What if…

Snoop Dogg and Adolf Hitler had a baby together?

A preposterous thought, right?

Even Friz Freleng, Paul Mooney, Lenny Bruce and Mel Brooks working overtime with Dave Chappelle couldn’t come up with anything that ludicrous. So if I insisted that there actually existed a being on this planet who was an actual cross between Der Fuehrer and Snoop Dogg, I would be a straight-out liar and/or just plain crazy, right?

Wrong.

I know it’s a cliche to say that the United States has gone completely insane, but now it’s official.

The United States of America has gone completely insane.

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But, It Ain’t Really Your Life…

The following is neither a screed against nor a puff-piece for the movie. In fact, I haven’t seen it yet. I guess I am obliged to eventually go see and find out what the hoopla is all about. But the trailers I’ve seen so far on YouTube leave me somewhat disconcerted. The whole feudalistic jungle shtick, with grass skirts, spears, plate lips and all, was something to be expected from Disney/Marvel. I can’t really say at this point if Black Panther is simply a far more sophisticated and nuanced take on Jungle Jitters (a notorious Warner Brothers cartoon from 1938 full of grass-skirted and plate-lipped jungle-bunnies), or an Afro-futurist signifying on the racist “Noble Savage” trope. Whatever the case, Black viewers flocking in droves to the theaters are anything but offended.

Director Ryan Coogler has hit pay dirt. Another Official Black First. Chalk it up on the board. Black Panther has confounded all the negative expectations of naysayers (mostly non-black, and generally white) who assumed that “the first big-budget superhero movie with a black lead, predominantly black cast and a black director” would be a box-office flop. It has been just the opposite. So far this film has earned close to a billion dollars at the box-office worldwide, trumping Wonder Woman (in North America), X-Men, Suicide Squad and Star Trek.

To be entirely fair to the Black moviegoer, he or she would rather see a film in which they are in control of their lives, solidly in their own spaces, technologically advanced rather than the usual cliches of poverty, mud-huts, ghettos, drugs, prostitution or the flip side of the same stereotyped coin, ill-gained wealth manifesting itself in flashy cars, McMansions, diamonds and silk, pearls, oversized jackets and gold chains and gold grills. Wakanda is wealthy and technologically far in advance of any other civilization in the world, and even though it’s a total fantasy, provided by Marvel through a hired Black token director, at least the fantasy feels good–if only for 90 minutes.

In the make-believe world of Wakanda, the Afro-American can momentarily picture himself in a world where he or she can be strong, black, beautiful and undiluted with whiteness, with all the futuristic trappings and advanced technology that European civilization never heard of. In this CGI fantasy Black can be Black without Whitey dictating the terms.¹However, there seems to be a problem. The sensibility of Black Panther appears to derive much from Afro-futurism, a concept that (according to Patrick Gathara of the Washington Post) “cannot engage with (Africans) as human beings but, like the white and Chinese worlds, only as props for its own struggles and self-aggrandizement.” Afro-futurism is an engaging school of thought, but the very suggestion that Africans cut out for the stars–rather than engage our enemies down here on Earth–sounds like an ideological cop-out, another way of refusing to deal with an uncompromisingly ugly reality. Wakanda is an Afro-futurist’s wet dream, but it is also a feudalistic nation of greedy elites living in isolation from the rest of “Shithole Africa,” a nation “with the most advanced tech and weapons in the world” that, nonetheless, “has no thinkers to develop systems of transitioning rulership that do not involve lethal combat or coup d’etat.”² Not that Black audiences give a damn, however: they are dancing in the aisles in dashikis as I write this.

Naturally this last fact alone got the alt-Reich hopping mad. Ben Shapiro, the alt-right’s Uncle Tomsky, spluttered in his squeaky cartoon voice that “nobody’s ever gone to see a Captain America movie and said, ‘wow, look, a movie with a white hero! I’m so excited! He’s white!’ Nobody does that in America.” Well, Ben, that’s because white Americans don’t have to do that–it’s taken for granted that their screen heroes are going to be white by default. It’s taken for granted that when some scruffy “negro” appears on screen in saggy pants and with grills in his dirty mouth, he becomes the standard by which every “negro” the world over should be judged by. This does not happen with white Americans, Benny–not even Jews. Over 80% of American movies are entirely white-oriented. That should be a fucking no-brainer. But you know there’s no point in discussing anything intelligently with the American far right. They are so anti-African that they are uneasy with the very idea that an African can actually dream of a better world, much less fight for one in real time.

