Monday, September 21, 2009

Black No More

Ellison: Invisible ManRalph Ellison wrote an award-winning novel [1] a few years before the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement titled, Invisible Man. His protagonist, nameless throughout the book, immersed himself in light, even stealing it to satisfy his immense, but unfulfilled craving for it.

More than anything, he wished to be seen, to be acknowledged. But alas, the whites he encountered as he went about his day-to-day existence couldn't, because of his invisibility, see him. Even if they bumped into him, they hardly noticed. He was a nonentity, not worthy of their attention.

Because whites ignored him, the protagonist, on several occasions, came pretty damn close to killing some--all because they ignored his humanity, his value, and his struggle to be seen.

I watched a YouTube video on another blog that got me thinking about our invisibility as a people. The blogger, Btx3, offered up a fairly detailed description of black conservatives, dividing them into four groups. It's a rather long piece, but well worth the read.

In one of the videos (Scroll down to see videos.), Larry Elder discussed his newly released book, Stupid Black Men: How to Play the Race Card -- and Lose, with Wolf Blitzer of CNN. The title tells you all you need to know about the book, setting up a strong temptation, if you were inclined to read it, to read the front cover, and the blurbs on the back cover--skipping altogether the redundancy of hundreds of pages constituting the body of the book.

The book's point, as Elder states it: "White racism is no longer a major problem in America anymore." He further states--if there's a "commotion" over the book's title, it's because it offers clear proof: "people recoil[ing] by the title shows you they're reluctant to be perceived as racists." Racism, he claims, has been reduced to "incidents," and are not "frequent anymore." And to Wolf Blitzer, who conducts the interview, he states: "This country has evolved. This is not your grandfather's America."

Unwittingly, Elder reveals for whom the book was written, and it's not a book for "stupid black men," or any black men (Black men would rightly be offended by the title, if nothing else.), but for those whites that can point to his racial opus and declare: "Larry Elder is black and he's saying that racism is not a 'major problem in America anymore,' and those with the audacity to play the 'race card' [after the publication of the book] can be ignored." What comfort such a book gives racists, who can continue their racial bigotry, and do it with the impunity of an excuse.

I'm sure it wasn't whites "recoiling" over the title, but blacks; yet his statement suggests that it's whites who're raising the "commotion."

Larry's premise (white racism is not a major American problem), if taken to the extreme, suggests that blacks are finally being seen. They're not invisible anymore, as Ralph Ellison's book posited once. And if they're being seen, they're not black anymore. Our struggle to be seen, to be valued, and to join the ranks of humanity, has been realized, if not fully (there're still those occasional, nagging "incidents"), fully enough to declare, all at once now, "We're black no more!"

And just as Larry Elder pointed to Barack Obama's success in states that are largely non-black as evidence that we've overcome (since, ironically, there's no one comparable to Barack Obama in the Republican party to point to), we can finally put the concerns of race behind us, and forge a future of togetherness, unity, and visibility for all.

Just think. No more color arousal. No more racial profiling. No more living, eating, driving, flying, and breaking into our own homes, while black.

But Wolf conducted his interview with Larry months before Barack Obama became President Obama, before birthers and deathers, before ever-increasing threats against Obama's life and those of his family, before gun-toting protesters stood boldly and calmly outside of town hall meetings, and loud, angry, disruptive, give me "back my country" protesters clamored inside, before the burgeoning numbers of white militias, and the call for secession, and talking heads raising the specter of civil war in this country, before the party of "No," and Rush Limbaugh, in particular, calling for Obama's failure, and the eradication of liberalism from every corner of our great country, before photoshopped images of President Obama as Hitler, and an African Witchdoctor, before Obama was labeled a racist, a communist, a Marxist, a socialist, a foreign interloper who will destroy the economic fabric, and cultural values of this country unless he's stopped.

I have to give it to Elder though. Shortly after Barack Obama defeated Hillary Clinton and became the Democrat Party's nominee to go up against John McCain, and before he defeated McCain, and before the dark clouds of a recession gathered on our nation's horizon, and before then president George Bush turned down the Obamas' request to live temporarily in Blair House before moving into the White House, to prepare his kids to attend school, Larry Elder called it:

"At the end of the day: Americans don't want to lose wars. Americans don't want their taxes raised. Americans don't want the government to take over the rest of health care that they don't already have."

Had he said, "Republicans" instead of "Americans," he would have been prescient. Yet, I'll have to subtract several points from his prescience for his clear belief, stated this way: "I think Americans won't take that," that being--losing the war, raising taxes, and taking over health care.

