Sunday, July 25

Once again: Who is Black?

So I'm at this Black political convention in Chicago and there is this cat there who appears to me to be White, but I am not certain.  He also had an accent which sounded British to me. At one point another attendee indicates to me that this individual should not have been allowed up in the spot.  As it turns out this man who appears to be White is Dennis Brutus, who is an emeritus professor of Africana studies at Pitt and a well known Black activist, poet and political prisoner (alonside Mandela @ Robben Island).  This was the first time I had heard of him, so I stood mute as his presence was questioned.  But this experience was very memorable because it really brought to mind how confusing the notion of race is and how quickly race and the illusion of race can produce knee-jerk reactions. So my ultimate question is this:  can a "Black" person who passes for "White" be "racist" or not???

Sunday, July 4

A Dissenter Speaks

i've been stewing over the Cosby speech (now speeches) for a while now. in my inarticulate rage, i've been trying to figure out just why the Cos' words irk my last nerve so badly. some of it rests upon the definition my friends and i came up with to define the axis of black culture: we decided that the one trait all blacks had in common was a shared experience of oppression. that trait encompasses liberals, conservatives, da black bougeoisie, da ghetto fabulosi, the niggerati and the skreet kids - a multiplicity of worldviews shaped by the one experience.

if so, where does the Cos stand? Ta-Nehisi Coates hit on it back in May. there is a core of black elitism; one that is ashamed of and hyper-aware of their "country cousins". they exemplify a tried-and-true method immigrants have used to enter mainstream society. let's call it the 'American Way'; assimilate supremacist attitudes towards blacks and black culture in order to gain acceptance.

so what, if any, difference is there between Cos and a white supremacist? Cos is allowed - nay, encouraged - to air his views on the paucity of black culture at every chance. in a society where trent lott was pillaged for hinting that he might have been in favor of segregation, why has the Cos not been urinated upon by the media? instead, he's been lauded by celebrities and pundits, columnists and 'people-on-the-street'.

what makes it worse is that his statistics are off and his distate for his brethren blares from every sentence. prometheus6 spoke on it, as did Earl Ofari Hutchinson. Pinko Feminist Hellcat also addresses the problems inherent in Cosby's words.

Coates noted that Cos' show, set in crack-era NYC, never once had an episode where the kids had their 'pockets were run' (good turn of phrase, mr. coates). a blindness to sociopolitical conditions then; a blindness to socialpolitical conditions now.