One doesn’t have to be a superhero to take on responsibility. One doesn’t have to swing through skyscrapers to assume the mantle of civic duty. One simply has to be a man or a woman. But political correctness discourages manhood and womanhood amongst blacks and women, for it romanticizes victimhood. It idealizes the victim. It renders otherwise legitimate disciplines such as Black studies and Women’s studies mere Victim studies.
Every legitimate discipline, as a body of knowledge, is dialectical, for each discipline is a series of studies of opposing ideologies. Each discipline (possibly excepting mathematics) tracks the historical movements of the theses and antitheses pertinent to its field of inquiry. Even the natural sciences, as Thomas Kuhn’s “Structure of Scientific Revolutions” reveals, are essentially historical narratives of competing paradigms and paradigm shifts. Twentieth-century physics, for example, comes down to the debate between Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr as to whether or not God plays dice. Anyway, Black studies, as a discipline, bears witness unto the great dialogues of Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. DuBois, Kwame Nkrumah and Franz Fanon, amongst others. At bottom, Black studies is the dialectic of the militant ideology of Marcus Garvey vs. the bourgeois ideology of DuBois.
But black studies, as a pseudodiscipline, isn’t interested in dialogue. It’s about the monologue of the victim. No dialectics here. It’s the black bourgeois monolith of victimology. Hence, this pseudodiscipline neutralizes the Garveyite passion for self-reliance and equity. It neutralizes black agency. It encourages the DuBoisian passions of resentment and envy. It entrenches black victimhood. DuBois is its God. Rev. Dr. King is its patron saint. “Somebodiness” is its holy grail.
Victimology and identity politics (read “victim politics”) are the theory and practice of the black bourgeoisie, respectively. The house Negro thereof sees only from the perspective of the victim. Thus, he is the extreme of self-righteousness, which is OK, for, as we all know, the victim is always right. But is he really a victim? Um, no. Come to my neighborhood in Anacostia, Southeast D.C. — I’ll show you some victims. Come hop on the number 109 for a 20-minute bus ride into Chester — I’ll show you some victims. Victims aren’t privy to $38,000-a-year college educations. Blacks here are just as privileged as their white counterparts. Perhaps William Julius Wilson could give them some much-needed perspective, if he wrote a companion to his “Truly Disadvantaged” and called it “The Truly Underprivileged.”
The 20th century was the Age of DuBois. His Talented Tenth, having usurped Washington’s and Garvey’s leadership, had a century to lead the masses of blacks to self-reliance. They failed. But they themselves succeeded by becoming “somebodies,” i.e., Nigger Jims of white liberal Huckleberry Finns, even if they do segregate themselves to the “safe havens” with virtual “no whites allowed” signs that masquerade as black cultural centers. The Talented Tenth are supremely talented at exploiting white guilt, which manifests in the crumbs they feed off as parasites at the master’s table. They are supremely talented at exaggerating white oppression and black victimhood so as to conceal the symbiosis between white guilt and black tokenism. The house Negro ain’t Robin Hood. He steals from the rich under the cloak of victimhood, but he don’t give back to the poor.
The Garveyite “New Negro” understands his responsibility to lead the masses of blacks beyond victimhood. He beholds the Statue of Liberty in New York, but more important is his statue of responsibility in Alabama — the bronze monument of Booker T. Washington lifting the veil of ignorance from the Negro. Lady Liberty nicely complements that colossus of manly self-reliance. If only the Talented Tenth and the black feminists would get over their jealousy and penis envy of Washingtonian self-reliance and Garveyite virtue
-by Taru Taylor
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