Saturday, October 27, 2007

The continuing education of the sell outs.


Spelman College is a great school with a great tradition, and after reading the following article by one of their professors, I think you will see why. The author focuses on John McWhorter, but he could have well been writing about any one of my "new negro" friends who blog as conservatives.




Truth is, the only thing William Jelani Cobb shares with a certain right leaning black blogger is a last name. Said blogger should read the following cut and paste job written by his name sake, and send me a nice gift and a thank you note for giving him some education. He claims that he has been reading my blog a lot lately, so let's hope he hasn't stopped yet.


WARNING, this post is a bit long. But what the heck, it's the weekend. So put your feet up, turn off the television, and read.




"In the grand tradition of Booker T. Washington, author John McWhorter is either a conservative or a sellout, not that there's much of a difference.




Conventional wisdom has it that modern black conservatism has its roots in the philosophy of one Booker T. Washington, the Tuskegee Wizard whose advocacy of self-reliance, thrift, morality and hard work helped him build a respected university, a personal fortune and a political machine the likes of which have not been seen in black America since. But truth be told, given the Sunday-schooled, Southern-born outlook of large segments of black America the phrase 'black conservative' is damn-near redundant. (And a black "compassionate conservative" would, in most quarters, be simply called a liberal.)




The theme of self-reliance, self-respect and hard work run through nearly every major black movement of the 20th century – regardless of political persuasion. But there's a reason why Clarence Thomas is considered conservative in pejorative sense of the term and Louis Farrakhan, who is pro-business, anti-abortion, pro-death penalty (believing it should apply not only to homicide, but rape as well) and condemns "government handouts" is not. That difference being that most people believe Farrakhan – no matter his labyrinthine contradictions and metaphysical snake oil – has some clue to the persistence of racism in America.





With a few notable exceptions, the class of black conservatives is not at the forefront of the conservative debates of foreign policy unilateralism, stem cell research or deficit spending. Rather they're given dominion over a fiefdom of unwashed Negroes whose social maladjustment is to be condemned as consistently, stridently and creatively as possible. And this explains why Bill Cosby's case of racial Tourette's syndrome last April was widely viewed as 'conservative' as opposed to simply mean-spirited and incoherent. On some level, the terms have become synonymous.




Which brings us to our present concern John McWhorter. In the span of three years, since the publication of his initial foray into Negro punditry "Losing the Race" and its follow-up "Authentically Black," McWhorter has become something a negro-con phenomenon, appearing on television and talk shows and writing in numerous outlets. His arguments that blacks are done in by 'victimology' not racism, and that black people are doomed by their own 'separatist' and anti-intellectual tendencies amount to old malt liquor in a new 40-ounce. But no matter, it sells.




With McWhorter's school of conservatives we hear strains of Booker T. not so much in his views on thrift and hard work – because those are articles of faith across and political lines in the black community – but in his tradition of accomodationism and comically "putting on" for his (predominantly white) audience. Think about this in the context of McWhorter's obsessive concern – 'proving' that there really isn't much racism left in the country and you suspect that his books serve – intentionally or not – as balm for the white guilty conscience. The message to black folk: what you think is racism is actually just coincidental occurrence. Change to song: We have overcome. We just didn't notice.




Central to his indictment of black America on charges of self-sabotage is the idea that liberal soft-heartedness has made black mediocrity pay off. (He asserts that black students don't work hard, knowing that paternalistic white liberals will let them into the best universities anyway.) A mentor of mine once pointed out that there would be 'equality' in America when a black person could be completely mediocre and still achieve astounding success. The point is that among the many pernicious side effects of segregation was its ability to hide white underachievement from black people.




