awordofvice asked: i had a interesting convo with friends last night about people from other countries not identifying as black and even saying that the concept of blackness is an American construct that does not apply to Africans or those of African descent in other nations ie Brazil, DR, etc. for example, someone who is African is dark skinned but not 'black' cuz they are not from the united states, where the black power movement originated. what does this imply? what do you think?
I’ve heard of this concept. I recently learned that some dark-skinned descendants of Africans (please excuse my use of African as a catchall term for the myriad of countries on that continent; it’s shorthand for sub-Saharan Africa, where most of the people we call black are from or are descended from) in Brazil regard the term “black” as an insult, as a piece of white supremacist construction that they reject.
However, I understand from some Sudanese, Egyptian, Ghanian, Kenyan, and Nigerian friends of mine that there is a concept of blackness, of black identity, that predates colonialism and European/Western imperialism.
I certainly believe that “black,” as most people use it in the United States, is a white supremacist construction. It is meant to express a hierarchy where white is at the top and black is at the bottom. White supremacy constructs black as the object of degraded, savage difference.
Some black people in America have sought to reclaim this label and use it politically as an identity of resistance—a resistance and rejection of the dehumanization, capitalism, materialism, oppression, and all the other pathologies and prejudices contained within the idea of white supremacy. I love this idea and use of Blackness.
I don’t like the idea and use of Blackness where it’s just Whiteness in a darker shade, where is it merely attempting to switch places with Whiteness, keeping all of the same oppressive and dysfunctional characteristics—only this time in black face.
It saddens me that I find that in America, I run into the latter more than I do the former.
I’m not sure, but maybe this is why some other descendants of Africans around the world reject “black” as an identity? I know that when I travel around the world to other communities with large sub-Saharan African or descendant of sub-Saharan African populations, the people always tell me what they know about African Americans is learned mostly through media, particularly rap music and hip-hop culture. And through this media, the perception is usually negative.
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