But that’s just the problem I have with this whole Black Panther phenomenon: it’s yet another instance of Afro-Americans opting for Escapist politics over substantive change.

“It won’t be too long before the director cuts the scene”

When I see this latest box-office smash I can’t help but be reminded that once again, Black American history–to use that old cliche–is repeating itself. It repeats itself for the simple fact that those doing the repeating of history clearly never learned a damn thing from it. We went through this cinematic escapist foolishness before on at least two occasions: once in the early Seventies (Sweetback and Shaft) and again in the late Eighties to early Nineties (Do The Right Thing and Malcolm X). What I’m saying has nothing whatever to do with the quality of either of these films. Like I said, we are not learning from history because we simply don’t like to stand back and analyze anything–let alone ourselves and our situation in the world.

Culturally, we are living in a very sad time. It has become expected of Afro-Americans to pantomime the most idiotic and puerile stereotypes that non-blacks have of us–as if our very identity as Afro-Americans is predicated upon being, in a nutshell, primitive, bestial and inferior. This collective neurosis is not new, of course–there’s simply far more of it than there ever has been in the past. Outside of Wakanda many of us can barely relate to each other as human beings. It should be no secret why this is so. When one is constantly tapering his personality to dimensions acceptable to his persecutors, you can barely look your own brother in the eye because deep down, you know that you have failed morally–you have failed to confront your own persecutor, you have failed to challenge his twisted system of reality; you have repeatedly failed to achieve what you set out to do and what you know, in your heart of hearts, is the right thing to do. As Afro-Americans, we have not only continued to fail in challenging white reality, but worse still we persistently–by our own confused, emotional, childish blundering–reinforce the very racist juggernaut we set out to destroy. How else can one explain the absurdity of the Umar Johnson debacle, the Tariq Nasheed-Boyce Watkins fracas, or the sudden emergence of this new Hotep minstrel show?

There may actually be thousands of unknown, struggling black filmmakers toiling away with enough power of expression to turn the entire cinematic world upside down. But who would be willing to represent such artists, where would they obtain the money to make their films and, assuming they got these films distributed and in theaters, who in the United States–least of all in Afro-America–would be willing to watch such films?

One would have to wonder if Black Panther really represents a step forward for Afro-American cinema, in which case (naturally) we would not need to wonder too much about the matter. In fact, the thing that has escaped most observers about the Black Panther phenomenon is that, in reality–and this especially concerns independent Black film makers–it is a step down. And not because of White Hollywood–after all, White Hollywood is what it is, and generally has made it perfectly clear as to what it thinks about Afro-Americans up till now. No. Black Panther’s success sent a clear message to Afro-American indie film-makers that if you want a smash hit, you’d better create something else other than a realistic, thought-provoking and nuanced film about Africans and Afro-American life; you’d better stick to escapism and fantasy. Forget about Art, forget about Truth, forget about Knowledge. Forget about Reality. Black audiences aren’t fucking interested in seeing these things.

Just ask Charles Burnett, or Haile Gerima, or even Nate Parker. Killer of SheepBush Mama, Birth of a Nation and other such films barely raised eyebrows because those same Black eyes were too busy grooving on Shaft, Pam Grier’s panties, or lost in the CGI jungles of Wakanda. Black Americans put their money into Marvel and other capitalist ventures because frankly, this is where their hearts lay. They certainly think American, contrary to what they might feel about their position in American society. Their hearts do not lay in building their own things; they want what Uncle Sam has, even if what Sammy has may not be worth a damn. They are not interested in cultural or any other revolution; they were not interested in it 80 years ago, 50 years ago, nor 25 years ago and definitely not now. It’s not because Blacks have any particular love for it, or even so much because they are afraid of the ultimate showdown between themselves and White Supremacy. Black Americans are disinterested in confronting White Supremacy because–up till now–it has been extremely difficult for them to imagine living under a system in which they aren’t having their every breath monitored. And why would they? They have hardly known anything else!!

