The One Drop Rule: How Black Are You?

Posted in Articles, Arts, Identity Development/Psychology, Media Archive, Social Science, United States on 2012-03-01 22:18Z by Steven

The One Drop Rule: How Black Are You?

Crème Magazine

Jessica Thorpe

Say it loud, I’m Black and I’m proud!”  The James Brown classic shed light on the revolution of how descendants of the African Diaspora would begin to self-identify.  Replacing racial identification terms such as “negro” and “colored,” the use of the word “Black” was another step in the direction of breaking the chains of the oppression and injustice that plagued the African American for centuries.

Today, the term “Black” is commonly used to identify African descendants across America and other countries alike.

But what is it to be Black?  How do the descendents of Africa define “Blackness?”  How do we as African Americans visualize a Black person?…

…In recognition of such issues, Yaba Blay, PhD, visiting Assistant Professor of African Studies at Lafayette College, and renowned photographer, Noelle Théard, have collaborated on a multi-tiered media project (1)ne Drop, to open the discussion on the “other” faces of Blackness.  Using the “one drop rule” as a reference, however not affirming or confirming its historical implications, the project will challenge the narrow yet commonplace perceptions of Blackness through a series of essays, personal insights, one-on-one conversations and video interviews with individuals who are not typically embraced as Black within our society.

“This project opens the conversation about the ways in which skin color politics works for people with lighter complexion.  It’s not just about the complexion, but rather the interplay between complexion and physical appearance with racial identity,” explains Yaba Blay, PhD.

A New Orleans native, Blay’s impetus for starting such a venture spun from personal experience.  Growing up in a society with an undertone of racial consciousness, and a high population of Creoles and Mulattoes, Yaba had a heightened sense of racial politics within the Black community and the underlying sensitivities regarding skin color and racial identity…

…“As a professor, I teach my students about the concept of the Diaspora and that there are Black people of African descent all over the globe.  However, I guess there was some sort of separation for me between the theory and the practice.  As I was sitting on the panel, and Rosa [Clemente] was identifying as an African woman, I was thinking ‘but you’re Latina,’ and I was taken aback and fascinated by the concept that somebody who has the option to be something else, chose to identify as Black.”…

Read the entire article here.

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