Wednesday, October 31, 2012

On the Cultural and Political Economy of "African-American" Names

Can Names Influence Our Future? from Portland Oregon on Vimeo.

An earlier commenter chimed in about the beauty of "black names." My concern there was that what many consider "black" names are really a function of poverty, social isolation, and marginalization. I understand the meta argument about black naming practices as a function of a particular history of cultural resistance where personhood rites as basic as naming practices were stolen by white supremacy and chattel slavery.

But, does the young sister on the West Side of Chicago or South Central Los Angeles really believe that naming her baby "Uneqqee" or "Deshawn" is an act of cultural resistance? Or is it just an example of trying to be "different" while paradoxically conforming to the norms of their social network?

Freakonomics has some interesting things to say about this matter. My claim is complementary to Dr. Roland Fryer's: cultural norms between communities are diverse and not fixed. In said communities, certain cultural signifiers will be received and understood according to the norms and rules in that locale or subculture. Call me a cultural (and structural) materialist, but social institutions do heavily determine outcomes and culture.

For example, the 1% certainly have their own set of cultural cues that I, as a member of the working class, know nothing about. The ghetto underclass is operating in a similar way. My concern as someone who cares deeply about black folks and our success, is that we have entire communities of people who are equipping their children with names--as well as teaching them certain values and norms--that have no currency outside of a 4 square block area. This type of social capital has a negative rate of return in communities and life worlds outside of the 'hood.

 Many of the urban and black poor are ghettoized both geographically and culturally. Their "creative" naming practices have nothing to do with African-American "culture" or "history." Rather, they are ways of finding meaning and value in lives and communities where both are often in short supply. As such, many "black" names are a result of ghettoized minds and a poverty of material circumstances (and failed schools) that have become internalized as part of one's whole self.

40 comments:

nomad said...

Yeah. How far in this life could a person go with a name like Barack?

chaunceydevega said...

@Nomad. I eagerly await the first generation of Obamas who are going to be entering prison in a few years. Names change over time of course. I like the example of Omar Bradley, U.S. Army General during WW2, and how that name was very "new" at the time.

CNu said...

My concern as someone who cares deeply about black folks and our success, is that we have entire communities of people who are equipping their children with names--as well as teaching them certain values and norms--that have no currency outside of a 4 square block area.

The Amish and the Mennonites have biblical given names and often peculiar surnames, but this is of no consequence because they are profoundly skilled, hard-working, communitarian, ethical, and self-sufficient.

Your name could be booboo-the-fool or Beanie Stolzfus so long as you have maintained the knowledge, skill, ability, and gumption to MAKE a living for yourself.

These ghetto trogolodytes are wholly dependent and radically oppositional parasites, period.

Cavoyo said...

Yeah, like white people don't give their kids wacky names. Because "Idahlia," "Adorabella," "Talon," "Kenzly" etc. are completely normal: http://mommyish.com/stuff/stfu-parents-crazy-baby-names/ I guess weird names are just another thing that only black, excuse me, poor black people do, like committing crimes, receiving government assistance, and sleeping around.

Also CNu, it's so nice that you want black people to live hand-to-mouth in a historical reenactment of 19th century peasant farming. With friends like you, who needs enemies?

CNu said...

Ghetto troglodytes die at alarming rates from diabetes, high blood pressure, STD's, acute lead poisoning, and a host of other largely self-inflicted ailments, all the while living in culturally impoverished food deserts.

You've obviously never been within a thousand miles of an anabaptist community and enjoyed the incomparable luxury and bounty of what you ignorantly and stupidly refer to as "historical reenactment of 19th century peasant farming".

ignorance and stupidity personified...,

Jay L Gordon said...

I think one important factor here is the relationship between spelling and pronunciation. The "weirdness" of a name is purely in the eyes of those for whom the name is unfamiliar-- assuming the name is otherwise spelled in a way that seems to obey some basic orthographic norms (although certainly there are some old, familiar names that are spelled oddly, at least from the perspective of modern American English, like "Geoffrey").

Two names of women I've known immediately come to mind, and both happen to have been African American. One was spelled "Laquetta." But it was pronounced "La-kwee-ta." She volunteered that her parents did their best. More unusual was a name spelled "Terrica." Her father meant what is normally spelled "Teresa." But she got used to being called "Terr-icka," and was ok with it (and honestly, I really like the name as pronounced that way).

