bLACK america

Anarchy. Over-and-over again. Why? The situation breeds it. The tension is always there. Frustration permeates. There’s never enough. Always gotta pull stunts to make ends meet. Aggressive narcissism follows when you gotta ‘resort’ to that. It’s you against the whole world then. Fellow man be damned. Imagine this resolve—like a cancer—spreading through a people, generation after generation.

One of the most detrimental costs of slavery has to be the cultivation of identities and cultures centered almost exclusively around relative lack. This has been both a blessing and a curse; everything from soul food, to blues, to jazz, to hip hop was ingeniously wrought from this ‘lack.’ But the association between black and lack has also caused quite the existential crisis. These fights against racial injustice may really be battles against a literal negative association. This is why the minute someone with a drop of black blood does something exceptional some black people rush to publicly celebrate them…

    “Look world! A black person is excelling at something you wouldn’t expect a black person to excel at! See! We aren’t ‘less than.’ Sorry, I mean ‘I’ am not less than.”

The field in which the ‘exceptional’ black person excels may not be popular in mainstream black circles (read: golf, gymnastics, astrophysics), but that doesn’t stop people from co-opting their achievement. This is because the success happens in the public eye and a ‘public’ association with exceptionalism (even if you didn’t do a damn thing) is highly desirable; sure beats the usual lack-derived stereotypes, but ironically the excessive celebration only brightens the spotlight on the lack. Also, note the johnny-come-lately nature of the fandom. They had NO FUCKING IDEA the black outlier even existed before his/her public (mainstream media presented) success. Sorry, let me stop. Before my bitterness begins to show. Thought I was free of it, but it looks like there are some trace amounts left.

I’ll leave you with the words of the renowned black American writer Dr. Jamison T. Bailey. The following passage is from his seminal 1964 book The Modern Negro

    There is a crippling rage that sits deep within the modern Negro activist. A rage that manifests as arbitrary displays of violence that only work to harm him and his community; and further cement his perception as a subhuman brute who is incapable of living in a civilized society and thus should be perpetually caged in ‘correctional’ facilities or quarantined within blighted centralized urban enclaves. But what is the root of his rage? What is it all ‘about?’ If you were to ask him he would confidently assert that he is raging against oppressors who have mistreated him and his people. But is this the ‘real’ reason or is there another, more deeply personal impetus? One steeped in insecurities born out of a history of subjugation and negative perceptions.

    Furthermore, what are his goals? What is he trying to accomplish with his feverish proclamations of outsider culpability and the violent ‘unrest’ such vitriolic speeches inspire? Is he attempting to change hearts, minds? Is he trying to procure a seat at the much ballyhooed ‘table?’ Or is he simply lost? Rabble-rousing to mask inadequacies in which he is incapable of reconciling. He is a prisoner of the oppressive now. Stuck in a world where he feels unwanted. An emasculated man who believes there is nothing he can do to change the position in which history has inauspiciously placed him. So he rages. Loudly. Violently. Against himself.

    If we are to remove the shackles of our negative self-perceptions we must look within and embrace those uncomfortable, unflattering feelings of inadequacy. Face them directly. Understand them. Cultivate coping mechanisms so we can build ourselves up instead of wasting our time and energy myopically raging at our oppressors for facilitating our self-oppression. We must realize that ‘they’ cannot stop us, only ‘we’ can stop us. This is not something you will likely hear on street-corners from the so-called ‘militant’ young men who stand atop rickety ladders belting hackneyed platitudes into the air. No, this is too ‘radical’ of an idea for them. This requires a strength they do not possess. To look inside oneself is not as easy as finding a quiet room and closing one’s eyes. It is tantamount to slashing a deep gash into your arm, dipping it into a bucket of salt and leaving it there until it heals.

Dr. Bailey, as well as his words, are a complete fabrication, but isn’t it interesting how ‘his’ words carried more weight when you thought they belonged to some ‘important’ academic? What am ‘I’ lacking that prevents you from heeding ‘my’ words? Why do I have to use deception in order for you to consider an alternative viewpoint?


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