Tuesday, August 11, 2015

"knowing oneself to be a dead relation": A Review Essay and an Interview with Frank B. Wilderson, III (Part 1 of 2)

In honor of Black August, cosmic hoboes is proud to publish a review essay and interview that Omar Ricks did in 2008 with Frank B. Wilderson III about his first book, Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid, published by the (sadly) now-defunct South End Press. The book's second edition is soon to be published by Duke University Press.
A Review Essay and an Interview with Frank B. Wilderson, III
Review Essay by Omar Ricks
Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid. By Frank B. Wilderson, III. (Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 2008. Pp. 501. Paper, ISBN 978-0-89608-783-5). (Second edition coming soon from Duke University Press.)

“Yes,” I said, and I felt how the sway of the room had shifted in my favor. It could not be registered at the level of agreement, not even the curious man in the corner had shown any signs of alliance with either me or the blasphemous oracle from which I read; but they all had shifted from aggression to curiosity, which meant that I had been granted the power to pose the question. And the power to pose the question is the greatest power of all. (110)

Is the positionality of blacks in the world shaped more by performance than by “the fact of blackness”?
In some fashion or another, this question is on many people’s minds at the present historical moment, as Barack Obama prepares to take the stage as chief executive of the United States. There are many forms of it—Are blacks prepared to lead? Will whites be able to relate to him as simultaneously human and black? Will Obama’s presence in office have an emancipatory, role-modeling effect on African Americans?—but the anxious questions surrounding Obama are linked to what his performance will mean for the ontology of race—even the question of whether there is such a thing as an ontology of race or if instead “racism” has been a matter of nonwhites not having access to the performance of power within civil and political society. 
The implications of the answers to this question are enormous for they bear on the question of what is to be done. For me, a performing artist and a black male who has to live in the world, the decision to become a performing artist, as well as the day-to-day performative decisions and habits that constitute “me,” are predicated on the optimistic assumption that my performance is in some way liberatory, that what I do shifts me individually and “us” collectively—as black people, as a nation, as humankind—closer to a time when my blackness does not precede my performance as a positioning mechanism. As I write this, there are still a lot of anxious questions surrounding all of the things that can happen to Obama before the inauguration—before he is even afforded the opportunity to perform—suggesting the myriad and complex ways in which blackness and violence are linked, both in the psyche but, at a deeper level, in the structure of which psyches are a part. The questions are essentially ones regarding how the performance of a ritual, like electing and inaugurating a new president, can at least begin to recalibrate a racial order in which resource distribution is unequal into one in which resource distribution is equal. But when there is a black man’s face, a black man’s gait, and a black man’s voice following the words “Ladies and Gentlemen, the President of the United States,” and Obama is no longer simply a signifier for equal opportunity in America or the power of the speech act but the symbolic Name of the Father of the world’s military and economic powerhouse, a symbolic brother to Indian killers and slaveholders and a Commander-in-Chief of CIA hit men—will much have changed in the world? Will performativity avow the much-vaunted shifting of America away from a racialized slave society into a “post racial” nation? Will, indeed, can the election of a black person to the presidency of a society founded and maintained by enslavement, incarceration, and genocide be truly revolutionary? Put simply, does performativity trump ontology?
