Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Boston Marathon Bombing and the "Niggerization" of America

I recently quoted Brother Cornel's observations about how 9-11 changed the American people by making all of us, but white folks in particular, experience a particular sense of insecurity, dread, and vulnerability at the very thought of being hated for who they are.

In the United States, a country where racial terrorism, genocide, and pogroms have been the norm, people of color are used to living with a sense of existential dread. This is old hat for us. We have the armor; we are also traumatized by the weight of carrying around such steel for protection and arms.

In meditating on Cornel West's genius insights about terror and American (white) identity, and how Whiteness has historically meant safety and security, while simultaneously for the other side of the color line it has meant vulnerability because "we" are the contingent anti-citizen, racially marked, and insecure in the polity, his comments are imminently important in this moment.

The American people are especially vulnerable to assaults on their already precarious civil liberties and privacy rights once they have experienced "niggerization" in mass.


Niggerization is a tool for legitimating the surrender of freedom in the name of safety and security. Niggerization does the work of authoritarianism. It is only the love of freedom paid for with blood on this soil that makes the heirs and children of the Black Freedom Struggle relatively immune to those impulses.

I am always weary of race essentialism. Race is not destiny. It is a social construct and a true lie. Nevertheless, African-Americans (as well as other people of color to varying degrees) because of our history are especially attuned to the freedom song.

Unfortunately, excluding white freedom riders, other "race traitors" and martyrs like Goodman and Schwerner, and of course elder god John Brown, many of our white brothers and sisters have not had to reflect critically on the meaning of "liberty" or "freedom" because it is was won "over there" in the killing fields of Europe, as opposed to here fighting Jim and Jane Crow American Apartheid.

Once more, black and brown folks must and should be the guardians of American liberty in these perilous times. We are the moral conscience of America. We must not betray this trust. And yes, we must do this even if it means standing up to Barack Obama and Top Secret America--even if such a move is unpopular or not politically expedient.


Abstentus said...

Hell. I cross posted you today. Did not have much to add.

nomadfiles said...

"we must do this even if it means standing up to Barack Obama"

Finally! Shout it from the rooftops, yall!

CHAUNCEY DEVEGA has seen the light!!!

_ _ said...

Authority figures should always be questioned and held accountable, there is no revelation in that fact. The problem is a disproportionate number of folks in politics, namely white folks are still caught up on President Obama's race rather than any particular issue related to policy.

This distracts us from dealing with the real issues at hand.

If Obama was interpreted simply as a politician and not merely as the black threat, we would all be better off.

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Waterwitch said...

Chauncey, I am so very sorry. Being the "moral conscience of America" is a terrible burden for anyone to have to carry alone--or even along with other people of color.

I'm afraid you're only partially right, though, about white America having become "n*****ized." See the article in Salon (http://www.salon.com/2013/04/16/lets_hope_the_boston_marathon_bomber_is_a_white_american/) aabout how White privilege offers protection even in the face of these crimes. It's true that we White people are coming slowly to realize that Whiteness doesn't protect us from random violence anymore (although some of us learned that on May 4, 1970), but it's still the case that we don't have to feel collectively fearful that "one of us" did it and that all of us, including our ancestral nations, will be punished for it.

nomadfiles said...

Agreed. I have always held that blacks should treat Obama no differently than any white president. He iscynically using his melanin as teflon to deflect legitimate criticism. Melanin was not designed for that purpose.

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chauncey devega said...

Makes on tired: "Chauncey, I am so very sorry. Being the "moral conscience of America" is a terrible burden for anyone to have to carry alone--or even along with other people of color."

He who states the obvious about race and criminalization will be mocked and scorned..

chauncey devega said...

Thank you thought. Thoughts? Don't short change your wisdom.

Waterwitch said...

Sorry--it was a stupid and poorly thought post. Thanks for the schooling.

chauncey devega said...

We all learn everyday if we are lucky.

nomadfiles said...

I hope we're still the moral conscience. I think we may have sold our moral conscience for a bowl of porridge.

nomadfiles said...

President Evil:


chauncey devega said...

You need to get back on your Obama derangement meds. I get your deep feelings on the matter. But, all you do is complain about him, and your comments are repetitive in that regard. Please mix things up or I will have to begin moderating them. You most certainly have other ideas and reflections to offer as opposed to just anti-Obama spam.