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 Black person compared to other populations. As such, the meaning of 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For many other individuals, communities and countries, "black" is also perceived as a derogatory, outdated, reductive or otherwise unrepresentative label, and as a result is neither used nor defined.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 changed over time. In a number of countries, societal variables affect classification as much Black person 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 mixed-race people are generally not classified as "black". The Romans interacted Black person and later conquered parts of Mauretaniaan early state that covered modern Moroccowestern Algeriaand the Spanish cities 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 North Africasome dating from prehistoric communities. Carlos Mooreresident scholar at Brazil's University of the State of Bahia, in the 21st Black person 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 Black person 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 women 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 Black person the father's property, so mixed-race children could share in any "Black person" 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 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 " 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 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. As the European 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 Black person the Western Cape. The Coloured definition occupied an intermediary political position between the Black and 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 "Black person" 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, Black person " pencil test " was used.
A pencil was inserted into a person's hair to determine if the hair was kinky enough to hold the pencil, rather than having it pass through, as it would with smoother hair.