Black/White constructs of race


Engorged On Unborn Gore

Well-Known Member
A discussion that I promised to @Eenie-Meenie

We should begin this discussion with a quote from a book you are familiar with, The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. Du Bois:

“After the Egyptian and Indian, the Greek and Roman, the Teuton and Mongolian, the Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world,—a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world. It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one’s self through the eyes of others, of measuring one’s soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity. One ever feels his two-ness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”

-from the chapter “Of Our Spiritual Strivings”.

What is it, if not our concept of race, that sets Du Bois’ American self to be at war against his Negro self? Why is it that he is not allowed to view himself outside of the understanding of the Jim Crow racist policies that ruled the US while he was alive?

I would assert that using the terms “black” and “white” to define large swaths of American people, who are supposed to be “created equal”, is the epitome of black and white thinking. And thus these labels were never adequate to serve as identifiers of races, cultures, or the basic needs and belonging of human beings.

These are antebellum terms that Intentionally project distinct notions upon (i)slaves and (ii)their owners that were always intended to justify human trafficking as a means for building wealth.

We have seen in our history, and in world history, that false labels preempt dehumanization and the destruction of certain groups for the benefit of other groups.

The term “black” is no different in its original intent. Because many of the first European slave traders resided in the Iberian Peninsula, the Portuguese/Spanish word “negro” is the same root that produced the n-word pejorative that has persisted alongside “black” since the Atlantic Slave Trade began.

If we are going to examine these terms, we cannot go back to what was done with them in the 60s, Etc. We have to go back to their original meaning and usage.

Du Bois is describing himself in the quote above as essentially a man who is attempting to serve two masters. I agree that this task is impossible.

But those dealing with the other construct are also trying to live up to a false label that dehumanizes them just as much. The ultimate expression of describing a race of human beings as “white” can be none other than white supremacy, an idea that tried to destroy our country once before. And now we are on the cusp of that same idea attempting to destroy us again.

there is no positive gain for using these terms. They continue to erode and destroy us. They are at once the most American and the most anti-American ideas that exist.
 


Engorged On Unborn Gore

Well-Known Member
Thought #2:

Compare and contrast these two quotes from James Baldwin:

“What white people have to do is try to find out, in their own hearts, why it was necessary to have a "******" in the first place, because I'm not a ******, I'm a man. But if you think I'm a ******, it means you need him…then you've got to find out why. And the future of the country depends on that, whether or not it's able to ask that question.”

1963 interview

And:

“I attest to this: the world is not white; it never was white, cannot be white. White is a metaphor for power, and that is simply a way of describing Chase Manhattan Bank.”

From the film, I Am Not Your Negro

So, while Du Bois identifies a double consciousness that must be lived with in America, Baldwin refuses the projection outright and zeros in on the real problem:

Slave owners _needed_ this image of a negro in order to go about their business. Then, when the slaves were freed, they continued with this falsehood because they needed it for the post-antebellum caste system (which has rarely been in doubt, no matter what rights brown people have attained).

I can only add that beige people desperately wanted to also continue with their own religious myth of “whiteness” for exactly the reason Baldwin states in the second quote above: to hold on to power. It has no other authentic cultural value.
 

JazzGal

Well-Known Member
Contributor
James Baldwin:

“What white people have to do is try to find out, in their own hearts, why it was necessary to have a "******" in the first place, because I'm not a ******, I'm a man. But if you think I'm a ******, it means you need him…then you've got to find out why. And the future of the country depends on that, whether or not it's able to ask that question.”

1963 interview
Yeah, this gets to the heart of the issue. For some reason, human beings need to feel superior to someone else. We are a flawed species, but it is one of the reasons we survived the other human species. Feeling superior makes us cruel.

I've been thinking a lot about the phrase "I Am a Man" that Mike Conley had on his jersey in the bubble. It is horrifying to me that men have ever had to doubt it or to prove it. I was watching the movie "Glory" last night, and in a pivotal scene where Trig (Denzel Washington) opens up to his regiment, that is the phrase he uses. It breaks me.
 

Engorged On Unborn Gore

Well-Known Member
I've been thinking a lot about the phrase "I Am a Man" that Mike Conley had on his jersey in the bubble. It is horrifying to me that men have ever had to doubt it or to prove it.
It’s also a big part of why so many men are seeking power and identity through white supremacy and violent domestic organizations. Manhood is elusive in the context of our myths of race. Because everyone is dehumanized with either too little power, or too much.

