From the Left



Is that black enough for you?

Marc Munroe Dion on

What kind of Black are you?

Are you Barack Obama Black -- with a Black father who wasn't around much and a white mother?

No. Scratch that question. Obama became president and, for millions of drooling right-wing Americans, became the blackest man in the world, carrying a huge load of unforgivable blackness.

No, once they compared Obama's family to a troop of apes, you knew he had passed the ultimate test of blackness, which is to be hated for something you can't help. He was Jackie Robinson Black. He was trying to vote in Mississippi in 1937 Black.

But other than that, if you are Black, are you Tupac Shakur Black, or are you cool Charlie Parker Black? Are you professor of history at a small Catholic college in Vermont Black, or are you three years into a 10-year sentence Black?

Are you housing project Black? Are you small bungalow in a Chicago neighborhood where Polish people used to live Black? Suburban soccer league Black? Are you Jack and Jill Black, African artwork in the living room Black? Is dad a doctor? Is dad a bus driver? Is dad long gone? Does mom shoot heroin or is she a Realtor? Which one of those things is the blackest?


Are you basketball Black? Are you golf Black? Are you pit bull Black or labradoodle Black? Does any kind of doodle on a leash make you a little less scary?

Are you a baby mama? Are you a baby daddy? Do you live alone in a small apartment that you hardly ever see because you're trying to make partner, or are you living in a crack camp near an abandoned Coca-Cola bottling plant? Which one of those things makes you blackest? Are you Brooks Brothers Black or Stacy Adams Black, nonsmoking or pack-of-Newports-a-day Black? Are you St. Ides Special Brew Black or Budweiser Black? Are you Cadillac Escalade with spinner rims Black or construction worker Ford F-150 Black?

Baptist or Muslim? African Methodist Episcopal? Are you big booty, hair weave, dagger fingernails Black? Lawyer Black or defendant Black?

Did one white ancestor own slaves, or are you pure back through all the centuries, past the Great Migration north and the auto plant, past sharecropping, past slavery, onto the slave ship after being herded down to some African beach like cattle?


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