My cousin asked me this question a while back and this is the response I sent back to him.
What is blackness? Oh what a mighty question lol Blackness is everything. That’s my definition. I’ll get into that later, but to more directly get into the more generalized aspect of the discussion, I’ll say that blackness is not a thing in and of itself. It is an abstract concept placed upon people. It is most certainly a thing, however a connective/subjective type of thing as opposed to a/an manifest/objective thing. However because our language fails to place any differentiation between objective and subjective types of things it has been inadvertently (to give the benefit of the doubt) placed into a single word or idea.
Also… [what do I mean by all that]
To label someone black (even though our color is actually closer to brown) is to apply a concept to them. As long as a person identifies with being “black” and believes that blackness is a defined set of rules and qualifications for being, then they will always be at ends with their own perspective of who they are and how they should be as opposed to the ideas of others.
I like to remind people that if the KKK would call you a nigger then this country sees you as black. There are people in India who are darker than most of us here in the “united states” which i’m sure you know. They wouldnt be called black, they would be called Indian. This shows that it has nothing to do with the skin. White people aren’t even white. If anything they are transparent (white skin is the result of a LACK of melanin pigmentation, blond hair is light moving through the pigment lacking hair follicles, also blues eyes are lacking in any pigment and only appear blue for the same reason that the sky appears blue ) yet they hold onto the term white because of what it is defined as in their world. Black doesn’t mean black or even dark skin because the lightest skinned person can still be a black person. So what is it? Black means (in their definitions mind you) that something is negative, degenerative, dark (as in evil or bad), and even dirty. While white is given the opposite in all senses. They even have shit like a white lie which is a good lie =_= really? lol It’s part of the mind game. Black is referential to our intrinsic lower status in their society. Our people are obviously not deemed black because of our skin most of us aren’t. The term black is referring to our enslavement.
I will however I will say that at the same time (which I think their own know) the term white produces the same effect on them yet in the opposite direction.
Basically it’s an issue of self knowledge to me. Black people here call themselves African Americans without knowledge of grammar. Who gave us this name? By placing the African in front of the American, you make the subject being described intrinsically American while African is made into a descriptive attribute. (In Spanish for example the ordering is in the opposite direction) Now this automatically places the person as a subcategory of American. This would make more sense if the entire land mass was considered America as it should be (ie. Canada, “the united states,” plus Mexico. Then the addition of all of Central and South America makes up the “American” land mass) but that’s not the context it is being spoken in. American is white. That’s why the term Caucasian-American sounds funny. Or Caucasian-American studies. This is a good one Caucasian-Americans civil rights group LOL It’s part of the mind game. The spell of words if you will. Just scratching the surface with that though. So much more to our mental enslavement