WHAT IS A BLACK PERSON?

Is she black?

Are all people white who are not “black?” As always, questions and answers depend upon definitions.

Commonly used definitions of white, black, Asian, Arab, Latino, etc, today are l o o s e l y based upon appearances. There are so many exceptions to classifications using this scheme that it does not provide for precise definitions. (See PBS Brazil in Black and White on YouTube in 9 parts)

This problem is simply solved by adopting the following definition:

Black person = victim of racism; i.e., any person who is not white.
*Term is contemporary with what a person is doing at the time he/she is doing it. Example: A “diner” is person who is dining at the time of interest.

People often are unaware that definitions are catalogs of the way words are used; and that, as such, a definition can be changed simply by using a word differently. When considering the definition above for “black person,” assess its truth. Ask yourself if a specific person who would commonly be called “Asian,” “Latino,” “Jewish, ”etc., can, at times, do all the things a white person can do— including determining who is a black person.

Definitions should be engineered to help reveal truth in order to replace white supremacy with justice. There are commonly used definitions of many important terms that are not designed to produce justice. For example, the commonly used definition for “Racism” is “a belief or doctrine that inherent differences among the various human races determine cultural or individual achievement, usually involving the idea that one’s own race is superior and has the right to rule others.” etc. As a counter-racism practitioner, I prefer:

Race-ism = White Supremacy = the dominant socio-material system of the known universe in which each individual/independent person who classifies HIMSELF/HERSELF and is accepted as “white” unjustly subjects to him/her all persons that HE/SHE classifies as not white. These individual/independent persons are united in this ultimate purpose. This system operates in all areas of people activity including economics, education, entertainment, labor, law, politics, religion, sex, and war/health.

Counter-racism is built upon the re-engineering of definitions of words. The aim of redefining is to better reveal truth for the purpose of promoting justice. When using the re-engineered terms, one should expect resistance; usually on the grounds that the new definition is not the definition that is commonly accepted. However, for white supremacy to be replaced with justice, many things must change.

That some victims of racism get treated better than other victims has no bearing on the correct definition of a “black person.” That most lighter-skinned “buffer” victims despise darker skinned people has no bearing on the correct definition.

Generally, the buffer is leveraged from the 8th area of people activity; sex. Instead of singlemindedly focusing on eliminating white supremacy, many darker-skinned people have aspired to lessen the mistreatment by engaging in sexual arrangements with white people directly or with the less mistreated, lighter-skinned, straighter-haired buffers. It is even relatively common for people to use toxic substances on their skin and hair in the attempt to change their appearance to some version of a “buffer-person.” Distinctions between groups of victims of racism are a nutrient for the system of racism/white supremacy. A single-minded focus on the problem of racism/white supremacy is a poison to it.

The writer is a black person at the time that you read this. She suffers from the stress that comes from chronic, involuntary financial insecurity that would not exist if she were a white person with identical credentials.

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15 Responses to “WHAT IS A BLACK PERSON?”

  1. I find it interesting how you subliminally negate the “Neighbors” playwright’s blackness by referring to the irrelevant fact that he happens to be gay. One might guess that if a black writer is tackling minstrelism, he may very well be using it as a tool to comment on the racism that it represents – Which is of course, the whole point behind Branden Jacobs-Jenkins’ powerful play. While Hollywood teaches us to think over-literally, the theatre is about irony and metaphor. It requires an active, critical eye toward subtext, and under-layers. It seems that you took the play’s minstrelism literally, out of thematic context, that you see the play itself as “racist” – and this raises questions about your random reference to the writer’s sexual orientation. The context of your remark comes across as a sly wink/nod accusation of Uncle Tommery; as if Jacobs-Jenkins’ sexuality is evidence of a “colonized mindset” – perpetuating the folk-myth of homosexuality as a “white thing”. It is a shame to see the “black homophobia” stereotype reinforced in this way.

  2. when i am watching action movies, i really love to see bruce willis in it ‘,~

  3. CREE-EIGHT Says:

    JuJuBe,

    Yes, by my definition, a person is white who asserts by her/his speech and/or behavior by commission and/or ommission that he/she is a white person and is accepted as white by white persons.

    I can only explain MY definitions and state MY conclusions. And, I could be incorrect. As I am in the prison, I do not have access to people with the blueprints for the prison. Since you are a white person, it seems to me that you should be trying to process the information other white people use to maintain and refine the system of racism (white supremacy) AND then using that information to replace the system with a system of justice.

  4. Thank you for clarifying… One further question. If the people on the Donahue clip for example, decided that they would rather continue to “pass” then explain their racial background to other individuals, and they functioned as a white person in their every day life, would they then be classified AS a white person by your definition? Is it their PERCEIVED race the important element?

