Debates about where the limits of a race lie are always heated and seldom resolved. Readers of this website may have encountered such debates, only almost certainly they have always involved determining where White ends and coloured begins.
But—what about the other side? Where does Black end and something other begin?
And, more importantly, should that something other, if a multiracial person, enjoy the same breaks given to Blacks on account of so-called ‘historical injustices’?
The answer to this question has legal, economic, and moral consequences.
The Problem of Blackness
In a country like the United States, where Blackness was and is still traditionally defined according to a ‘one drop rule’, Blackness is problematic.
The problem of Blackness is perhaps emblematically highlighted by the case of Barack Obama. Because of his White mother, the latter is technically a mulatto, but is regarded, as he regards himself, a Black man.
Some, including Black columnist Debra Dickerson, do not regard him as Black at all. For the likes of Dickerson, being Black in America—being an African American—means being descended from West African slaves brought to America.
The problem has also been recognised in education. Lani Guinier and Henry Louis Gates once noted during a panel discussion at Harvard University’s reunion for African American alumni that approximately only one third of Black Harvard undergraduates were from families where all four grandparents were African American. The rest were West Indian immigrants, their children, or mixed race. The result is that Affirmative Action has come mostly to benefit individuals for whom it was not originally intended, and who, as per the logic of the policy, do not deserve special provisions.
In the context of Affirmative Action and the reasons for it, the situation becomes particularly problematic when it comes to mixed-race individuals, particularly those who have one Black and one White parent.
The White parent could well have descended from a White slaveholder, while the Black parent could have descended from slaves—even from slaves owned by the White slaveholder. What then? Is this mixed-race individual eligible for Affirmative Action or reparations for slavery?
It is worth asking, because then the White man within, who, by modern definitions, harbours historical guilt, and, according to many Blacks, ought to be atoning and paying reparations for the crimes of his ancestors, is effectively being rewarded by those crimes, denying the Black man his justice. Injustice—if we accept that there has been such—would be perpetuated this way: within a single individual, the White man robs the Black man of half his due.
Needless to say, I do not accept the premise that the Black man is due or owed anything by us. On the contrary, and as I have stated before, the reverse is true: the Black man owes us, and owes us big, because it was we who freed him, we who banned slavery, and we who gave them rights and access to a standard of living on average far superior to anything he ever had as the slave of his Black masters in West Africa.
This brings us to the other side of question of Affirmative Action with individuals of mixed Black/White ancestry: if the Black man owes us, and we are being forced by politicians to transfer wealth and cede places at universities for the benefit of the Black man, then, within a single individual, the Black man is getting double what he is entitled to, and the White man being doubly penalised for his good deeds.
Either way, affirmative action commits a double injustice where individuals who are of mixed ancestry benefit from it because they are classed as Black.
Then, of course, there is the question of what, or who, is Black? And of exactly how Black is Black?
African Americans in the United States have, on average, 18-20% White ancestry.
Does this mean—if we accept the premises of the Left—that, in the event that reparations for slavery are ever paid, automatically one fifth of it needs to be discounted, so as to avoid injustice?
And what about individuals who are classed as Black, but who have seven White great grandparents? Should such a person be eligible for Affirmative Action or reparations for slavery? Or should he, instead, be apologising, atoning, and paying up?
Even more interestingly: What about individuals who are Black for a living? Should individuals in such a position not be the Blackest of Black? I ask because it seems absurd that a man with a non-negligible amount of White ancestry should be campaigning to advance Black ethnic interests. What about the White man within? Why is he denied?
Returning to the case of Obama, some interesting questions arise when one considers that a) he was supposed to unite a post-racial America; and b) he has since presided over a huge transfer of wealth from White tax-payers to Black welfare claimants and affirmative action beneficiaries.
It may make practical sense for Obama to self-identify as Black in a country with a one-drop rule, but this does not mean that the White man inside him is not there, living alongside the Kenyan, a non-African American Black. Thus his affirmation of Blackness is simultaneously a denial of Whiteness. The act has to be racial, because, as is amply documented in Jared Taylor’s White Indentity, Blacks think and act racially as a matter of course.
And, therefore, in as much as Obama denies his White half, and in as much as he does not proportionally serve White ethnic interests, Obama is a race traitor.
Furthermore, since racial ethnic interests often conflict, everything Obama does in terms of race as a political leader is a double act of racial treason, either to his Black half or his White half, and again and in all cases to both simultaneously.
White denial in Blacks is the unintended consequence of a rule whose aim was to preserve Whiteness. The rule no longer seems to serve White interests now that Blacks have the upper hand in their role of righteous victims. Or does it?
Let us imagine for a second that the one-drop rule were reversed, and that, in a country run by Blacks, any person with even one drop of White ancestry was classed as White. This would have made Obama White, and it is conceivable that under such circumstances Obama would have preferred a White identity, denying his Blackness. It is likewise conceivable that he would pander to White interests, instead of Black interests. Or would he?
White people tend to be less ethnocentric than other peoples of the world, and in modern times they have altogether renounced their racial identity, retaining only a vestige for the purposes of apologising for themselves.
In The French Revolution in San Domingo, Lothrop Stoddard highlighted that in the French colony of Saint-Domingue (now Haiti), the mulattoes aggregated into a separate caste. They hated the Blacks, disdaining them as inferior; and they hated the Whites, who in turn disdained them as their inferiors.
