Not-Black by Default

Posted in Articles, Barack Obama, Census/Demographics, Media Archive, Politics/Public Policy, Social Science, United States on 2010-05-25 02:16Z by Steven

Not-Black by Default

The Nation
Diary of a Mad Law Professor

Patricia J. Williams, James L. Dohr Professor of Law
Columbia University

Most people who appear phenotypically “black” don’t play around when the government asks them to report their race.

Last week, Melissa Harris-Lacewell wrote an insightful column, “Black by Choice,” about President Obama’s having checked the box marked “Black, African American or Negro” on his Census form. As she notes, despite the way his complex heritage both disrupts “standard definitions of blackness” and creates “a definitional crisis for whiteness,” in American culture “having a white parent has never meant becoming white” if one also has an African-descended parent…

Read the entire article here.

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