McWhorter indicts universities that consider race as a factor in admissions, but paradoxically has no problem with police using race as a factor in profiling random citizens. After being stopped and questioned by police for walking while black, McWhorter reports in 'Losing the Race,' 'I cannot say that I walked away from that episode furious that I had just been swiped by the long arm of white racism ... I felt that what had happened was a sign that the black underclass is America's greatest injustice, and that I ought to take it as a call to action to do as much as I can to help rescue the underclass so that such encounters with the police won't be necessary – because under the current conditions, whether we like it or not, they are.' "




Read the rest here.




Please don't send any perishables.


37 comments:

mac said...

The rationalization of the nypd's murder of Diallo was the worst and unforgiveable. Unforgiveable..Excellent article! mac

justice58 said...

Field

I love this board! I'm always looking forward to what you're going to write next.

And I love it when someone like mac..."put it down in the fields". Hey!

newgirl448 said...

If we have to suffer the existence of sellouts-and apparently we do-I wish we could do something to stop the madness of them actually writing their "thoughts" down. In a previous post, I suggested the root cause of Cosby turning venomous on his own people and I think it is relevant to the intellectual pathologies of the McWhorters among us as well:

His (Cosby's) prolonged tirade against "the lower class" is no more than vented frustration. Like many middle and upper middle class Blacks, he is frustrated that no matter how much money we make, how many letters we put behind our names, or how many times we profess love for God and country;he is frustrated that NO MATTER WHAT the nature of this racist beast is that we are judged as a group and we are judged by the least among us. Now, that the least among US is disproportionately poor, imprisoned,unemployed, educationally neglected, and largely disenfranchised is a function of the self-serving choice that middle class Blacks (think pre-1934 Dubois) made to abandon the struggle for institutional development so that their talented tenth could sit next to white folks in schools and at restaurants “with all deliberate speed.” It is that fraudulent, self annihilative, non-economic, socially liberal non-sense-otherwise known as integration-that is at the root of the problems that the Black masses in the country are facing and that a member of the upper class that set this speeding train to hell in motion would turn venomous on his own people is inexcusable.

Whatever Booker T. was not, he understood that there was a WE and that racism was real. The McWhorters that plague us are just house negroes who've taken to tap dancing furiously-and futiley-for white folks who may find use for the sellout but who ultimately don't care enough to make the distinction that he(the sellout) yearns for.

field negro said...

Whatever Booker T. was not, he understood that there was a WE and that racism was real. The McWhorters that plague us are just house negroes who've taken to tap dancing furiously-and futiley-for white folks who may find use for the sellout but who ultimately don't care enough to make the distinction that he(the sellout) yearns for."

co-sign 100% with you newgirl448.

justice58 and mac, being on the same side of this issue with you two gives me comfort, because I know that your hearts are in the right place. That's always a winner when you take on a difficult subject.

Unfortunately, I can't say the same for all of us. (That their heart is in the right place)Some of us.....well, we just get off on being contrarians because it gives us a higher profile.

Cobb said...

Field, you and your buddies seem to get all panty-twisted about a lack of racial unity across class. What is the historical context of racial interests surpassing class interests? Where is the model of success you are trying to emulate?

field negro said...

"What is the historical context of racial interests surpassing class interests? Where is the model of success you are trying to emulate?"

Your question is revealing.

If you don't have racial unity across class lines, your race,(and therefore you) regardless of what class you THINK you are in, will not prosper. Unless of course you choose to seperate yourself from your race because of your class.

Has it ever occured to you that you can have an interest in keeping your status in life, and caring about your race at the same time? You don't have to divorce yourself from the interests of your people to become successful.

It would be very hard to find the model you are looking for in modern day America; because, quite frankly, of people like you.

Cobb said...

OK. Let me try this again. Let's pretend I'm a college student and you are the professor. In other words, answer an adult question with some world historical perspective. I'm not looking for an example in modern day America.

djtyg said...

Damn, Field. The author hit the nail on the head!

Cobb's an idiot.

djtyg said...

For the record, I was talking about Cobb on this thread, not the author of the Alternet story.

Anonymous said...

