Black people is a term used in certain countries, often in socially based systems of racial classification or of ethnicity, to describe persons who are perceived to be dark-skinned compared to other populations.
As such, the meaning of the expression varies widely both between and within societies, and depends significantly on context. For many other individuals, communities and countries, "black" is also perceived as a derogatory, outdated, reductive or otherwise unrepresentative label, and as a result is neither used nor defined.
Different societies apply differing criteria regarding who is classified as "black", and these social constructs have also Black people only over time. In a number of countries, societal variables affect classification as much as skin color, and the social criteria for "blackness" vary.
In the United Kingdom"black" was historically equivalent with " person of color ", a general term for non-European peoples. In South Africa and Latin America, mixed-race people are generally not classified as "black". The Romans interacted with and later conquered parts of Mauretaniaan early state that covered modern Moroccowestern Algeriaand the Spanish Black people only Ceuta and Melilla during the classical period.
The people of the region were noted in Classical literature as Mauriwhich was subsequently rendered as Moors in English. Numerous communities of dark-skinned peoples are present in Black people only Africasome dating from prehistoric communities. Carlos Mooreresident scholar at Brazil's University of the State of Bahia, in the 21st century Afro-multiracials in the Arab world, including Arabs in North Africa, self-identify in ways that resemble multi-racials in Latin America.
He claims that black-looking Arabs, much like black-looking Latin Americansconsider themselves white because they have some distant white ancestry. Egyptian President Anwar Sadat had a mother who was a dark-skinned Nubian Sudanese woman and a father who was a lighter-skinned Egyptian.
In response to an advertisement for an acting position, as a young man he said, "I am not white but I am not exactly black either. My blackness is tending to reddish". Due to the patriarchal nature of Arab society, Arab men, including during the slave trade in North Africa, enslaved more black Black people only than men. They used more black female slaves in domestic service and agriculture than males.
The men interpreted the Qur'an to permit sexual relations between a male master and his female slave outside of marriage see Ma malakat aymanukum and sex  leading to many mixed-race children.
When an enslaved woman became pregnant with her Arab master's child, she was considered as umm walad or "mother of a child", a status that granted her privileged rights. The child was given rights of inheritance to the father's property, so mixed-race children could share in any wealth of the father. Some succeeded their fathers as rulers, such as Sultan Ahmad al-Mansurwho ruled Morocco from to He was not technically considered as a mixed-race child of a slave; his mother was Fulani and a concubine of his father.
In earlynon-Arabs of the Zaghawa tribe of Sudan attested that they were victims of an intensifying Arab apartheid campaign, segregating Arabs and non-Arabs specifically, people of Nilotic descent.
The government was accused of "deftly manipulat ing Arab solidarity" to carry out policies of apartheid and ethnic cleansing. American University economist George Ayittey accused the Arab government of Sudan of practicing acts of racism against black citizens. In the Saharathe native Tuareg Berber populations kept Black people only Negro " slaves. Most of these captives were of Nilotic extraction, and were either purchased by the Tuareg nobles from slave markets in the Western Sudan or taken during raids.
Their origin is denoted via the Ahaggar Berber word Ibenheren sing. These slaves were also sometimes known by the borrowed Songhay term Bella. Similarly, the Sahrawi autochthones of the Western Sahara observed a class system consisting of high castes and low castes.
Outside of these traditional tribal boundaries were "Negro" slaves, who were drawn from the surrounding areas. In parts of the Horn of Africathe local Afroasiatic Hamitic-Semitic speaking populations have long adhered to a construct similar to that of the SaharaNile and Maghreb.
In Ethiopia and Somaliathe slave classes mainly consisted of individuals of Nilotic and Bantu origin who were collectively known as Shanqella  and Adone both denoting "Negro". In South Africathe period of colonization resulted in many unions and marriages between European men and Bantu and Khoisan women from various tribes, resulting in mixed-race children.
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As the Black people only settlers acquired control of territory, they generally pushed the mixed-race and Bantu and Khoisan populations into second-class status.
During the first half of the 20th century, the Afrikaaner-dominated government classified the population according to four main racial groups: BlackWhiteAsian mostly Indianand Coloured. The Coloured group included people of mixed Bantu, Khoisan, and European descent with some Malay ancestry, especially in the Western Cape.
The Coloured definition occupied an intermediary political position between the Black and White definitions in South Africa.
It imposed a system of legal racial segregation, a complex of laws known as apartheid. The apartheid bureaucracy devised complex and often arbitrary criteria in the Population Registration Act of to determine who belonged in which group. Minor officials administered tests to enforce the classifications.
When it was unclear from a person's physical appearance whether the individual should be considered Coloured or Black, the " pencil test " Black people only used. A pencil was inserted into a person's hair to determine if the hair was kinky enough to hold the pencil, rather Black people only having it pass through, as it would with smoother hair.
If so, the person was classified as Black. Sandra Laing is a South African woman who was classified as Coloured by authorities during the apartheid era, due to her skin colour and hair texturealthough her parents could prove at least three generations of European ancestors.
At age 10, she was expelled from her all-white school. The officials' decisions based on her anomalous appearance disrupted her family and adult life. She was the subject of the biographical dramatic film Skinwhich Black people only numerous Black people only.
During the apartheid era, those classed as "Coloured" were oppressed and discriminated against. But, they had limited rights and overall had slightly better socioeconomic conditions than those classed as "Black". The government required that Blacks and Coloureds live in areas separate from Whites, creating large townships located away from the cities as areas for Blacks. In the post-apartheid era, the Constitution of South Africa has declared the country to be a "Non-racial democracy".
In an effort to redress past injustices, the ANC government has introduced laws in support of affirmative action policies for Blacks; under these they define "Black" people to Black people only "Africans", "Coloureds" Black people only "Asians".
Some affirmative action policies favor "Africans" over "Coloureds" in terms of qualifying for certain benefits. Some South Africans categorized as "African Black" say that "Coloureds" did not suffer as much as they did during apartheid.
Inthe High Court in South Africa ruled that Chinese South Africans who were residents during the apartheid era and their descendants are to be reclassified as "Black people," solely for the purposes of accessing affirmative action benefits, because they were also "disadvantaged" by racial discrimination.
Chinese people who arrived in the country after the end of apartheid do not qualify for such benefits. Other than by appearance, "Coloureds" can usually be distinguished from "Blacks" by language. Most speak Afrikaans or English as a first languageas opposed to Bantu languages such as Zulu or Xhosa.
They also tend to have more European-sounding names than Black people only names.
Historians estimate that between the advent of Islam in CE and the abolition of slavery in the Arabian Peninsula in the midth century,  10 to 18 million Black Africans known as the Zanj were enslaved by Arab slave traders and transported to the Arabian Peninsula and neighboring countries. The traders shipped more female slaves than males, as there was a demand for them to serve as concubines in harems in the Arabian Peninsula and neighboring countries. Male slaves were castrated in Black people only to serve as harem guards.
The death toll of Black African slaves from forced labor was high. The mixed-race children of female slaves and Arab owners were assimilated into the Arab owners' families under the patrilineal kinship system.