I don't know the answer, really, but I feel like the question comes up all the time. On occasion, it's asked explicitly, but other times, it's a mere implication, something that has to be read between the lines in a speech or a written piece or a simple comment during a casual discussion. Sometimes, this abstract concept of blackness is threatened by hints of rigidity. In order to be black, you must be X, say Y, and look like Z. Other times, the concept becomes so abstract that we lose focus, unsure of what to call the "black community" because we're still trying to define "black." Is it a universal feeling? Appearance? History? Is a shared past of oppression or a bond over a better future? Is it tight curls and locks or rust-tinted relaxed roots? Is it a skin tone or a style of dress? Do we learn it in schools? From television? From politicians? From the press?
For this issue, I wonder if the question might be the answer. Could it be that the pause that follows once it's asked properly addresses the magnitude of how we identify?
I am leaving this post open for that reason. I'd like to hear from you. For you, as readers, what is blackness?