If the memoir of Frank B. Wilderson, III, were to proffer an answer, it would be “Probably not.” Indeed, if some of these questions resonate with those of another multiracial nation that was on the verge of electing a black president for the first time nearly a score of years ago, then the timing of Wilderson’s neo-slave narrative of his life in early 1990s South Africa should prove instructive to the world today. Juxtaposed with his life in a conservative, theretofore all-white Minneapolis suburban enclave in the early 1960s, in the urban black power hotspots of his adolescence in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and in California’s San Francisco Bay Area (site of a very recent police murder of an unarmed black man) during the late 1990s and early 2000s culture wars, South Africa is clearly the place that anchors his narrative in the world because it is the place where we see him gain the power to pose the questions that he asks of his life up to that moment and following it. Indeed, part of what comes through in this narrative is that blacks, while sentient beings, have been rendered utterly devoid of the capacity to define space/time, so that even “black spaces” have no signifying power and, in the words of David Marriott, black fantasies have "no objective value"[1]—until, that is, the prospect of sudden, fundamental change to the social order is at hand. Blacks’ attempts to disrupt their continuous repositioning as objects, and even to create their own subjective relationality or cultural identities, are behaviors that may have value in the performative register and may help black people make it through the day, but always fail to reposition blacks in the ontological register. While a title like Incognegro might suggest that Wilderson’s entire book is centering on blackness as an identity that is masked, some specific moments from the book belie such optimistic readings and, instead, point out the ways in which Wilderson is setting up blackness-as-ontology against black performativity and showing how the former murders the latter when the two clash.
Performance, this memoir points out, is a necessary reality of black life but only insofar as it can stave off the encroaching awareness of the ontological reality of blackness qua incapacity and social death. “So driven was I by a need to impress her,” Wilderson writes of his first date with his ex-wife Khanya Phenyo in Chapter 3, “that I postured as though I could protect her from animus so fine and ubiquitous it filled the very air we breathed” (99). Frank (henceforth, I will use “Frank” to refer to the author’s persona in this memoir and “Wilderson” to refer to the author qua author) attempts to leverage his Americanness to take his date, a South African woman, to the heretofore “Whites Only” Café Zurich.
“Just walk in like you own the joint,” I said. Still, she held back. I touched her gently at the elbow. “Okay,” I said, “let’s go somewhere else, it’s our first date, it should be fun; it’s your town, make a suggestion.”
“It’s not my town,” she said, softly.
Several White couples trickled up the stairs, slipped past us in our anxious indecision, and crossed the threshold of the Café Zurich’s glass façade. They took their seats in the dark interior of cushioned chairs and candlelight. The entire mise–en–scène gave the café the ambiance of a dinner theater; the landing where Khanya and I stood, paralyzed by uncertainty and dread, was the perfect spectacle for their optimism and amusement as they sipped their wine and savored their dessert. For whatever tragedy could befall them, they could thank god that they would never be cast in our roles. Unable to bear the prolonged humiliation of their gaze, I urged Khanya to go inside. (99-100)
In a different historical milieu, this incident could have been read as a cautionary tale for Black Americans. “Freedom isn’t free, so be thankful for it because you won’t get it in other countries.” In the post-apartheid era it might also be read as a narrative of historical progress, a legitimation of the racial order in which racial problems will be resolved in due time with enough hard work and faith in the system on everyone’s part. Of course, this is hardly the point here and would require us to discard a substantial portion of the rich detail that Wilderson provides us from his actual lived experience. For one thing, the narrative is acknowledging what every black/slave narrative since the advent of blackness must perforce acknowledge: the white audience. In the tradition of black narratives, whites are always already positioned as having the capacity to in some way authorize, hence police, the narrative—as the benefactors that made the book’s publication possible by funding it, being part of the publishing apparatus, or warranting its legibility in the symbolic order (like the abolitionist amanuenses and editors who prefaced the narratives of North American slaves in order to enable the empathy of “the reader,” or Jean-Paul Sartre’s admonition that “readers” in the west “have the courage to read [Frantz Fanon’s The Wretched of the Earth], primarily because it will make you feel ashamed, and shame, as Marx said, is a revolutionary feeling”[2]). Wilderson is also positioning the white audience here as that which makes Frank’s performance necessary in this moment, and, as we shall see in the interview, makes Wilderson’s performative act of writing Incognegro itself a necessary act while at the same time proscribing the manner in which he must go about doing that.
