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The 'Black Card': Who Gets One, and Who Gets to Keep It?

Clarence and Virginia Thomas (Getty Images)
Clarence and Virginia Thomas (Getty Images)

Very Smart Brothas' Damon Young —  inspired by reactions to Christopher Dorner but also referring to figures like Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas — tries to unpack what makes us decide that some folks are authentically black while we retract others' racial credentials.

Anyway, Thomas and Dormer are just two prominent examples of this phenomenon  Here’s a few more …

Black man: Black

Black woman: Black

Black man with White wife: White

Black woman with White husband: Still Black to everyone but Black men

White man with Black wife: Kinda Black, actually

White man with White Wife but very Black-friendly politics and opinions: First Black president

White woman with Black husband: White woman!

Single White woman with very Black-friendly politics and opinions: Still White woman

White woman genuinely down for the cause: Good try, but always and forever a White woman …


Read Damon Young's entire piece at Very Smart Brothas.

The Root aims to foster and advance conversations about issues relevant to the black Diaspora by presenting a variety of opinions from all perspectives, whether or not those opinions are shared by our editorial staff.


Damon Young is the editor-in-chief of He is also a contributing editor at He lives in Pittsburgh and he really likes pancakes. You can reach him at

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