All this talk about “liberation,” “revolution,” “independence” and all this crap is really just abstract bullshit to the average Afro-American. He may agree with it, but how do you really picture all this in concrete terms? What does “liberation” really look like, anyway? What does a truly independent Black nation look like–one that is not dependent, in any way, shape or form, on either Europe, America, the so-called “Middle East” or China?Eight generations of living (for better or for worse) under the iron heel of a European-settler regime has virtually wiped out any idea of what that might be like for the Afro-American. This fact alone explains the smashing success that Black Panther has had with Black audiences in the United States.

In the average African American mind group therapy, or an individual desire to blow off steam to survive the grueling and humiliating grind of living under a white-dominated society gets confused for revolutionary thought. Those of us who ARE serious about revolution wind up in prison, the insane asylum, six feet under or worse. Or, they go into exile in China, Algeria or Cuba. Black Americans are so happy merely to be recognized, merely to be seen by a society that pretends they only exist as a cheap stereotype, that when crumbs in the form of a Disney film (Disney, another corporation that pretended for decades that Black people didn’t exist) are tossed their way, Black Americans savor each crumb as if they were individual pearls.

Yeah, it’s true: Black Panther ain’t really your life. It ain’t nothin’ but another movie. It’s a great movie–so I’ve heard. And if you want to see this film then damn it, just see the film. There’s nothing wrong with 90 minutes of good, clean fun. But for Christ’s sake, do you have to boogaloo in the fucking aisles or wear dashikis to see it, in the meantime?

______________________________________

NOTES

¹“(T)he Negro is a sort of seventh son, born with a veil, and gifted with second-sight in this American world,” DuBois wrote in 1897–“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.”

²Patrick Gathara, “Black Panther Offers a Regressive, Neocolonial Vision of Africa,” Washington Post, February 26, 2018

 

WEB Du Bois, ‘Marxism and the Negro Problem’

Although written in 1933, virtually everything DuBois discusses in this article–with few notable changes–is pertinent today. The main differences of course is that today the so-called Black Middle Class is substantially larger than that of 1933, and that today Mexicans, Salvadorans, Senegalese, Vietnamese, Palestinians, Somalis, Pakistanis, Nigerians, Haitians, Colombians and numerous other ethnic groups are playing leapfrog (economically) over the African American to get to their designated places in the American totem pole. And as is typical of capitalist countries the world over, everyone–including African Americans and Native Americans–seek to emulate the dominant power in the world, which is mainstream, conservative White America. That last fact alone further explains why building a so-called “revolution” or even widespread reform in America or Europe has proven to be, so far, impossible.

Anti-Imperialism.org

[What follows is excerpted from WEB Du Bois’ ‘Marxism and the Negro Problem’, published in The Crisis, 1933, and elucidates Du Bois’ thought regarding the vicious tactics of the aristocracy of labor among the whites, and his rejection of false consciousness as a throwaway excuse for what is actually the interest of the settler working classes, who have become contributors and beneficiaries of imperial capital. As always this piece is provided for the purposes of study and discussion.]

…Revolution seems bound to come.

Perhaps nothing illustrates this better than recent actions in the United States; our re-examination of the whole concept of Property; our banking moratorium; the extraordinary new agriculture bill; the plans to attack unemployment, and similar measures. Labor rather than gambling is the sure foundation of value and whatever we call it — exploitation, theft or business acumen — there is something radically wrong with an industrial system…

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Exploring Mexico’s African Heritage with Dr. Marco Polo Hernández

Just to remind everyone that yes, there is an Afro-Mexico, and it’s bigger and more deeply-rooted than you think.

Los Afro-Latinos

by Nicolle Morales Kern

“We need to look deeper into our Africanness to understand ourselves,” says Dr. Marco Polo Hernández, a professor of Spanish and Afro-Hispanic studies at North Carolina Central University, in a recent phone interview. Mexico’s African heritage is not normally discussed or highlighted in conversation, or even education. But, Dr. Hernández, who holds a Ph.D. in Hispanic and Italian Studies from the University of British Columbia, a M.A. in Spanish Language and Peninsular and Latin American literatures, and a B.A. in General Studies & Spanish language and literatures from Portland State University, says that is slowly starting to change.

