Constitute Black Identity

Improved Essays
The readings confirmed my belief that the only thing that can actually constitute black identity, is not what one deems themselves, but how others and society in general reacts to a person. The Washington Post article laid it out quite clearly that President Obama is viewed through entirely different lenses when the viewer’s race changes and no matter what statement he makes or who he marries; people will still see and determine his race differently. This phenomena is not just something President Obama experiences, but every black person in America experiences. As a black person, it is not a privilege that we have where we can state that though we may look a certain way; we should be treated differently or expect that others will respect …show more content…
It is either to be fearful of the angry black woman or brutish black man or to act as if they do not see our race and pretend that the biases they have are non-existent. Every black person I know, regardless of the front they may put on, knows that daily they have experienced the looks and disdain in voices that come with being born with having brown skin. Therefore, when a person has experienced these things and knows that regardless of what they have done in their past or what their families social status is; that the perception of them is overwhelmingly negative and that the root cause of that negativity is because they were born with brown skin and of African descent…then they are legitimately black. The Sullivan reading also made me reconsider what could constitute black identity, as I had never thought of the terms ethnic identity and racial identity as being different things. As I read further, he explained that ethnicity refers traditionally to a shared since of culture while racial identity refers more to a shared oppression based on race. By using this definition, it became clear to me that a black racial identity is more tied to the shared sense of persecution though Sullivan does note that the Black community’s racial and ethnic ties are …show more content…
Because I am a black man, there are certain aspects of his life and the way certain segments of our nation reacts to him that in my eyes make me see him as a black man. The most apparent reason why I see him as a black man is that he was born of African descent and has brown skin. In this country, when someone is born into those circumstances I see them as Black. However, there is an internal debate that I have if whether to call him African-American or Black. African-American to me means someone who is of strictly African descent and who can trace their recent heritage to the continent, conversely Black; in my opinion means that the person cannot with a degree of certainty trace their heritage to the continent but is quite certain that their being an American is because of the slave trade. In the case of President of Obama, I choose to call him Black because his interaction with his African roots is frayed at best and because he grew up with the Black experience to a large degree. Furthermore, he is a black man because of the hyper-partisan lens of race through which people see him. Though most Democratic presidents have had a high approval rate from black people, they also usually have a significant amount of whites regardless of party who approve of them as well. However, that is not the case with President Obama, a

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