Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Black Faces, White Masks

I finished my thesis (maybe I'll upload bits of it and see if it stands up to the internet as well as it did my advisor) and am finally now, months later, getting to all of the books I picked up for it which I didn't read in time to include.

I'm reading in bits and pieces, though. I don't know if that is sensible or not. Somehow the books on racism are harder to swallow than books that are more white. Yay privilege? I find myself thinking more, reacting more, twitching more in response to books where I'm not the audience. Feature, not a bug, but a sometimes difficult feature to swallow.

Some of it's the denseness, too. I'm finding Molefi Kete Asante book on Afrocentricity as dense as Socrates (though not Aristotle, who still gives me fits - is it weird that my denseness sense is based on dead white guys?) but in a different way, which means all the skills I've developed to read Socrates helps me not at all with Asante. In contrast, Black Skin, White Masks by Frantz Fanon has much more straightforward language, but I'm struggling with the androcentric quality of it. In particular, he has one chapter on "The Black Woman and the White Man" which more read like "This is why black women suck for not wanting to marry black men" so I'm snarling quietly at the "The Black Man and the White Woman" which reads more (so far) as an apology for why wanting to be white is seeking purity and culture (the same assumption held in the prior chapter, but was cast as quite negative, while in this chapter the experience of wanting to be the superior is treated more sympathetically).

I can't tell if I'm rougher on it since there's racial things I'm struggling to reconcile my white ass with, or if the gender stuff is problematic enough to get my panties in a bunch about. Probably little of one hand, little of the other.

I'm almost completely cut off from the blog-o-sphere by now. Occasionally I'll catch up on a blog here or there, but I've not read regularly for ages. I'm hung up a bit on public radio now, but lately I've felt overwhelmed by the giganticness of "the world sucks" and the littleness of "I can do something about it". I spend a lot of time making my avatar in Second Life look pretty, and roleplaying, and occasionally snarling about white girls playing black characters who state in character that they find braids exotic.

Exotic, I tell you.

And if I hear one more person wax rhapsodic about how we're in a post racial society, I think I might lose my temper. No, ladies and gentlemen, a black president in the US does NOT make us post-bloody-racial!

On a side note, W. Kamau Bell is AWESOME (check him out, seriously, he is hysterical) and Dr. Who remains awesome despite portraying the Universe as Fsking white (oldschool Dr. Who - Dr. #4 - not the new stuff I've not been keeping up with).