Blackness is the degree to which an individual, regardless of their ethnic background, is sympathetic to or a part of the mainstream African-American culture. A person may be thought of as "losing their blackness" by not adhering to the mainstream thoughts of the African-American community.
Debra Dickerson, while speaking to Stephen Colbert on The Colbert Report (February 8, 2007), stated that U.S. Senator Barack Obama, despite having a father of Kenyan descent, was not black because he had not lived and suffered the same way as the offspring of African-American slaves. Dickerson even fell short of calling Obama an African-American, instead referring to him as Ivan.