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The Emergence of White Supremacy in Indian Country

From The Angry Indian. Though five years old, it is even more relevant now than when it was written. Here in Europe and especially Germany you can find Afro-, Arab- and Turkish-Germans who are out-and-out Nazis. As Baldwin once said, “you can’t tell a black man by the color of his skin.”

One important point that the writer brings up is that social marginalization pushes more than a few confused black, brown, red and yellow people to embrace white supremacist ideology of the most extreme kind. I tend to be extremely harsh on them. One would wish that harsh words will shock them into recognition of their own misguided impulses.

But I also realize that the majority of these brain-dead are grown men and women who are capable of exercising better judgment, even if–to be very honest–most of these black/brown/yellow/red Nazis are deeply hurt people. Hitler, for instance, was also a deeply hurt and troubled man whose own DNA reveals him to be of North African origin. The same goes for J. Edgar Hoover and, perhaps, the most recent addition to the rogues gallery of not-so-white white supremacists, Yehuda Glick. (Glick is a Jewish far-right extremist who has recently forged ties with Heinz-Christian Strache, the neo-Nazi shit-lord of Austria’s Freedom Party.)

Modern AfroIndio Times

TheAngryindian [3.26.2005]

‘The law of existence requires uninterrupted killing … so that the better may live’.

– Jeffery Weise quoting Adolf Hitler

I think it is a safe bet to assume that Ward Churchill is sitting at home dragging on a cigarette while watching CNN and saying to himself, “I told you so.” It seems that chickens are coming home to roost in Indian Country and no one seems to know what to make of it. Akin to how American Africans view the Malvo-Muhammad killing spree, Indians are asking the same questions; why would a young reservation Native American male embrace neo-Nazism and go on a murderous rampage killing not only his schoolmates but also a part-time security guard and his own grandfather?

The 21st century has been particularly hard on American Indians and in the arena of crime, it seems that catching up to the Jones’ has taken on…

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Jungle Cancer

Right now I am not going to speak on this because really, I don’t have the time and I’ve already spoken on this illness before in a different context. Read the post on the Brazilian coon I called out. In the meantime I (once again) re-post the article about the horrors of the Third World’s elite and middle-class–especially the shits residing in Europe.

hm-racist-money-jungle-2-600x356

Here we have a Kenyan coon (Terry Mango) living in–irony of ironies–Stockholm, Sweden, who has cosigned with H & M over an unbelievably stupid ad in which her little boy is advertising a green hoodie, on which the words “COOLEST MONKEY IN THE JUNGLE” are emblazoned.

Okay.

I will say a few things. Terry Mango saw nothing wrong with the hoodie because (according to her) black Americans should not get their knickers in a twist (no pun intended) over what she imagines to be a trivial issue. Africa has to deal with starvation, extreme poverty and social/economic/political oppression. The only problem with this assumption is that this ad serves to reinforce the notion that Africans are just primitive monkeys, and therefore deserving of being starved, exploited, oppressed, beaten, shot, raped, eaten, etc.

I know I’ve said something earlier about the pathological levels of coonism among European blacks as well as American blacks. In fact the levels are probably higher here in Europe. European blacks may not want to hear it, but it’s so palpable that they (Euro-blacks) have no comeback. Late last year in my neighborhood I saw an Afro-German coming down my way on Hobrechtstrasse. When I nodded to him (out of some misguided solidarity) he glared at me and spat on the ground in disgust. This happens all the time; in fact I got the very same reaction when I marched with Black Lives Matter here in Berlin, a year and a half ago!!

https://www.tuko.co.ke/262653-kenyan-mum-europe-blasted-letting-son-wear-top-labelled-coolest-monkey-jungl.html#262653

Even semi-conscious rappers such as T.I. and clownish buffoons like Plies don’t like it. That’s saying something. Plies is a direct throwback to Stepinfetchit, the main difference being that Lincoln Perry wasn’t Stepinfetchit. Plies really is Plies.

https://www.theguardian.com/music/2018/jan/10/the-weeknd-g-eazy-cancel-partnership-hm-image-monkey-hoodie

auf Deutsch:

https://www.bz-berlin.de/panorama/affen-pulli-coolest-monkey-in-the-jungle-mega-shitstorm-fuer-hm

PS: my corduroy H & M jacket is going in the trash.

via On the Unrelenting Horror that is the Third World

“NATE”–Now available at Amazon

#Nate #BlackWriterInBerlin

Those of you who always wanted to read this book can now get it at Amazon, on Kindle.