Field, I recently read the LATimes piece about your blog, and I've been a reader ever since. Time permitting, I share copies of columns with my university students. We have wonderful discussions, and I can always use a topic when things get to be a bit sluggish in other areas. I like how you keep it real. I'm a southerner by birth and by geographical choice, so I certainly can relate to the field/house/patio descriptions. Thanks for a real blog that I can relate to. (One last thing: I did note how the Times writer said something to the effect that your blog was voicing a black agenda--I'm paraphrasing here, but I did think that line and a couple more, were an absolute hoot. Some folks, I dare say, simply don't (and refuse) to "get it." But I want you to keep making them try to, anyway.

mac said...

FN: I appreciate your quest to educate HNs. But I see them "dancing furiously," as the sister put it, to change the subject. I don't know if we should let them do it. The subject is not poor blacks, it's the pathology of HNs.

Speaking of which, I want to say, "You go, newgirl448!" You've put your finger on the source of the problem, which is not poor blacks, but house negroes who have achieved success by the white man's standards but still don't feel appreciated enough; who, though say all the right things (things massa likes to hear), but still don't feel loved enough. I almost feel sorry for them. But why do they feel this way? Because, no matter what they say or do, they always get grouped with those gun-toting, drug-slinging, hip hop listening thugs and those ever-pregnant black women in the projects.

Rather than allow them to change the subject and, for example, rant about hip hop, I think we should take newgirl448's lead and confront house negroes on their pathology.

Now, I could be off-base by this, but I think the root of this pathology is self-hatred. When I worked from gangbangers, I think I learned more from then than they learned from me. The number one thing I learned was from a gangbanger who told me without blinking an eye: "It's easy to shoot somebody that looks like you." By extension, it's easy for house negroes to put down poor blacks because they are, in effect, unconsciously putting down themselves. In the process of criticizing, in shooting down, poor blacks, they are, at the same time, criticizing, shooting down, and frustration against themselves for being unable to demonstrate to the white man, to massa, that they are different, that they are smarter, cleaner, and less violent, than poor blacks. Because of that, they know the white man, massa, still sees them-- no matter what he says to their face -- as not just connected to a dumb, trifling and violent people, they are of those people. In the back of the minds, they can still see massa nodding his head while asking rhetorically, " Bill, you're just like them, aren't you?" then walking away, shaking his head in disdain.

FN: The use of Booker T. Washington as a very good example of how black conservatives in the past were different from the McWhorters of today. Actually, the more you check into some of the black conservatives of the past, the more you find out that, generally speaking, they never forgot that they were a part of their people and many never wanted to. For example, when Monroe Trotter (editor and owner of a black newspaper that was the most critical of Booker T. Washington and his Tuskegee Machine), was broke and about to lose his newspaper, Booker T found out about it and helped him out. And, according to historian John Henrik Clarke, as he was taking the check, Trotter told Washington, " I still think you're a disgrace to our race." Booker T was conservative, but he still cared about black folks and was committed to their uplift, even those spoke out against him, publically and privately. Blessings.

Stay in the field. Blessings. mac

cnulan said...

Coming soon to a blog near you;

Regular readers of the best original writings available in the Black Blogosphere should be familiar with Michael David Cobb Bowen (Cobb) and Michael Fisher (Assault on Black Folks’ Sanity). Both are erudite. Both are brilliant. Both are skilled expositors and defenders of controversial philosophies, ideologies, and theories about race, culture, economics, and politics. Cobb, one of the original Black bloggers, is the Black Blogosphere’s premiere personal essayist and one of its leading conservative cultural, social, and political theorists. Fisher has become one of the Black Blogosphere’s leading Black Nationalist critical essayists and theorists since launching his blog earlier this year.

These two, during blog conversations concerning African Americans, have often appeared to be philosophical and ideological opposites. And neither is known for pulling his punches. They have clashed, famously, in the past. Recently, they agreed to debate one another on neutral ground, here at Maxambit.

brotherkomrade said...

