Black is racial, ethnic, and social classification that has been applied to various non-white groups in different ways. There is no universally agreed upon criteria for deciding who is and isn't Black, and the precise definition of black people has varied in different locations and time periods. A person's designation as Black has often been determined by colloquial, social, political, scientific or legal understandings. The classification of Black has had implications in factors such as censuses, anti-miscegenation laws, racial segregation, affirmative action, racial marginalization, slavery, apartheid and racial quotas.
The U.S. census say a Black is Â“a person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa. It includes people who indicate their race as "Black, African Am., or Negro,"or provide written entries such as African American, Afro American, Kenyan, Nigerian, or Haitian."
South Africa's Black Ecomomic Empowerment Charter stated: "'Black people', 'black persons', or 'blacks' are generic terms which mean Africans, Coloureds and Indians who are South African citizens by birth or who have obtained citizenship prior 27 April 1994. This term does not include juristic persons or any form of enterprise other than a sole proprietor.
According to psychologist Arthur Jensen, "American blacks are socially defined simply as persons who have some degree of sub-Saharan African ancestry and who identify themselves (or, in the case of children, are defined by their parents) as black or African-American"
According to activist Nirmala Rajasingam "I think the idea of a Black identity, was inspired by the Civil Rights movement in the US. Unfortunately, now Black is identified with people of African origin only, but it didnÂ’t used to be that way. It was used as a political term of people of color uniting to fight racism. "
According to Frank W. Sweet, the most controversial answer to the question "who is black?" is "whoever looks black." He writes that although most who use the label rationalize it in terms of physical appearance, there is little objective consistency in this regard, and that different cultures can assign the same individual to opposite "races": North Americans, Haitians, Dominicans, Puerto Ricans, Barbadians, Jamaicans, and Trinidadians all have different subconscious and automatic perceptions of just what features define who belongs to which "racial" label.