September 24, 2011

"With so many ways of performing blackness, there is now no consensus about what it is or should be."

Writes Orlando Patterson:
One of his goals, Touré writes in “Who’s Afraid of Post-­Blackness? What It Means to Be Black Now,” is “to attack and destroy the idea that there is a correct or legitimate way of doing blackness.” Post-blackness has no patience with “self-appointed identity cops” and their “cultural bullying.”
Here's Touré describing skydiving, which he was told black people don't do.


YoungHegelian said...

What makes "blackness" especially stupid is that the term is a misnomer. What it really means is "American" Blackness, and American Blackness is primarily American Southern culture (it's urban outposts are just that - outposts and enclaves). It's about as provincial of an outlook as one finds in 21st century America.

Ask a Kenyan or Nigerian or South African Zulu what they think about "black identity". They'll just laugh and say "How can millions and millions of people make an identity out of skin color?"

Steve M. Galbraith said...

Before we start putting Toure on our shoulders and marching around in praise for his comments, it's important to remember that he's a 9/11 Truther.

He believes, among other notable gems, that a missile hit the Pentagon and the government is covering up what actually happened that day.

Obviously, one can praise a person for some comments while opposing him for others. You don't have to take everything.

But there are some views that are so extreme that they cancel out whatever noteworthy views a person has.

I think 9/11 Trutherism falls into that category.

Toure can get stuffed.

Bender said...

The best way I've seen of "doing blackness" is that done by Dave Chappelle.

Richard Dolan said...


Another academic fad, and one not likely to have much resonance outside the ivied walls.

YoungHegelian said...


Unfortunately, Chappelle is a poster child for being a victim of "blackness".

Part of his epiphany that led him to drop out of comedy involved watching the white stage hands bust a gut at his routines, and Chappelle thought they might be laughing at him, as a black man, rather than with him.

It seems to me that such things would be par for the course for any comic (i.e. are people laughing at my stuff for the wrong reasons? Are there any wrong reasons as long as I get paid?), but DC thought otherwise.

JR said...
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Carol_Herman said...

I think there's a greater fear of Jews. And, in a post nose-job world they're harder to find.

Meanwhile, does anyone remember PHIL GRAMM (of Texas) ?? His wife was Asian. And, while it was never a "discussed" reason ... It was the reason he couldn't mount up and run.

The other thing worth noting? Nobody's talking about the strange underwear Mormon women have to wear. (Which means they can never wear strapless gowns!) Their arms need to be covered ... because otherwise the sleeves on their underwear would hang out.

Through the local PTA, I met a mom whose son was a year or so ahead of my kid. And, her husband divorced her. Her happiest moment wasn't taking off her wedding band. It was when she collected all her old underwear ... and put it out into the garbage.

The "fun" has not yet begun.

Heck, Al Jolson, when he painted on black face to sing "mammy" ... that was shoe polish black, folks. Nobody's ever gotten darker than that!

And, in Huckleberry Finn, the best character is that of Jim, who is running away from being enslaved. You want to see a mirror? Go look at what Mark Twain wrote.

(When Mark Twain wrote "going down the Mississippi" ... what he meant was that people were going down into slave country by the river route.)

How did such an evil ever befall this country? (Short answer? The BRITS! And, arabs. Who profited by selling humans into slavery.)

Arabs still do it.


Lots of people (both sexes, all colors), adore the principals inherent in our PROMISE OF FREEDOM.)

It's not a ROSE GARDEN, remember!

It's the dream people still have!

One component of that dream, however, my dad told me ... on his arriving in America (1913, at age 15), was that the streets weren't lined with gold.

I can still remember the stories.

James said...

Here's Touré describing skydiving, which he was told black people don't do.

These stereotypes always amuse me. My son was a 4-year letterman in swimming, captained the swim team his senior year, and went skydiving just before leaving for Madison. But then he's spent most of his life in Wisconsin so perhaps he's not "authentically black."

Carol_Herman said...