Field, Mac, and newgirl448,

As always you peoples provide the reason as to why I come to this blog all the time and letting me and others know that the black blogosphere is not completely infested with self-hating right-wingers, self-serving "activists", and Armstrong William wannabes.

Mac and newgirl448, make blogs! Let's hear your voices as well.

field negro said...

"OK. Let me try this again. Let's pretend I'm a college student and you are the professor. In other words, answer an adult question with some world historical perspective. I'm not looking for an example in modern day America."

Cobb sorry it took so long to get back to you. I was watching my birds beat those vikes (sorry Ralph)

Now cobb, as your professor, I have to tell you that you live in A-merry-ca TODAY, not some historical academic vacuum.--That is so typical of the conservative; leave the real world behind and go into some esoterical neverland.

Quite frankly, that question you pose is a nonstarter in this debate, because it is not relevant to the point I am trying to make.

Still, to play along with your little game,I will give you this: Please consider that whenever a race of people try to seperate themselves from other members of their own race because of their class or economic status in life, you wil get one of any of the Third World countries that exists today or that has existed throughout time. Simply stated, the type of society that you seem to want to promote, is a recipe for economic and social disaster.

Sorry cobb, you make it hard for people like "cnulan" to promote you when you give me that type of logic.

If you are going to have your own personal "hype man", don't you think you should give him something to hype? :)

brotherkomrade said...

"These two, during blog conversations concerning African Americans, have often appeared to be philosophical and ideological opposites. And neither is known for pulling his punches. They have clashed, famously, in the past. Recently, they agreed to debate one another on neutral ground, here at Maxambit."

Thanks, Cnulan. I will be watching this one and I knew their clash wasn't going to end the way it ended on both of their respected sites. It's kind of like witnessing what Harold Cruse had been writing all along: That black people's struggle was not so much about getting the vote or being free from slavery, but which way do we go; assimilation (integration) or self-determination (nationalism)?

field negro said...

Anon.3:49 thanks for reading and sharing with your students. Cuss words and all? :)

And you are right, my blog is nowhere voicing the black agenda. As brotherkomrade stated above,we are in a battle to see where we go from here, and it's a battle that the rest of A-merrt-ca is not even seeing.

I am glad you are seeing the different points of views, and what we are up against on the road to true self determination.

Ann Brock said...

You have some good reading. Thanks for the information.

Anonymous said...

May I please respectfully point out that a great deal of time lately has been spent on dissing the black right/black conservatives/house negros. Field, don't get side tracked putting too much emphasis on backwards blacks/House Negros. They are not the real threat. In fact, they are threatened by the system that seeks to oppress, both the HN and the FN.

A HN may be indeed annoying and may even do some things that are counter productive/destructive to the liberation of African people. But there are in no way the ones that's really holding the whip. In fact, if the HN getsout of line, massa got a whip for him too.

Highlighting and pulling the covers off a HN so that he or she can be exposed is all good. But I'd like to see you give more time to exposing the dirt of the ones that's really using their power to misguide, to destroy, to oppress, to enslave, to shrink African people throughout the world. That's when you are doing your best writings, your best enlightening work, your best power in words.

Again, I submit this comment with respect and thoughtful consideration for you, not the HN's of the world.

A

Hathor said...

When I became familiar with the net I began to see conservative and libertarian bloggers, there was a preoccupation of black people lives. Their tomes and memes about blacks revolved around the victim hood and how we dwell on race too much. Also about the deterioration of the ghetto Negro. Their mores, the unwed mother, the absent father, etc. At times it seem to me that all blacks fell into this category with the exception of their chosen black people. My blackness was compared to their chosen. I somehow could not have an opinion and my life was invalid, because they know exactly how Jim Crow effected me. I was even too stupid to recognize racism or know when a statement was not racist. I have had many arguments on their blogs. They are not concerned about black people, it is just a way for them to argue more racist solutions. The more you argue, the more the hood appears.

