October 16, 2019

"Thomas Chatterton Williams is the son of a black father and a white mother, but grew up identifying as black on the basis that even one drop of black blood..."

"... defines a person as belonging to that often besieged minority. His father claimed that his mother was a black woman at heart, and brought up his son to oppose the implicit racism of passing, though Williams has a complexion more tanned than sub-Saharan, and is often mistaken for an Arab in France, where he lives. Williams married a white woman and both their children were born with blond hair and blue eyes. Are they, too, black by the one-drop rule? In questioning their determinative race, he has plumbed not only his own but also the complexity of racial identity for people outside the prevalent white/nonwhite binary.... Williams’s solution to the 'invented category of blackness' is to cast it off. He speaks of a 'racial injury,' then explains, 'I can think of no better start than rejecting the very logic that created and perpetuates the injury in the first place.' He is ready to retire from race, 'stepping out of that flawed and cruel game.'... Some readers will find his rhetoric perfidious and reactionary, with its dismissal of identity politics and the concomitant particulars of the African-American experience. But he is so honest and fresh in his observations, so skillful at blending his own story with larger principles, that it is hard not to admire him...."

From "How Moving to France and Having Children Led a Black American to Rethink Race" a review, in the NYT, of the book "SELF-PORTRAIT IN BLACK AND WHITE/Unlearning Race."

30 comments:

Michael K said...

Rachel Dolezel could not be reached for comment.

rhhardin said...

Even better for getting out of race is act white.

mccullough said...

Guy looks American. We’re mostly mutts at this point

J. Farmer said...

Mixed race people often suffer from the desire to jump face first into one race or the other and are much more likely to make their race the raison d'etre of their being. A lot of racial activism is dominated by bi-racial people. See, for example, Melissa Harris-Perry or the Smollette brood. Dreams From My Father was basically a description of Barack Obama adopting a black racial identity as a prerequisite to involvement in Chicago politics.

James K said...

The left is obsessed with race.

John Lynch said...

Two generations of interracial marriage reveal the nonsense for what it is.

tim maguire said...

Good for him. The idea that "passing" is racist is itself racist. Nobody passes for white, they are white, and dishonestly calling yourself black citing the one-drop rule is crap.

So much of racial identity is simply forcing people into boxes and then complaining about the restrictions of the box.

vanderleun said...

"Some readers will find his rhetoric perfidious and reactionary, with its dismissal of identity politics and the concomitant particulars of the African-American experience. "

TRANSLATION:

"Hey, I'm writing as bad as I can here."

Antiantifa said...

Martin Luther King advocated something similar about skin color a bunch of years ago. But these days, you better watch out. Progressives will cancel you for thinking this way. How are they going to win elections if they cannot inflame race hatred every couple of years?

YoungHegelian said...

He is ready to retire from race, 'stepping out of that flawed and cruel game.'... Some readers will find his rhetoric perfidious and reactionary, with its dismissal of identity politics and the concomitant particulars of the African-American experience.

Or, how about we just see this tale as one guy who just wants to live his life on his own terms, without having the world tell him what he is, but doesn't wanna be?

Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaah! We can't have that shit!

It's amazing. Some guy wants to think of himself as other than black & he's a race-traitor. If he wanted to think of himself as a chick with a dick, he'd be a cultural hero.

n.n said...

Diversity (i.e. color judgment) breeds adversity.

gilbar said...

So, let's WORK THIS THROUGH...

According to Thomas Williams, who is a self professed EXPERT:
* If your dad was black, you are black
* If your mom was black, you are black
* If, "EVEN ONE DROP" of blood can be traced back to black, you are black
* Homo Sapiens originated in Africa, and thus: were Black
* ALL humans (EVEN neanderthals, like redheads) are, not just SOME; but MOSTLY Homo Sapiens
Ergo:
According to Tom.....
WE ARE ALL BLACK


SO,
Where THE HELL, are MY reparations ???

n.n said...

