The Pennsylvania State University
Cover for the book Who Is Black?

Who Is Black?

One Nation’s Definition F. James Davis
  • Copyright: 2001
  • Dimensions: 6 x 9
  • Page Count: 232 pages
  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-271-02172-0
  • 10th Anniversary Edition

Winner of the 1992 Outstanding Book on the Subject of Human Rights from the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in the United States

“This is a very well-written book that communicates complex ideas with clarity and interest. It is rare, in my experience, for an academic book written by a social scientist to be as interesting and exciting as a piece of fiction. This book is hard to put down because Davis’s story of how the United States as a nation came to define who is black reads like a mystery novel in which every historical event provides one more clue to the final murder of a people.”
“Davis has given us a brilliant and informative history of the fateful policy commonly called the rule of hypodescent (the ‘one-drop’ rule) and the impact it has had psychologically, socially, economically, and politically on African-American history. Davis’s book is the most recent in the series of works written on this topic, but is by far the most thorough and insightful.”
“This is an eye-opening appraisal of an issue often taken for granted in America.”

This volume is the Tenth Anniversary Edition of a book that was honored in 1992 as an "Outstanding Book" by the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in the United States. Reprinted many times since its first publication in 1991, Who Is Black? has become a staple in college classrooms throughout the United States, helping students understand this nation’s history of miscegenation and the role that the "one-drop rule" has played in it. In this special anniversary edition, the author brings the story up to date in an epilogue. There he highlights some revealing responses to Who Is Black? and examines recent challenges to the one-drop rule, including the multiracial identity movement and a significant change in the census classification of racial and ethnic groups.

F. James Davis is Professor Emeritus of Sociology at Illinois State University and the author of Society and the Law (1962), Social Problems (1970), and Minority-Dominant Relations (1978).

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“I Don’t See Color”

Personal and Critical Perspectives on White Privilege