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Author Topic: The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual
Altáriël of Dorthonion
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
too long didn't read

[ROFL]
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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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Scott,

I wasn't right to write, "I'll cast myself." Historical circumstances have conspired for me to play John the Baptist. I have decided to accept the nomination.

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Scott R
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Why John the Baptist?
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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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This thread isn't about me crying in the wilderness. The point at issue is the need for black economic control of cultural institutions which are supposed to serve blacks.
______

With regard to the disconnect between black Americans and formal education, there is another LDS analogy to be had: Seminary. Why is it the case that the LDS church has morning seminary for high schoolers? I imagine that this is even more important in areas where LDS are in the minority. I pressume, but this is a pure guess, that high school morning seminary addresses personal and community related issues unique to LDS, and are not duly dealt with at school. It's a form of steam control, and without it, formal schooling- eight to three schooling with a curriculum and priorities conceived by non-LDS-- would seem increasingly irrelevant.

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SoaPiNuReYe
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quote:
Originally posted by Irami Osei-Frimpong:
SoaPiNuReYe,

There is a difference between moneyed blacks and a real intelligentsia. I mean, C.J. Walker was rich, but I don't know if anyone should hold the world's first hairess as a model on how to cultivate the Talented Tenth.

Who cares if there's a difference? It doesn't matter who really is intelligent as long as it's a black guy writing the book in the publisher's eyes. The poor black man's story is a story most of America doesn't want to hear. The story is often filled with drugs, gangs, torn down schools, and other items that are mostly found in what Middle America calls 'The Ghetto'. Middle America will never be able to see the soul inside books like these, and that is why they don't sell well. Also, the very things named above often prevent poor black men from even writing the book in the first place. So to makeup for this lack of voice in the literature community, they get the only people that they can find, which is usually the rich black kid. There's too much disparity between the rich and poor black population for there to ever many true black voices in America.
You talk about education, and how it is not suited to the black community. There are 5 high schools in my area that are majority black. As far as I can tell the education is tailored to them fine. I go to one of them. The school is fine, it's just that the kids don't have the will to learn, boy or girl. Even the rich kids are like this. Then when you go to places like where I live, you can see why they really don't care about schooling. There's drugs, gangs, violence, and the schools aren't always the best either.
You are wrong about the death of the black intellectual however. There have been several powerful and influential black leaders in the past years. Chuck D, Common,and Bill Cosby to name a few. Nobody listens to these people however, that is the real problem.

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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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quote:
quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by Irami Osei-Frimpong:
SoaPiNuReYe,

There is a difference between moneyed blacks and a real intelligentsia. I mean, C.J. Walker was rich, but I don't know if anyone should hold the world's first hairess as a model on how to cultivate the Talented Tenth.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Who cares if there's a difference? It doesn't matter who really is intelligent as long as it's a black guy writing the book in the publisher's eyes. The poor black man's story is a story most of America doesn't want to hear. The story is often filled with drugs, gangs, torn down schools, and other items that are mostly found in what Middle America calls 'The Ghetto'.

The quality of the intellect writing the book does matter because no amount of poverty or degradation can make-up for the keen preception and historical insight that comes with thoughtful study. This is the reason why biographies are often more telling and compelling than auto-biographies. Maybe I can make this clearer, a veteran Marine may have seen all of the horrors that go along with this war, but it's distinctly possible that one keen-witted, clear-sighted private can write it down, in hard, vivid detail after glimpsing only one battle.

quote:
You talk about education, and how it is not suited to the black community. There are 5 high schools in my area that are majority black. As far as I can tell the education is tailored to them fine. I go to one of them. The school is fine, it's just that the kids don't have the will to learn, boy or girl. Even the rich kids are like this. Then when you go to places like where I live, you can see why they really don't care about schooling. There's drugs, gangs, violence, and the schools aren't always the best either.
If the neighborhood is rife with drugs, gangs, and violence then the curriculum in school should address thoroughly and consistently, the issues that cultivate a culture of drugs, gangs, and violence. The extent to which the school curriculum ignores this is the extent to which the curriculum is disconnected with the community.

quote:
You are wrong about the death of the black intellectual however.
For the record, I don't think that there ever was a vibrant intellectual life. Black people didn't have much in the way of an educational infrastructure until relatively recent times. The entire nation has suffered for it. I'm not waxing nostalgic on some idealized past. A black intelligentsia is only conspicuous in its absence.

I'm talking about an entire class of people, a swarm of state-sponsored thinkers, reading, teaching, writing, trading wisdom, revising and studying, you give me Chuck D, Common, and Bill Cosby: three guys, one last name, and a slang term for vulgar. They are the black equivalent of Michael Moore, maybe. We are in a bad way if this is what it's come to. Thankfully, I don't think that it's this bad. But the scene isn't good, either.

