How well defined are cultures and subcultures?

My topic is a bit vague, I know. As a jumping off point, today I was reading about how the black magazine Essence now has a white fashion editor.

Many are wondering if a white woman can really speak for/to black culture? But then that got me to wondering. Culture isn’t a monolithic thing. There are black women who may be on the outskirts of what “traditional” black culture is. And there may be white people unfamiliar with mainstream white culture.

The other weird thing is that when I start thinking of what black and white culture mean, I start thinking of stupid stereotypical things. Like, you know, “White people drive like THIS, but black people drive like THIS,” or predominantly black TV shows and then I feel weird for even assuming that if someone’s black they must like [insert sitcom]. But what qualifies for being familiar with a culture? I’m guessing it depends on the person.

But then even if you have a white person who’s as familiar with a particular facet of black culture (let’s say black fashion) as most black people, I suppose there are those who would say they can never really know as much as a black person by the sheer fact that they’re an outsider? I don’t know…I’m getting confused again. Thoughts?

Culture may be correlated with race, but it’s certainly not synonymous. Obama, Jesse Jackson, and Snoop Dogg might all have similar skin color, but I’d have a hard time saying they’re any more culturally-akin than any given Americans. On the other hand, Snoop Dogg and, say, Eminem do have some clear cultural similarities. Which one is “black culture”, the one with Eminem in it, or the one with Obama in it?