August 14, 2020

"I’ve been using 'Black' and 'African-American' somewhat interchangeably here. But there’s a good case to be made that this is a mistake..."

"... that 'Black' denotes a racial category and is inclusive of Americans throughout the African diaspora, while 'African-American' refers to national origins, specifically descendants of American slaves. But some Black Americans who are not descendants of slaves claim the term 'African-American,' and some who are descendants do not. And 'Black' also tends to be used in reference to the cultural heritage of Americans of African descent. This column is about 'blackness' as a category and a culture, so I will stick with 'Black' as my preferred terminology. My main point is this: Black American identity within the United States emerges from the interaction between structures of oppression — slavery, the slave trade and race hierarchy — and the needs and goals of those enmeshed within them.... Because of heritage, upbringing and the realities of American racism, [Kamala] Harris calls herself Black and is also understood as Black by people within and outside the Black community.... There has never been some essential element to blackness, no singular quality or attribute that makes someone a Black American.... [I]t might be better to ask 'Why do so many Americans of African descent claim blackness?'"

From "Black Like Kamala/Republican efforts to deny Senator Harris’s identity as an African-American and turn her into a noncitizen are destined to fail" by Jamelle Bouie in the NYT, reacting to Mark Levin's statement "Kamala Harris is not an African-American, she is Indian and Jamaican. Her ancestry does not go back to American slavery, to the best of my knowledge her ancestry does not go back to slavery at all."

Notice that Bouie speaks of "claiming" blackness, and Levin stresses outwardly checkable facts. It's a bit like the way people of the left and the right speak about gender.

By the way, why would you capitalize "Black" but not "blackness"?

100 comments:

tcrosse said...

By the way, why would you capitalize "Black" but not "blackness"?

You could capitalize on your blackness, as Kamala has.

RNB said...

Why do anti-racists sound like they're obsessed by race?

MadisonMan said...

To assume that "African-American" actually means someone is descended from people in Africa is stupid IMO. Common usage is that it means Black. Columns written about this are done because people are paid by the column inch.

Freder Frederson said...

Mark Levin is an idiot. If not for slavery, there would not have been any Black people in Jamaica.

Lewis Wetzel said...

By the way, why would you capitalize "Black" but not "blackness"?
Because you can't expect consistency from blather?

wendybar said...

RNB said...
Why do anti-racists sound like they're obsessed by race?

Because THEY are!! They are the racists they are worried about.

rehajm said...

Your yourself what you like, no matter if it's spelled Raymond Luxury Yacht but pronounced Throat Warbler Mangrove -so be it. I would suggest you settle on something to assist those who would like to address you.

If you make it tough on them or abuse them when you change the rules they may choose not to address you at all.

Perhaps thats' been part of the problem all along?

Ryan said...

My daughter is applying to college next year. Maybe she should just say she is black on the application. Nobody knows what it means anyway, and she will slide right into the best schools.

Lucid-Ideas said...

Kamala is a trans-brahmin pan-africanican identifying as a little girl discriminated against by Joe Biden who let little girl-identifying trans-brahmins like Kamala touch his leg hairs.

There's more, but it gets too confusing. It's hard to keep it all straight...or should I say queer. Nope. It's trans-obfuscating, as in the truth trying to pass itself off as the incomprehensible. It'll all get strai....I mean trans-obfuscated when Biden steps aside for our first pan-brahmin trans-africanic....

...damn I did it again.

PB said...

50% Indian and less than 50% black, so why is she "black" unless you embrace the Jim Crow era One-Drop rule? You are what you are, not what you think you are. I'll go with Indian.

Ryan said...

Lucid Ideas needs to change their name.

Unknown said...

What should you call people who come from Africa and become naturalized citizens. My neighbor across the street is from Nigeria, but is now an American citizen. If he's not African American, who is?

Also what about African Arabs who become U.S. citizens? Or white Africans? I have another friend who is white and from South Africa but is now a naturalized citizen. How about her?

Lucid-Ideas said...

Now I got it. She's Jamaican-American! That's perfect! It's pro-weed and pro-Jah. All hail Haile Salessei the first, ever-living ever fearful, ever sure. Truly the African-americanest of the African-americans.

This is what she should position. Jamaican-American and American trans-black. Just like Obama was black while being trans-Kenyan.

Kate said...

She wasn't raised in America and her upbringing was upper middle class. By Bouie's own definition she isn't Black.

But he has TDS so bad he lost his power of reason years ago.

Todd said...

Notice that Bouie speaks of "claiming" blackness, and Levin stresses outwardly checkable facts.

Sorry, that ship long ago sailed. I can claim to be a woman, a lesbian trapped in a man's body, a black male, a black female, a black Irish unsexed biped, any thing I want if that is what I "feel" I am at that moment. One big happy tent of everyone in the pool!

