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By: Chelsea Davis-Bibb, M.Ed.

In our society, there is much controversy surrounding what is considered Black? We now live in a society where there are many biracial individuals, and the question still remains “What is considered Black? Just recently, there was uproar over Rachael Malonson, who was crowned Miss Black University of Texas 2017. She is mixed with White and Black, and she received much criticism for not “being black enough.” My question to you is, “Do you still think the One-Drop Rule still applies?”

 

According to the one-drop rule, any person who had a single drop of Black blood in them was considered Black. In addition, according to “Who is Black?” by F. James Davis, he noted that, It is also known as the “one black ancestor rule,” some courts have called it the “traceable amount rule,” and anthropologists call it the “hypo-descent rule,” meaning that racially mixed persons are assigned the status of the subordinate group. This definition emerged from the American South to become the nation’s definition, generally accepted by whites and blacks. Blacks had no other choice.”

 

There is also the term Mulatto, which was given to those who where mixed with Black and White. Two examples of this are Booker T. Washington and Frederick Douglass, who both had Black mothers and White fathers. They are true examples of what was considered Mullatto. Davis also expressed, “ To whatever extent their mothers were part white, these men were more than half white. Douglass was evidently part Indian as well, and he looked it. Washington had reddish hair and gray eyes. At the time of the American Revolution, many of the founding fathers had some very light slaves, including some who appeared to be white. The term “colored” seemed for a time to refer only to mulattoes, especially lighter ones, but later it became a euphemism for darker Negroes, even including unmixed blacks. With widespread racial mixture, “Negro” came to mean any slave or descendant of a slave, no matter how much mixed.”

 

So, what are your thoughts thus far? Does this rule and term still apply to the society we are living in today? For me, I think everyone is mixed up with something. I think those terms were used to create labels and to be able to separate and identify Blacks from the Whites. I still don’t understand why race is still such a big issue especially when it comes to Blacks and Whites. Will we ever see a day where we are unified as one race, which is the human race? Can we look past color and just look at someone’s heart and character? In my family, we are mixed with several ethnicities such as African American, Indian, European, and even Asian. We still identify as African American. However, as a light skinned person, many people think I am mixed with something, but I always assure them that I am African American. But why does it matter? It matters because people make it matter.

 

So, in the case of Rachael Malonson, is she still considered Black? I had several conversations with different people in regards to this subject. The responses varied. Some people feel that if individuals have any Black in them, they are considered Black. Others still go by a certain look to determine if a person is indeed “Black enough.” For me, you are what you identify as. One question that I have to ask is, how are we supposed to fix the issues of racism across the nation, when we have racism within our own culture? Take this quote by Sargent Shriver who stated, “We must treat the disease of racism. This means we must understand the disease.” Before we can deal with the problem, we have to understand what we are dealing with. It’s okay to know the history, but do you understand the history?  Slavery caused a lot of tension between Whites and Blacks, but it also created a lot of tension amongst the Black race as well. I don’t think we will ever get to a point to where racism no longer exists, but I think if we learn to truly understand what happened in the past, and know that it’s in the past for a reason, we can change our mentality to love more and press towards a brighter future, but this change starts with you.

 

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