New Blacks (by 2014) are those Blacks in the US who think they are beyond race, the post-racial Blacks. They seem to think racism is either pretty much dead or the fault of Black people.
Singer Pharrell Williams (“Happy”), who self-identifies as New Black, told Oprah in 2014:
“The ‘new black’ doesn’t blame other races for our issues. The ‘new black’ dreams and realizes that it’s not a pigmentation; it’s a mentality. And it’s either going to work for you, or it’s going to work against you. And you’ve got to pick the side you’re gonna be on.”
Months later actress Raven-Symoné (“The Cosby Show”, “That’s So Raven”) told Oprah:
“I’m tired of being labelled. I’m an American. I’m not an African American, I’m an American. … I’m an American, and that’s a colourless person. … I have darker skin. I have a nice, interesting grade of hair. I connect with Caucasian. I connect with Asian. I connect with Black. I connect with Indian. I connect with each culture.”
She is a “melting pot” in one body.
Oprah warned her that what she said would set Twitter on fire, but she stuck by it. Until, that is, Twitter was on fire. Then she said she never denied being Black, just being “African American”.
So, she is Black yet “colourless”.
Barack Obama, Morgan Freeman, John McWhorter and Zoe Saldana have also made New Black-ish statements.
New Blacks are Blacks who are colour-blind racists. That is what is “new” about them. They try not to see race or play it down. As if there is something wrong with most Black people, like bad mentalities or a grade of hair that is not “nice”.
For most Black people the experience being at the wrong end of White racism makes colour-blind racism unworkable and psychologically damaging, if not outright delusional. At least for those not sheltered by youth, money or fame.
For most White people, it seems, there was nothing wrong with what Raven-Symoné said. If anything it was admirable. No wonder since they share her colour-blind racism. They think that by not seeing race that racism will disappear when, in fact, it is that very discomfort with racial differences that is the bedrock of racism! It is like thinking homophobia would disappear if all gays stayed in the closet. In fact, the opposite is true.
Because colour-blind racism does not “see” race, it keeps racism in place. That works well for Whites but not for Blacks. Malcolm X, Medgar Evers and Fred Hampton did not see themselves as “colourless”. Not even Martin Luther King, he who said that thing which White people love to quote.
Actress Kerry Washington (the other Olivia) cut right through it and nailed it when she said:
“I’m not interested in sort of living in a world where my race is not a part of who I am. I am interested in living in a world where our races, no matter what they are, don’t define our trajectory in life.”
- New Blacks:
- Know them by their tweets?
- colour-blind racism
- internalized racism
- The black counter-frame
- being universal
- melting pot
- African American