What unfolds in the course of the scene is that the maître d', an eastern European immigrant (a Slav?), points Frank and Khanya (the Slaves) to the sign “Right of Refusal Reserved” and ushers them out. Wilderson is not just pointing toward an instance of discriminatory behavior or a case of individual hatred of black people, but a more widely dispersed and “fine” antiblackness that wears a smile and speaks politely, even apologetically. Frank pushes back, insisting that he has just as much right to eat in the restaurant as any of the white patrons who are watching him make this very scene. One senses the ease with which Frank, and black men more generally, rely on the performance of confident carriage to such a degree that it's really hard to accept that it is a performance. As the scene unfolds further, we see that it's a performance that might even work on a case-by-case basis—perhaps even seem to work throughout something called a life— but never does anything to reposition the black. The maître d's sign, and the military functions that back it and that are always a few seconds away, mean that Frank and Khanya are already zoned (in Fanon’s parlance) by the gratuitous violence that creates a “Whites Only” sector. In other words, Frank’s resistance is never ontological resistance leading to a Hegelian dialectical synthesis. To be sure, it's a performance that sometimes works. It sometimes works because one is able to dupe a white into disavowing their reality (and Frank does indeed get the maître d' to consider the possibility that “the law [allowing the restaurant to keep blacks and Coloureds out] has changed”)—or sometimes because in the present ethical order it’s not polite to refuse blacks service—so that they treat the black as a Human and not a Slave. In the moment, the maître d' eventually does invite Frank in, hailing him as “my American friend.” Still, this does not reposition the Slave or suggest that the Slave had actually been part of the symbolic dialectic after all, for it is only the belated connection that the maître d' draws between the Slave and a geographically recognizable—in other words, white—“zone” (“my American friend”) that authorizes this provisional visibility and enables empathy. It thus reaffirms Ronald A.T. Judy’s claim that “black folk… are always already dead wherever you find them,”[3] whether that be in an all-white enclave in Minnesota, in Manhattan, or in a “racially integrated” neighborhood in Johannesburg. Performance, this book argues repeatedly and forcefully, cannot in any way rescue the black from blackness.
Wilderson also pieces together how the answers to these questions are revealed to him. In this moment, it is Khanya, of course, who is seeing the performance but acknowledging the ontological reality that is underwriting it. Whose town is it? She whispers the answer, “It’s not my town,” just as Wilderson-as-author stages the entrance of those who are the answer that question. (Khanya often reminds Frank of his audience, as, at the beginning of the book, when Frank must step into the next room in the house of his white benefactors in South Africa, his evening disrupted by a call from a white reporter pressing him to comment about being on Nelson Mandela’s list of domestic threats. He is forced to pretend that his white benefactors should not be troubled.)
Wilderson even tempts us to draw analogies between performance done by blacks and that by others.
 “Let’s take a cab,” I said, “rather than wait all night for a kombi to fill up.”
As metered taxi drivers came into view, and as we came in view for them, I became horribly aware of what a bad idea this was. But we had too much forward motion. The first and second drivers shook their heads and rolled up their windows. Khanya was set to leave when I noticed the third driver was an Indian and, unlike the others, he was rolling his window down.
“This guy’ll take us.” I made a beeline for him and she was compelled to do the same.
He said, “I’m not going to Soweto! I’ll tell you that right now.”
“We’re not going to Soweto,” I said in a tone that wanted to be accommodating for him and indignant for Khanya. It fell into a pit between the two.
“Or Alexandra, either. I don’t go to the locations.”
“We’re not going to the locations. We’re here, in town. Braamfontein. Wits University.”
Khanya was even more disgusted than before: “We’re going to walk,” she said and turned back up the hill. There was nothing to do but follow to her.
My accent finally registered with the driver and he called after me:
“Hey! You American? Okay, why not? Get in.”
“Khanya,” I whispered, “he’ll take us.”
“He’ll take you.” She continued up the hill.
“New York! Chicago? LA! You from LA?”