No facts involved! No safe spaces! No exclusion, no exceptions! Yay team!

Inga said...

“Mark Levin is an idiot. If not for slavery, there would not have been any Black people in Jamaica.”

Exactly. Does Levin and other similar idiots think whole villages of Africans hopped on a ship and emigrated to the Caribbean to seek their fortunes?

Temujin said...

I'M GOING TO START CAPITALIZING EVERYTHING TO STAY AHEAD OF THE CURVE.

Being Jamelle Bouie must be troubling.

gilbar said...

protip
Since our last two democrat hopes were Both Not African-American; but instead, biracial, with fathers that were Not from America...
QUIT using African-American! Declare that BLACK is The New Word To USE
Define Black, as ANYONE that is Not white

Browndog said...

I really wish more people would realize that as a society we now think and speak in the terms and parameters set by these leftist communists. We cannot begin to talk about who Harris is until we determine if she's black, is she black enough, how black is she? Is the she right kind of black?

Not a word on how American she is.

This sums up my point:

The fact that Hinnant’s mother felt the need to convey the notion that her 5 year old wasn’t racist after he was brutally murdered just really speaks to how severe the social conditioning is in this country

narciso said...

No they sold by the ashanti and songhai trubes, the point is shes not a part of the american racial experience.

Rory said...

"If not for slavery, there would not have been any Black people in Jamaica."

If not for enslavement and sale by black Africans, there would not be any black Jamaicans. No harm, no foul.

Sally327 said...

There's been a bit of an uproar over the British singer Rita Ora (at least in the Daily Mail, so FWIW), who many have assumed is Black or at least mixed race, supposedly because of the way she presents herself, her hair styles, etc., but she's not, she's of Albanian origin. Anyway, there's this term "blackfishing" that she's being accused of. A term with which I was unfamiliar until I read this article about Rita Ora.

Kamala Harris can't be accused of blackfishing, I don't think, because she is of a mixed race background and although it doesn't include African-American, if that community wants to claim her then so be it. I don't have the impression she's tried really hard to trick anyone into thinking that she's something she's not. Which I'll leave at that because I'm probably getting perilously close to stumbling into some inadvertently racist comment and BLM protestors will show up at the window outside my house.

JRoberts said...

This reminds me of a dim-witted American TV journalist doing man-on-the-street interviews in London. She kept referring to a certain interviewee as "African-American". The individual finally got angry and yelled at her "Why do you keep calling me African-American??? I was born in the UK. I've never been to Africa and I've never been to America!!!

She continued to refer to the man as African-American until he walked away in disgust. She couldn't help herself because African-American was only politically correct term she had to refer to a black person.

Jeff said...

'Why do so many Americans of African descent claim blackness?'
Gee, that's a tough one. Why did Elizabeth Warren claim to be a Cherokee? Why does Rachel Dolezal claim to be black? Why are there many more men claiming to be women than the reverse? If you haven't figured this out yet, you don't stand a chance of understanding the last 50 years.

Kevin said...

What about blacketty-black?

Capitalized or no?

Browndog said...

-negro
-colored people
-black
-African-American
-people of color
-black

It looks like we're going back to negro in the near future.

h said...

I'm not asserting that this is relevant to Harris, but has anyone noticed the increasing popularity of "passing as black"? Everyone knows the famous examples, but beyond that:

-- I've seen an article (by a WaPo staff writer?) who said that he has a special and unusual insight into race relations in the US because his skin tone and features allow would allow him to "pass as white". Not that he tried to, but that people often mistakenly took him for white.
-- I've noticed that when Gov. Whitmer was being seriously considered for VP, her photo in the WaPo had her either in shadow, or photo-shopped so that she appeared as black as Kamala Harris.

100 years ago, some (many?) blacks who could pass as white did so. (It's an essential part of the plot of Show Boat 1926 novel by Edna Ferber, musical first produced in 1927.) That they did so is (to me) fairly definitive proof that there was a social/economic advantage to being seen as white. So today, I am forced to consider that many people believe that there is a social/economic advantage to being "of color". Is that what people mean by "black privilege"?

Kevin said...

I look forward to the 2021 Crayola sets.

Black will be capitalized. The other colors will revert to lowercase.

Drago said...

Inga the Russian Collusion Truther: "Does Levin and other similar idiots think whole villages of Africans hopped on a ship and emigrated to the Caribbean to seek their fortunes?"

Of course not.

Slave owners, like Kamala's family, paid african tribes to capture other african tribal members and have them shipped over to this hemisphere.

Kamala is the beneficiary of this enslavement of others yet, as far as I can tell, she has yet to offer personal reparations to anyone for what her family did to the 200 of their slaves.