In both cases, you had parents who likely would have demonstrated low literacy ability, at least in a conventional sense. But nobody was trying to be so "different" (how "different" is "Laquetta" from "Loretta," for instance? Do we ridicule the parents in these cases?

Nebris said...

Based upon an exchange between us elsewhere I now see that Cnu is just another Racist, proto-Fascist Know Nothing and like so many Doomers he looks forward to Collapse so he can be A Real Man again, killing mud-people and pillaging, raping and burning at will.

chaunceydevega said...

@Jay. Great points. That is why I called out low ses and semi-literacy. It is sad, really some of these names I have seen and heard. I saw a young woman at a local supermarket and her name was "kissmeagirl." I thought it was a joke. No, this was her name and she somehow slurred the words together to make it sound like a "name." My concern is how ghetto culture becomes conflated with blackness. These are not "black" names they are the names of the tragic poor. As for your examples, I am not interested in ridicule--although a good laugh is sometimes appropriate--but in trying to point out the macrolevel structures at work. In both cases you highlight I would hope both young women would get their names changed legally when they come of age.

@Cavoyo. Whey you see "rural white" names discussed in the media they are called "creative." See Palin's pwt kids' names. I don't know what happened with Romney given all his money.

@Cnu. Correlation or causality? Certainly the former.

CNu said...

I actually prefer hot showers and dependable air-conditioning dumbass.

That said, I see no point in lying about the foolishness and fuckery of parasitic useless eaters with lives wholly devoid of value.

Having witnessed first hand the tragic stupidity of names concocted from numerals and punctuation marks

- equals "dash"

4 equals "for"

and of course the ubiquitous and gratuitous pseudo francophone ' as in Dont'e

These idiotic names don't translate well into student information systems, or, into standardized logins for access to networks/applications with the result that the children burdened with this fustercluckery sometimes experience weeks-long delays getting into the learning systems that their classmates can log into on day one of school.

Not that any of them are getting any help with school at home to begin with, but what they come to school crippled with from their food desert hovels even disables and derails the school's basic ability to constructively engage with the child.

But please, carry on with your self-calming delusions about your troglodytic cousins....,

The Sanity Inspector said...

I don't agree that the really funk-noxious A-A names doom one to a life on the margins. If you're a black mother and Jim Nantz is repeatedly saying your son's hood rat name on NFL Sundays, that's going to break down some barriers. People will still eyeroll, of course--I do, myself. I once encountered a plump young woman named Rotunda, for example; and I regular encounter others with names I don't even want to repeat, for fear of compromising their privacy. Yet these names are not going away, and as conditions in black America start to improve again (as we much hope they will do), these names will start to seem almost normal.

CNu said...

as conditions in black America start to improve again

rotflmbao,

It's not altogether implausible that Sandy could trigger collapse of the American Empire and, in turn, world capitalism (or monetary fascism, if you prefer).

It would be ironic if Sandy wiped out systems all across the country except New Orleans.

Black Sage said...

Your name could be booboo-the-fool or Beanie Stolzfus so long as you have maintained the knowledge, skill, ability, and gumption to MAKE a living for yourself. These ghetto trogolodytes are wholly dependent and radically oppositional parasites, period. - CNU

@CNU, your analysis is so faulty and silly that it truly doesn’t qualify for a response, at least not more than what’s mentioned here. Neither the Amish, nor the Mennonites were an enslaved people, although they share similar beliefs. Furthermore, neither one of these groups had their culture literally destroyed by thuggeresque, European barbarians. These two groups never had to contend with being stripped of their names, their identity, their dignity and having been thought of as property by another man. Even further, they’ve been able to keep their cultural and religious practices intact as well.

If you’re hopelessly prone to posting one dimensional commentary, at least be able to back it up either empirically or at a minimum, at least be logically coherent.

Moreover, what historical experience that the Amish or Mennonite people commonly share with Black Americans for you to make such outlandishly racist statements? At this point, I see no correlation, please enlighten me.

Jay L Gordon said...

Then, of course, there was the name pronounced "Shuh-theed" but spelled... Shithead.

Seriously, though, local culture will make a difference, too, I think. In my town, if a young person wants to work, there are at least some jobs to be had, and my guess is that at the local starter-job places (McDonalds, Taco Bell, Wal-Mart, etc.), no manager will turn you away for being named LaShawna or D'Andre or whatever. And if you work responsibly and get educated, such a name won't determine much of anything, except perhaps some racists along the way will assume bad things about you.