Descendants of slaves in this country have spent hundreds of years thinking of themselves as dogs because that’s how they’ve been treated.

By contrast, the inheritors of modern white supremacy talk as if they are gods. And thereby they lose their humanity (and manhood) with the behavior that is required to put everyone else beneath them.
 

LogGrad98

Well-Known Member
Contributor
Yeah, this gets to the heart of the issue. For some reason, human beings need to feel superior to someone else. We are a flawed species, but it is one of the reasons we survived the other human species. Feeling superior makes us cruel.

I've been thinking a lot about the phrase "I Am a Man" that Mike Conley had on his jersey in the bubble. It is horrifying to me that men have ever had to doubt it or to prove it. I was watching the movie "Glory" last night, and in a pivotal scene where Trig (Denzel Washington) opens up to his regiment, that is the phrase he uses. It breaks me.
I think it is a throwback to the tribal instinct as humans first started socializing. The way to ensure the survival of your tribe was to dominate the other tribes, and that involved dehumanizing them so they were easier to kill and subjugate, and a physical difference made it that much easier. I think there is a spark of that in all this, despite the thousands of years in between. Of course, those thousands of years are absolutely chock full of examples of exactly this behavior, complete with slavery as well. Pretty much every dominant society in human history laid claim to some form of genetic superiority over those they subjugated, whether they knew that was what they were doing or not. But being enlightened we really need to move past all that. The tribes are pretty much consolidated now, time to start treating everyone as equal members of the tribe.
 

LogGrad98

Well-Known Member
Contributor
Here’s a well-written article by someone who no longer sees the value in being referred to a “black” man:

Not all black people are, or claim to be, of African origin though. What then?

Is it time to just retire all designations of race at all? Why even ask any more? It seems to be a self-perpetuating thing, the fact that we get asked this on all kinds of ****. On job applications (for EEO stuff), at the dr office, on other various applications, the census, all over the damn place. Maybe we just need to put that to bed entirely. idk just spit-balling here.
 

Engorged On Unborn Gore

Well-Known Member
Not all black people are, or claim to be, of African origin though. What then?
Everyone has a name. What’s wrong with just sticking with someone’s name until you find out from them how they want to be known?

If race is necessary, let’s go with human race. But anything that is antebellum, and a reference to our former practice of human trafficking, should just be removed from our state/federal/employment forms. The cost will be less than what we will pay if we continue to go with these lies.

we could lose our country. If the white supremacists get their way, there will absolutely be a race war to “cleanse the country” as they say. It will absolutely destroy us.

White supremacy is best undermined by eradicating the meaning of the word “white” as it pertains to the human race.

This desire that is within all of us to categorize human beings is betraying us. It is not helping us, it is not healing our country, it is not leading us to greater freedoms. It is taking us in the opposite direction. It is taking us to war.
Is it time to just retire all designations of race at all? Why even ask any more? It seems to be a self-perpetuating thing, the fact that we get asked this on all kinds of ****. On job applications (for EEO stuff), at the dr office, on other various applications, the census, all over the damn place. Maybe we just need to put that to bed entirely. idk just spit-balling here.
As far as the country goes, for both mental and physical health, I think our constructs of race are best understood as cancerous.

So if I was talking to a person who had cancer, or a group of people who had cancer, and I were to ask them the same set of questions that you ask above, make the same points you made, what I would be doing is telling them to live without hope.

I can’t do that. And I think if you were brought to that situation, you wouldn’t be able to do it either. So, since I am alive, it’s pointless in my opinion to be a pessimist. It’s pointless to be cynical about changes that we can make.

Since I am not obviously of African dissent (even though almost all Latinos have African blood from the Moor’s conquest of southern Europe), but I do have plenty of European ancestors, I stick to that group when I broach this topic. I have certainly had conversations about this very topic with people of color, but most of my work is done with Caucasians and Latinos who pass as Caucasians.

This can be done. It’s simply will require a ton of work.
 

JazzGal

Well-Known Member
Contributor
I like the idea of getting rid of race as an identifier. But would that make it even more difficult to quantify racism in prison populations, in healthcare outcomes, in voting suppression, in hiring practices, in housing issues, etc? In the long run, I could see how it would have an overall positive effect, but in the short term it could make racist outcomes worse.

Sent from my moto z3 using JazzFanz mobile app
 

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