So when black conservative spew the same vitriol as those racist, what am I to think?

Anonymous said...

White Safety Zone? As if white? neighborhoods are crime free!!!!

newgirl448 said...

"Field, don't get side tracked putting too much emphasis on backwards blacks/House Negros. They are not the real threat. In fact, they are threatened by the system that seeks to oppress, both the HN and the FN."

I would respectfully disagree with this comment. I had a professor once who said that when Black people do 80% of what we need to do for ourselves, white people won't be able to do 20% of what they do to us. The critical conversations relevant to our future as a people are the ones we will (or won't) have with each other. The social, political, and economic life of racism and its damning effects are real in american society. Race, however, is the most artificial of all human characteristics and not the foundation for group security and progress in this country. Ethnicity (Italian-American, Irish-American, Jewish-American, and African-American) is the primary building block for group security and protection. Where middle and upper middle class Irish Americans control law enforcement and local politics-as is the case in Baltimore, MD and other eastern cities, where Italian Americans at a time predominated and controlled an entire fishing industry in the northeast, where Jewish Americans have substantial control over the film making industry; where from a common ethnic identity groups have grown institutions and vested institutional control in areas that ensure them as a force to be reckoned with, individuals within that group are protected against systematic exclusion and oppression because the ethnic group has positioned itself to be able to exact a price for fucking with its members. That’s all Booker T. was talking about: Let us have the service industry in this country. We will predominate and control an indispensable aspect of life and business and position ourselves to bring pressure to bear on those who would fuck with our children-as opposed to relying on the largesse of white folks.

So, I apologize for the long post, but, from my perspective, given the function of ethnic plurality in American society, the future/survival of the Black masses and the Black upper classes are inextricably bound, which is why the house negroes must be brought to the light and talking to white folks about our problems is largely a waste of time.

mac said...

"...given the function of ethnic plurality in American society, the future/survival of the Black masses and the Black upper classes are inextricably bound, which is why the house negroes must be brought to the light and talking to white folks about our problems is largely a waste of time."

I'm down with every word, newgirl 448. But to bring the McWhorter type conservatives into the fold, we have to intellectually arm ourselves to do serious philosophical battle with them, not only for us, progressive blacks, but for the masses of blacks. Poor blacks need them as well, not as self-hating house negroes but conscience, committed brothers and sisters that's there for blacks as an ethnic group, not as a jesture and then say, "I told you. These po folks are stupid!"

To do this, we have to confront their massa-borrowed, disaster capitalist ideology which, at its core, is nothing less than super individualism bordering on Ayn Rand super narcicissim, "my house-is-bigger than yours" materialism and self hatred. The value I see in a field negro blog is not just to share ideas but the every-day craziness that can't help but come to the fore with crazies like Cheney and Bush, whose ideology or philosophy house negroes will gladly adopt in exchange for a little shade by massa's house, even if he realises that, ultimately, he'll never really live in it.

We can educate house negroes, but it will be difficult. They use their degrees, big words, fancy suits and cancer-causing cologne to hide their insecurity and self hatred. Let me illustrate.

When I started my violence prevention consulting firm in Minnesota, Hennepin County sent violent men-- primarily black men--to my business for domestic violence and anger management counseling. I made the mistake of hiring a number of brothers because they said all the right things in the interview and had degrees at the master or doctorate level. Surely they can help these guys, I thought. They couldn't. They talked down to them, even needled them, making them feel worse than they did before they came through the door. It got so bad that one of the male clients came to me and said he overheard some guys talking about "poppin" the facilitator ( a real arrogant house negro, the Bill Cosby type)that night. When I mentioned this to this "brother," he became very agitated,saying "what these brothers need to do.." I should have just told him to go home and i'd phone him later. Instead, two violence prevention counselors ended up arguing in the hall with the door to the classroom open for all to hear, with me calling this guy a sorry negro that can't talk to folks, telling him he was going to get his ghetto pass revoked and his ass killed if he didn't learn how to talk to his own people-- "And get the fuck out of my classroom and my building!"

