The folly of racial pride

Race and its forced imposition on a people are corporeal colonization. Wherein lies the pride? How can one be authentically proud to be something that was created in one as a negative and to consciously denote an absence of one’s humanity? Blacks, to this day, complain bitterly that their racial identities, which were imposed on them, are used by whites to hold them back in life as a source of discrimination. Yet, paradoxically, they proclaim love of that identity and cherish the source of the anguish they believe their oppression comes from. I believe black folks cannot continue to have it both ways. Black cultural depression is drawn at the fault line of this logical contradiction. Like a battered wife loving her abusive husband and justifying the love by pointing to the ways the abuses are proof of his responsiveness to her—therefore, she must be alive— blacks are in love—for all their protestations—with their abusers and the object of that abuse—racial identity.

All animals judge the things in the world around them by what their senses can tell them about those things, they then categorize things with similar characteristics together. When the first Portuguese explorer met his first African he noticed the guy had a very low albedo compared to other people he’d met - and the guy he met noticed the Portuguese chap had a much higher albedo than himself and his own people. Racial differences are noticed by everyone, as are things like sex, age, weight and attire. We’re innately tuned to notice such things because they’re relevant to us and our interactions with others.

There’s no such thing as “color blindness” with regard to race (unless we’re literally blind) at best there’s color indifference.

Racial identity is comprehensively defined as the qualitative meaning and salience one ascribes to one’s own and other racial groups,

That’s a definition of racial identity I found, a black person whose racial identity was important to them would point out the obvious which is that the qualitative meaning and salience they ascribe to their racial identity is not the same as that ascribed by white slave owners.

Reading through the article you link to I find a string of similar inconsistencies.

I do agree that defining yourself and your family by your race is destructive - you’re just putting yourself and them in a cage, creating a boundary that’ll confine your descendents, restricting what they’re able to achieve. But man, despite what he says, because of how he says it, it reads as if he can’t get past seeing things in black and white and ascribing importance to race. And yes, though I noticed his race, it’s unimportant.


I would say your ability to read and interpret complex text is quite limited, perhaps even impaired in some way. What conclusion you have drawn from this article is precisely the opposite of what the author communicated.

I would say your ability to read and interpret simple text is quite limited.

The sentence from my comment you quote clearly means that I actually agree with most of his conclusions but that I think a lot of his arguments are unsound.

A taxonomy that makes human distinctions based not on cultural differences—which can objectively be defined as the set of dominant beliefs, customs, and traditions of a homogenized or non-homogenized group—but based on race, which none of the conceptual markers that allow us to predict or pick out any moral characteristic of a human being, is valorized by most blacks.

But here’s the thing: “Black” is just as much a cultural identity marker as it is a racial marker, if not more. What occurred in American history is enslaved Africans and their descendants who were marked and identified as racially black by law and custom became, over the course of time, a distinct ethnic/cultural group because of the ways such law and custom constrained and shaped life for us for the vast majority of U.S. history. This is why the markers of Black identity are more cultural and less physical in nature (e.g., music, arts, dialect, religion/spirituality, cuisine, etc.).

But I’d have to say that my biggest objection to this piece is what’s supposed to happen afterwards: each formerly “black” person declaring him/herself the ultimate individual without tribe or history and only looking towards the future. That sounds absolutely asinine to me.

I’ve given this subject much thought recently and have come to understand the importance of several different factors in the development of the collective self-identity of the American descendants of enslaved Africans whose history and culture essentially demands one. Firstly, many, if not most, of us seem to prefer the term “Black” instead of “African American” because of a lack of any substantial connection to Africa or any of its constituent countries. Secondly, there’s probably even less of an appetite to call ourselves undifferentiated Americans when we’ve been treated as everything but, and usually in response to the full exercise of our rights and privileges as American citizens. Thirdly, inasmuch as “Black” functions as an ethnocultural term which, in and of itself, is value-neutral and originally served a basic descriptive purpose based on an actual physical characteristic (e.g., skin color/tone), one could reasonably assert that to abandon it is to actually agree with the notion that the term “black” accurately connotes all of the negative qualities that it was historically imbued with and that its associated morphological characteristics are inherently repulsive. I believe that is an argument we are not willing to concede nor should we be expected to. Fourthly, just because Black Americans cease using “Black” as a term of self-identity doesn’t mean that larger society won’t cease thinking of us as “Black,” especially since the history and culture of Black Americans won’t be going anywhere. And fifthly, and most importantly, race is simply entirely too useful as a political weapon for it it go anywhere. Towards that point, Obama’s rise to the presidency served as an epiphany for many Black Americans, and very disappointingly so.

And for what it’s worth, here are the words of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on the subject.