Wilderson’s record of this moment of the clash between performance and ontology turns on the “Okay” here performed by the Indian cab driver. “Okay” is one of the most thoroughly dispersed Americanisms out there—a simple turn of phrase, denoting a mild affirmation, which, because it is repeated so often, comes to signify the easygoing, pragmatic nature that makes America “great.” One senses that the Indian cab driver embraces the word here with its attendant pragmatism about reaching ends. It is the American's willingness to ask "why not?" (the quintessentially American corporate giant slogan went, "Enron: Ask why?") that frees him from such traditional hindrances as class lines or, in the case of the Indian cab driver, caste lines. The Indian cab driver’s performance of Americanism seems to be liberatory for him in this moment. But is it also liberatory for Frank and Khanya?
“Okay” is interesting for another reason: Its etymology may be at least partly influenced by the languages of the Wolof and Choctaw in the “New” World.[4] It is a word that never would have gone worldwide— only to become the province of a South African-Indian cab driver deciding whether to take an African American man’s money—but for the Middle Passage, the genocidal cultural exchange between Indian and Settler, and the violence of colonialist expansion and labor. Frank is attempting to accept it here as a signifier of that American-style willingness to try anything that works—read: makes money (in the previous action of this chapter, he said to the maitre d’ that his money was as good as anyone else’s). This set of meanings is important, but underneath, it is simply another mercy that is being afforded him, for he is the anything that is being tried, and only, again, because he is recognized as being attached to a white zone, America, instead of a black zone, “the locations.” He has thus been elevated by the Indian cab driver above the nonexistence of niggerhood to the position of “okay.” The power to be positioned, the narrative informs us, lies not with the black because the black is not a subject. Even in the face of a white immigrant and a nonwhite-nonblack immigrant to an avowedly racist country, the black, whether native-born like Khanya or an American immigrant like Frank, is an object to be positioned, but unable to position himself.
This incapacity to position oneself extends to the time of the black as well as the space. The sense of time is structured by intervals, as described by Frantz Fanon and emphasized by Kara Keeling. Each chapter, each scene contains an explosion in which, as Keeling puts it in her article “In the Interval: Frantz Fanon and the ‘Problems’ of Visual Representation,” the present is simply the “(re)appearance of the past, felt as affect” (106). The time of the black structures this book by way of the explosion for which Fanon and Keeling wait. For what do they wait? For the cognitive dissonance between the realities woven from performance and the Real that black ontology avows.
Frank’s friend, Jim Harris, a philosophical and hard-drinking black American expatriate in South Africa, is fond of playing the trombone, badly, and playing his role in debunking some of Frank’s lingering optimism. If choice and agency are the marks of free subjects, it doesn’t seem too much of a reduction to say that Frank’s discussion with Jim in Chapter 10 concerns the theme of the Subject’s “if” versus the Object’s “when.” “Jim Harris was real,” Wilderson writes (399), and, like the Real of Lacanian psychoanalysis, Jim’s favorite role is as a spoiler of Frank’s sense that he has any symbolic agency in his life—even going so far as to lay out the subject matters of Frank and Khanya’s arguments and a precise timetable for their eventual breakup.
Yeah, [Khanya] thinks she’s got something special, something different than that ole South African who only wants to hang with his friends 24/7 and stay out all night at the shebeen. Then a year goes by, maybe two, three if you lucky.” He began playing his trombone.
“Will you stop with that insufferable horn and finish the story!”
“Insufferable.” He let the horn rest, and reflected: “Now there’s a word you don’t hear everyday from a Negro.”
“Jim, please.”
“She likes all your fancy talk, all your romance, all your Marvin Gaye, but no one warned her ’bout all your complications. That’s what my African wife told me when she left. 
In this moment, we can see yet another level at which Jim is functioning: He sets up the interval at which Frank explodes. Keeling writes, “Because the Black’s explosion has been anticipated within the terms of the hellish cycle to which he is confined, it does not liberate him; instead, it fulfills and initiates the infernal circle in which the world waits for the Black’s explosion” (105).
