Black Friday Isn’t Black

Dr. Kwame Nantambu
December 03, 2008

Barack ObamaNow that a Black man has been duly elected as the 44th President of the United States of America, it is a sine qua non that all Americans should be a bit more cautious and sensitive when apply the label Black to situations, instances and events that occur in every day life.

Put another way, now is the appropriate time for all Americans to cast aside the notion that any and every time something either goes wrong or array or is deemed negative and/or illegal, then, the label Black should be applied.

In the era of an African-American President of the United States, now is the time for all Americans, including those in the print and radio/television media, to delete from their jargon, lexicon, and repertoire, the following: “Black Monday” which is “ranked with the blackest days of the Great Crash of 1929”; “Black hole” to describe the structural calamity in the Defense Department’s procurement contract procedures and Charles Keating’s Lincoln Savings & Loan Association crisis in 1989; “Black Friday” to reflect “the biggest sales generator of the (holiday) season”; “Black mess”; “Black Box”, etc.

The fact of the matter is that neither the majority profitable retailers nor customers/shoppers are Black on “Black Friday.” In addition, the so-called “Black Box” in the case of an unfortunate airline tragedy/mishap is originally yellow and orange in color. It is never Black in color, even when severely damaged.

It should also be explained that the official, technical name for this airline monitoring instrument/device is the “flight data recorder.” Why, then, is it suddenly called/labeled the “Black Box” when something goes wrong?.

Indeed, every art student knows that Black is the most positive and powerful of all colors simply because all other colors are derived from the color Black. The color Black represents originality; it should not be used and abused to represent negativity. Furthermore, no day of the week is Black, White, Green or Blue; each day should be a pleasant, positive and peaceful day for every one regardless of race, color, class, creed, religion or sexual orientation.

If America is about “Change”, then, this “Change” has to start with the total eradication of all the negative connotations associated with the skin color of one of America’s minority populations.

On 4 November 2008, Americans did a potent, positive thing by electing an African-American as its President. This, therefore, should be the signal for all to move toward the right direction of positiveness and respect rather than to fall back into the abyss of negativity and disrespect.

As President-elect Barack Obama proclaimed in his victory election night speech: ” A new dawn of American leadership is at hand ( and that) out of many, we are one.”

“Yes, we can.”

Dr. Kwame Nantambu is Professor Emeritus, Department of Pan-African Studies, Kent State University.

9 thoughts on “Black Friday Isn’t Black”

  1. Dr. Nantambu,
    I am a negroid man. My hair is black and curly and the color of my skin is brown. I was raised to believe that all persons were created equal, regardless of how others think of them or see them, to even include themselves.

    The choice to be a negroid was not mine to make, but the Almighty God, who created everything and everyone, regardless of what others may think. So to take issues with others about how they choose to describe me will be an ignorant option.

    Black is not a race, nor is it a creed, religion or any other such group, it is a color. The darkness one I believe in the spectrum of colors that are visible. We use extremes in describing folks, events, things, etc. People of fairer complexion are called “white” But to me they are more of a range of tones, and I have never really seen a truly “white” person, since white is also a color.

    People of darker complexion are called “black” another extreme, since I have never truly seen anyone whose color was truly “black” as in the color.

    I think if Mr Obama has shown anything, is that color is not as important as the person. Although in some ways he alluded to it, he never made race and issue, because he let his i=own merits as a person speak for itself. The reason most “blacks” would fail in an endeavour of great importance, is because they first choose to see themselves as “black” and everything else second.

    Mr Obama, after all, is only half “black” since his other half is actually “white.”

  2. This is silly. Trinidad and Tobago last I check aren’t States. The two island nation is separate from the USA. Trinidad and Tobago never has been a U.S. colony or state. Trinibagonians have more to worry about than the color the press describes dark events in the history of English language. It’s English! When the English language was being formed in Europe by Englishmen who are European AKA white, Africans who are now commonly referred to as Blacks formerly Negros were the last thing on the minds of those speaking early English because there wasn’t a significant amount of Africans residing in England. This conversation about Americans should people be more sensitive about how they use a word that describes more than just people is ridiculous because it is also cultural. Have we learned nothing from trying to rewrite other cultures to fit our own agendas? Who are we to tell someone what words should not be used in a democracy? What’s next, what song to sing or not sing? Will greetings change. Perhaps someone’s skin is too soft for the realities of the world.
    Two Things, Obama doesn’t represent Trinidad and Tobago. Second, Trinibagonians should worry about defining their identity and leaving a mark on this planet that is more substantive than Carnival and imitating India and the U.S. Do for you, your family, and your country and collectively get yours as trinis regardless of race, color and creed.