The left is obsessed with race.

A point of political, social, and economic leverage. However, diversity doctrine, part of the Pro-Choice quasi-religion ("ethics") is not limited to "race", but includes other low information attributes (e.g. sex, gender), selectively.

h said...

I can't believe that anyone still takes this "one drop" definition seriously. All living humans are descended from African blacks. (Mitochondrial Eve). There are cultural advantages and disadvantages from self-defining as "black". For a long time the disadvantages outweighed the advantages, and people who could get away with it "passed" by self-defining as white. In recent times perhaps the advantages outweigh the disadvantages, so we see the phenomenon of people who can get away with it self-defining as black.

Rob said...

How dare he?! Upset the entire racial flim-flam enterprise? He's meddling with the primary forces of nature, or at least the Democratic Party, and Ned Beatty will not have it.

Fernandistein said...

Are they, too, black by the one-drop rule?

You don't need any concomitant particulars to know that the answer is "yes, of course they are."

Williams’s solution to the 'invented category of blackness' is to cast it off.

Well, he sure cast it right off by talking about himself and his race to the NYT and writing a book about himself and race called "SELF-PORTRAIT IN BLACK AND WHITE/Unlearning Race" rather than writing a book called "Birds of France", or "Practical Electronics for Inventors".

Fernandistein said...

Martin Luther King advocated something similar about skin color a bunch of years ago.

No he didn't.

n.n said...

Unlearning diversity classes, where diversity (i.e. low information attributes) does not matter. Relearning others, where they do.

Milwaukie guy said...

Americans of African descent, a minority of 1/8 in the U.S. live the best life of any African descended people on earth, excepting those who disdain the bourgeois values enshrined in our civic virtues. Which, by the way, is a near-permanent underclass who mostly live in urban areas dominated by the Democratic party for generations.

It's been a long struggle to get where we are today. That the racist-accusing Democrats of the racist party of slavery, sedition, segregation, and socialism still get 90% of the Black vote is a wonder of modern politics and corruption.

It is not tough to be Black in America. Like everyone else, when one does the right thing life is much easier. Life's still a bitch, though.

Sebastian said...

"Unlearning Race."

If whites propose that we should unlearn race, progs will accuse us of racism.

Unlearning and demobilizing race are impossible as long as blackness can be exploited for political gain.

Obama ran as black, after all.

tcrosse said...

Now that brown paper grocery bags have become a thing of the past, these judgments are much harder to make.

Ken B said...

Best advice Kevlar.

SweatBee said...

Martin Luther King advocated something similar about skin color a bunch of years ago

Are you sure you're not thinking of Sun Myung Moon?

Flat Tire said...

I read his first book Losing My Cool" and enjoyed it. I think the subtitle is something like "Love Letter to My Father". His father is a very unusual man.

cf said...

I wish him all the best, but he better watch his back.

here in the states, you get prosecuted and jailed for racial WrongThink, and to the full extent of whatever law they decide you disobeyed. (See: Bill Cosby)

Rocketeer said...

I remember my first anthropology professor, a Dr. Lin Poyer, telling us several times that "race is an unscientific social construct."

She was right.

mockturtle said...

H is right: We are all descended from a common mother via mitochondrial DNA. So any 'race' distinction is of relatively new development.

Lazarus said...

It is a scientific fact that there is not one full-blooded Caucasian on the floor of this convention. Every member has in him a certain mixture of… colored blood…It would be a cruel injustice and the source of endless litigation, of scandal, horror, feud, and bloodshed to undertake to annul or forbid marriage for a remote, perhaps obsolete trace of Negro blood. The doors would be open to scandal, malice, and greed. -- George D. Tillman, at the 1895 South Carolina Constitutional Convention

daskol said...

Chatterton is a ridiculous name, at least for an American.

daskol said...

It is a pleasure, though, to hear a proper brit pronounce it.