I may have saved this life, but I obviously didn't handle this well.
Since then, i've gotten better at remaining calm and focusing on their ideas, and not calling them out personally. But I still can use some help.

And, field, that's where I see your blog can help, that is, provide as a forum not just to exchange ideas but to better arm us to educate house negroes who, after all, are still our brothers and sisters, and, in the process, serve as kind of support system for each other. I don't know about other, but, after reading the stories you bring to us and getting your perspective on it, and others who blog here, I feel even more confident in going to the coffee shop, bar, club, or to an office, and speaking the truth, no matter who it is. I get that extra bounce in my step, and i'm ready to walk out into what little sun we get here in Minnesota and say, "Come on, you SteppinFetchit-pork-eating house negroes, i'm ready!"

Like you say, "Silence is not golden." I'm staying in the field. Blessings. mac

justice58 said...

Now that's what I'm talking about!

The work will be hard, and I will get exhausted sometimes but the field is for me!

awb said...

Newgirl,

Preach that. HN's spend most of their time denigrating "low class" sports figures and entertainers (rappers), but fail to realize that this is where most of our clout is concentrated. Intsead of alienating them, we should be embracing them. There is no reason for us not to control those industry's as Jewish people control movies and television.

It almost happened in sports with the Negro League. The guy who ran that was trying to make the league strong enough so when the time came, and it would, he could negotiate with the Major League from a position of power. Instead, HN's pathological need to be accepted by white people insisted on a misguided intergration instead and the Major's ended up raiding the Negro League for players effectively destroying it. Instead of forcing Major League Baseball to take in Negro League teams as a whole, with the teams themselves intact with their black owners (like the AFL-NFL merger), they just took all the talent and power was effectively still in the hands of the white power structure.

I think that the music industry and rap specifically is doing a better job of consolidating power (as an aside, I really don't get HN's issue with rappers. Seriously, most rappers stories are almost a generic template of "pulling yourself up by your bootstraps").

In sport's one can only hope that the major sports figures can awaken from the stupor of ultra neutral corporate shilling personified by Michael Jordon. No more doing things "behind the scenes." Time to use your clout front and center.

rikyrah said...

I would respectfully disagree with this comment. I had a professor once who said that when Black people do 80% of what we need to do for ourselves, white people won't be able to do 20% of what they do to us.

I have to agree with this. There is a Black talk show host that, ever so often, gets on his soapbox about Reparations. But, he divides Reparations into INTERNAL and EXTERNAL Reparations.

His belief is...if Black folk did INTERNAL Reparations for one another, then we would be so much stronger to go after EXTERNAL Reparations.

Cobb said...

FN,

First off, I like what newgirl said. The grevious error of those folks I may start calling Black Nationalists is that they refuse to distinguish the world from the White world. So when African Americans discover and interpret the world as they see fit, Black Nationalists seek to intervene and re-interpret it as the White world.

From this you get the politics that says: marriage is white, speaking proper English is white, working for corporations is white, criticizing black people is white, etc etc.

I'd like to quote (for once) from Marx. This is how he describes the lumpenproletariate otherwise known as the underclass:

This scum of the depraved elements of all classes ... decayed roués, vagabonds, discharged soldiers, discharged jailbirds, escaped galley slaves, swindlers, mountebanks, lazzaroni, pickpockets, tricksters, gamblers, brothel keepers, tinkers, beggars, the dangerous class, the social scum, that passively rotting mass thrown off by the lowest layers of the old society." [1]

The Black Nationalist cannot believe that if black people fit the above definition that it is any fault but that of the White Man. Thus black on black advice that castigates the underclass MUST therefore be the product of racial self-hate.

This is the big lie. But it is a necessary fiction to keep the message of the Black Nationalist alive, and it will stay alive as long as human beings will be human beings.

