How do you define YOUR blackness?

Photo courtesy of Brianna TemplePhoto courtesy of Brianna Temple

How Do You Define YOUR Blackness was a panel discussion event held in Whitton Auditorium on Monday September 26.

The Society of Black Consciousness And Subversion wanted to have a conversation to define blackness from not only the eyes of African Americans but from people from different ethnicities, economic backgrounds, and more.

“It is even more important to define ‘what is whiteness?’,” Dr. Kalfani Turé, Professor of Anthology, said after speaking before the conversation started between the panelists and the audience members.

Turé spoke on where he came from, how he was tired of being tired of being black, and the generational differences on how we define our Blackness.

When the panelists were asked, “What makes one authentically black?”, senior social work major, TyQuan Butler, said that, “Blackness is not something that is teached… You just understand what it means to be black.”

Guests encouraged every member of the audience to learn their history, beyond the time of slavery.

From there, panelists described when they became aware of their blackness. They mentioned the environment they grew up in in elementary school classes and being told that “they were not black” because of the way they talked, acted, dressed and more. Other panelists realized they became aware of their blackness after coming to Winthrop and being around diverse people that were aware of their surroundings.

An interesting discussion was about what the difference is between “black, African American, or colored” and what everyone prefers.

Corey Shirley, senior political science major said that he would rather be called African American because being black has a negative connotation with it from history. Others like senior psychology major, Fatima Camara, mentioned how she loves her blackness and being called “Black.”

Other topics of discussion were the use of the n-word, the lightskin/darkskin debate, the revolution, and making sure we vote not just in the presidential elections but in our local elections as well.

As members of the Winthrop community and as citizens we must remember to continue this conversation and make change even after this event came to an end.


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