One Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race
by Yaba Blay Author
What exactly is Blackness and what does it mean to be Black? Is Blackness a matter of biology or consciousness? Who determines who is Black and who is not? Who’s Black, who’s not, and who cares? One Drop challenges narrow perceptions of Blackness as both an identity and reality to understand the diversity of what it means to be Black in the US and around the world. In the United States, a Black person has come to be defined as any person with any known Black ancestry. Referred to as “the rule of hypodescent,” this definition of Blackness is known as the “one-drop rule,” meaning that a person with any trace of Black ancestry, however small or (in)visible, cannot be considered White. A method of social order that began almost immediately after the arrival of enslaved Africans in America, by 1910 it was the law in almost all southern states. At a time when the one-drop rule functioned to protect and preserve White racial purity, Blackness was both a matter of biology and the law. Has the social and political landscape changed one hundred years later? One Drop explores the extent to which historical definitions of race continue to shape contemporary racial identities and lived experiences of racial difference featuring the perspectives of 60 contributors representing 25 countries and combining candid narratives with striking portraiture.
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