The Black Nationalist is therefore codependent on a belief in the White Man who controls all the strings in the world, especially the strings that go into the minds of blacks who would dare call a spade a spade.

newgirl448 said...

Cobb:
I am honestly not clear on how what I said in my post supports or relates to what you say in yours. Perhaps it's just not having had my coffee yet. Could you help me out?

fairlane said...

This problem isn't just plaguing blacks in America. It's an issue I encounter time and time again in the "White World," people who've bought in to try and preserve their own asses. Ultimately, they not only sell out others, but themselves as well.

Look at what Wingnuts support and fret over, the "Death Tax," Dividends taxes, immigration, Unions, gay marriage, etc etc.

None of these issues have any relevance to 95% of the people who worry about them. (At least not in the way they think).

But they sure are relevant to the proverbial "Man."

He doesn't want to pay dividends on his million shares, or pay Estate Taxes once he's dead. He doesn't want to pay workers what they're worth or provide health insurance for them and their children.

To top it off, he throws in the "Specter" of faggots getting married, and Mexicans stealing our jobs.

Trying to reason with these people or to even have a conversation is almost impossible.

Recently one of my friends was here from Finland, and I was telling my mom's friend (A wingnut) how I'm trying to get in tight with her, "Just in case I need to get the fuck out of here."

She said, "I know what you mean. This is madness."

I'm thinking, "Wow, we actually agree that America is turning to shit." But...

She goes on to say, "You know I was reading this morning that in some cities they're handing out condoms in schools? Can you believe that? This country is going to hell."

HUH? I thought we were talking about something important.

All of us fighting the "Good fight" find ourselves not only confronting our common enemy, "The Man," but we are also forced to fight against people who should be our allies. People who are fixated on bullshit, and won't let it go.

The biggest threat to the "Man," is not blacks or Mexicans or American Indians rising up against him, it's the potential that one day everyone (Including whites) marginalized by this system rise up together.

I know you have your thing going on, and I respect that a great deal. I just hope you understand not all white people, most in fact, are on the "Man's" side.

Until enough of us are able to get beyond the minutiae, we're stuck. Many "Liberals" still want people to have faith in the Democrats. My response is, "I may as well have faith Zeus is going to come down and save my ass."

We, meaning all of us who are fed up, are the instrument of change.

Whether that's a good thing or not remains to be seen, but it is the cold hard truth.

Forgive my rambling. Great post.

Anonymous said...

Field;

"Still, to play along with your little game,I will give you this: Please consider that whenever a race of people try to seperate themselves from other members of their own race because of their class or economic status in life, you wil get one of any of the Third World countries that exists today or that has existed throughout time. Simply stated, the type of society that you seem to want to promote, is a recipe for economic and social disaster.
"

So you are saying middle and upper-class whites do not separate themselves from lower class whites, call them names, ridicule them, even make fun of them on TV and in film on a regular basis? That is destroying American society?

What you are talking about is a few colluding to stay at the top by oppressing the many. That is not the situation in America and never has been. That is the situation in Mexico, but also Mexicans do it by colorism. White is right and the brown stay down or come to America and send money back to support the poor brown relatives who in turn hand over the money to white businesses.

Not the issue in America.

I would like you to honestly answer Cobb’s question.

Michael Fisher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Fisher said...

Cobb...

"The Black Nationalist cannot believe that if black people fit the above definition that it is any fault but that of the White Man. Thus black on black advice that castigates the underclass MUST therefore be the product of racial self-hate."

Bow here tries to espouse the position of the Black Panther Party and, in particular, Huey Newton's thesis as the Black Lumpen proletariat as the vanguard of the revolution.

Two things about that. (1) That never has been a traditional black nationalst position, and (2) the Phanters were never Black Nationalists. They were Marxist-Leninists who saw black people as the vanguard of a multi-"racial" revolution. That's why Jane Fonda et al loved them so much.

Cobb said...

