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I think Steven Barnes has essentially got it right.

In general, the dominant population reacts positively to a person of African ancestry who does not 'project his past' either in presenting engratiating kinds of behavior, or the ever-anticipated 'truculence' they expect.

Obama and Powell, as referenced by Barnes, are both descendants of immigrants with and without a enslavement past.

There is no anticipation of their initiating a 'what you did to me' agenda.

These men can be seen to be offereing the integrity of cheir character, and the merit of their thought.

That sounds a lot like what MLK was getting at doesn't it?

This is the primary reason I insist on focusing on ourselves as individuals, and as a people.

Integrity and merit are inherent to identity.

Interestingly enough, both men categorize themselves as African Americans...when asked.

But is not presented on the tips of their noses.

It does not 'come through the door first', and...

For the sake of the discussion then at hand, that characterization is enough.

Clearly, they are of African ancestry.

Most people, of all descriptions, want to ignore any further detail.

If Obama can get that superficial concept of what a 'black man' in America is to last to Thanksgiving 2008, we may be calling him, Mr. President.

PEACE

Jim Chester
However James, inherent in that argument is the white suprecemist definition of what a 'black man should be' and this is the same reason Martin King is looked upon as the quintessential black man by many whites.

1. Non-threatening
2. Seen as transcending the racial past of America with a lets all get along approach
3. Doesn't make whites feel guilty
4. Makes whites feel that there are somethings wrong with race in America but by and large things are 'ok'.
5. Integrationist and accomodationist

Etc.

In otherwords they represent the 'ideal' black to whites, but I argue that they don't represent the ideal black to blacks. But it is politics and in politics you win by appealing to the majority.
Oh I forgot in order for him to be Black he has be to super Afrocentic. Oh yeah I for he isn't supposed to appeal to Whites at all just to Blacks only. What kind of crap is that. Hell he's a Democrat. He's married to some one Black. Which some of you would usually argue about if he wasn't. He helps his dad's native country Kenya. Dose a bunch of work with AIDS in Africa. He all himself African American even though he's half White. If he mention he was half white can consider himself biracial instead of just Black. Yall would have a fit. What else more do you want. He's an ideal Black President. I guess like I said before. According to you all he can't be liked by Whites.
quote:
inherent in that argument is the white suprecemist definition of what a 'black man should be' and this is the same reason Martin King is looked upon as the quintessential black man by many whites.



In otherwords they represent the 'ideal' black to whites, but I argue that they don't represent the ideal black to blacks. But it is politics and in politics you win by appealing to the majority.---Dell Gines

There is always an argument to be found in everyone's perception of the 'black man'.

I believe a significant part of those arguments is based in the fact that the perception, itself, begins with 'black man'.

Color is the foundation of such thought.

For that very reason, the discussion is lost.

When thought begins with color, where can reason possibly go????


PEACE

Jim Chester
quote:
Obama and Powell, as referenced by Barnes, are both descendants of immigrants with and without a enslavement past.


Brother Chester - Powell is Caribbean in ancestry. Were there no slaves in this area?

The fact that this "SLAVE PAST" is the KEY POINT OF REFERENCE for so many Black people is the MOST DISTURBING PART. Some of you have accepted the notion that THERE WAS NO EXISTENCE for Black people before the European came and recast us as "slaves".

The phrase "If you fail to know your history you are doomed to repeat it" is always applied in the FEAR MONGERING sense - meaning "if you don't watch yourself......you are going be enslaved again".

WHY ON GOD'S EARTH can't this same phrase be used with the notion that "If you don't bother to learn about the long past of your ANCESTORS prior to their engagement with the European YOU WILL NEVER RETURN to their "independence", their state of "SELF DETERMINATION", their respect for the environment?

WHY IS IT THAT WE ARE DEFINED BY OUR PERIOD OF MOLESTATION rather than the much, much, much longer period that we survived ABSENT being in a Eurocentric system not having polluted the land or had mass killings?
Jim, my point is that when we define manhood as a general concept it usually is in reference to strength, the ability to defend, the ability to protect, the willingness to fight etc.

In my opinion, when whites see a 'good black man' he demonstrates a neutering in some form (not necessarily in all categories) or fashion of what is generally defined as a good man.

King is lauded for his ability to take a good ass whipping, Obama is lauded for his ability to not significantly address whites on the experience of the African American and racism in America. Booker T Washington was lauded for his ability to accomodate the former slave masters, etc.

That is just a general observation and I am sure has holes in it. It is however a pattern that I have seen.
That is just a general observation and I am sure has holes in it. It is however a pattern that I have seen.---Dell Gines

I think I see what you are saying, but...

Why 'hang that around the necks' of these guys as personal attributes when your observation is/was 'in general?

Both men can discuss that issue, but you are saying, essentially, that they are lacking because that is not their personal experience.

I certainly have identified that reality as being something that 'makes those of non-African ancestry 'less anxious'.

So maybe we doing the same thing, but calling it something different.

The history of both men lessens the anxiety in the general populace.

Issues can be discussed without the (automatic and maybe needless) threat of lapsing into the old and deep rut of 'what can't be resolved'

The path forward has to include a way to do that without anyone being looked upon as 'lacking'.

Some of us will not let that happen...seemingly.


PEACE

Jim Chester
quote:
Originally posted by Dell Gines:
... the same reason Martin King is looked upon as the quintessential black man by many whites.

1. Non-threatening
2. Seen as transcending the racial past of America with a lets all get along approach
3. Doesn't make whites feel guilty
4. Makes whites feel that there are somethings wrong with race in America but by and large things are 'ok'.
5. Integrationist and accomodationist


I would take issue with your characterization of MLK as a man who didn't make whites feel guilty...
that's precisely what his nonviolent resistance approach was about. In nonviolent resistance, King took the high ground and by contrast turned those who would deny nonviolent people rights and protections were made to look like guilty, immoral, racist, bigoted scoundrels...

that, from my perspective, is the whole point of nonviolent protest...to inspire guilt, or at least self reflection.

One cannot feel all plucky about themselves if they support the beating, lynching, and disenfranchisement of a nonviolent people.

King did not make whites feel "by and large everything is ok". He continued to agitate and even expanded into anti-war sentiment and labor issues in chicago. He was most definitely seen as threatening to the status quo.

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