All of this provokes many questions, the most salient among them being, “Does Incognegro suggest that the performative is a pointless register for thinking black existence?” Perhaps at this point, it will be useful to turn to our interview with Wilderson on his performative act, the writing of Incognegro itself.

“I only knew I couldn’t breathe.” (414)
Interview, September 25, 2008, Irvine, California
Omar: You have referred elsewhere[5] to positionalities formed by the antagonisms that structure modernity. These are the Settler/Master, a position held by Europeans in the “New World” and by Western Europe and other colonial powers in their colonies; the “Savage,” the indigenous populations whose position in modernity is defined by (a) genocide and (b) displacement from its subjective capacity to signify; and the Slave, whose position in modernity is the collapse of all capacity into object-hood. With that in mind, we could read this “memoir of exile and apartheid” as exposing the reader to the three structural positionalities that define modernity and showing how the attempt to situate the black within each ends up rejecting the black bodies and black lives that circumstances toss into them. In South Africa, we see the indigenous position—what happens when the Slave and "Savage" positions are the same. And with you in South Africa and, briefly, Khanya in New York, we see the impossibility of living an immigrant narrative, which is really a subset of the settler narrative, when one is a black. And then, there is the slave. Although there is a positionality for the slave, there is really no narrative that is the slave’s. So, will you talk about how your memoir elaborates or modifies your thoughts about the triangulated subject positions of modernity?
Frank: Let me start by saying that I modeled this book as a genre form on the autobiography of Assata Shakur because I needed a way to talk about the structural antagonisms that your question alludes to as well as tell a story on a way that was acceptable to the needs of the genre. Part of the problem is that the genre of the memoir is predicated on what Barthes called the proairetic code[6]—the code of “and then,... and then,… and then…” There is the individual, and that individual moves from a state of equilibrium, to a state of disequilibrium, and finally the narrative recuperates its state of equilibrium.  That is the story of all seven of the seminal or “Ur texts” of Western modernity. Christ comes into a horrible world, he is born in a manger, he goes through disequilibrium, and he rises again. So, here’s the deal. I had a situation in which I needed to package what I’m trying to say in a creative genre that is acceptable to Western modernity so I can get it published and get paid. [Laughter.] Western modernity actually is the problem, not what happens in modernity itself. Those are problems also. And so we’re dealing with the story of someone who, based upon the semiotics of storytelling, doesn’t have a story. Which is to say, I must accommodate the anti-story of the slave—who is the anti-being— to the needs, the ideological needs of a cultural object out of western modernity. Why is that a problem? It’s a problem because the person in the story in question has a name and often believes himself to be an agent, but his blackness makes him not. Which is to say that the three large steps, or three general moves of the creative narrative of Western modernity—equilibrium, disequilibrium, recuperation of equilibrium—can’t work for that position—
Omar: —because there’s never an equilibrium? Because there’s not a subject?
Frank: Yes. And I felt that Assata Shakur’s book helped me with that in that she moved from a chapter of present tense oriented political struggle—violent disequilibrium—a moment of violent disequilibrium against the state—the shootout on the Jersey Turnpike—and uses that to talk about the state of disequilibrium in a dramatic way. So she’s taken some of the tools of the genre—which is dramatic storytelling— but she’s opening in an obvious moment of disequilibrium in the present tense. Then the next chapter oscillates back to childhood—and childhood in the west, in America, nine times out of ten is a moment of equilibrium. As the white new agers say, one must find one’s inner child to have peace—the same way they talk about “nature” as though it’s—
Omar: Something to get back to—
Frank: Yes, a pristine moment of innocence. As opposed to what [Slavoj] Zizek[7] would say, we have to understand that Nature is absolutely crazy—think of volcanoes and earthquakes and so on—there’s nothing pristine or peaceful about it. Geological, tectonic shifts—
Omar: So there’s always got to be a paradise to lose and then to regain. [Laughter.]
