Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Christopher Clark: "Well-Meaning" White Man Rejects Opposition To His "Integrated" Bedroom

Christopher Clark with his black female partner
The Context of White Supremacy welcomed White journalist and writer Christopher Clark live from South Africa to exchange views on Racism. During the exchange he made these critical points:
  1. Clark agreed that there is a System of White Supremacy defined as: a global system of people who classify themselves as White and are dedicated to abusing and/or subjugating everyone in the known universe whom they classify as not White.
  2. Clark concurred that it is logical for non-white people to suspect that any White person - including himself - could be a White Supremacist/Racist.
  3. Clark conceded that the counter-racist thought that supports why any sexual activity between a White person and a non-white person is inherently exploitative and incorrect behavior under the System of White Supremacy is logical.
  4. Clark failed to provide any strategies for Victims of White Supremacy to accurately differentiate between "well-meaning" Whites and Racist Whites.
After the broadcast, Clark submitted this expletive-laced reflection on our discussion. His commentary is unedited.
Hi Gus,
I just re-listened to our talk and the subsequent "commentary", if it can be called that. 
Firstly, I think it's a huge cop out for you to dismiss so much of what I said and in such a callous manner once I was already off air. I would have been more than happy to deal with your snarky comments on air, but I guess that wouldn't have worked so well with your agenda, right? 
Secondly, how dare you speak about my relationship with my partner the way you did both while I was on air and even more so subsequently. Excuse my language, but you know sweet fuck all about her, her background, her family or the details of our relationship. Who the fuck are you to say that we won't stay together, or speculate about why we are not already married, or to assume that that is automatically my decision rather than a mutual one, or her decision for that matter? Who the fuck are you to assume that you can police other people's life or relationship choices, whatever their race? 
Thirdly, I was being completely genuine when I thanked you for the "grilling". I am sincerely interested in understanding more about racism and how to confront it, and I felt I had learnt valuable lessons from you and your callers in this regard, even though I don't agree with everything that was levelled at me. I don't see how seeing this as valuable and giving thanks for that is something that can also be perceived as negative. But then it seems clear now that you are incapable of taking anything from a white person as something that is not completely and inherently negative. Please tell me how the fuck such a one-sided view is productive for anyone, black or white? 
And yes, much of our conversation was uncomfortable for me. Why is that "bad"? I have honestly never had to answer or counter some of the questions or theories you posed, whether from white people or black people, and I certainly wasn't expecting some of them either. But was I dishonest at any stage? Absolutely not. When I was uncertain about something, I said as much. When I hesitated or chuckled, it was because I was feeling nervous or awkward or stunned by the directness of a question and didn't have a definitive answer. I'm also acutely aware of professing certainties about such complex issues that I am still learning about and analyzing on a daily basis. 
Next up, do all white people sit around and conspire about how to "talk to negros" in a manipulative and evasive way? Did I honestly hear you ask that question? Are you fucking serious??? 
Newsflash my man: there are good people trying to "do the right thing" and live their life right across all races, including among whites. There are most definitely non-racist and anti-racist white people, though they are admittedly a minority. There are also prejudiced people across all races, including among blacks. 
I think I know myself pretty well, and I know that I am a good person who tries to treat everyone I encounter with respect, empathy and dignity. I honestly think it's sad that you are obviously so unwilling to see the good in certain types of people or situations. I came onto your show with nothing but good and honest intent, and you refused to see that -- I think you'd already made your mind up before we even started talking. Hence the resounding triumph in your voice whenever you felt I'd lived up to your preconceived ideas. 
And then to even be insulted by you for defending my own mother. . . that was a new level of bullshit for me. Who wouldn't stick up for their own mother if they thought she was being portrayed unfairly (and later greatly misquoted / taken out of context in your "commentary")? It's not because she is "white", it's because she is a good woman who I love and who has done a tremendous amount for me. How the fuck is sticking up for someone like that so hard to understand? And the fact that I am unwilling to disclose the contents of a private email she sent me says nothing apart from the fact that I'm not willing to share everything with someone who I don't know live on air. And with regards to the lack of "addendum" you pointed out on the post about what my Mum said to me, I didn't think it was necessary to what I was trying to get across in that blog post. 
Also, if I were you I'd do some more research on what Bantustans were before you start throwing that word around. Just some friendly advice before you start talking about ignorance :) 
In all honesty, you lost all credibility for me when I listened to your commentary. That was just really shitty talk radio man. 
I'm sure you'll find some way to turn this all around and make it about my inherent racism and white power or policing your blackness, but it's really not about any of that. It's just about you behaving like a presumptuous, judgmental asshole. 
So fuck you, quite frankly.

Thursday, June 02, 2016

Whitefolks Watching Roots Like: "Make America Great Again."