Inga is very very upset that Kamala's family owned slaves and Kamala benefitted from that and Inga desperately wants Trump voters today held accountable for what Kamala's family did in Jamaica.

This is very typical of Inga who also routinely blames Trump voting Christians for every act of islamic supremacist terrorism in the world.

henge2243 said...

I'm gonna stick with the N*Word for everyone that I don't like and leave it at that. Everyone that I do like, they're simply Americans.

Drago said...

h: "I'm not asserting that this is relevant to Harris, but has anyone noticed the increasing popularity of "passing as black"?"

It gets even better.

At Althouse blog we are "blessed" with some caucasian lefties who are able to read the minds of all blacks in America and speak for them as well!

Its pretty impressive.....

Fernandinande said...

By the way, why would you capitalize "Black"

Reverential capitalization

Kamala Harris's mother was a naughty "Caucasion" on K's birth certificate.

There used to be perfectly useful names for racial categories, Caucasian, Negro, Mongoloid (tho that one was too broad to be useful); an early form of Newspeak consisted of dropping those term and using political names to obfuscate what was being discussed, as in "There has never been some essential element to blackness" because the essential element is genes, the mention or consideration of which is prohibited by modern Lysenkoism.

What is a "Native American" who was born is, say, Spain, to "Native American" parents? Answer: A Mongoloid or Amerindian.

Famous African Americans include Elon Musk and less famous Mark Shuttleworth.

West Texas Intermediate Crude said...

Inga at 0803:
" Does Levin and other similar idiots think whole villages of Africans hopped on a ship and emigrated to the Caribbean to seek their fortunes?"

No, of course not. They were sold into slavery by their Black African neighbors, who conquered them and made money by selling them as property.
Their African American descendants are far better off than the present day Black folks who remained unhyphenated Africans, whether descended from the enslaved or the enslavers.
'Murica.

Sebastian said...

"Harris calls herself Black"

Illustrating the current race hierarchy.

Systemic racism is so bad that 1/4-black women eagerly subject themselves to it.

Sebastian said...

Question for the historians among us:

If elected, would Harris be the first descendant of slave owners in the White House after 1865?

mandrewa said...

Mark Levin is wrong. Some of Kamala Harris ancestors were Africans who were slaves in Jamaica.

Now why are people making this mistake? I think it's because Kamala is so light skinned that people can imagine that this is entirely due to her Indian mother. And also of course because it would make a good story. But it's too good to be true.

People are also confused because Kamala Harris is the descendent of George Brown who owned a plantation in Jamaica in 1830s that had something like 200 slaves.

The only legitimate argument is that Kamala Harris does not have any ancestors who were slaves in the United States or what was later to become the United States.

Now I can anticipate many people saying what difference does it make? She has some ancestors that were slaves and that's what matters. And mostly I agree. Except this raises an interesting point.

Why are we not talking about all the slaves in Africa? Why does it count that someone had an ancestor that was a slave in Jamaica but it doesn't count that they had an ancestor that was a slave in Africa?

Enlighten-NewJersey said...

I assumed the term African-American was used because most black people in the U.S. did not know what country their ancestors came from and so used a continent name to provide a similar descriptor used by others - a country name in front of the word American - Italian-American, Chinese-American,etc. Ms. Harris knows the countries her ancestors immigrated from - Jamaica and India. The term black I thought was used as short hand for race or as a description of skin color. I always got a kick out of the sports commentators referring to black athletes from countries other than the United States as “ African-Americans”.

Apparently, being referred to as an African-American has more marketability than the Jamaican-American or Indian-American brand. She can call herself whatever she likes, I still won’t don’t agree with her political ideology

Michael K said...

Exactly. Does Levin and other similar idiots think whole villages of Africans hopped on a ship and emigrated to the Caribbean to seek their fortunes?

You mean like the white slaves shipped to Jamaica after the English Civil War?

Fernandinande said...

'Why do so many Americans of African descent claim blackness?'

Affirmative action.

Kamala Harris is an excellent example of benefiting from a plausible, but exaggerated and technically false claim of 'blackness'.

cacimbo said...

I believe the one article claiming Harris is not a "natural born" citizen was idiotic.

Funny - except for one instagram photo of Harris with her husband and his two kids I have not seen any photos of Harris and hubbie in media.Almost like they don't want to advertise his whiteness.Kinda the exact opposite of how Obama's family was front paged.

The Minnow Wrangler said...

I have seen "POC" for "People Of Color" or BIPOC for "Black, Indigenous, and People of Color". Both of which sound kind of silly to my non-academic ears. But maybe we should just go back to "White" and "Colored". Progress!

Kamala is a child of a part Indian mother and a Jamaican father as I understand it. I don't see how this makes her "African American" but certainly she is a "woman of color".

Gahrie said...

Why do so many Americans of African descent claim blackness?'