    I am sorry for asked so many questions, but I will be the first to admit my ignorance about this. I have read so much different material that seems to be in direct opposition to each other. For example, I BELIEVE Dr. Welsing classifies, for example, Jewish people non-white, even though in this day and age they usually function as white individuals. I am trying to process so much information which often seems contradictory.

  5. CREE-EIGHT Says:

    In the global system of racism (white supremacy), being Italian, a “race traitor”, a Jew, an “Asian” or anything else is of little importance compared to whether one is white. Either one is a victim of the system or a perpetrator of it. That is the meaning of SUPREMACY. One cannot opt out. There are people who classify themselves as black even though they are often mistaken as being a white person by persons to whom they have had no opportunity to declare/ demonstrate otherwise. Yet, when they make that declaration that they are black, they are mistreated on the basis of their color classification.

    I asked several white college students in a class I taught not too long ago whether any white person would argue with them if they said consistently that they were black. All of these students said that no white person would argue with them. This is a link to an old Donahue talk show showing people who function as black even though they are often mistaken for white. For that matter, I have often been treated as white by conducting business over the phone or internet. That does not change the fact that I am a black person. Also, remember, that my definition depends on the moment in question. My defintiion differs from the one I understand in Neely Fuller’s Code Book in the same way that calculating slope in calculus is done at a point on a curve rather than some general average. Some people who call themselves “Latino”, function as white at some points in time and as “black” (not white) at other times. Being white is a choice. But, if you’re not white….ain’t no easy way out like being a “race traitor” or “a human being.” As long as the system of racism (white supremacy) exists, if you choose not to be white, you choose to be black. If, at any time, I ever observe that a person is functioning as white, I assume he/she does so all the time. No fence-sitters or double-agents should be allowed in this war.

  6. I am confused about one aspect of your definitions. You speak of individuals who classify themselves as white and are accepted as white. My confusion is in the part about classifying themselves as white. I could sit here and say all I want that I am Italian, not white, but that doesn’t change the fact that the world considers me white, and I accrue certain benefits from being classified as white, whether it is my desire or not. If I tried to classify myself as anything BUT white, it would be looked upon as disingenuous and disrespectful. Isn’t it more about being classified as white by other people then classifying MYSELF as white? Noel Ignatiev for example, can call himself a race traitor all he wants and speak about denying whiteness and the associated privileges, but it still does not change the fact that in this world, a white man is a white man whether he chooses to define himself as such or not.

    I am not trying to be confrontational, I am sincerely confused. I have only recently began to read about, study on and notice the white supremacist system. Previously, I knew racism existed, but never saw it as an organized, global entity.

  7. I’m curious about your thoughts on human interest stories/profiles on supposedly average white people in the New York Times. I found this story interesting because it reveals aspects of the system of white supremacy and the social/economic networks that keep white people afloat and able to function even when they are forced to reposition from previous layoffs: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/21/jobs/21pre.html?8dpc

    Even though his previous job was as an “account manager in public relations in the Boston area,” it appears that this person was excused from some of the courses necessary for teacher certification at a college his wife works for.

    Even though he lost his job and re-attending college, he was confident enough to be able to plan on having an additional child with his wife in the near future.

    Recollecting my own high school experiences, even though I attended an all-black private grade school and half of the teachers I had at the private Lutheran high school I attended were black, I was still conditioned to treat my white teachers with more respect and as higher sources of information. Boston is notoriously racist and I am certain that both white and non-white students are more willing to learn from a white teacher over a black teacher.

    His competence in his former and current jobs is never questioned.

    He is confident enough that he will easily ascend the administrative ladder, if he so chooses.

    An average white man with no extraordinary credentials and who has not done anything particularly noteworthy receives a positive, first-person (and ghostwritten by a professional journalist in the first-person voice to boot) profile on the front page of nytimes.com, along with a positive photo of an assured and productive member of society in action. [Note the hand gesture is similar to that seen in many pictures of Jesus pointing the way for his disciples.]

    Mr. Neely Fuller is correct in stating that even a sailor on the slave ship may have a difficult time with the captain every now and then, but he is still a sailor on top deck while we’re still slaves in the bottom of the ship.

