Friday, April 25, 2008

Does "Black" Have Anything To Do With Skin Color?

Denmark Vesey is also running a piece mentioning the "ethnic confusion" of some of his readers over what qualifies someone as "Black".

People -

From a "Photoshop" standpoint, all humans are shades of red.

Don't believe me? Head down to the morgue.

"White" people turn an almost chalk-like color when they assume room temperature, and "Black" people turn a shade of gray.

All living humans reflect a shade of their own blood - which is why someone VERY fair some people think of as "pink".

However, you have to be a student of other kinds of ethnicity in order to even begin to get a handle on this issue.

For instance, in the eastern parts of Africa you have people who look almost identical to one another who will hack each other to death for being the wrong ethnicity.

The quality of being Jewish of course is one that for many Americans takes some thought. At first blush one thinks being Jewish is something along the lines of being Presbyterian or being Pentacostal - it's something that you can simply choose to do. And sometimes that is exactly correct - you can be a Jew by choice.

However, there are many, many Jewish people who are not religious at all. There are many Jewish people who are card-carrying atheists.

According to halakha (Orthodox Jewish law), if you were born of a Jewish mother, even if you were adopted and baptized by devote Catholics from birth, you are still a Jew.

Also according to halakha if you were born of gentile parents, adopted by Jews, brised, bar mitzvahed, and got three degrees from Brandeis you're still a gentile.

Obviously in practice it's more complicated than that.

Now there's this "visual component" SO strongly associated with the ethnic status of being "Black" or "African-American" - mainly because I'm guessing not once in human history did such large numbers of two more physically dissimilar ethnic groups ever come together and simultaneously start belting out kids together by the millions AND start hating each other's guts so intensely.

But, near as I can tell, the current state of affairs on this issue was set by Halle Berry's mother. I can't remember her exact words, but I can remember in an interview years ago she said something to the effect that she never told Halle anything other than she was Black. I'm not sure in the scope of the interview she explained her reasoning about that, but I'm guessing for many people having an individual ethnic identity can make a person feel more "solid" than trying to do it any other way.

I can testify to a little of this because, although I would generally be considered a "garden variety White guy", I do have this matter of my Armenian great-grandfather, plus the fact that I grew up in a neighborhood with a large Appalachian population and then I went to a high school that was 60% Black.

I don't know WHAT I am at this point.

Stacey Dash is Black.

And Cute.

What's wrong with that?

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