The pursuit of power and wealth. After all, it worked for Farrakhan, Jackson and Sharpton.

Mary Beth said...

Her ancestry does not go back to American slavery, to the best of my knowledge her ancestry does not go back to slavery at all.

He means her ancestry doesn't include slaves, right? Because according to her father, her ancestry goes back to slavery, but on the slave owner side of things.

Gahrie said...

Also what about African Arabs who become U.S. citizens? Or white Africans? I have another friend who is white and from South Africa but is now a naturalized citizen. How about her?

I have been telling people for years that Elon Musk is my favorite African American. I do get weird looks sometimes.

rcocean said...

"Black American identity within the United States emerges from the interaction between structures of oppression — slavery, the slave trade and race hierarchy"

No too sure why "The slave trade" is put in here. The US abolished the slave trade in 1808, and VA, MD, and NC abolished it in the 1790s. Unlike the Caribbean or South America, the death rate for American Negro Slaves was extremely low and their birth rate was very high. That's why the Black population rose from 700,000 to 4 Million of whom 500,000 were free-men. IRC, the number of slaves brought in from 1790-1860 was less than 100,000.

Roughcoat said...

By the way, why would you capitalize "Black" but not "blackness"?

For the same reason you capitalize Bible but not biblical.

rcocean said...

As I've stated before, other than going to Howard University for 4 years, Kamala Harris has lived an almost "black free" life. She went to school in Quebec and lived with her Hindu mother in the wealthiest Montreal suburb. Her father, who left her at Age 8, was a Jamaican Economics professor, After College, she went back to SF and Berkeley, and married a Jewish White Guy at age 50.

BTW, I find it interesting that no one has dug up any old black boyfriends. WHo was she dating while at Howard U? Or in her 20s and 30s? we know she had a relationship with Willie Brown, but that was just professional/sex. But no one except me is curious. It reminds me of how incurious the Press was about Obama's white/asian girlfriends before Michelle. Guess they don't want to discuss it.

Ann Althouse said...

"For the same reason you capitalize Bible but not biblical."

"biblical" is an adjective.

Do a proper noun that gets an "-ness" ending to show how that works. Would you write americanness or Americanness, frenchness or Frenchness, hispanicness or Hispanicness?

rcocean said...

Slavery was abolished in Jamaica in 1830s. And Harris is a mulatto with Slave owing white ancestors. Harris graduated from college in 1960 and comes from a middle class background. He had zero experience with segregation living in SF Bay area or Jamaica and was an Oxford Fellow in 1966. Despite comments to the contrary, there is no evidence Mr. and Mrs. Harris were civil rights "activists". they certainly were liberal democrats and supported civil rights in the 60s. but they were concerned with getting along in their careers, not marching with John Lewis at Selma.

LA_Bob said...

This topic gets so academic and wearying after awhile. I say, let the Jamelle Bouies and Kamala Harrises of the world discuss who and what they are and why it is important. The rest of us, at least those not likely to vote for Biden, can just ignore them or listen at leisure and move on.

What we should focus on is what Althouse observes in a later post, that Kamala is smirky and insincere (which is true and more convincingly identifying than her "ethnicity"). Those qualities helped torpedo her presidential campaign, and I hope they torpedo Biden's as well.

Birkel said...

Black people arrived in South America on boats they crafted before Columbus ever set sail.
That's what DNA analysis tells us.

Freder Frederson is a racist who does not believe Africans are capable of sailing.
Royal ass Inga joins in the racism, of course.

Rory said...

Susan Rice's maternal grandparents were also Jamaican immigrants.

Patrick Henry was right! said...

Nobody ever explained HOW something that ended in 1866 controls anyone's life. How does this occur, unless it is self-inflicted?
Standing by for explanation.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Temujin said...

Being Jamelle Bouie must be troubling.

Up until now I had always thought Jamelle Bouie was female based on the name. A quick Google search informs me that Jamelle Bouie is actually male. Dealing with that must be exhausting.

NorthOfTheOneOhOne said...

Gahrie said...

I have been telling people for years that Elon Musk is my favorite African American. I do get weird looks sometimes.

I always say Charlize Theron, you get even weirder looks that way.

gerry said...

By the way, why would you capitalize "Black" but not "blackness"?

More importantly, was "groovy" first used on a movie screen by Shirley Temple Black?

It would be a first for Blacks.

Rory said...

"Why are we not talking about all the slaves in Africa? Why does it count that someone had an ancestor that was a slave in Jamaica but it doesn't count that they had an ancestor that was a slave in Africa?"

The vast majority of people who lived before about the 1800s would be considered slaves today. No one had a vote, people held land at the will of their betters. Any freedoms we perceive for them are mostly figments of our biases.

Unknown said...

Who the **** cares. Good grief these people are useless lice on society.

Michael said...

