Friday, August 14, 2015

Ben Carson, Cornel West, Michael Brown and the Myth of Black Forgiveness, Passivity, and Happy, Spiritual Singing, Negroes

One of America's greatest cultural lies and rituals is the myth of black forgiveness for the racial violence done against black folks by the State and/or individual white people.

The Ritual lacks justice: it is not recuperative, redistributive, or restorative. The Ritual is phony and empty. But, it is part of the glue and salve that helps to cohere American society lest the weight of the unequal debits of gain and plunder through violence and exploitation along the color line tear from one another, the whole democratic project thus falling down.

There are many acts in The Ritual; it is unending.

Black conservatives are human chaff and totems that white racists on the Right use to excuse-make for their white supremacist beliefs. As such, Republican primary season presidential candidate Ben Carson's role is to tell White America what they want to hear about black people. He is the human puppet and voice box in a black conservative See 'N Say toy. Carson contributed to The Ritual this week where he reaffirmed the myth of the happy passive spiritual singing negro, and his belief that rapscallion trouble-making black "radicals" are at the root of what ails Black America:

Republican presidential candidate Ben Carson has accused Black Lives Matter activists of “creating strife”, underscoring the awkward relationship between conservatism and race for the only African American campaigning for president. 
“Of course black lives matter,” Carson said on Wednesday after speaking at a closed-door event with local politicians and businessmen in Harlem. “But what I feel instead of people pointing fingers at each other and just creating strife, what we need to be talking about is how do we solve problems in the black community. Of murder, essentially.” 
Carson then raised a 2011 statistic that was often cited during violent protests in Ferguson, Missouri, last year, noting that homicide is the most likely cause of death for young black men. He said that African Americans needed to return to “family and faith”, which he said were “the values and principles that got black people through slavery and segregation and Jim Crowism.”
His comments offend me both as a student of history and a thinking human being.

Cornel West recently participated in a great dialogue with the indispensable Chris Hedges. West deftly called out the relationship between black forgiveness and internalized white supremacy as he explained how:
Yeah. I think for me forgiveness is the highest form of love. And you begin with loving yourself, or love your mama and your daddy and your sisters and brothers and allow that love to spill over to all of humanity. The problem is is that we have too many black people who love everybody but black people. And therefore that’s pathological. There’s something sick about that. It’s called white supremacy at the psychic level, at the spiritual level. And therefore, if you’re not loving the people who have been treated like cockroaches but forgiving the folk who would treat them like cockroaches, that’s not Christianity, that’s not psychically healthy. That is pathological. I do believe–and here I am deeply a Christian–I do believe that one should not hate when one is hated. I think you should hate injustice. And the reason why you don’t hate the person who perpetuates injustice is because they can change. You don’t want to trump their sense of possibility. White supremacists can change. Capitalists can change. Patriarchal folk can change. You don’t make a political program on that. The political program has to be an analysis of structure, mobilizing against structure, and unbelievable resistance–street, jail, clash, and work within the electoral political system when there’s possibility. So in that sense I think that a lot of talk about forgiveness is just a special kind of talk about black people remaining calm, serene, halcyon, deferential, and not willing to straighten their backs up and fight.
Black people are complicit with The Ritual. This could be a hangover from slavery and Jim and Jane Crow where a public mask had to be worn in order to survive life under a white terrorist regime. Alternatively, The Ritual could be a life value taught by the black church, an institution that does not always offer liberation or freedom, rather, only enslavement to fantastical beings who value subservience and weakness.

Consequently, it is always affirming and refreshing when a black person whose family has suffered violence by the Racial State at the direct hands of a admitted white supremacist like Darren Wilson, tells the truth about their feelings.

An example. Michael Brown's mother recently told Al Jazeera that she does not forgive Darren Wilson:
The mother of Michael Brown says she will "never forgive" the "cold and malicious" police officer who shot and killed her son nearly one year ago in Ferguson, Missouri. 
"He wouldn't even admit what he did was wrong. He wouldn't admit he had no reason to do what he did," Lezley McSpadden said of former Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. "I'll never forgive him." 
McSpadden said of Wilson: "He's evil, his acts were devilish."
Sokath, his eyes uncovered!

Where do you stand relative to The Ritual? And have you seen--or participated in--any recent manifestations of it?

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