That said, I continue to think that some semblance or spelling-pronunciation correspondence will help, since that conveys basic literacy. I do find it hard to believe (and this is where I might agree with CNu) that the various spellings of "Unique" noted in the video, for example," are a result of a knowledgeable and intentional bending of conventional spelling meant to display savvy and creativity...

It will also help not having or using a name that tries too hard to mean something in a literal sense-- most names in American English do NOT "mean" anything in a literal sense, and that includes the more common A-A names such as Shaniqua, Tyrell, etc. For example, I also knew a woman who went by "Klassy." No orthographic problems there, but it is too easy a target for ridicule.

Black Sage said...

I believe that ghettoized Blacks name their kids Shaniqua, Tawanda and Shatoya for specific purposes. During slavery, slaves were given name by their masters. Certainly they didn’t have a say in this sick custom. Now, here we are 400 hundred years after this nadir period in human history and for Blacks specifically, we as a people are still suffering from the lingering effects of a set of rules and tradition that are unable to be wiped away so easily.

To me, Ghettoized Blacks name their kids these standout names as a signification of not being owned any longer; a sense of freedom to name their children as they see fittingly. In other words, they are telling barbaric White folks in a semiotic manner that YOU NO LONGER OWN ME!

Jay L Gordon said...

Interesting article on the topic: http://www.salon.com/2008/08/25/creative_black_names/

Nebris said...

"I actually prefer hot showers and dependable air-conditioning dumbass."

Well, of course. Sociopaths tend to be quite fond of their creature comforts. Such heightens the pleasure of everyone else's suffering.

Nebris said...

@Cnu I do however owe you a small debt of gratitude. Our exchange 'elsewhere' finally burst a thought bubble I'd had for a while now, that all the Doomerism I encounter is utterly Euro-Centric, the whole 'Collapse of Empire leading straight to Feudalism [aka Warlordism] Redux' meme. And that it is a false meme.

I realized that the Modern World has become far more like the Chinese Model than the Roman Model. After the Chinese established the Imperial System in the period following the Time of The Warring States, they did not lapse into Warlordism until the 20th Century and that was almost entirely the result of outside forces.

Before the interference of the Western Powers [and later, The Japanese Empire, a Western Imperial recreation] China survived political infighting, civil and religious war and invasions without losing either its Culture or Civilization. In fact, it has become apocryphal that 'China would always conquer its conquerors'. That is because they had established a firm foundation for both, one with resilience and redundancy.

And so has Modern Civilization. Yes, it's a very Euro-Centric Model, but it has become Universal and it has massive redundancy. Therefore, though we are certainly in a period of Collapse, the New Dark Ages that so many Doomers predict [and seem to even long for] are actually quite unlikely.

Nebris said...

Sorry not 'apocryphal', legendary. =P

chaunceydevega said...

@BS. "To me, Ghettoized Blacks name their kids these standout names as a signification of not being owned any longer; a sense of freedom to name their children as they see fittingly. In other words, they are telling barbaric White folks in a semiotic manner that YOU NO LONGER OWN ME!'

To me. That signifies a problem in your construct validity and argumentation. Those folks you are talking about are not that literate nor are they that reflective.

I write about cultural politics, know all that literature on power, agency, black infrapolitics, quotidian politics, etc. Let me tell you one thing you likely suspect. Outsiders impose intentionality and reason after the fact onto the behavior and imagined agency of others. I can come up with a mighty smart sounding narrative to parrot your own--I know better, as do you.

The folks you are noblizing are not making decisions in the way you would like to imagine. We must be obligated to the truth, not lies that make us feel better about lost people. Names born of poverty and low ses and failed schools are not acts of resistance against white supremacy...they are white supremacy in practice.

Anonymous said...

@Black Sage

"To me, Ghettoized Blacks name their kids these standout names as a signification of not being owned any longer; a sense of freedom to name their children as they see fittingly. In other words, they are telling barbaric White folks in a semiotic manner that YOU NO LONGER OWN ME!"

That was my thought process as well concerning the odd names that some black people give their kids and so far no one has touched on the subject of last names which define a person more so than first names. I REALLY don't think any black person with the last name of Washington, Jones, Smith, et all can trace their linage back to the Joneses or Washingtons, etc. back to Africa.

Malcolm was on to something but, the majority of black people didn't hear or refused to understand.

Ben G

CNu said...

Malcolm an'em were on to farms, restaurants, more healthful eating than most, though the Elijah Poole's personal idiosyncracies had more to do with that than any kind of sane and sound diet, and the rudiments of something trying to resemble self-sufficiency.

