Blue Veins and Kinky Hair: Naming and Color Consciousness in African America

Blue Veins and Kinky Hair: Naming and Color Consciousness in African America

Blue Veins and Kinky Hair: Naming and Color Consciousness in African America

Blue Veins and Kinky Hair: Naming and Color Consciousness in African America

Synopsis

The author explores how Africans in America internalized the negative images created of them by the European world, and how internalized racism has worked to fracture African American unity and thereby dilute inchoate efforts toward liberation. In the late 1960s, change began with the "Black Is Beautiful" slogan and new a consciousness, which went hand in hand with Black Power and pan-African movements. The author argues that for any people to succeed, they must first embrace their own identity, including physical characteristics.

Excerpt

When Europeans extracted Africans from their homelands, they brought with them a cultural philosophy that legitimated the slaughter and enslavement of millions of African people. While physically and politically dismembering Africans, they also created religious and secular ideologies that, in their minds, rationalized their heinous deeds. These philosophies began with explorers, missionaries, traders, and colonists who viewed their invasions as sanctioned by god. This sense of righteousness was later elaborated by artists, philosophers, and anthropologists who planted the idea of a superior European race.

Chief among these racist ideologues was Joseph Arthur de Gobineau, a French writer and diplomat, who proposed a hierarchy of races—]white, yellow, and black.] According to him, only the [Aryan []White]] race,] possessed superior intellectual, physical, and cultural attributes. In his Essai sur L'inegalite des Races Humaines, 1835–1855 (The Inequality of the Races, 1835–1855), he warned that the downfall of any civilization would result from miscegenation among various racial groups. Gobineau was followed by a number of European theorists who advocated the purity of German Aryans and the inferiority of all other peoples, placing African people at the bottom of the racial hierarchy.

Secular philosophies from all corners of the European world deemed Africans mentally and physically inferior to European people (Harris 1968: 80–107). Avid proponents of these theories included Scottish anatomist Robert Knox (The Races of Men, 1850) and European Americans J.C Nott and G.R. Gliddon (Types of Mankind, 1854). A number of other scientists of the period, anthropologists among them, added to the mix of racist evolutionary typology.

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.