of busing to bring racial balance to each of the city's public schools; a bus took her to a school which two years earlier had been 95% white.[16][17] Her parents divorced when she was seven, and her mother was granted custody of the children.[9][7] After the divorce, when Harris was 12,[18] her mother moved with the children to Montreal, Québec, Canada, where Shyamala accepted a position doing research at Jewish General Hospital and teaching at McGill University.[19][20] Harris was enrolled at a neighborhood school for native French speakers.[21]

As a teenager she co-founded a small dance troupe of six dancers that played at community center and fundraisers.[22] At Westmount High School in Westmount, Quebec, she was a popular student.[23]

So in the case of her and Obama they both had profoundly well educated and often well off parents. They spent large chunks of their life outside of the United States and away from the variables that are part of the discussion today.

So people when they question their "blackness" are using it for a proxy about did they grow up poor or oppressed or being held back or limited. In the case of both of them the answer is clearly no.

Does that change their skin color? No. Does it mean their skin color gave them the same experience as someone who spent their entire life in the South or in Chicago or New York or New Orleans....also a big no.
Jeepers. That's an awe-full lot of words to say that neither Obama nor Harris are really Black.

But okay... Let me see if I've got this right. If a politician, who most people would assume is "Black" on the basis of his or her appearance, has a significant amount of "Not Black" heritage -- even if that heritage is not "White", as such things are usually tallied -- then that politician cannot properly claim any knowledge or experience of racial/ethnic disadvantage. If they try to do so, then they're being a phony and should be dismissed as such.

On the other hand, if a politician does appear to be "Black" and does have some amount of "Not White" heritage -- a Kenyan father, let's say -- then it's more than fair to question if not deny that politician's identity as a "real" American and to attribute most if not all of the disagreements one may have with that politician's positions to his or her "Un-American" heritage and upbringing.

Is that more or less correct?

Cheers.
 
Likes: OldGaffer

HCProf

Council Hall
Sep 2014
28,771
18,182
USA
#77
That sort of thing happens, unfortunately. Especially to people of mixed heritage. Sure as hell happened to me, back in Moscow, with my Armenian mother and Slav Russian father. I had some Armenians told me I wasn't really an Armenian. And Slavs told me I wasn't one of them either. To me, that was just fine. I reveled in being a half-blood. But, I know that other people would get beat down by that shit, after awhile... :(
I think this is exactly where this interest in how "black" someone is. It is due to mixed races. It has also been a thing with other races as well. Nazi's experimented on people to create the purest race for whites...or Aryian. I was picked on in my younger years because I was embarrassingly pastey white. I literally glowed in the dark back then. LOL My skin would never tan until I hit my 30's, then I started tanning dark.

I have also heard black people make comments about the darkness of each other.
 
Likes: The Man
Oct 2014
33,166
6,066
C-A-N-A-D-A-Eh
#78
Questioning peoples claims started becoming a thing as the Internet helped expose people who would lie about these things because of the benefits (real or perceived) that came from the lie.
 
Jul 2013
1,508
2,063
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#79
I think this is exactly where this interest in how "black" someone is. It is due to mixed races. It has also been a thing with other races as well. Nazi's experimented on people to create the purest race for whites...or Aryian. I was picked on in my younger years because I was embarrassingly pastey white. I literally glowed in the dark back then. LOL My skin would never tan until I hit my 30's, then I started tanning dark.

I have also heard black people make comments about the darkness of each other.
Yes, some folks do have an "interest" in racial mixing. That "interest" isn't really all that relevant to comments "black" people may or may not have made about their relative darkness. Still less does any of that have to do with your propensity to tan.

LOL.

Cheers.