I swallowed it whole on Roots. 
Wasn’t it nice? 
Wasn’t it nice? 
Slavery was so cool. 
And all you had to do was wear derbies and vests and train chickens 
And buy your way free if you had a mind to. 
Must be the devil. 
It wasn’t no whitefolks. 
- Amiri Baraka “Dope” 

The Memorial Day debut of the refurbished version of Alex Haley’s Roots didn’t captivate a hundred million viewers like the 1977 rendition. Maybe the audience dwindled because OJ Simpson wasn’t re-cast? Regardless, the updated mini-series entertained millions and enjoyed widespread appreciation for providing a historical context for racial turbulence in the United States in the era of Black Lives Matter. 

The Miami Herald’s Leonard Pitts Jr. and a multitude of others insist that when it comes to slavery and the history of Racism, Whites and blacks alike are often ignorant; we’ve “never been given the tools to face the ugly truths America hides from itself, [have] never been taught how to have the conversation” about the American empire being founded on shackled black bodies. 

That bit of racial rhetoric is oft repeated, always false. 

Whites cannot flunk Racism

Smartphones and Hollywood are making it increasingly impossible for Whites to claim obliviousness about the ceaseless pillaging of black people. Eric Garner (a black male choked to death by New York police in 2014) and Sandra Bland (a black female found hanging dead in a Texas jail under suspicious circumstances in 2015) garnered more television time than many of the 2016 presidential candidates. While the box office and Netflix hemorrhage viewing options of chained, bludgeoned black people. 

Before the Roots reboot and FOX’s Empire there was: The Book Of Negroes (2015), Belle (2013), 12 Years A Slave (2013), DJango Unchained (2012), Case d├ępart (2011), Feasts of All Saints (2001), Sally Hemings: An American Scandal (2000), Beloved (1998), Amistad (1997). 

This is a stingy sample of the plantation genre and excludes oddities like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (2012), documentaries like Katrina Browne’s insufferable Traces Of The Trade (2008), and exemplary projects like Halle Gerima’s Sankofa (1993). 

Whites haven’t ignored these flicks; they’ve directed, financed and doled out Emmy and Academy Award nominations to a sizable number of these projects. Authentic or dramatized, Whites maintain an insatiable appetite for depictions of black misery. 

Black suffering made America great. Seeing Kunta Kinte lashed, mutilated and broken affirms White Power. White historian Amy Louise Wood authored Lynching And Spectacle: Witnessing Racial Violence in America, 1890-1940, which deconstructs the White thirst to visually consume blacks being castrated and brutalized. Her theory applies to the hundreds – often thousands – of Whites who attended lynchings, the dispersal of photographs and postcards of ceremonial White terrorism, and films like Birth of a Nation – and probably either version of Roots. She writes: 
The rituals, the tortures, and their subsequent representations [impart] powerful messages to whites about their own supposed racial dominance and superiority. These spectacles [produce] and [disseminate] images of white power… white unity and… [serve] to instill and perpetuate a sense of racial supremacy in their white spectators. Lynching thus [succeeds] in enacting and maintaining white domination not only because African Americans [are] its targets but also because white southerners [are] its spectators.
The “re-imaging” of the routine rape of Kizzy - which was an everyday trauma for enslaved black females, males and children -and the YouTube postings of Oscar Grant’s life being snuffed out to christen 2009, are the necessary “terror porn” that solidifies the worthlessness of black life, verifies undisputed White might. Woods corroborates that Whites recognize “the ways in which entertainment [is] bound up with violence, as well as the ways in which violence itself [is] a source of visual amusement.” 

We commit a colossal error thinking White viewers digest Roots or any other portrayal of black agony with guilt for the barbarism their racial ancestors meted out to our black relatives. Watching Kunta lose a foot won’t compel presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders to recalibrate his stance on reparations. LeVar Burton, Anika Noni Rose and Forest Whitaker’s best dramatizations fail to convince Arizona rancher and federal lawbreaker Cliven Bundy to reconsider; the southwest outlaw believes negroes were “better off as slaves, picking cotton.” 

White jurists and former prosecuting attorneys like Staten Island, New York’s Dan Donovan (now a Congressman and a Trump supporter) and Ohio’s Timothy McGinty watched authentic footage of Eric Garner and Tamir Rice being killed and concluded it didn’t even warrant a trial – much less a conviction. A celluloid recounting of antebellum black lives undeserving of White respect does little to alter 21st century dedication to White Supremacy. 

If anything, a growing chorus of Whites openly wishes for a return, a reconstruction of earlier eras of White Supremacy when the only Obamas at the White House were butlers or mammies. White teenyboppers at Grosse Pointe South High School, a Detroit, Michigan suburb, summarized their presidential platform for a potential 2040 campaign: "Bringing back slavery, burning black people with brands and sending them back to Africa." After four decades, Roots returns to the airwaves when presidential front-runner Donald J. Trump’s political rallies have often rhetorically and literally echoed the flagrant White sadism of plantations where black people are mauled with impunity. 

The commercialized rape of black bodies made America great. 

Must we see it again?