Lavell Crawford. Big. Black. And, fat. Shaped like a potato that's very large in the middle.

He's very very funny.

Today's best comedians are bubbling up from Black and poor neighborhoods.

I laughed till I cried.

JR said...

“fluency undergirds complete ease in interethnic relations. Touré, himself married to a Lebanese-American, praises the effortless “mode-switching” of celebrities and leaders like Oprah Winfrey and President Obama: “Blackness is an important part of them but does not necessarily dominate their persona.” This allows them not only to trust and be trusted by European-Americans, but to seamlessly display the many forms of blackness when the occasion demands.” Toure.

Fluency? Blacks at complete ease in interethnic relations? Blacks in mode-switching? Celebrities? Celebrities? Celebrities? Oh, those celebrity blacks?

Like celebrity Toure?

Blackness is important? But does not dominate? Those celebrity blacks who seamlessly display the many forms of blackness when the occasion demands? Oh, those?

Not the 16.7% of blacks who are unemployed? Not those 16.7% of blacks who are unemployed because they’re too busy writing articles for Rolling Stone ? And skydiving? Those 16.7% of blacks who are at “complete ease” among the minorities hardest hit? Those 16.7% of blacks are really enjoying effortless mode-switching? Those 16.7% of blacks who are trusted by European-Americans?

Those 16.7% of unemployed blacks who seamlessly display the many forms of blackness when the occasion demands? Oh! Those 16.7% of black celebrities!

Toure? Skydiving? What color is his parachute?

PatCA said...

Ann's post about the Compton school problem is another example of post-blackness that nobody is really talking about. We had come to believe that electing black politicians in black precincts would change government in some beneficial way for constituents. This has not happened. Graft and corruption has continued there as in many other cities, and no one seems interested in the reasons why.

virgil xenophon said...


"...graft and corruption has continued....and no one seems interested in the reasons why."

Easy explanation#1 Blacks are human and exhibit same amount of greed, venality, etc., as any other race of people.

Easy explanation#2 Blacks, once ascended to grasping the reins of political power at municipal, state, levels, did so with the belief in the "spoils of war" standard in terms of graft and corruption,i.e., "it's our turn now."

Explanation for the disinterest in paying attentiion to reasons#1, and #2? Easy: "PC." One is racist and/or bigoted to bring either nos #1 or #2 up as a subj for discussion in polite company.

Moose said...

Sometimes the pain you know is better than the unknown of change.

Carol_Herman said...

There's a great post up at Reddit, today. Where a college student asks why colleges hire teachers who can't come across using English.

One poster responded that it took about 3 weeks (in a medical residency), to begin understanding India-English. (Indish). But once he got it ... he picked up this skill.

Hey, you want difficulty understanding English? Try Stephen Fry. (I just gave my son the CD). Fry has a British show ... where he does "puns." And, "MET-eh-fers." It took me awhile.

But you bet. Hysterically funny.

That's where I picked up the line: If you want to see a communist plot go visit karl marx's grave.

Now, Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn paints the picture of Jim (the runaway slave), being blessed and sainted with common sense.

Mark Twain then takes his pen and he beats the religious white people silly (with his wrath). Book stands the test of time!

As to Obama ... His WORST characteristics are the one he inherited from his momma. I blame his white side ... for all the stuff you happen to hate about obama.

It's not a skin color problem. It's that Stanley Ann Dunham had not one single gene for common sense.

Carol_Herman said...

You think Bill Clinton was funny when he said it wasn't so long ago that Obama would have been a waiter bringing him coffee?

I actually found Monica credible. Before the Blue Gap Dress came in. And, I believed that Bill Clinton's weiner doesn't stick out when erect, so much that it just curves.

Obama has more common sense in his left foot that Bill Clinton has "going." Bill Clinton should win the award, though, for being an even better liar than Nixon.

And, Bill Clinton's wife has double-wide hips. And, just like Stanley Ann Dunham ... not one gene for common sense! She just hooked onto the curved putz for a political ride.

