As colour is the is the most obvious outward manifestation of race it has been made the criterion by

which [wo]men are judged, irrespective of their social or educational attainments. The light-skinned races

have come to despise all those of a darker colour, and the dark-skinned peoples will no longer

accept without protest the inferior position to which they have been relegated.

~~Frantz Fanon~~

First of all, the variable uses of the term ‘Black’ and black outlined here, are in keeping with the idea that in the British context, the concept of  blackness is used to denote different categories and diverse understandings of what it means to be black (e.g. the notion of political blackness). Second, the terms Black, African, and African-Caribbean are also used interchangeably to include those people of African descent, who would define themselves as such (this is also extended to include those of dual-heritage / ‘hybrid heritage’ and meti (se), who would chose to locate their identity within such a definition.

Significantly, within this particular category, ‘Black’ as Christian (2002) notes, ‘means something tangible’, that ‘relates to a myriad of social groups and experiences that share in all their complexity, African heritage’. Paul Gilroy’s conceptualisation of the Black Atlantic, extends the notion of ‘Black African Diaspora’ to include the interconnectednness of the African, European, and Asian experience. This may account for the emergence of ideas about black history as inclusive history; Black British history and Black and Asian history, and the notion of, political blackness.  These recognise the interrelated nature of history, signifying the reality of roots and routes, which have produced ‘mongrel cultural forms’, thus unsettling cultural and ethnic absolutist formations of history, culture and identity. Jane Ifekwunigwe’s ‘Diaspora’s Daughters, Africa’s Orphans’, an exploration of lineage, authenticity and ‘mixed-race’ identity, provides a very rich and detailed qualification of the concept of  meti(se).

Thus identity,  is inextricably linked to the construction of  history and culture. Occidentalist notions of  historiography, as illustrated in primitive,  colonialist and orientalist discourse, have played an ideologically pernicious role in the constitution and valourisation of the colonized other (Young, 2000). Hegel’s view that, Africa is ‘no historical part of the world’, exemplifies the ideological construct of primitivism, which denies ‘subject people’s human agency and resistance and constructed explanatory models to account for the alterity of those subjects’ (Young 2000: 268).

blackness 2

Equally, the construction of Black‘, can be explained historically and therefore can be understood as a historical entity. In the context of Euro-history, blackness is an ascribed status, constructed by the gaze of the other, endowed with the power to write one’s identity. As Gilroy (1995) further suggests, gaze and conduct originate in a specific historical and ideological context. Discourses on ‘race’, ethnicity, globalisation and the concomitant post-colonial reasoning that emerge in the late twentieth century as a politics of recognition with a constellation of concerns about equality and cultural citizenship, also offer insight to the ways in which blackness is itself reconstituted to meet these shifting demands. Indeed, as Gilroy (1995) notes:

The history of blacks in the Western hemisphere can be used to show how the understanding of idenity has itself been reconfigured at various times in the service of the inescapably political desires to be free, to be a citizen, and to be oneself, which have shaped successive phases in the movements towards racial emancipation, liberation, and autonomy. This means that our discussion of Black identity cannot, then, be easily disentangled from these movements and their changing tactics. Indeed, the concepts, “Negro,” “coloured,” “Black,” and “African,” identity have already been tailored to these movements and their changing tactics .

Dr Claudette Carr Copyright 2013:  PhD Thesis| How Black History is Constructed And Represented in different Sites of Education.

Source: Copyright 2013, Dr Claudette Carr.
About Dr Carr:

Dr Carr is the founding Director of the Jethro Institute for Good Governance (JIGG), and has over seventeen years experience lecturing in International and Community Development, Youth & Community Work, Social Work, and Social Policy, at Brunel, Birbeck, Lucerne University of Applied Sciences (Switzerland) and the University of Westminster. Alongside Lucerne colleagues, as Principal Lecturer, Claudette  co-ordinated the programme for the MA in International Community Development.    As the London Course leader, she successfully facilitated the Summer School in International Community Development at Westminster. In Partnership with J!GG, The Sylvia Pankhurst Memorial Committee, and the University of Westminster, Claudette has set up and secured funding for the Sylvia Pankhurst Scholarship for Ethiopian girls, and the Dr John Garang Scholarship for South Sudan starting in September 2012.

She holds a PhD in education and degrees in social science and applied anthropology from Goldsmiths College, and is also JNC qualified in youth and community work. Her research interest include Community politics and new social movements; black and ethnic self-organisation in the UK and Diaspora; the emergence of vernacular histories and indigenous knowledge(s) and their impact on the assertion of ethnic identity.  Her PhD thesis looked at ‘How Black History is constructed and represented in different sites of education’.Claudette is currently researching ‘Diaspora Organisations in the Horn of Africa and their role in community Governance (Ethiopia, Sudan, Eritrea and Somalia)’. She is the co-author of an open letter to the Swedish Minister of Culture, that address the recent Swedish Racist Cake controversy, and recently partcipated in the conversation- ‘Racism is No Joke A Swedish Minister and a Hottentot Venus Cake’, which will be published in a forthcoming anthology, Afro-Nordic Landscapes: Equality and Race in Northern Europe (Routledge, 2012), edited by Michael McEachrane and with a foreword by Professor Paul Gilroy. Dr Carr writes and blogs regularly and her work can be found here:


1. Model, Ger Duany in the Numero Homme Fall Edition (’11) spread.

2. Unknown.

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