Oddly, just about all of that disappeared in the reorganized NOI church under Farrakhan, with the goals of black nation-building surrendering or falling prey to purely oppositional rhetoric, symbolic rather than applied stances.

Kind of like these ignorant-assed, culturally, and practically handicapping names.

The folks you are noblizing are not making decisions in the way you would like to imagine. We must be obligated to the truth, not lies that make us feel better about lost people. Names born of poverty and low ses and failed schools are not acts of resistance against white supremacy...they are white supremacy in practice.

bears repeating...,

When did "diversity" and "sensitivity" destroy common sense such that any kind of idiotic, nihilistic, and self-destructive pathology can be accepted and rationalized by folks intent on explaining away the unacceptable and multigenerational conduct of know-nothing, do-nothing, be-nothing degenerates?

CNu said...

@Cnu I do however owe you a small debt of gratitude. Our exchange 'elsewhere' finally burst a thought bubble I'd had for a while now

Sorry Nebris, I don't remember you.

Sociopaths tend to be quite fond of their creature comforts. Such heightens the pleasure of everyone else's suffering.

lol, you're VERY deeply invested in silliness. Is that how you self-calm in the face of your own helpless dependency and magical-thinking reliance on the charity and largesse of others? If the Cuban people shared your gaseous "thinking" they would've gone out like Haitians following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

You madame, are entirely without a clue.

your analysis is so faulty and silly that it truly doesn’t qualify for a response, at least not more than what’s mentioned here. Neither the Amish, nor the Mennonites were an enslaved people, although they share similar beliefs. Furthermore, neither one of these groups had their culture literally destroyed by thuggeresque, European barbarians.

lol@Black "Sage"

Your great grandmother forgot more about cultivating a productive garden, sewing, canning, and doing for self than you and yours will ever know. Black folk forgot and abandoned their self-sufficient, rural agrarian folkways within living memory, in the period before the paradox of "black pride" and completely helpless parasitic dependence on other folks systems of production.

Anonymous said...

Hmmm. The only way that I can explain your last paragraph is that it's very simple, really. White people are insane. Of course that's just my humble opinion.

And the "self destructive pathology" that you mentioned was and is bred into us. It's called mind control. Try this on for size:
"One of the most destructive elements of Racial Programming is to use the inherent "death drive" in man to make people self-destruct." I can paste the whole article if you would like. It's not too long.

Ben G

Nebris said...

"Sorry Nebris, I don't remember you."

Let me remind you: http://subrealism.blogspot.com/2012/10/copper-thieves-and-other-infrastructure.html

CNu Mod • 3 days ago

co-sign shutdown of OOW breeding and parasitization.


Michael Varian Daly • 2 days ago

By 'shutdown' do you mean put them out on the street to starve? Or do you advocate more active measures, like shipping them to extermination camps?

CNu Mod • 2 days ago

Michael Varian Daly: The time-tested and publicly-approved American way is slow attrition. http://subrealism.blogspot.com/2012/10/the-removal-of-native-americans-and.html - loading up trains and putting on industrial-scale horror shows won't fly. OTOH, a very thorough, enduring, and most probably unrecoverable genocide can be effected just out of public view in the liminal recesses of collective awareness.


Michael Varian Daly • 2 days ago

CNu: Ah yes, offering up the pattern of genocide of indigenous peoples as solution to domestic socioeconomic issues is always the way to go. Voting for Mittens I take it. ;)

...at which point you started to back track and babble bullshit about being 'a samurai'. *snork* I was going to bring up that Bushido is simply a highly ritualized from of Warlordism, which is proto-Fascistic.

But I had my other revelation and didn't bother going back as you are just another Racist, proto-Fascistic Doomer sociopath with a pretense of 'enlightenment'. Probably a misogynist as well, just like Kunstler and Greer.

Truth is, you and your ilk are no better than the present set of rulers and likely would be even more brutal and vicious if you even achieved power.



Nebris said...

You madame, are entirely without a clue.

Internet Rule #27) Always question a person's sexual preferences without any real reason

Your Troll-Fu is weak. lol

CNu said...

Hmmm. The only way that I can explain your last paragraph is that it's very simple, really. White people are insane. Of course that's just my humble opinion.

Ben G. - what do "white people" have to do with us ceasing to value and maintain core competencies while eschewing and ridiculing core degeneracies?