Monica? She was in love. She had enough common sense that Newt Gingrich ... and his 12 House lawyers ... couldn't get her to budge off her story.

But go ahead. Set up stuff the way you like.

Someday ... if we get another Mark Twain ... this nonsense will be the attraction to a story about whites ... who are pretty short in the common sense department.

Saint Croix said...

Is there anything dumber than smart people talking about race?

cubanbob said...

Is 'post blackness' the new Negritude?

edutcher said...

Funny, this is the sort of thing the Civil Rights movement didn't want.

Fred4Pres said...

I did not read the headline as a comment on race but on trying to perform "blackness" (as in lack of color or light).

But I did not realize blacks (or African Americans) did not skydive. Really? I suppose they tended not play golf until relatively recently too (although they certainly worked as caddies and such). Do blacks scuba dive? They do not play a lot of hockey either, why is that?

Is this post just about pre judging things?

David said...

" Touré describing skydiving, which he was told black people don't do."

More proof that whites are no more intelligent than blacks.

Joe Schmoe said...

Does Toure interview Clarence Thomas or Allen West? If not, I'd say Toure, despite his high-minded goal, is still subtly implying what he thinks it means to be black. Whatever it is doesn't include the likes of Thomas, West, or Condi Rice.

somefeller said...

Carol Herman rants:Meanwhile, does anyone remember PHIL GRAMM (of Texas) ?? His wife was Asian. And, while it was never a "discussed" reason ... It was the reason he couldn't mount up and run.

No, that wasn't the reason he was unable to make a successful run for the Presidency. The race of his wife wasn't even a third order issue with his campaign. Though I'm sure you'll claim the fact it wasn't an issue people discussed is proof of its importance. Carol, you really are an imbecile.

Unknown said...

Why is it that so many people of non-color and non-gender spend so little time agonizing over how to "do" white-maleness?

Must be another part of the way that they are so privileged.

Joe Schmoe said...

I agree, somefeller. Phil Gramm was simply an untenable candidate with zero appeal on the stump. He was a grinder who accomplished a lot over the course of his career, but presidential he was not.

Apropos of this post Gramm was also a victim of negative stereotyping. With his slow, southern drawl he was derided as a God-and-guns-clinging-know-nothing despite his PhD in economics.

Ann Althouse said...

Re Chappelle: Chappelle is discussed at some length in the linked article.

David said...

Writing about blackness is, of course, a very black thing to do.

sorepaw said...
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Calypso Facto said...

skydiving, which he was told black people don't do

Go see the Irish movie The Guard if you have an artsy theater that'll show it. Not a great plot, but some clever dialogue. (Also, hookers and lots of profanity. NSFC)

When the main character is trying to get under the US agent's (Don Cheadle) skin, he puts on a hick act: "Skiing? I thought blacks didn't do that? Or maybe that's swimming?"

VanderDouchen said...

I think the shame in the link to the conversation on blacks and skydiving, is the actual video of said commenter exiting the airplane and never getting stable in the air during his entire skydive. He's a danger to himself and everyone else in the air. I hope he never does it again. Arch on exit, people; it's not a recommendation, it's the law according to physics.

Funniest ficking video I've seen in years. Oddly, he posts it as if he's done something spectacular.

Look, mommy, I've shit my pants again. See! I'm god's little snowflake.

WV: poitin:

poitin the turlet. I done shit myself again.

Kirk Parker said...

"But then he's spent most of his life in Wisconsin so perhaps he's not 'authentically black.' "


Shanna said...

and went skydiving just before leaving for Madison.

What a great picture!! I take it that's what's called a tandem jump?

Darrell said...
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RonF said...

I've been trying to get someone on the left to define "person of color" for some time now. Is it the one drop rule? Is it your name? Is it what you perceive when you look at someone, or what you think most people would perceive? Is it a certain percentage of non-white ancestry? No one will tell me, and when I ask the only answer I get is to attack my motives for asking it.