Usual gibberish from the NYT.

BTW, you capitalize "Bible" for the same reason you capitalize "Pride and Prejudice" - it is the title of a book. Personally, I would capitalize Biblical and Americanness (an awkward word I would never without air-quotes). Presumably if someone called something "Althouseian" you would want the capital letter. Surely it would be "Tolstoyan."

gilbar said...

Why does it count that someone had an ancestor that was a slave in Jamaica but it doesn't count that they had an ancestor that was a slave in Africa?

how about a slave in Rome? or Egypt? too long ago, how about this?

My mom's 1st cousin did a family tree of his ancestors. According to him, his great great grandfather (my great great great grandfather) was from Norway (came to The States ~1840).
My Cousin made A Big Deal, that our gggrandfather had the same name as a township in norway (Had that name, while In Norway, not took it while here).
Cousin said: "That means he Owned the Township!" We are from Royalty!
seemed More likely to Me, that it meant that the Township Owned HIM, that we were from Serfs

WHERE are MY Reparations ?


gilbar said...

Rory said...
Susan Rice's maternal grandparents were also Jamaican immigrants.


as were Colin Powell's. For Good or Ill, the Crack MC is right; african-Americans (slave stock) are damaged goods. ALL that they can think about, is how Badly their ancestors were treated; by, THE MAN

Jamaicans, Kenyans, Koreans, Arabs, Indians; EVERYBODY ELSE, IN THE WHOLE WORLD does better than african-americans (slave stock) do. Because african-americans are enslaved by their own thoughts of themselves. They THINK they're Slaves, and they're RIGHT. Slaves to their own thoughts

Fernandinande said...

Why does it count that someone had an ancestor that was a slave

It doesn't "count" to me, nor does having an ancestor who was a slave owner. They're both completely irrelevant unless, perhaps, that ancestor is/was one of your parents, which they aren't.

JAORE said...

So she's a Jamaican African American....

(I kid because I recall a news article that called a Black person from Canada a Canadian African American.)

Rosalyn C. said...

I think we must have DNA testing to cut through this nonsense of "blackness." Then we would know just how Black someone is and we'd have to admit that most of the leaders in the "black" community are only partially Black.

When do we get to reality and that we are talking about people who are mixed race? Obama is endlessly celebrated as the first Black President but we know he is actually mixed race. We choose to ignore that he was raised by a white mother and grandparents, lived as an affluent white. Same with Harris -- raised by Indian mother, lived with whites until she went to a Black college, married a white man. Likewise, Susan Rice lived a privileged white life and married a white man. Obama's oldest daughter has lived a privileged affluent life and been dating a white man. Am I seeing a pattern that does not exist?

IOW, despite all this emphasis by the D Party on race/racism and how these people actually live is more based on educational and economic achievement and not on race. Systemic racism is BS or at least for the little people.

What I find most pathetic about Biden picking a Black woman as a running mate is that with all the possible choices Biden eventually picked the lightest mixed race woman, and the most privileged one. This symbolic gesture is supposed to advance Black people? It's a mixed message.

Jupiter said...

"Her ancestry does not go back to American slavery, to the best of my knowledge her ancestry does not go back to slavery at all."

Actually, her ancestors owned slaves. Unlike mine. Maybe she should get out the checkbook.

Jake said...

"There has never been some essential element to blackness, no singular quality or attribute that makes someone a Black American"

Bullshit. Joe Biden said that if you vote for Trump you "ain't black."

Captain Curt said...

My American-born wife from a Jamaican family (where they knew the Harris family) considers herself black, but not African-American. To her, African-American is primarily a cultural designation, for a culture she (along with most other Jamaican descendants I know) does not share.

I recently heard a top college administrator talking to a primarily African American audience about "American-African-Americans", "Caribbean-African-Americans", and "African-African-Americans". While it sounds absurd, these are not bad general distinctions.

Sally327 said...

BTW, I find it interesting that no one has dug up any old black boyfriends. WHo was she dating while at Howard U? Or in her 20s and 30s? we know she had a relationship with Willie Brown, but that was just professional/sex. But no one except me is curious. It reminds me of how incurious the Press was about Obama's white/asian girlfriends before Michelle. Guess they don't want to discuss it.

I think this is a terrible idea. I also think that the "deep background" folks probably have trolled through Harris' past looking for usable dirt but men/women she dated 30 years ago or slept with on her rise to power, these are not issues that will help the GOP. This is not an area where Trump could ever come out looking better than the opposition. Not unless Biden had picked Ghislaine Maxwell to be his running mate. Although if he had the media would probably spin her crimes into simply a healthy interest in mentoring young women.

Roughcoat said...

Do a proper noun that gets an "-ness" ending to show how that works. Would you write americanness or Americanness, frenchness or Frenchness, hispanicness or Hispanicness?

