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December 28, 2002

What Negroes?

i can see that this is going to be difficult.

d-squared is suggesting that 'nigger' is not as bad as the orwellian lie of 'minority', and seeks to recast the negro problem jumping straight from toqueville to himself without a moment's consideration of the negros who did. america doesn't have a negro problem, it has a problem with the implications of the fact that negroes solved their own problem and decided to become black.

let's forget dubois for a moment and come around to malcolm x. why? because i was thinking about him this morning. first of all, we all understand that malcolm and i would not hesitate to punch you in the nose if you call us a nigger. it is not because you uttered the word, but it is because you seek to treat me like one. simple really. as for my nigga, well let's not get bogged down, but if you require completeness, i come with that too.

now in case you went to one of those pathetic american public highschools, let me take a moment to remind you that 'black consciousness' solved the negro problem. now there were a large number of people and a great deal of effort put into this, but it essentially solved the duboisian dilemma. that was the debilitating psychological whirlpool of being of america and yet not feeling any belonging. the problem was that there was a little white man in every negro's mind telling him what was right and wrong, and the negro could not avoid that conscience even though he knew it to be hypocritical. so the poor negro was mired in an existential quagmire that undermined his willpower in every aspect of his life. the negro failed because he loved the white lies of america more than he loved god or loved himself. black consciousness essentially lobotomized that little hypocritical white man. aka 'the man'.

dealing with black consciousness and black nationalism is a very difficult problem for many americans precisely because it doesn't give them a way to blame slavery and culture-of-poverty arguments for everything. so they pretend that it doesn't exist. they pretend that when men and women are asserting themselves as blacks, whether sitting at a table of their choosing in the cafeteria or celebrating a non-christian holiday, they are just doing it because they are too stupid or too hateful to be friends with whitefolks. the fact is that they just have no experience in recognizing and respecting these free african looking people, especially when these blacks had brains, nerve and god-forbid, ambition.

not having slavery as an excuse means that racism is contemporary and still effective. scary huh?

so it's facile to go to the black ghetto of your choice, pick a dysfunction and claim it to be some essential characteristic of 'black culture'. this is the thing that really burns me up, especially since eminem ain't no joke. but it is not so easy to suggest that there is an extraordinarily successful pedagogy within this thing called black consciousness that those poor ghetto folks are missing. because that would suggest that all the successful [do we still call them] black men and women in american society aren't just existential mirrors of whitefolks just with darker skin.

so here's your blacker-than-thou litmus test of the day. go find an african american man you trust and ask them this very personal question. as a young man, who did you identify with more, bigger thomas or holden caufield? i will pay 1 dollar via pay pal for every negro you can find who says holden caufield. they will make good republicans too, but by the time i'm finished with them, they will pay homage to the funk! and on your side of the deal, you should pay me if they turn out to be black. but guess what, those african american men will have transcended bigger's dilemma because they have the strong black kernel, whereas bigger was still very much a negro.

it is true, that a 'minority' is not a man and that newspeak is par for the political course. but that is a symptom of the political course swerving around the reality of actual successful black americans. when you deal with successful blackfolks, they will tell you in no uncertain terms what they want and how they expect to get it. that's why so much of the race question in america is framed in black and white terms. social capital of chinese my ass. blacks don't have the extraordinary links and associations of chinese americans (do i hear a sowell reader here?) because we don't need them, existentially to survive. when chinese americans change the very structure of the american protestant liturgy i will be the first to light a candle. when chinese americans lead our troops into battle, i will be the first to salute. but let's not fall into the trap that says blacks have to be like irish and chinese have to be like vietnamese. this is the same kind of thinking that says 'negroes' are what toqueville said they are umpdeump generations ago. it disregards what the people have done for themselves and the real changes it has made on america's pluralistic society. and i, for one, ain't having it.

so back to the n-word. a punch in the nose is something a lot of us bourgie people can't handle. it forces us to deal with the reality of human nature. and in case you haven't done so in a while, you should re-read the preface to ralph ellison's 'invisible man', because it was about this same refusal to see what a full man is all about and the consequences of treating someone like a nigger. it is black consciousness which freed the negro from being what the man wanted him to be. so here's some ammo for those who say colin powell, as an afro-caribbean is substantially different from native born african americans. you're right, he didn't have to unlearn the man's servility. that's why he was a world class ass-kicking g.i. staring down the barrel of a nuclear gun in western europe and in the sands of iraq. negroes, on the other hand, are congenitally spineless. militancy, on the other hand, goes hand in hand with the recognition that some things are worth dying for (with george c. scott's patton soliloquy in mind). martin luther king, jr. was a negro until the night he said he feared no man. so he had to be killed before he started leading troops.

as for al sharpton. he is powerful simply because he delivers votes. with any luck i (or somebody like me) will be the al sharpton of the republican party, and i have better taste in clothes.

Posted by mbowen at December 28, 2002 07:02 PM

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