The number of black and "progressive" white commenters hereabouts knee-jerk fast to label me a self-hating racist sociopathic doomer for calling helpless fools helpless fools - is shocking.

Each and every one of these "racism of low expectations" cabbageheads has lost his/her cultural and practical bearings.

I can paste the whole article if you would like.

How bout a link?

CNu said...

rotflmbao@Nebris...,

Your drive-by take on my worldview is an epic fail. But that's alright, we don't know one another, and I can't bring myself to give a fuck.

Nebris said...

If you really didn't give a fuck, you would not have bothered to keep responding. 'Actions louder than words' and all that good stuff. *smirk*

Bruto Alto said...

@ CDv
Great post, I was lucky to have college educated parents. My father played tennis/racketball and golf daily. He forced me to play tennis as a way to improve my footwork for bigger sports Basketball/Football/Track. Later he explained that tennis and golf are strong tools in the white collar world but I didn't get it. Now I better understand.

My only question is last names Black people don't have the luck of becoming Sheens instead of Estevez. The negative return is still there.

@Cnu
More us and them stuff.

CNu said...

Always question a person's sexual preferences without any real reason

uh.., The Explanation reads like some wymyn-shyte to me. Referring to you as "madame" had nothing whatsoever to do with "sexual preference".

Under this "Nebris" alias, you strike me as a maladjusted female with some ill-fitting gender identity issues on your sleeve.

Now, being as I go exceedingly hard on my racial co-religionists who wear their ill-fitting, tattered, and thin racial identities on their sleeves, it should come as no surprise that I would clown a fruity, nonsense-spouting muhphukka like you with no hesitation or regard.

Internet Rule #27)

BWAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!

"Internet Rule"

Heiffer puh-leeze!

Was your social and cognitive development terminally arrested at the age of 15?

Grown folks talking in here, time for you to sit your silly ass down son....,

BigPhank said...

I disagree with this post. There seems to be a disconnect between some of the "talented 10th" types around here and the masses. Both my children have Swahili names. I don't think I'm dooming them to a life of second-class citizenship.

Improbable Joe said...

The "black" names are both a problem and symptomatic of larger problems. The ghetto culture only prepares children for more poverty and ghetto living. You've got your ridiculous made-up name that no one can spell or pronounce, you've got the barking pitbull tied up outside, you talk too loudly in the street and shout at your friends and shout even louder when you're fighting, you wear a ghetto fucking costume everywhere you go, bunch of kids by a bunch of people, 15 of you living in a house... you don't fit anywhere else.

chaunceydevega said...

@Cnu and Nebris. Ringing the bell. Please return to your respective corners and deescalate. Please be mindful of the language.

@Big. Fair points. Is the research wrong? I for one don't want to be part of the "masses". The masses, across the color line and the political divide got us into this mess. I hear you though. You are signalling to bigger questions about identity. My claims are not that folks can't name their kids whatever they want. My deeper concern is what does that say about their culture, life chances, and futures. These ghetto names have cache in a limited world of 4 square blocks. What is going on structurally that some folks would be so invested in an "original" name? As I said above, poverty equals different social cues. I used to get teased for my "plain" name. My mother and god parents would laugh and say that your "plain" name is going to get you a job...or at least not get your resume thrown in the garbage at first glance.

@Bruto. I am sure there is research on "hispanic" last names and the labor market. These are old questions too about assimilation and name changing practices that go way back. Funny how that when we grow older all that old head stuff from the parents makes sense. I do wish that I had taken up golf as well.

CNu said...

@CDV

Sorry bout cutting up magne.

Just goes to show that you can take the rat out of the hood, but it's haaaaard to take the hood out of the rat.

chaunceydevega said...

@Cnu. No apologies necessary. Just trying to get folks to calm down. I remain surprised by how such conversations can become so heated. It really seems to be elementary--names reflect certain cultural norms. Some of those norms have little capital in other worlds. Ghetto reflect the "ghetto." Why then are so many black and brown folks determined to internalize such an identity...and tie a huge 5,000lb rock around their kids' ankles in life.

CNu said...

I look at it the way I look at all acting out. As a volunteer classroom instructor for the past seven years, it has been my observation that the kids who are furthest behind, most profoundly lost wrt the material at hand, tend to try to act out the most in order to distract the flow of classroom attention away from both a subject with which they struggle, and, from their own deficiencies wrt that subject.