I would lower-case those words. Don't know if that's correct, but that's what I was taught.

Bunkypotatohead said...

Brittanica.com says "She was the first Indian American to serve as a U.S. senator as well as the second African American woman"

Apparently she can be claimed by any identity group wanting to make use of her celebrity. I guess it would be racist to just call her an American.

Unknown said...

Looking back on this era in 10 or 20 years, we will come to see that racialism (the prioritization of race as a personal category) was just as poisonous to our society as racism (the stigmatization of race as a personal category). Both practices seriously erode social trust, which is every society's dearest asset.

Roughcoat said...

I dunno, maybe "blacks" should be capitalized. If so, "whites" should be capitalized as well, and for the same reason(s).

Which prompts the question: what is the reason given for not capitalizing blacks?

As a very modest way of sticking it to the man, I like to list myself as "Indo-European" on forms that require race identification. Of course that needs to be upper-case, even though I know full well that it's more of an ethno-linguistic classifier than a race classifier. Although it can be the latter, depending. I mean, white guys with green eyes like me didn't just drop out of the sky. Or, maybe, come to think, we did. In any case, indo-european looks incorrect. So: "Blacks" and "Whites" it is!

MayBee said...

I feel like I read that, and I don't really understand it at all.

I think Levin is stupid to try to define Kamala's Blackness or her blackness.
Really, how much does it matter? If people want to adore her or not based on her race, that's up to them.

Scott Patton said...

Unknown at 7:59 said
"My neighbor across the street is from Nigeria, but is now an American citizen. If he's not African American, who is?"
He's Nigerian, like the Italian guy down the block and his neighbor, that smokin' hot Russian chick and her Mexican husband.

n.n said...

Sex, and sex-correlated gender attributes. That said, so she's not black/Black, but she is 1/2, or is it 1/3 American subject to distributed jurisdictions?

while 'African-American' refers to national origins

Continental origin and [Constitutional] legal jurisdiction, 1/2 status for demographic purposes, and either ADOS or ADOSO.

Because of heritage, upbringing and the realities of American racism

The Constitution does not codify diversity dogma. Americans do not, on principle, and in practice, exercise liberal license to indulge diversity (e.g. racism, sexism).

MayBee said...

He means her ancestry doesn't include slaves, right? Because according to her father, her ancestry goes back to slavery, but on the slave owner side of things

Well, that depends on what the black half of that ancestry equation was up to at the time. I'm guessing if it's in Jamaica, the black family tree had slave roots. That could be not true, but I'd bet it is. Her great grandfather, for example, might have been white and fallen in love with a free black woman, but that woman has a family tree that is part of Harris's family tree, too.

It seems to me like an unfulfilling argument. A bit untoward.

wildswan said...

On her Jamaican side, She has ancestors that were brought over from Africa to Jamaica as slaves (name unknown) and ancestors that brought Africans to Jamaica as slaves (Hamilton Brown) and ancestors that were brought from County Antrim, Ireland after the slaves were freed to do the same work in Jamaica (Finegan) and ancestors that lived in Jamaica as free men and women with others who had the exact same ancestry (Iris Finegan, Donald Harris).
On her Indian side she has ancestors born in Tamil Nadu, India and she is Tamil-Indian by background. Tamils were and are the minority and they led a rebellion (Tamils Tigers) in nearby Sri Lanka.
Both of Kamala's parents were educated - one at the University of the West Indies (Mona 1960), the other at the University of Delhi (1954) and both got PhD's from Berkley. Shymala Gopalan's thesis was "The isolation and purification of a trypsin inhibitor from whole wheat flour." Donald Harris's was: "Capital Accumulation and Income Distribution, Jamaica's Export Economy: Towards a Strategy of Export-led Growth."
So this isn't the background of someone whose parents were former slaves in the American Deep South and who was raised in a major Northern US city in the Forties and Fifties under segregation. Berkeley was segregated by law when that was legal and by history and zoning afterward. Kamala went to a Montessori school for kindergarden and then was bused out of her mixed-race neighborhood into the better schools in the white areas. Then she went to school in Canada which was never segregated and which has never allowed blacks to rise. She came back to the US, became a lawyer, an Attorney General, and is the Vice Presidential candidate.
So what she has experienced might be described as a typical example of the successful life of the child of successful parents after legal segregation ended in the American West, in Jamaica, in India, or in Canada, not the typical life of the child of unsuccessful parents after segregation ended in the Deep South or in major Northern cities or Detroit. She is more like Barack Obama than Bob Marley or Kanye West. It's my opinion that we should learn and acknowledge these differences or we aren't really talking to the person we are speaking to. And sometimes I think that the slogan, Black Lives Matter, refers to the post-segregation experience of the black middle-class (Kamala Harris) while the Marxist organization Black Lives Matter (Portland riots) is exploiting the post-segregation reality of the black non-middle class which is failing inside cities which, we now see, are failing in themselves. The schools are closed, the rich have left, and the streets are not safe. Equality at last.

n.n said...