A new paperback version is also in the making.

I felt compelled to reissue Nate because the issues it deals with have not only NOT gone away, but have become even more pertinent today than they were in the 1980s and 1990s. I put the finishing touches on this book in 1998, but the overall text was done by December of 1996. Nothing, as far as I can see, has really changed at all in the past two decades, unless it’s for the worse.

Everything that YouTube bloggers have been ranting and raving about these past few years–the gender wars between black men and women, so-called “alpha male” and “beta male” syndromes (particularly the latter, and especially concerning black men), coonery, thuggery, gang violence, the whole so-called “ratchet” mentality, etc. It also deals with the buffoonery that infests HBCUs, and I guess that my ridicule of black university life (represented in the novel by the now-notorious Coon State University) got underneath the skin of more than a few black readers of Nate–those who bothered to read it, that is.

Someone on AALBC.com who reviewed the book (who called himself “Thumper”) panned the book, calling it “used dishwater going down the drain.” Other black critics decried the lack of plot and took me to task for not creating “likable” characters. Ishmael Reed, Darryl Dickson-Carr, Darius James and many other writers and readers have thought otherwise.

Of course, there is no “plot” in the traditional, conventional sense. Nate is a picaresque novel. Most Black authors (American, that is) don’t write in a picaresque style, though it is the oldest and most traditional of novel styles. The style of writing was developed in Spain, with obvious roots in Arabic/Moorish literature. Don Quixote as well as Paul Beatty’s The Sellout are picaresque. Darius James’s Negrophobia is also a picaresque novel. It is a style of narrative in which the protagonist–usually a rascal like Don Quixote or a naif like Candide–stumbles from one ridiculous episode to the next; the story is generally told in a humorous, grotesque or satirical fashion.

Nate is all of these.

*

Originally published in 2006, this powerful, disturbing, award-winning novel chronicles the free-wheeling mishaps of one Nathan James Morris, a talented, ambitious middle-class black kid from Prince Georges County, Maryland. At 19, he has been expelled from Freedom College for alleged misconduct. He has few friends, aside from the parasitic Guy Sellers; and save for his scholarship’s chump change, even fewer dollars. Hurt, angry, and in desperate need of cash, he joins the Marines. “The road to manhood is paved with tanks and convoys!” he loudly boasts.

But he soon discovers that his own “road” has been paved with far more unpleasant things: whimsical officers, endless bomb attacks, disease, an unbelievable desolation. After the military, his “road” gets rockier….an unhappy reuniting with family, friends and fiancee….a kidnaping in Turkey ….violent confrontations with neo-Nazis and racist North Africans….his studies and miseries at C.S.U., America’s most prestigious black university, and his final days in a DC slum, as witness to (and participant in) the wild destruction of his older brother’s marriage, with a little help from the one “friend” who never seems to leave him be: Guy Sellers.

“Lewis is an original talent whose English cuts through a lot of contemporary BS like a butcher knife….It’s important that a powerful novel such as this surfaces at a time when the black lit. scene is being smothered by a lot of dumb frivolous chick-lit and down low scribbling. Anybody want to know where the kick-behind black male literary tradition of Himes, Wright, John A. Williams went? It’s alive and well in Berlin.”

–Ishmael Reed, author of JUICE! and Barack Obama and the Jim Crow Media: Return of the Nigger Breakers

“A brutally funny novel satirizing diverse subjects from American military misadventures, African-American cultural politics, to the chaos of contemporary American life. Like the protagonists of Nathaniel West’s The Day of the Locust or Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man, the eponymous hero, Nathan James Morris, is a classic picaro, a naive everyman and would-be artist whose foolhardiness shows us more about American life and the human condition than would seem possible in one novel.”

–Darryl Dickson-Carr, Associate professor of English at Southern Methodist University and author of The Columbia Guide to Contemporary African American Fiction

#Nate #BlackWriterInBerlin