Frank: That’s it. So she was able to do that using some of the tactics of the western bourgeois narrative, but still illustrating the condition of this being who is born into disequilibrium, lives through various types of disequilibrium, and dies in disequilibrium. And so that’s how I was able to do that.
Omar: That brings up my next question, because Hortense Spillers talks about how blacks live in “mythical time,” and have “no movement in the field of signification.” Will you talk with us about how this mythical time is elaborated in your narrative—both in how you lay it out and how mythical time actually occurs in the narrative of black “life,” for lack of a better term?
Frank: Yes, well if we look at it in chronological time, the book moves from 1962 age of six years old through a kind of civil rights era as one of two (with my sister) first black kids in an all-white school, an all-white enclave of Minneapolis during the civil rights era, through sabbatical years as a young adolescent, my father’s sabbatical years and our falling into these various hot, hot spots of revolution. Detroit. Chicago. Berkeley. Jumping then to South Africa in the 1990s and white suburban California at the turn of the century. And so in one particular episode, the little boy persona, Frank Wilderson, is now an adolescent and the sabbatical years are happening, its 1970, we’re in Berkeley, and what I want is to be a part of a revolution that will change the world. So, what the narrative is saying is that my participating in the demonstrations that turn into riots at UC Berkeley, my working or learning from older college kids in SDS [Students for a Democratic Society] and things like that at Willard Junior High School in Berkeley, my tutelage from the Black Panthers, are all things that are narrativized in the book as being politically more palatable, more correct, than my parents’ laissez-faire or their tenacious fixation on civil rights as opposed to black power. And so in one register I’m saying, “Yes, this is right. Where I was coming from is better than where they’re coming from.” But what the book also recognizes is that my political correctness—and I don’t mean that in quotation marks or ironically—and their political conservatism are important distinctions but ultimately inessential and irrelevant to what happens to us, to our actual condition in the world. And then some of the musing, when we move away from the actual storytelling and—because this is what you can do in a memoir, you can muse on, reflect on, the story—I realized that maybe they were smarter than I was for having given up on history. Because hasn’t history always already given up on the slave? And this gets back to what you’re saying in terms of this “no movement in the field of signification.” Hortense Spillers is exactly right. I can’t celebrate my parents’ not being down with Marxist-Leninism. On the other hand, maybe unconsciously they realized that Marxist-Leninism would free the worker, move the worker through time to another condition, but leave the Black where he or she always was.
Omar: Yes. In fact, you never allow the reader to indulge in the standard array of the narratives that American mythology usually imposes that imply any form of progress—that is, movement in the field of signification. For example, romantically conflating the arrival of black middle-class families in white enclaves with some kind of immigrant arrival narrative here would not work any more for your upper middle-class upbringing than for Claude Brown in Manchild in the Promised Land. The structure of your narrative brings out this element, as do your references to slavery and your parents’ lives in Louisiana and the Great Migration to Harold and Gloria Cooper, the black psychologist couple visiting in South Africa who describe the paper-bag test that her mother brings out, which is of course straight out of my parents’ generation, my grandparents’ generation.
Let me share a quote from an article:
In fact, studies comparing birth outcomes among white and Black American women showed that more low birth-weight babies are born to African Americans, but birth outcomes among white Americans and African-born immigrants to America were comparable. Moreover, the daughters of the African immigrants gave birth to low birth-weight babies at the same rate as African Americans.[8]
Researchers are at a loss to explain these kinds of disparities with reference to socioeceonomic class or genetics. African-born black women “become black,” in a manner of speaking, within one generation of being on U.S. soil. There is a Middle Passage in these numbers. Now, your book implies that Africans are very much aware that blackness kills. So, Khanya leaves New York and returns to Johannesburg because she feels herself becoming more “sullen and coiled”: becoming black.
Frank: Well, some people think of this as a paradox. In my writing, I think of it as a necessary condition for the health of everyone else.
Omar: Explain, please.