-negro
-colored people
-black
-African-American
-people of color
-black

It looks like we're going back to negro in the near future.


Yes, a progressive process and ouroboros effect, a dysfunctional convergence.

MayBee said...

My husband's family is from Jamaica. They settled there from England long ago. Somewhere along the line he, too, got some West African DNA. I know his great grandfather had two black women in his life that he had loved, one he had a family with- at the same time he had my husband's grandmother's family. So those children obviously weren't from any slave relationship, but I'd guess their ancestors were slaves.
Importing new slaves into Jamaica was abolished in 1808, and it was completely illegal and abolished by the early 1830's, well ahead of the US.

n.n said...

NYT is recycling 16 trimesters of progressive climate change to prep for a forward-looking 16 trimesters of renewed witch hunts, warlock trials, protests and occupations.

Jim at said...

The fact that the left is running around shouting just how black - or non-black - Harris is or isn't reveals just how crappy of a ticket they've put together.

Substance? What substance?

Captain Curt said...

Bunkypotatohead said:

"Apparently she can be claimed by any identity group wanting to make use of her celebrity."

I am reminded of the "racial draft" sketch on the Chappelle show:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2z3wUD3AZg4&list=RDCMUCUsN5ZwHx2kILm84-jPDeXw&start_radio=1

Mark said...

"I’ve been using 'Black' and 'African-American' somewhat interchangeably here. But there’s a good case to be made that this is a mistake..."
"... that 'Black' denotes a racial category and is inclusive of Americans throughout the African diaspora, while 'African-American' refers to national origins, specifically descendants of American slaves.


Some of us have been trying to tell y'all.

mandrewa said...

"Importing new slaves into Jamaica was abolished in 1808, and it was completely illegal and abolished by the early 1830's, well ahead of the US."

This misses something. Roughly half of the United States abolished slavery shortly after the United States was founded. People take that for granted but really it was a big deal.

Furthermore I'm quite certain that the men that constructed the United States knew that this was going to happen. Allowing this to happen was surely at least part of the motivation for the original Articles of Confederation (1781) which were later replaced by the Constitution (1787).

Focusing on the British Empire, which was the context of early Americans, the Slavery Abolition Act of 1833 (Britain) legally abolished slavery in most of the British Empire including Jamaica but certainly not all of it. There was also the Slave Trade Act of 1843 and the Slave Trade Act of 1873. And despite all of this there will still slaves being transported from Africa to India in the early 20th century. (It may have been illegal but it was still happening.)

And then there were all the other countries that were practicing something similar, and that don't want to remember it, that we could arguably call slavery -- but it's not quite the same -- in that same time frame.

Michael K said...

Jamaicans, Kenyans, Koreans, Arabs, Indians; EVERYBODY ELSE, IN THE WHOLE WORLD does better than african-americans (slave stock) do. Because african-americans are enslaved by their own thoughts of themselves. They THINK they're Slaves, and they're RIGHT. Slaves to their own thoughts

This is exactly true and Crack is only one example.

hstad said...

The only thing African American about Kamala Harris is Willie Brown's semen.

Inga said...

“Jamaicans, Kenyans, Koreans, Arabs, Indians; EVERYBODY ELSE, IN THE WHOLE WORLD does better than african-americans (slave stock) do. Because african-americans are enslaved by their own thoughts of themselves. They THINK they're Slaves, and they're RIGHT. Slaves to their own thoughts”

“This is exactly true and Crack is only one example.“

The senile quack Michael K seems to think he has an inside channel to how African Americans think.

MayBee said...

mandrewa said...
"Importing new slaves into Jamaica was abolished in 1808, and it was completely illegal and abolished by the early 1830's, well ahead of the US."

This misses something. Roughly half of the United States abolished slavery shortly after the United States was founded. People take that for granted but really it was a big dea


True and good points, all. I was mainly pointing out that it's been almost 200 years in Jamaica for free people of various races to intermix and have children without it being a slave/slaveowner relationship.

Michael K said...

The senile quack Michael K seems to think he has an inside channel to how African Americans think.

The bedpan commando thinks her white suburb has given her more insight than teaching black and brown medical students for 30 years. Inga stay in your all white suburb and keep your delusions.

tim in vermont said...

"BTW, I find it interesting that no one has dug up any old black boyfriends. “

At least Sarah Palin had Glen Rice.

Night said...

"The Sneetches" by Dr Seus. Nuff said.

Mark said...

My American-born wife from a Jamaican family (where they knew the Harris family) considers herself black, but not African-American.