Conversely, the Blacks hated the mulattoes, who were higher up socioeconomically, and even a century after the revolution, Hesketh Prichard, a British journalist, observed that the ‘ultra-negro’ Blacks systematically excluded and marginalised the coloured caste.
Among the so-called Hispanics, the same applies. They are by no means a race, even if they adopt silly slogans like ‘Brown power’. Some have White ancestry, which can be considerable and even total.
Perhaps the Blacks and ‘Browns’ deny their Whiteness because the Whites themselves deny their Whiteness. And this denial, this negative identity where Whiteness only exists as a vehicle for apology to Blacks, only fuels the disdain of Blacks and mulattoes, who in turn see Whites and Whiteness as shameful, and thus White pride as the lowest of the low.
The situation is quite different in many countries in Latin America, where populations have experienced a great deal of admixture and where individuals are classed according to ancestry and skin gradations. In Brazil and Venezuela up to ten gradations are recognised by 99% of the population, but a study in Brazil identified up to 143 names for racial types.
Such societies are by no means post-racial. They are, in fact, highly stratified socioeconomically according to race, with pure Whites at the top, and pure Blacks at the bottom.
Phenotypic Whites tend to marry other phenotypic Whites. And even if the boundaries are fuzzy and phenotypes an unreliable marker for racial purity, the fact remains that Whiteness is an asset, and Whites, especially Nordic Whites, are generally considered more attractive than coloured individuals, let alone Blacks. The comments of Gabriela Oviedo, representing Bolivia in the 2004 edition of Miss Universe, are indicative of racial attitudes in her part of the world:
“Unfortunately, people who don’t know Bolivia very much think that we are all just Indian people,” she said, adding that the image typified La Paz, which has “poor people and very short people and Indian people. . . . I’m from the other side of the country. We are tall and we are white people and we know English.” (Tyler Bridges, Knight Ridder, TheState.com (SC), Aug. 13)
All the same, Whites in Latin America do not operate as a self-conscious racial group. When they band together it is by proxy, by implicit means. In political terms they too deny their Whiteness.
Some commentators on the Left have stated that it is the United States’ destiny to become like Brazil. If so, this would mean a dropping of the one-drop rule, much more permeable racial boundaries, and stratification, implicit and/or explicit, according to language, culture, and racial castes.
However, because of the regnant anti-racist ideology dominating the West—originally developed and adopted by Whites during the French Revolution and now at its logical extreme, we can expect the self-denying Whites in the United States not to remain an implicitly White oligarchy, as in Latin America, but to be expelled or exterminated, as in Haiti.
(Jews, who are often perceived as White, even if many have theorised against Whiteness, would also be ‘encouraged’ to emigrate by the very same people they helped enter the United States.)
And no doubt the Whites would see it as either just deserts for their wicked past, or a failure by them successfully to end racism. Those with an explicit racial consciousness would be the same ones who have one now, plus those who have it but have yet to admit to it or go public.
Modern White denial in Blacks and mulattoes is the latter two appropriating a policy designed to benefit Whites and putting it to work to benefit them, with the result that it is now Whites who deny their own Whiteness. The one-drop rule has come back to bite them in the rear.
Thus, one wonders whether Whites’ suddenly adopting a policy of White affirmation would mean Blacks suddenly competing to see who is more blessed with the coveted genes.
If we are going to affirm our Whiteness, it seems appropriate, and a logical consequence, to remind Blacks in the United States of their White ancestry. Thus far, it seems, they have refused to deal with this important issue. And it is especially pressing in their case, since they are so explicitly racial in their thinking and their actions.
Perhaps Blacks, and especially those who are Black for a living, should require racial purity of each other. And, given that the context in the United States is always slavery and its consequences, they should also perhaps require a specifically West African ancestry, and being able to trace their lineage to a slave.
In other words, immigrants from Africa who settled in the United States after the abolition of slavery cannot legitimately partake in any kind of reparations discourse, benefit from affirmative action, or engage in Afro-American political agitation. They cannot even besmirch the United States as a ‘racist’ country, or make demands from the White population and leadership, because it was their choice to immigrate to the United States in the first place.
The term African American should be defined strictly, and, before we hear anything further about Affirmative Action, both we and African Americans should insist on the adoption of this strict definition. What is more, in this context Whites should deal only with correctly defined African Americans.
Anything other is a cynical attempt by professional and amateur ‘Blacks’ to add demographic weight to their outrageous claims—because deep down, those who are only partially African American, or who are African immigrants who immigrated after the abolition of slavery, know those claims are outrageous, being just an effort to get a slice of the White pie, to get freebies out of Whites befuddled by their own moral and philosophical abstractions.
This particularly applies to mulattoes and people of colour. Those who adopt Black identities in the United States, whose partial Black ancestry qualifies as African American, and who parrot the discourse of Affirmative Action and reparations for slavery cannot, and should not be allowed to get away with, the onotological contradiction that automatically renders them bogus claimants. They cannot legitimately claim to be victims when they are also simultaneously guilty, as per their own ideology. And from both their and our perspective, any benefits they receive as a result of Affirmative Action should be handed straight back by them, since they are also the ones owing. In other words, they should neither compensate nor be compensated, and we should expect that they end up no better and no worse than before.
Blackness ought to have a limit.