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Reply to "... Of Burning Houses & Pipe Dreams"

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Originally posted by Nmaginate:
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No one here and no one on that panel including Cornell who recognizes and spoke to the deep love for Black people Minister Farrakhan has would suggest that Minister Farrakhan is against putting the fire out in our community, thus it only means his comments were that we should not play the fireman for America and try to cure it of its ills while we cure ourselves.
Thank you...

I'm trying to understand the Super-Negro thingy... Here it is, a whole symposium dedicated to how we can [better] "help ourselves" (because in some ways we aren't), but this Noble Negro Notion of Saving America, if not the world, becomes a counterpoint to suggestions that we "govern ourselves" - focus on administering directly to our needs and not relying on others to do so?

You have got to be kidding me...

At the very least, after Katrina, a FEMA like Ministry of Emergency Relief should be the least of what comes out of the Convenant and/or the Millions More Movement.

The Super Negro thing is a form of exceptionalism, that goes back centuries. It is similar to the exceptionalism often found among cultural or political black nationalist. While the later group often asserts that black folk are different, unique, or distinct culturally, socially, historically, or even biologically and thus need a "nation" of our own, the former understands black uniqueness as as somehow salvific for the world.

Even before it appears in King, it is present in black culture and is closely linked with black folks reception of the Bible. As we all know, many black folk came to identify with the Hebrews in the OT. They saw themselves as God's chosen people, as the elect, and as such, they have something special to give to the world. In the NT, this gets associated with Jesus Christ and the notion of redemptive suffering for others. Thus, you get the Civil Rights rhetoric of enduring suffering (better than anyone else) for the redemption of the nation.

I really think that we need to jettison this tradition, but I think that it will be hard to do so. It has been one of the ways that black people have attempted to give meaning to their oppression. Black folks have said for centuries the words of Joseph in Genesis, "what you meant for evil, God meant for good." Black folk find it hard to confront the possibility that our suffering is pointless or meaningless, so they tie this redemption myth to it.

This is one of the places where I part with West, because he accepts this as part of the King/Civil Rights paradigm. I want to see if we can move forward without it.
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