Don't worry. There are plenty of progressives who will white-splain it to her that she's wrong.

Josephbleau said...

"By the way, why would you capitalize "Black" but not "blackness"?"

or my favorite, "Blacknetude".

M Jordan said...

How tiresome it must be to wake up every morning to a day where every thought must be dedicated to the topic of racism. That’s Jamie Bouie’s world and a whole lot of other race hustlers.

buwaya said...

The Caribbean mentality is very different.
There is no chip on the shoulder thing, or much less of one.

Most of those countries have been overwhelmingly black for hundreds of years.
There were no whites (in over two centuries) to compare themselves against, because mostly the whites were the colonial hierarchy, a completely different and very small caste.

Imagine a country where every college and university has always been an HBCU, and there never was an argument about "affirmative action", and whatever segregation there was involved only a very few, very exclusive venues. There was no question of lunch counters or drinking fountains or racial ghettos.

Granted there are some places where there are other ethnic communities notably Trinidad with its once indentured Indians (Naipaul for one), but whatever privileges and differences they had vs the blacks were of a more purely tribal nature. The politics of Trinidad is interesting, and it splits exactly as one would expect.

There was no competition among "equals" among the mass. With such independence struggles as they had the black elite could vent whatever resentments they maintained vs the white elite, but these were very very few people arguing over matters invisible to the masses.

I think it makes for a great deal more self confidence and "normality" as immigrants to the US. It also helps that whatever Caribbean blacks have made it to the US have passed the immigration filter, which selects for those with at least some talent and initiative.

Dave Schuler said...

The late sociologist Charles Moskos (who also coined the phrase "don't ask; don't tell") used the term "Afro-American" to identify individual who were of primarily sub-Saharan African descent and was descended from American slaves. Kamala Harris is not Afro-American.

buwaya said...

In other words, in the Caribbean and Africa blacks were not competing with ordinary white proles, and losing. They often had white masters, but that is something else.

Consider that the base of modern African-American racial resentment is in urban areas which were only recently settled by black people as they migrated in search of industrial and commercial employment. In many ways the movement of blacks out of the rural South was akin to, say, the immigration of the Italian-Sicilian peasantry via Ellis island. There in the cities blacks ran into masses of poor white people already doing those jobs. These white people mostly succeeded in imoroving their social status, leaving the much less successful blacks behind in their ghettos. That is why you have a black political problem.

Michael K said...


Blogger buwaya said...
In other words, in the Caribbean and Africa blacks were not competing with ordinary white proles, and losing. They often had white masters, but that is something else.


I agree and they have been ruled by blacks for hundreds of years. It doesn't matter much how well they were ruled although Haiti is a bad example. Jamaica has a serious crime problem but that is another matter, similar to the disinterest in Chicago's black on black crime problem.

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

Like Kamala Harris, Barack Obama's only connection to American slavery is that he is descended from slaveowners.

"Reitwiesner traced Obama's great-great-great-great-grandfather, George Washington Overall, and found that he owned two slaves in Kentucky: a 15-year-old girl and a 25-year-old man. He also found out that Obama's great-great-great-great-great-grandmother, Mary Duvall, also owned a pair of slaves listed in an 1850 census record. They were a 60-year-old man and a 58-year-old woman. In fact, the Duvalls were a wealthy family whose members were descended from a major landowner, Maureen Duvall, whose estate owned at least 18 slaves in the 17th century."

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2007/mar/04/uselections2008.barackobama

So, will Obama have to pay reparations to himself? Or to Michele?

Jamie said...

Mark Levin is an idiot. If not for slavery, there would not have been any Black people in Jamaica.

Not the point, really. The point is, being black in Jamaica is not now, and has never been in the past at least since the abolition of slavery (and maybe before - I don't know if slavery in Jamaica was as thoroughly of the chattel type as it became in the US), the same as being black in the US. In Jamaica, black people are the huge majority and have been in pet for a long time. In the US... it's different.

On the non-black Right, I'd say we believe that the experience of American blackness has been colored by a sense of victimhood that, in the minds of some - we'd probably go so far as to say "in the minds of too many" - American blacks, has unfortunately outweighed the tremendous opportunities available to every citizen here in modern times. On the non-black Left, it seems to me that the prevailing view of the experience of American blackness is that that sense of victimhood, that feeling, divorced from observable reality, is reality, simply because it's felt by some. I can't say how black Americans on the Right or the Left feel, being myself about as white as the driven snow.

But as I was saying... the point is, Harris doesn't share the (generally understood) common experience of American blackness. Will she resonate with American black people who do share that generally understood common experience? Or will she be able to claim common cause with them, sort of the same way Italian-Americans and Irish-Americans might be said to share the common cultural language of Catholicism even though Irish-Americans come from a far more oppressive background in the Old Country?

I dunno.