Cohen Hall, Room 402
The Black in Black Social Identity
Lionel K. McPherson
Associate Professor, Tufts University
Understanding Black American social identity has suffered from association with the race idea. Being Black American is not a racial designation. The tendency to reduce color-conscious social identity to racial classification is a mistake. Black American social identity gets its “blackness” from traceable African ancestry and is marked by the legacy of slavery. Yet, I argue, being Black American has become an elective identity: Americans with visible African ancestry no longer must count as Black. This hardly threatens Black social identity and Black solidarity, which continue to represent resistance to dishonor and mistreatment attaching to blackness in the United States.