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Because the society was patrilineal, the children took their fathers' social status at birth and were born free.Some succeeded their fathers as rulers, such as Sultan Ahmad al-Mansur, who ruled Morocco from 1578 to 1608.During the first half of the 20th century, the Afrikaaner-dominated government classified the population according to four main racial groups: Black, White, Asian (mostly Indian), and Coloured.

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".

In a number of countries, societal variables affect classification as much as skin color, and the social criteria for "blackness" vary.

For example, in North America the term black people is not necessarily an indicator of skin color or ethnic origin, but is instead a socially based racial classification related to being African American, with a family history typically associated with institutionalized slavery.

The government was accused of "deftly manipulat(ing) Arab solidarity" to carry out policies of apartheid and ethnic cleansing.

In the Sahara, the 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.

The people of the region were noted in Classical literature as Mauri, which was subsequently rendered as Moors in English.

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