  3. I am a negroid man. My hair is black and curly and the color of my skin is brown. I was raised to believe that all persons were created equal, regardless of how others think of them or see them, to even include

    Isn’t it kind of ironic that you are willing to accept a description given to you by those who enslaved Africans and attribute that assignation to the almighty. God did not make you a negroid. The slave master did, and you have accepted it. The slave master defined negro in his dictionary as “thicked lipped wolley haired member of the African race”. How can you believe in the equality of all persons when you use a historical symbol of inequality to refer to yourself. Man, you are one screwed up individual.

  4. Mr Daniels,
    I just saw your post in reply to the one I did earlier. I have to say it interested me. Not the screwed up part, I may tend to agree with you on that, however the rest of what you wrote.

    But out of curiousity, how would you describe yourself? Also, did you choose the body and features you were born into prior to being born?

    Also, how else would you suggest I describe myself, if my hair is black and curly, and my skin is brown?

    I’m just interested in learning more from you, that way I can use better definitions in the future.

    “Black” Man

  5. I queried your description of yourself as a negroid man. You said God made you a Negroid man. I searched in vain in the scripture to find any reference or allusion to that creation by the almighty.

    When the Spanish first espied the indigenous peoples of the continent known today as Africa, the described them by their pigment in contrast to themselves. Negro means black in Spanish, and that was adopted by Europeans as the definitive label for the indigenous peoples of the continent that is today known as Africa.

    I cannot tell you how to refer to yourself. I do believe that using a label that was coined from a perspective of prejudice and claiming that the deity made one thus is kind skrewed.

    The thing is this. If you were born in China, with the description, no one would see you as Chinese. You are what you come out of. An apple treee does not bring oranges, it brings forth apples. Me, I am a blackman by familial and personal selection.

    We in the diaspora, unlike others, have to make an educated choice on how to refer to ourselves. This is a condition bequeathed to us through the agency of slavery. The slave holders, by forcing a disconnection with our past, created this vaccum which no other group experienced, or can ever fully comprehend.

  6. Hi Mr. Daniels
    Many Trinis may not realize this, but people of East Indian descent are considered Black in many countries.
    Records of Missouri lynchings include that of Mindu Cohwagee, described as a “Hindoo Negro”, in Saline County in 1900 (This was pointed out by Ricardo “Gladiator” Welch on the radio).
    A number of Black Women’s associations in the UK admit East Indian members.
    These are just 2 examples. I have known of East Indian people in the USA being called the n-word by racist whites.
    We all know of the Sats and Pandays, but integration is taking place at the grassroots level in many Trini communities.
    Who hasn’t seen a photo of the bereaved family of an accident or murder victim in the papers, and noticed that the family includes both African and East Indian members? (or in happier circumstances, a family at a wedding or other social event?
    Can East Indians ever become identified a branch on the tree of Black identity? Such an identification would help to bring about greater Caribbean unity, regardless of what haters on all sides may think.

  7. Mr Singh I do not believe black folks are the ones that can ever be accused of fostering exclusion of others . Rather, it is other selective races / ethnicities that would repeatedly do everything in their power to disassociate themselves . Even our numerous local douglas might only admit to being black if forced to perhaps with a gun to their heads, or if the black family African side of the family holds some prominent status of which obviously they can be proud .
    Yes , we are aware that Indians are black – not African , but black nevertheless, even if many are not inclined to think so.

  8. Mr Singh I have heard personally in the United States some individuals refering to East Indians, Arabs, Pakistani’s as,” Sand N*****’s”. However, officially in the U.S., they are considered Asian.

    I disagree with Neal. There are plenty of Black folks that are racist especially in the U.S.. Also if you are Black in the U.S. and you have an accent you might as well be the most uncivilized savage in many of their minds in pockets of the U.S. Black populace. In the U.S. Blacks generally speaking (not true with all) seperate from other races. It’s more of a economic class thing that usually attracts them to non black neighborhoods except in areas where there are Blacks of all economic levels.

  9. What that has to do with Trinidad and Tobago specifically, I don’t know. I was just speaking of race from how I’ve seen it.

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