Frank: Well, I think that it’s necessary for us to die in myriad ways and for there to be the spectacle of black death re-inscribing itself, reproducing itself across various sectors, say the movies—and here we have, in your example, birthrates, so that a couple of things can happen. One, the isolation of black bodies from human bodies can remain constant. Why is there a threat of it not remaining constant? Because black sentient beings push against the paradigm of this isolation. And so the paradigm that isolates blacks outside of and away from human beings has to shape shift and morph its technologies so that that isolation stays because if it didn’t, then there would be no distinction between blacks and humans, which means that “human” would be an irrelevant or non-knowable category. There would not be a crisis in human relations; there would be a catastrophe in the epistemological fabric of the world. [Laughter.] So, there’s panic on both sides. There’s panic in the nonblack world, which has to guard the gate to keep blackness from becoming, from seeping into humanness. And there’s panic in the black world, which is internecine panic for various subsets of us to figure out how we can be less black. Which is to say how we can be less dead. And this is I think the foundation of the Black African-Black American conflict that you’re seeing in this marriage in the United States with the psyche of Khanya moving towards trying to aspire to and apprehend immigrant status, if only unconsciously, if only in her mind, so that that would ward off this status of pure blackness. And Black Americans do the same thing when they’re abroad, like when they join the Peace Corps. It’s a kind of movement, affect, structure of feeling, way to distinguish themselves from the black spot of where they are: the African. The isolation has tangible effects. In other words, this low birth weight in your example that comes in the second generation of African women is a function not of some people throwing people down the stairs, but a function of knowing oneself to be a dead relation and the stress of that knowing oneself to be a dead relation creating all sorts of adrenal problems that impact upon the reproductive apparatus and the womb. So the researchers or the scientists who are not privy to this study might say that the problem is coming internally from the psyche itself, but we know from Lacan and from Freud that the psyche is a component of a large set of relations. It’s not an isolated thing. So the problem in thinking, the problem in writing, the problem in analyzing is how to make what seems naturally internal read as an external phenomenon, which is very hard to do, because one could say that people have a low birth weight in 1690 because they’re eating slop and being chained up and beaten in the ship. Well, I’m suggesting that that same dynamic is happening here, even though someone is wearing a Gucci pair of shoes and a Liz Claiborne dress—
Omar: —and calling themselves a white person’s boss, as Shelleen Johnson, the black woman elected to be chair of the department at Cabrillo College by her white feminist faculty “sisters” is policed by Helen, the white secretary!
Frank: Exactly! And if you can think like that then we can begin to blame the world for the problem of blacks as opposed to blaming blacks for their problems.

[1] Marriott, David. (2000). On Black Men. New York: Columbia University Press, p. 11.
[2] Sartre, Jean-Paul, in Fanon, Frantz. (2005). The Wretched of the Earth. New York: Grove Press.
[3] Judy, R.A.T. (1994). On the Question of Nigga Authenticity. Boundary 2, 21:3, p. 212.
[4] The Origin of OK. Morning Edition [online]. Available: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=1140939 (accessed on 8 August 2015).
[5] Wilderson, Frank B., III. (2010). Red, White, and Black: Cinema and the Structure of U.S. Antagonisms. Duke University Press, 2010, p. 6.
[6] Silverman, Kaja. (1983). Subject of Semiotics. NY: Oxford UP. pp. 262-70.
[7] Zizek, Slavoj (2008). World Renowned Philosopher Slavoj Zizek on the Iraq War, the Bush Presidency, the War on Terror. Democracy Now [online] http://www.democracynow.org/2008/5/12/world_renowned_philosopher_slavoj_zizek_on (accessed on 8 August 2015).
[8] Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick? [online] http://www.unnaturalcauses.org/resources.php?topic_id=8 (accessed on 8 August 2015); see also N Engl J Med. 1997 Oct 23;337(17):1209-14.

1 comment:

  1. Great Essay and interview. I read your essay topic which really interesting and informative. Your information really useful of peoples.