Black, as a group category, refers to the black-skinned people of the African continent. As the Black became subjects to slavery and oppression, the identity of the Black as slaves is a result of socio-political action, which is colonisation. These two aspects are significant in the formation of self-hood as the morale of the Black is affected by the adverse treatment of their masters. As a result of slavery, Black-White antagonism develops and remains in White societies worldwide (Nagel, 1994, p. 153). According to Zach (2007, p. 102), race and ethnicity have distinct differences; ethnicity may be based on cultural traditions, while race refers to physical appearance. Race and ethnicity are essential factors influencing the development of identity (Chavez and Guido-DiBrito (1999, p. 40), and those concepts are necessary in understanding one’s self, society, and ancestry (Bernasconi, 2007, p. 123).
With this definition, it can be said that racial and ethnic ascriptions determine the identity of a person. As mentioned by Ross (2003, p. 20), race, in the sociological context, is used as a technology in sorting people into different classes. As it relates to the Black subject, the word “race” becomes a symbol of historical and cultural injustice because of the prevailing misrepresentation of the African race, which signifies anger and dirt.
While it can be said that race and ethnicity can be interpreted in different ways, those two concepts are closely intertwined as these determine the identity of a person or group. As the Blacks face issues such as racial discrimination and slavery, being Black means more than just a difference in color. What It Means To Be “Black” The term “Black” refers to those people with African decent; they are regarded as the “other” color.
As this paper focuses on the race, identity, and ethnicity of the Black subject, it is necessary to provide readings on the identity of the Black. In the words of Du Bois (2006, p. 9), being “Black” means containing within one’s self two conflicting personalities and ideals: “One ever feels his twoness, --an American, a Negro: two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder. ” This duality of nature confronts Blacks as they struggle to fit into two societies.
Frank Fannon, in his essay The Fact of Blackness, describes his experiences as a Black in the light of the “white” power. According to Fannon (1952, p. 62), the African color seems like a corporeal malediction, which reminds Africans that there is more to color than its extrinsic value.
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