‘Blackness’ is a myth

Photo courtesy of Vox.com

“Well, I’ll tell you what, if you have a problem figuring out whether you’re voting for me or Trump, then you ain’t Black.”

By a show of hands, how many of you wanted to climb through your car radio and whoop our current President Joe Biden’s ass as soon as he made this absurd statement during his “The Breakfast Club” interview last year? What made matters even worse is he had the audacity to make such a cavalier comment on one of the most prominent urban radio stations of our time and virtually right in front of a very popular Black radio personality and host, Charlamagne Tha God.

However, as mad as I was at Biden for his insensitivity, I was madder with the Black community as a whole because we allowed “Blackness” to define us once again. People treat you the way that you allow them to. It’s just that simple.

The reason Biden felt comfortable enough to tell his truth on a nationally syndicated radio station is because there were and are no consequences. Maybe there were a few social media posts or blogs here and there questioning Biden’s comments, but all in all, who voted him in office? That’s right, Black people.

I guess the only question left to ask: How does a white politician know what being Black is? There is only one correct answer: We taught him.

By cultivating a culture that constantly tests the “Blackness” of others through various aspects such as where you grew up, what shoes you wear, what music you like, and, of course, who you decide to cast your vote for, we have helped people to think that we are monolithic.

I can guarantee you that you would be hard-pressed trying to find what’s best for just two Black people, much less the entire Black community. The truth is, “Blackness” is a myth.

Ronald W. Walters, author, speaker and scholar of African-American politics, added essential context to the complications of defining “Blackness” in his journal article, “Barack Obama and the Politics of Blackness.”

“Nevertheless, such criticisms amount, in my view, to an unsophisticated conception of the political meaning of ‘Blackness’ as an essential concept of Black identity, bounded by skin color, biology, history, and culture. In fact, there are different kinds of Black people in America, a Black diaspora if you will, a fact that increasingly complicates the use of categories in America that were originally meant for the majority of Blacks with a history that stretches back to ancient Africa and includes the legacy of slavery and post slavery oppression.”

With that being said, I am very weary that many of my peers will continue to struggle with establishing their own individualism as they try to maintain their “Blackness,” whatever that is, for the sake of the group.

Unfortunately, one thing holding back the Black community is other Black people. We must separate from our delusions and put to rest this deranged notion of “Blackness” once and for all. It is time to be unafraid to be who we are as this will be the catalyst for real change among the people.