Using Photography to Start Conversations about Race & Ethnicity

Using Photography to Start Conversations about Race & Ethnicity




(1)ne Drop: Shifting the Lens on Race is a recent photo and book project from Professor Yaba Blay which hopes to challenge narrow perceptions of what it means to be "black." The title of the work is a reference to the notion that a person is "black" if they have single relative, no matter how distant, somewhere in their family tree.

On the (1)ne Drop website, Dr. Blay writes that her project "sets out to explore the extent to which historical definitions of race continue to shape contemporary racial identities and lived experiences of racial difference, particularly among those for whom the legacy of the one-drop rule perceptibly lingers." And that "although contributors use varying terms to self-identify, they all see themselves as part of the larger racial, cultural, and social group generally referred to as Black. They all have experienced having their identity called into question simply because they do not fit neatly into the stereotypical “Black box” — dark skin, “kinky” hair, broad nose, full lips, etc." 

The project utilizes the power of photography to introduce its reader to a beautiful array of people, and what makes the project so striking and immediate.

(1)ne Drop toured around the country and was the inspiration behind CNN’s Black in America: “Who is Black in America?” and featured on CNN Newsroom. You can learn more about this project at its website.