Tuesday, March 15, 2016

What is Afropessimism in Common Parlance?

by Footnote

Perhaps a succinct definition will not suffice in granting a comprehensive answer, not withstanding my novice-hood and lay view in the letter, thus i may not equal the task to pronounce what is Afro Pessimism eloquently, however it shall be observed along the text what i personally grasp as Afro Pessimism.

The prefix "Afro" stands for Africa and Pessimism is simple Pessimistic in general language, the two words combined they form a concept called Afro Pessimism. Afro Pessimism is not a political framework or political ideology nor anything of that nature, it is simple a work of understanding, a narrative, a meta-critique of the world. What Afro Pessimism is saying is that the world is an unethical formation, therefore Afro Pessimism only lays out an ethical imperative that, the world has to end as we know it. Afro Pess does not prescribe or say what must be done or how the world ought to be ended, it only describes the world.

One may be baffled by this assertion and wonder what does "ending the world as we know it" really implies ? - perhaps i should highlight the difference between "ending the world" and  "ending the world as we know it" the latter merely implies that there is a world that we do not know as yet, in other words, "ending the world as we know it" is to destroy the unethical permanent structures that form this current unethical world, and that sounds like revolution itself.

I often sense a fomenting animosity and frown upon those who are called Afro-Pessimists, Afro-Pessimists are believed to be self hating, white ass licking blacks, whom talk political rhetorics with "big english" with no actions, ground work and blah blah blah. Firstly it must be noted that such people whom are labeled Afro Pessimist do not exist, there is no one who is an Afro Pessimist, those that use the tool, agree with it's arguments, or make Afro Pessimistic narratives, we may call them Afro Pessimist so to advance grammar.

These emotional and flimsy attacks resides in the failure to hear what is being said, why is it being said, and engaging the argument that Afro-Pess brings forth. It is worth noting that, Afro-Pessimism tends to fly pass the unlettered people's comprehension owing to the intricate language used in Afro Pess narratives. One of my noble brother says "if we look at the world from an Afro Pessimistic view, the world is a big prison for the blacks and the prison conditions can not be improved any better beyond the prison, the walls need to be taken down period. Even though some blacks are elevated to high positions to guard the prison, prevent prisoners from escaping, manage the rage of prisoners, but thats just an illusion cause everyone inside those walls is a prisoner." So ending the world as we know it is in the same way as bringing down the walls of the prison.

Along these arguments the mother of Afro Pessimism, Saidiya Hartman writes "Rather than celebrate Blackness as a cultural identity, Afro-Pessimism theorizes it as a position of accumulation and fungibility" Simple put: Afro Pessimism acknowledges that being black is a cultural identity, however Afro Pess refuses to celebrate being black as such, essentially blacks are in a position of collectiveness and used as replaceable objects to fund white existence just like slaves. This also means that even though black people know themselves as human beings they are not allowed a human life as a result they find themselves in a condition of ontological death - an existence outside humanity.

Also it must be noted that "slaves" knew that they were human beings despite being enslaved, the "slave-master" also knew very well that "slaves" were human beings cause he talked to them, gave them instructions, food, clothes et al, but denied them the birth right of being human and live alike, this is also to say that what defined "slaves" more than anything was the position of slavery, thus knowing that they were human beings meant nothing really, in the same way that we know ourselves as human beings does not translate in living as human beings in a world that survives on black suffering. 

I have heard a thousand times now, people saying Afro Pess says black people are sub-humans, subalterns, non-beings, slaves and all other names you can think of, ok lets say this once and for all, Afro Pessimism does not say those things, you will never find it anywhere in Afro Pess letter, but what these people fail to understand is that Afro Pess is making an argument or it is describing the world as it sees it, in the same way in scientific experiments you will not see atoms, molecules and particles with an naked eye but a microscopic device, the world also needs a particular instrument to see whats beneath the surface and Afro Pess may just be that microscopic device to see the world as it is, not as how its presented.

We need Black Consciousness as a self concept so to self define and find pride in who we are, Pan Africanism to unite as blacks and reject any colonial strategy, also we need to make sense of our suffering, so Afro Pess is that grammar of our suffering spoken by the black body, how else will we free ourselves if we can't make sense of our suffering? So in essence these are all tools that belong in the same tool box that i will call black liberation and sovereignty. 

The concepts used in Afro Pess are often mistaken for "big english" whatever that means, concepts are concepts and if one knows a black small electronic component called an I.C in an electronic board, it is a big circuit board when expanded but compressed in a small chip for size convenience, thats exactly what concepts are alike, a lot of explanation put in one or two words so that you do not have to re-explain every time.

Let us briefly explain a few of them like "Socially death" which simple means the way in which we relate to one another is being created for us and maintained as if we are just objects, in turn we are a society rejected as human beings by another society and that is being carried out by many ways like violence without doing anything, deprivation of humane resources, aids, ebola, and all that has a function of human making. Why is this ? Its because they can.

Another one is "Ontological death" this simple means that we do not exist in the world that human beings exist in, we are expelled from humanity and in other words we are dead cause to die is not only physical but also metaphysical, to exist like you are nothing in this world is also death itself of some sort. Basically we do not matter in this world we are killed as if we are nothing, when we cry we are not being heard, our history is being destroyed and represented as white history, we are not different to slaves and owned along side any other objects even the ones we think we own.

Lastly i will talk about "libidinal economy" this is an economy of pleasure, to oppress blacks is not enough but its also psychologically pleasing and some how it is important to whites, black suffering does not only create wealth for whites but it also gives them happiness and a sense of humanity, So that is also the reasons whites people enjoy helping black people but they are the problem to start of with. 

In Conclusion i guess what Afro Pessimism is saying is that slavery never ended but the ways of slavering have been slightly changed so that a lot will not notice,
today "slaves" are not owned by Masters per se but the system, they can actually choose which master to slave for, so one at times may feel a sense of humanness not knowing slavery kicks in without having to do any slave work, but being in a slave position that ultimately governs your non-existence, in other words a slave is a property of another human being.

Footnote - is a black thinker, reader and writer, an african by descent and aspirations and a layman pro-actively narrates the grammar of black condition from a lived experience and conscious point of view, not owned by any political enclave, nor flirt with any veiled hypocrisy as originated or promulgated via the tentacles of anti-blackness stratagems.

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