Who counts as being a Black woman? Well, anyone. You do, I do, your mother might and your best friend from middle school too. Why? Because according to the Black community, you don’t need much to be Black and you certainly need a lot less to be a Black woman.
Too many Black people subscribe to the one-drop rule, a theory that anyone is Black because they have a drop of Black blood. This ideology was founded by White supremacists in order to keep the White race “pure”. Centuries later and Black people stand by this rule like a passage from the bible. So if you have 0.008 percent Black ancestry, then congratulations! You are a Black. Maybe you’re a White woman with a tan and a weave? Well, congratulations! You’re also are a Black. You’re a Black, You’re a Black, You’re all Blacks!!
I might sound like I’m joking but the real jokes are the harmful ideologies enforced by the Black community that contribute to the constant erasure of Black women.
The genius of White women identifying as Black
Now Rachel Dolezal or Jessica A. Krug never fooled me. They literally look like non-Black women. Black people who believed in this idiotic concept that “Black comes in all shades and looks” might have been fooled. For this, they have no one to blame but themselves. The truth is regardless of its heterogeneity, Blackness has a look, no matter how much it’s denied. There hasn’t been a Black person, especially a woman that I haven’t been able to tell were Black from just looking at them. I can differentiate between mixed-race women and Black women because I acknowledge the obvious, and truthful distinction between the two.
But the Black community hates visible Black women. They praise and uplift mixed-race women because of their proximity to otherness, usually Whiteness. Most of the representations Black women have are not true representations.
So knowing this, Jessica A. Krug and Rachel Dolezal, women who would be considered normal and overlooked in their own communities, can put on a tan and a weave (something that links them to Blackness) and suddenly get opportunities and worshipped over actual Black women. They get to enter a space so vague and feeble, that any valid questions about their heritage will be seen as an attack on their nonexistent Blackness. All because Black people will accept anyone with one drop of Black blood.
Its harder for Black women to get recognition, be centered, or even enter Black spaces than White women. Because of this White and other non-Black women are able to be at a position of power and privilege in an oppressed group. Some non-Black women will exploit this and can you blame them? They would not be able to infiltrate with such success if there wasn’t such a fundamental flaw within the community itself.
Blackness has a baseline whether or not you admit it.
Blackness has a baseline and I can tell you what it is: It is dark skin, kinky hair, Bantu features, etc. Not all Black people have those features but this doesn’t stop those features from being the baseline. And let me guess, you might show me that one ethnic group in South Africa that has indigenous Black people on the medium to slightly lighter skin tone? Well, I can show you 50 indigenous Black groups with people of dark skin tones. Because there are anomalies don’t stop the truth from being true. Speaking of anomalies we can even talk about Albinism- A rare disorder resulting from very little melanin. Key terms are rare and disorder. Even with the lack of melanin Black people with albinism still do not look like Rachel Dolezal or Jessica A. Krug.
Rejecting the one-drop rule and all things it influences.
One percent of Black ancestry doesn’t invalidate the ninety-nine percent of whatever else you have. You aren’t Black. Mixed-race women are also mixed-race and do not represent Black women. The idea that mixed-race women, women mixed with multiple races including Black is just Black is nothing but a by-product of the one-drop rule.
Blackness is not some taint that completely erases everything else. It’s not some supergene that negates the other races. Calling any woman Black does nothing more but further erase actual Black women.
Yes, we do that around here. Without apology, I gatekeep my Blackness as a Black woman. Any Black space that I belong to as a Black woman has to center Black women. Not biracial women, not mixed women, not non-Black women pretending to be Black but Black women. Plenty of persons have had an issue with this as if it’s not my right to protect my space and identity. As if I should be happy to allow anyone in to do as they please and take over.
Like what happened with #DarkandLovely, the Natural hair movement, or the many examples of spaces Black women have created only to become second class citizens. If someone doesn’t like the fact that I value my identity and aim to protect it then that’s on them. Quite frankly, this Black woman doesn’t care. Stay easy.