Remembering MLK’s Dream and the Brown Paper Bag Test

Remembering MLK’s Dream and the Brown Paper Bag Test: Light or Dark?

The legacy of the Brown Paper Bag Test
Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a holy day in Black Run America (BRA) that surpasses Christmas in theological importance.
We have discussed MLK before here at SBPDL and today pay respects to Dr. King’s memory and his imploring to judge “one by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.”
Perhaps its fate that on a day when the Atlanta Journal Constitution publishes a story on the highly political King memorial service (where the Arizona shooting kept creeping into the “peace” narrative), a shooting was reported on that oh-so-dangerous road, Martin Luther King Drive:

Atlanta police are at the scene of a reported shooting at 3050 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive, SW.

According to police, someone called 911 saying that a man had been shot inside a store. Atlanta police told the AJC that officers have been unable to find a victim at this time.

The West Ridge shopping center is listed at that address. Wayfield and Family Dollar stores are at that location.

Around the country streets named after Dr. King have a tendency to deviate from his message of peace and non-violence. But it is in the continued reliance on the Brown Paper Bag Test (BPBT) that we find the complete repudation of his message of judging by character and the reliance of judging 100 percent by skin color.

What is the BPBT?:

When slavery ended, light-skinned blacks established social organizations that barred darker ex-slaves. Elite blacks of the early 20th century were fair-skinned almost to the person. Even today, most blacks in high positions have fair skin tones, and most blacks who do menial jobs or are in prison are dark. Believe it or not, popular black magazines, such as Ebony as Essence, prefer light-skinned models in their beauty product ads.

In his 1996 book The Future of the Race, Henry Louis Gates Jr., chairman of the Afro-American studies department at Harvard, described his encounter with the brown paper bag when he came to Yale in the late 1960s, when skin-tone bias was brazenly practiced: “Some of the brothers who came from New Orleans held a “bag party.’ As a classmate explained it to me, a bag party was a New Orleans custom wherein a brown paper bag was stuck on the door.


“Anyone darker than the bag was denied entrance. That was one cultural legacy that would be put to rest in a hurry – we all made sure of that. But in a manner of speaking, it was replaced by an opposite test whereby those who were deemed “not black enough’ ideologically were to be shunned. I was not sure this was an improvement.”

The problem of the BPBT has been persistent in the Black narrative in both the United States, Haiti, and Africa for too long and appears whenever the pernicious idea of “being authentically Black” rears its ugly head, throwing gasoline upon Dr. King’s legacy and threatening to finally provide the spark to send it up in flames.

Black people survive by positioning themselves as a monolithic entity and any discord or rancor within that community – though Black-on-Black is a problem of tremendous proportions – threatens that familial view of a people united in ethnic solidarity.

One should be aware that the idea behind the BPBT is never going to leave us:

A twitter hashtag is waging a harsh colorism battle over the Internet.

Club promotors in Columbus, Ohio were inspired by twitter hashtags “#teamlightskin” and “#teamdarkskin” and decided to create a party themed around skin tone differences. The flyer claims that the event is the “most anticipated party of the year” and will be held on January 21st, a few days after the Martin Luther King, Jr. national holiday.


The flier made its round over Twitter and Facebook yesterday under the hashtag #lightskinvsdarksin and has begun to receive a national backlash.


Young Truph wrote, “This event might be the most popular failed event ever.”


“The media is telling us white is beautiful but naw we gotta add our own spin on it and degrade ourselves,” PoeticSongBird writes.

Many believe that once humanity has reached a more tenable and palatable hue, when every person alive has the same light-brown skin that peace will spontaneously break out and we will all hold hands moving as one into the future. Roles for Black actresses will be plentiful then!

Reading Roger Ebert’s review of the forgettable 2002 film Time Machine one gets the idea of what the typical Disingenuous White Liberal (DWL) mind believes will come to fruition:

The Morlocks evolved underground in the dark ages after the moon’s fall, and attack on the surface by popping up through dusty sinkholes. They hunt the Eloi for food. The Eloi are an attractive race of brown-skinned people whose civilization seems modeled on paintings by Rousseau; their life is an idyll of leafy bowers, waterfalls and elegant forest structures, but they are such fatalists about the Morlocks that instead of fighting them off, they all but salt and pepper themselves.

We at Stuff Black People Don’t Like would like to live in a society where the “content of character” is the defining way to judge someone, but the “color of one’s skin” is the manner in which all white people are judged in Black Run America (BRA). All white people are viewed as being privileged for having white skin, regardless of their station in life.

All white people, even if one is the most devoted follower of DWL political, progressive philosophy or even if they are the personfication of Stuff White People Like white person, will be seen as a potential “racist” in the eyes of Black people. Certainly a beneficiary of white privilege.

We know how untouchable whites are depicted: Omar Thornton’s story showed us this; the Tuscon shooting and reaction by the DWL media showed us this; and every day that brings us one step closer to the mythical utopia of browned-skinned humans shows us this.

America will never be a land where Dr. King’s vision could be implemented, because Black people will never stop discriminating against those who can’t pass the BPBT. Those who act white and become the token Black are treated even worse.

The history of Haiti is littered with the blood of both whites (who were slaughtered) and mulatto’s (who were slaughtered shortly thereafter) by darker skinned Black people. Guess they failed the BPBT?
It was written that the color-line would be the issue of 20th century. That person was wrong: it will be the primary issue of the 21st century, though we steadfastly refuse to talk about yet.

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