1001 Black Men–#151

When I saw the man in this drawing in the Barney’s restaurant on College Avenue, it got me to thinking about the relationship between race, ancestry, and color. The thing that I love about drawing people of African descent is the way that it highlights how unimportant color really is when it comes to questions of race and ethnicity. Few of the figures in this series of pictures (of African American men) are depicted as having brown skin, and yet their race/ethnicity is apparent through other features like their hair, their noses and their eyes. For most Black people today, our ancestry is written on our bodies in ways that are far more complex than the simple color of our skin, and yet even our features and our hair only amount to a minor suggestion of the richness of our identities; and for some, the common association of certain characteristics with the identity that we call Blackness feels more like erasure than affirmation.


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