Wednesday, December 31, 2014

It Was The Year of the White Gaze and Black Death in the Age of Obama: I Wish You All a 'New Jack' New Year as We Say Goodbye to 2014 and Hello to 2015

The White Gaze is a fixture of modernity.

It is not new.

Perhaps, we, those of who are black and brown feel it most acutely as of late, as though it is novel and a revelation, because Barack Obama is President of the United States, and too many of us have bought into the lies circulated by America as a multicultural neoliberal corporate "democracy".

The calculus could be a more simple one.

In the year of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and so many other young black men and women shot dead for the crime of existing and being a "noxious" presence for the White Gaze, our sense of its glare is that much more pressing and real.

Those of us who live on the other side of the color line intimately know that the white racial paranoiac gaze is a killer because such knowledge is required for our survival.

However, to see the white racial paranoiac gaze kill a black person on video--and then witness how White America in a deranged and sick way exonerates its hero murders of non-whites--the lie that we knew to be a lie, that black lives matter in the United States, is exposed in such naked relief that it cannot be denied.

Frantz Fanon's, "Look a Negro", in Black Skin, White Masks, could perhaps serve as one of the touchstone summaries for the bloody year of white on black police and paramilitary violence that is the year 2014 in the United States.

As he observed there, to see yourself through the eyes of others can be crippling; it can also be liberating if you understand the dynamics underlying the Big Lie.

As such, New Jack, one of my favorite "extreme" professional wrestlers, began his career in the 1990s by being blackness personified as viewed through the paranoiac white gaze.

I doubt that the crowd understood how New Jack was mocking them.

As 2014 closes, and 2015 begins, I build up my personal armor by meditating on how blackness and black personhood as viewed by the White Gaze is distorted, sick, inaccurate, and debased.

I/we are not those things. But, there is a paradox. Unfortunately, too many folks across the color line believe that the New Jacks of the world are the most authentic and distilled versions of black humanity in existence.

Sometimes you have to laugh to keep from crying as goes the cliche.

I am having a New Jack New Year's Eve.

What are your thoughts about the previous year? What are your plans for 2015? Any themes or hopeful trends to share?

As is our habit and tradition, I wish you all a happy, reflective, and merry new year.


KissedByTheSun said...

This is the year Marty Mcfly traveled to in Back to the future 2. My inner 9 year old has now accepted that this is the future. I type this message from a phone, which was a non sequitur in 1989. An innocent before guilty black man was also a non sequitur in 1989. Sadly the invention of a hoverboard may become a reality before the formal end to white supremacy. That makes my inner 9 year old sad.

chauncey devega said...

Damn our inner child. Well to make your inner child more adult Back to the Future, especially the 2nd one, channels the white racial frame and its belief in black incompetence--especially in regards to governance. In many ways Back to the Future 2 is a fantasy tale for the white right--the whole series is very much a meditation on white male agency.

Ask yourself, what non-white characters were in the 3 films? How were black male characters in particular depicted? What roles did they have relative to the plot and main characters?

Happy New Year :)

mls oregonhills said...

"First of all, they don't even have an airport to come up here."

Keep looking forward, and stay safe this year.

KissedByTheSun said...

Yeah I've pondered those questions before about virtually all of 80's and 90's pop culture.

chauncey devega said...

The white racial frame doesn't take time off. Don't get me started w. those horrible movies like 16 Candles and that oeuvre.

KissedByTheSun said...

Yeah those movies taught me early on that I was not the "average American" and the "girl next door" to me would never become "Americas sweetheart". Mine was not the typical American coming of age story. Except that it was off screen. Took me years to unplug and realize that.

chauncey devega said...

And given that it was written by a pet black conservative shuck and buck banjo playing tooth showing big lipped fool, why be shocked?

chauncey devega said...

New Jack is the TRUTH!

You be be safe, happy, and well too this year.