AskDefine | Define blackness

Dictionary Definition



1 the quality or state of the achromatic color of least lightness (bearing the least resemblance to white) [syn: black] [ant: white]
2 total absence of light; "they fumbled around in total darkness"; "in the black of night" [syn: total darkness, lightlessness, pitch blackness, black]

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. The property of being black.
    The blackness of outerspace comes from the lack of anything to reflect light rather than the absence of black.

Extensive Definition

Blackness is the degree to which an individual, regardless of their ethnic background, is sympathetic to or a part of the mainstream African-American culture. A person may be thought of as "losing their blackness" by not adhering to the mainstream thoughts of the African-American community.

In Politics

Former US President Bill Clinton, despite being Caucasian, has been called "the first Black president."
Debra Dickerson, while speaking to Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report (February 8, 2007), stated that U.S. Senator Barack Obama, despite having a father of Kenyan descent, was not black because he had not lived and suffered the same way as the offspring of African-American slaves. Dickerson even fell short of calling Obama an African-American, instead referring to him as African African-American.


  • "The concept of 'blackness,' as it has come to be understood, is rapidly losing its ability to describe, let alone predict or manipulate, the political and social behavior of Black Americans." - Debra Dickerson, The End of Blackness (Pantheon Books, 2004)


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