Who and What Defines Blackness? An Ongoing Debate For Some.

Elwood Watson, Ph.D.
AfroSapiophile
Published in
5 min readJun 7, 2024

--

Several years ago, I attended an annual conference that highlights various aspects of the Black experience, and attended a panel at the event where prominent scholars were discussing the potential impact of several issues and their potential impact on the larger Black Community. Several thought-provoking points were made throughout the session. However, one of the most notable things I remember from this insightful panel was the remark one of the panelists made. He recounted the experience he encountered on his home campus when he was within ear shot distance of a group of Black students.

According to the professor, these students were using the word “ghetto” as if they were discussing either a person(s) or group of people. The scholar in question admitted that he caught the very end of the conversation, thus he was unable to grasp the full extent of whom and what they were talking about. He concluded that such behavior may very well be another sort of group division added to the already numerous numbers of distractions that the Black community could ill afford.

More recently, last week, I heard a Black male in the supermarket using the term “bougie Negroes” referring to fellow Black people. He was talking on his cell phone. His comments caused me to revert back to potential divisions that were discussed at the…

--

--

Elwood Watson, Ph.D.
AfroSapiophile

Historian, Syndicated Columnist, Public Speaker, Social-Cultural Critic. Professor of Black Studies and Gender Studies, at East Tennessee State University.