So much for his knowledge of what Americans will or will not do!

[1] Ralph Ellison won the National Book Award for his first novel Invisible Man (1952).


Blinders Off said...

It is GOOD to see you have your blog back up. Btx3 blog is another favorite of mine…did not know you were also a fan. You will be surprise how many people read blogs and do not comment, what you have to say is important and we need more of us blogging about our point of view.

Anonymous said...

Black Diaspora you are a very good writer, you write with Depth! your writing is exceptional, and trust me I have read enough Black Blog's to know what I am talking about!

Granny is exceptional as well, you two are committed to your Race, it show's in your writing, you will not allow anything to slide by you, you write with Boldness, this let's me know that, you refuse to let anyone Hoodwink you! did I say that word right?

You may know about this or you may not, but, I will leave it anyway.

Look up:

The Forgotten Slave's, White's in Servitude in early America and Industrial Britain.


Black Diaspora said...

Blinders Off said... "[W]hat you have to say is important and we need more of us blogging about our point of view."

You're right, of course. That's one of the reasons I'm back in the fray.

At this time, we need all the voices we can find--the more the better--to counter some of the foolishness that's threatening to overtake reason and commonsense.

@iseeisee: "Black Diaspora you are a very good writer, you write with Depth!"

Thank you iseeisee. You and Granny are two of my favorite commenters. And the praise you extend to me is what I find in your writing.

You two are women of conviction, and courage; you remind me a great deal of the strong black women that were responsible for my education, and the formation of my worldview.

Men may have been out front in the Civil Rights movement, but it was women like you and Granny that were the driving force behind it.

I'll google your recommendation: "The Forgotten Slave's, White's in Servitude in early America and Industrial Britain."


Anonymous said...

Thank you Black Diaspora, I have to hold back a lot when I write, you see, God pulled me into the Fold a few month's before Barack became the Democrat Nominee for President, I have to be honest, in the beginning I thought it was No way in the world Barack had a Chance to become the President, I was set on voting for Hillary Clinton, but,God had me to sit down one day and take heed to what was going on around Barack!

I took heed to the fact that, this was more of a Spiritual battle, yes, we have Politic's but, it go's much deeper than that, I would take note that, each and every time it looked as if Barack was losing the race, God would turn thing's around in Barack's favor, and this went on all through Barack's battle with Hillary and McCAIN, God would never allow Barack to be defeated!

Barack remind's me of Joshua, for if one were to read the book of Joshua, you will see that each and every battle that Joshua fought, the President is fighting it as well, the setting is different, the people are different, but, yet, the President's Adversary's have the same Spirit that Joshua's Adversary's had!

The President try's to walk in Righteousness! and yet he is Condemned by other men, who doe's that remind you of? for we know that the President is not Jesus, but, I think when God look's down from Heaven he see's a man that is trying to walk in the foot step's of his Son, can we say that about the President's Adversary'? No! for they represent the men that opposed the Good Work's that Jesus tried to do, different time but, the same Spirit, nothing has changed!


Black Diaspora said...

@iseeisee: "I took heed to the fact that, this was more of a Spiritual battle, yes, we have Politic's but, it go's much deeper than that...."

I read once: You will know God's messengers for they will speak of unity, oneness, and respect for all men.

You're right iseeisee, this is more a "spiritual" battle than a political one.

Obama's enemies speak of division (secession, and civil war) while President Obama speaks of one nation, a "United" States of America.

Where is the church leadership in all of this? They seem to be siding with the darkness rather than the light.

Ernesto said...

"What comfort such a book gives racists, who can continue their racial bigotry, and do it with the impunity of an excuse."

Your keyboard is a hammer and you hit the nail right on the head with those words. Larry Elder is an enabler of the worst sort. He enables a continuation of all the things that this country is notorius for; starting wars, being selfish assholes, and not caring whether their neighbor lives or dies as long as they can feel superior.

Black Diaspora said...


Unfortunately, you're all too right. I'm hoping that President Obama is the beginning of a whole new line of presidents that will set the tone for future generations to follow.

We've got to put "for the people" back into the purpose of, and the reason for, government, and take out special interests, corporations, and the greedy.

MacDaddy said...

My first time here. I, too, write about black writers like Ellison, Baldwin, Morrison and poets like Mari Evans, using them to make serious points about our condition. Check me out at

Love your writing and your content. Blessings.

Black Diaspora said...

MacDaddy, I've visited your cyberpad unannounced several times in the past. I didn't leave a calling card, but I'll make up for that.

And thanks for the encouragement.