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December 11th, 2012
01:41 PM ET

Youths explore colorism, black identity in poetry

Editor's note: In today’s United States, is being black determined by the color of your skin, by your family, by what society says or by something else? Soledad O’Brien reports “Who Is Black in America?” on CNN at 8 p.m. ET/PT on Sunday.

(CNN) - "Who is Black in America?" explores how color affects identity. In this video, slam poets Kai Davis, Hiwot Adilow and Telia Allmond from the Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement perform a poem, "Team Lightskin," about their experiences growing up as light-skinned black women.

soundoff (5 Responses)
  1. Djane

    The one-drop rule is a legacy of slavery. It served to keep people enslaved even when, by blood, they were more white than black. It was a tool for increasing the pool of people who could be regarded as slaves. It's high time to throw off the classifications and let people be identify as they wish. It is very disturbing that adults would continue to push racial classifications on kids! Be yourself; be free.

    January 27, 2013 at 9:10 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Sarah L. Webb

    This youth have a very sophisticated view of the issue, far beyond what many adults can understand, much less articulate, about colorism.

    I applaud their courage to complicate their own positions in society. It shows just how secure they are in who they are.

    BRAVO Kai, Hiwot, and Kelia!

    December 14, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  3. Bill Lee

    Amen...... and I would bet that "Caribbean "

    Is not African...... except for distant origin.
    Im sure youlike are very Proud of your Caribbean heritage.....

    Even when you live in America...

    Correct me if im wrong

    December 11, 2012 at 9:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Bill Lee

      That being said ; is it black history month yet?

      Or is every month black history month?

      As I have heard the same said, right here, about White history...

      If that's going to be the case.....

      Then we either designate an official "white history month" also.....OR
      There is no longer a need for "black history month"

      Unless of course you just like having the double standard....????

      HYPOCRITE? ??

      December 11, 2012 at 9:32 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Maria Carmen

    As a Caribbean person of predominantly African heritage ( with a bunch of Europeans and native people tossed in there for good measure) it has always fascinated me that there is a consistent attempt to structure a single "black experience", when there is indeed no such thing.

    Blackness covers a universe of possibilities in terms of skin tone, culture, food, language, hair type, family structure, religious affiliation...... it goes on and on.

    Unfortunately some have attempted to define blackness through their own narrow lens and in so doing have wandered into the realm of sheer idiocy. Take for example an African-American telling a Kenyan that "you're not really black, because you don't share our experience"........yes I overheard this exchange and nearly passed out laughing from the compelte ignorance and stupidity of it. I often wonder who appointed African-Americans as the Black Enforcement Police?

    On a more serious note however it is good to see America having this discussion. It is time to embrace a wider concept of what is blackness, one that is not simply defined by those who are the loudest in the room, and who believe that somehow their history of suffering and deprivation gives them more status than the rest of us. I suggest everyone read Toure's newest book on the subject......

    December 11, 2012 at 4:59 pm | Report abuse |