That classroom clown persona, if permitted to show out and to persist, becomes that child's internalized identity or means of escape in the classroom. Same is true to a lesser extent of kids who are simply bored with the subject matter.

At the beginning of my organization's current fiscal year, I was saddled with responsibility for 22 middle-aged, and deeply incumbent direct reports, none of whom is fundamentally capable of performing at the level of their assigned responsibility or accumulated compensation. Guess what, they each have deeply internalized "acting out" identities into which each retreats when summoned to task.

Ghetto identity is nothing more than culturally, socially, and interpersonally arrested development contrived as an escape from the encompassing culture which has rejected, ostracized, or otherwise shunned the individuals and the collective which they represent and which their behavior signifies.

For the longest time, I was not only tolerant and understanding of that personal and collective visceral reaction to ostracization, but as I reflected on my parents comparatively heroic foray into Jim Crow territory, my own personal foray into heavily-armed and hostile post Jim Crow territory, it began to occur to me that ghetto identity is really nothing so much as the organic accumulation incompetence, cowardice, lack of initiative, etc.., the only exception being children who don't know any better or who haven't been shown any better.

Nebris said...

@CDV I did my best to 'play cool' as I am an Old Skool Troll and tend to 'go for the wall', though these days I only Meta-Troll, eg 'doing so with a point in mind'. So yeah, heard the bell, but gonna take one last swing, 'cause I'm that kinda bitch. ;)

@CNu As I said above, if I didn't bug y'all, you would have let all my noise slide, baby. *smooch*

PS Thanks for the free advert. =)

CNu said...

some years ago, me'an my cronies coined a euphemism for the condition in kwestin.

that coinage is niggaHz or (nigger-hurts) with the compound play on poetic imagery that Hz/Hertz or number of cycles per second conveys. It's a unit of measure of melanic cybonic identification.

How many niggaHz does the Hon.Min.Louis Farrakhan clock? How many does Fiddy clock? How many the Housewives of ______________?

Anyway, as you have gathered, and as my worldview and politics have progressed away from those seminal musings, I've grown increasingly disdainful of folks who clock mad niggaHz while others of these humans gird their loins to conquer the solar system and unlock the secrets of life itself?

What you think all these red-state, bible-thumping medieval knuckle-draggers are up truly and most profoundly up in arms about?

This the stuff I used to argue titanically across the countryside with David Mills about. With the passage of time, and more personally frustrated and disappointed efforts made on behalf of racial coreligionists, I've simply grown tired, disillusioned and come more fully around to the late Mr. Mill's conservative point of view.

Steven Augustine said...

It's pointless (and disingenuous) making the "outlandish white names = outlandish black names" argument when the latter function as national logos for the mega-brand of Black Failure.
I suspect the practice is a distortion of the late-'60s, early-70s vogue in using legitimate "African" names (started by educated types who bothered to do the research).

And therein lies the difference: "Iféoluwa" is beautiful, "Shaniqua" is asinine. There's a structural reason for that: try to come up with your own language and see how far you get from creating a vocabulary that sounds like bad sci fi / embarrassing babble. The old words/names in any actual language have been crowd-shaped (fitted to millions of tongues) for centuries. Even most scientific or industrial neologisms have ancient roots (catchy acronyms like "laser" or "radar" notwithstanding). And, as someone already pointed out, pseudo-Gallic prefixes/suffixes in Hoodonyms amplify the cringe factor.

And it's not really a racial issue, is it? This debate is really about the standard (eternal) friction between one branch of the Intelligentsia (the exasperated branch) and the Booboisie. Just as some white academic-types have no patience with redneck cultural defaults (tractor pulling, cousin-fucking and gun loving), some black academic-types are disgusted by the topic at hand. And why is that?

Mandadrins of both colors fetishize the lower orders from a patronizingly safe distance; those of us who happened to educate ourselves out of humble origins find it's all a bit too close to home. I don't know any "Shaniquas" (or "Britneys", for that matter), and I doubt that will change. Maybe that's my loss; I'll survive.

Steven Augustine said...

"This the stuff I used to argue titanically across the countryside with David Mills about."

David Mills was an Octoroon beard for Hollywood Coonshows; he was a special case: his racial contempt was probably for the 12.5% of his self that kept him out of The Club. Is it telling that the Professor Griff, and Sister Souljah, interviews, which stirred up so much Negrophobia in the 1990s... were both conducted by Mills? Sure, Mills "loved Black Music"... but the same could be said of many of the crypto-racist kids from the suburbs I went to college with.