    _____
    Also, I just wanted to point out that many theaters are going hard-core racist this Black History Month. Princeton is producing a play where Ben Vereen revives Stepin Fetchit (harkening back to his blackface performance for Ronald Reagan’s 1981 inauguration). The prestigious BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) theater is hosting Sam Mendes’ interpretation of The Tempest where Caliban is played by a black man, prompting the NYTimes to admit that he is playing to the “colonialist interpretation” of the play. And to top it off, The Public Theater has decided to feature a three-hour minstrel act complete with Mammy, Topsy and Sambo who “take part in a variety of outrageous acts involving watermelons, their genitalia and exaggerated antebellum dialects.” I actually attended this particular play. The alternative playbill title of the piece read as “N(E)IG(H)G(BO)ERS”. The entire front row and many in the row behind me were white, and many made statements at intermission such as “awesome” and “can’t wait for the second act”. The “script director”, a young 20-something white woman, approached a white male sitting behind me at intermission to discuss the production and their network of artist friends. Many of the people surrounding the author and director of the play, two young black gay men, were indeed white (from the artistic director of the Public Theater, down to the “script director” and tech crew.)

    And of course there’s Hollywood with Tracy Morgan as the effeminate side-kick to Bruce Willis in Cop-Out. In the promo posters that are plastered on almost every bus stop and phone booth in Manhattan, Tracy appears to not know how to handle a gun and makes cutesy faces while Bruce Willis assertively handles the black gun as if it is his penis at his crotch or shows you his badge of authority.

  8. 444agentsmith Says:

    Sure, in addition I believe that they are acting as racists themselves especially when they mistreat black people when white people are not around. The wiggle room is of their own doing. Remember, yellow Mannie did not give any constructive information on how (systematically) he witnessed white people/white Asian people mistreat black people on the job in the market in school etc…
    There was a guy on cree`s show named Yellow Mannie( Asian). He only gave examples of how racism was practiced towards black people through telling JOKES about them—-Very suspect. They will never tell you how they themselves mistreat black people on the basis of color. They like white people will join your groups and humor you but behind closed doors they and only they will receive whole multimillion dollar grants Honda, Mitsubishi,they are also in the G8 totally co partners with and are functioning as white people.Did they ever help black people in business–no and its not that they will get in trouble with white people but because they also have contempt for black people as well. They fall right in line with all of the Racists suspects.

  9. 44agentsmith,

    Or they could consider themselves Asian because the white Supremacists told them they are. I suspect any wiggle room they have is at the sole discretion of the racists/white supremacists.

  10. Thanks for the explanation. I suspect When the Chinese recognize that they are on the same plantation as the African then RWSWJ is getting somewhere. I will test your theory out and see where that goes. I still have a lot of learning to do regarding this….

  11. 444agentsmith Says:

    It is possible for an Asian to be a white person. This is why.

    lets look at how they(what they receive from white people) live in comparison to the way blk people live. Also, this reveals what type of (behind the door) deals they receive from white people that they are not telling blk people about.

    Notice that Asians generally refer to themselves as Asians—-not yellow people.
    You can not be a yellow person and still be white. The word Asian gives them wiggle room to practice deceit with you.Either your white or yellow and they dont want to be held to ether one. So Asians prefer to call themselves Asian because this allows them to function as white.

  12. Counter-Racism Engineer Says:

    Rhodey, I agree with your statements though not your conclusion. The intent of the definition stated in this post is to engineer uncertainty in Racist Man/Woman about which victims can be trusted more to withhold constructive information from any other victim. Victims who dare to call themselves “blacK” when they have been offered other choices by Racist Man/Woman are making a bold statement and one that should be made.

    It does not serve the effort to RWSWJ for those of us who are unceasingly imprisoned to share our meager rations with those who will be eating in the guard hall before their next shift holding a stun gun on us. I do not suggest arguing or fighting with persons who say they are not black., I suggest asking them for constructive information, offering them none, and minimizing contact with them.Differences in benefits among victims should then, in time, evaporate which, in turn, should force the ultimate confrontation between Racist Man/Woman and their victims: Produce justice or eliminate the existence of ALL victims of racism. This will happen when people on this planet determine that it is not our nature to accept mistreatment—-As the eighties pop music group, Hall and Oats sang—“No. I can’t go for that, can’t go for that. No can do.”

  13. My definition, Black person = victim of racism; a non white person who receives the worst treatment under the system of white supremacy…Biggest threat for white genetic annihilation.

    I think it the level of mistreatment DOES matter because it effects the level of interaction between the different non white groups. It explains that a “black” will receive comparatively worse treatment than a non black non whites under the current system of white supremacy. It also explains why non black non whites may ambivalence toward doing away with a system that gives them some token privileges.

  14. Counter-Racism Engineer Says:

    LaSmartOne,

    Thank you. Under the circumstances, your comment matters as much if not more than you think it does

  15. I’ve noticed that nobody is leaving comments on your blog lately. I just wanted to chime in and say that I always look forward to a post from you. They’re always intelligent and I always learn something.

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