Man With 'Four Percent African DNA' Wants To Be Legally Recognised As Black
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A man in the US whose DNA test results revealed he was four percent African is mounting a legal challenge to be recognised as black.
Ralph Taylor believes he should be recognised as such based on his own sense of identity and this in turn should mean his insurance business should reap the benefits of being a minority-owned company.
What's more, he thinks affirmative action - which is a set of laws designed to support minority groups that have historically fallen victim to discrimination - should focus on someone's socioeconomic background rather than race. That's because the crux of Mr Taylor's argument is that we are all multiracial, which in turn makes it difficult to define who exactly counts as 'black', for example.
Recounting a conversation he had with the Office of Minority and Women's Business Enterprise (OMWBE) - the Washington state office that certifies small businesses as minority owned - to the Huffington Post, he said: "'Is it Condoleezza Rice, is it Snoop Dogg? Is it Dr. Dre? Or is Ludacris? Or is it Colin Powell? I mean, that's a wide variety of people there, so what is black culture?'
"They said something to the effect that, 'If you don't know what it is, that's because you're not black.'"
Mr Taylor subsequently decided to sue the OMWBE, and argues that he should be able to identify as black because he's a member of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), subscribes to Ebony Magazine and has a great interest in black and social causes. He's also updated his birth certificate racial status to 'Black, Native American and Caucasian' and marks himself down as Hispanic too.
Mr Taylor said: "I cross them all. Hispanic is to embrace the Hispanic culture. They're self-identifying statements.
"If you rely on the group to tell you who you are, then that's sad."
However, not everyone is convinced by his argument, with critics claiming he is more motivated by money then any sort of sociocultural cause. HuffPost black voices editor, Taryn Finley, is one such person.
She said: "Being able to tip-toe back and forth across a line between now I'm Black, now I'm white, now I'm multiracial, that's not identity. You're playing a game.
'It's a very nefarious way of using your privilege, and I don't think that you're genuinely trying to expose a flaw in the system.
"I'm a Black woman. My lived experience as a Black woman cannot be passed [as white]."