I didn't realize the similarity of the argument, and I hadn't heard it put in the context of the Black Panthers before.

I am in fact these days using what I perceive to be a Black Nationalist position as a foil, because it is unclear to me exactly how today's black political partisans see themselves inheriting the mantle of black thinkers past. My immediate aim is to distinguish black cultural nationalism from black economic nationalism. It may or may not be enough.

Newgirl, the short answer to your question is this. If you had absolutely no apprehensions about living among white people, no fear, no shame, no race-based ideology coloring your perception, would they still seem 'white' or would they seem like just people? I'm saying that too much of black politics assumes the fear, shame and colored ideology and therefore makes the whiteness of people seem more significant than it actually is. This attitude of focusing on other doesn't actually do anything positive for blackfolks. It in fact enhances the size of the little evil white man in black minds.

Now stick your quote at the end of what I just said.

Students of black literature may have noticed that Nikki Giovanni said this decades ago.
http://cobb.typepad.com/cobb/2003/12/darling_nikki.html

newgirl448 said...

Cobb:

“I'm saying that too much of black politics assumes the fear, shame and colored ideology and therefore makes the whiteness of people seem more significant than it actually is.”

1.) White supremacy which originates with white people “makes the whiteness of people seem more significant than it actually is.” A hallmark of white western culture has been a race-based, dichotomous, value charged, oppositional means of defining self and other: We are Christian, you are heathen; we are mind, you are body; we are virtuous, you are profane…. It’s puzzling that you would locate the problem of hyper-focusing on race with Black people.

“This attitude of focusing on other doesn't actually do anything positive for blackfolks.”

2.) Perhaps my quote being taken out of context makes my meaning unclear. Let me clarify. I was addressing the need for Black people in this country to recognize ethnicity (Irish-American, Italian-American, Jewish-American, African-American…) and not race as the fundamental mechanism for group protection and advancement in any ethnic plurality, including America. I was referring to the inadequacy of “race” as an organizing principle for Black people in this socio-political context. My comments were entirely unrelated to the significance or insignificance of white people “in [B]lack minds,” but, again, to the sure failure of “race” as an organizing principle for Black people.

Cobb said...

I don't locate the problem within a people, I locate the problem within politics and processes. I criticize black politics because of its failure to adapt and change. Notably I criticize the Field Negro's politics for perpetuating an old tired way of categorizing black people from the days of slavery.

While it may be directly unrelated to things said here, I criticize black politics that focuses on white behavior, and the nuance you just made is spot on. The degree and manner with which White Supremacy operates on various American ethnics varies widely. Why should we treat 'white' people the same when their ethnicity is different? When is the last time you ever saw, in the context of discussions on black progress some statistic that compares African-Americans to Irish-Americans?

I am opposed to broad racial comparisons in politics, and I find this to be precisely the main traffic of certain black political partisans.

Even so, I disagree with the substitution of ethnicity for race as the fundamental term for political organization. Culturally, I don't mind so much - it would be nice if we were so multiculturally astute. However, ethnic politics undermine constitutional premises of equality in the same corrosive way that racial politics do. It would be the same for religious politics too.

I think black political partisans would be more successful in continuing to focus on integrating African America into the mainstream economy and allow the prosperity of the nation to raise black boats. Introducing blackfolks into sectors of the economy in which our traditions have only scant experience is unduly complicated by the themes of racial distrust. Why shouldn't blacks be loggers in the Northwest? Why shouldn't blacks be fishermen in the Northeast? Any black politics that says "Because whites who dominate that industry are interested in keeping blacks out - reinforces that exclusion by playing to black fears and distrust of so-called 'white' people. They assume hostility and expect the worse from their fellow Americans.

So I say blackfolks from the segregated ghetto who already recognize that their economic prospects are limited should vote with their feet and go where economic prospects are plentiful. Vote with your feet. Sharecroppers from the South did it. Illegal aliens from Mexico do it. What is stopping blacks except for the politics of fear?

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