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Puffy Treat
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quote:

Seminary. Why is it the case that the LDS church has morning seminary for high schoolers? I imagine that this is even more important in areas where LDS are in the minority. I pressume, but this is a pure guess, that high school morning seminary addresses personal and community related issues unique to LDS, and are not duly dealt with at school. It's a form of steam control, and without it, formal schooling- eight to three schooling with a curriculum and priorities conceived by non-LDS-- would seem increasingly irrelevant. [/QB]

Seminary focuses of study of the scriptures and Church history.

It's held in the early morning so that (theoretically) one's head is clear and better able to retain the material studied.

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SoaPiNuReYe
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Chuck D equivalent to Michael Moore?
He is one of the most respected blacks of all time. He helped shape the black identity during the 90s. Sure he was radical, but he needed to be and he knew that.

How about Jesse Jackson?
Nelson Mandela?
Chinua Achebe?
Walter Dean Myers?
Muhammed Ali?

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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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quote:
Chuck D equivalent to Michael Moore?
He is one of the most respected blacks of all time. He helped shape the black identity during the 90s. Sure he was radical, but he needed to be and he knew that.

How about Jesse Jackson?
Nelson Mandela?
Chinua Achebe?
Walter Dean Myers?
Muhammed Ali?

We are going to have to disagree about this. I'll email you a list of fiction and non-fiction authors you may want to look at if you want my opinion of people I consider to be thoughtful members of the anemic black intelligentsia.
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SoaPiNuReYe
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I don't really check my e-mail but you can if you want.
If none of those people are on your list, then yeah, there's a pretty big disagreement here.

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Jutsa Notha Name
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quote:
Originally posted by Irami Osei-Frimpong:
Scott,

I wasn't right to write, "I'll cast myself." Historical circumstances have conspired for me to play John the Baptist. I have decided to accept the nomination.

You don't get to pick. If you really believe that, you are a half-eaten sandwich short of a picnic. Either that, or you're an aspiring writer who is convinced they are in posession of the manuscript that will hearken a new era. I'll believe it when you can produce results that don't fit comfortably into a resume.
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Kwea
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Irami....what you don't get, what you never get, is the fact that you could drop the "Black" right out of the title of this thread and it would not just be as accurate....it would be MORE accurate.

Intellectuals in general have been crying the same old song you are in this thread about almost every point you make....regardless of race.


You are upset you don't get to pick your own standard for books? Neither does anyone else who is trying to sell a story. If they did they would be the editor/publisher. You don't have enough representatives of your race owning publishing houses? Why don't they? Did anyone stop them, or does it just not interest them?


If it does, should they get a free pass to start one? No one else does....they have to earn respect, participate in the field and arrange funding. They have to prove that above all else they can publish books that sell, that make a profit.


People would have to buy it....and almost by definition these days anything that sells CAN'T be
intellectual to meet your standards.


I know...how about we arrange quotas and MAKE people read it. And the government can foot the bill!


Wait, that wouldn't work either.....

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TomDavidson
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quote:
The point at issue is the need for black economic control of cultural institutions which are supposed to serve blacks.
I think the existence of cultural institutions supposed to serve blacks is part of the problem.
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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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Any school with black kids is a cultural institution that's supposed to serve blacks. Any theater in a black neighborhood is a cultural institution that's supposed to serve blacks. Any museum in a black community is a cultural institution that is supposed to serve blacks.

The liberal left integrationist assumption is that we can use the same curriculum devised by whites for whites, plays written by whites for whites, and museum content designed by whites for whites and have it be as timely and relevant. I don't think that's the case.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
Any school with black kids is a cultural institution that's supposed to serve blacks.
No. It's a school that's supposed to serve children.

quote:
The liberal left integrationist assumption is that we can use the same curriculum devised by whites for whites, plays written by whites for whites, and museum content designed by whites for whites and have it be as timely and relevant.
It must disturb you to realize that on this issue you agree strongly with the Ku Klux Klan.
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Kwea
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I don't think so....I don't think Irami sees himself as a "liberal left integrationist".....at least that is what I got from that quote, anyway.
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King of Men
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Accept, for a moment, your charge that the 'real black story' is not being told. Are you so convinced it is important? It is, as you have defined it, a story of poverty and powerlessness, things which you would surely like people to be getting away from. In making a rose, do you study the story of the fertiliser?
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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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quote:
It is, as you have defined it, a story of poverty and powerlessness, things which you would surely like people to be getting away from.
It's not so much about poverty and powerlessness. It's a story of a perpetual minority in a proudly hyper-competitive majority ruled democracy, in a country with a cultural history of abusing it's privilege, kind of like being a Jew still living in Germany. Actually, I'd love to read stories about Jews still living in Germany or Poland.
In theory, it shouldn't be any different than being an Teuton in Germany, but I think that there would be meaningful differences, due to historical factors.

If we take group dynamics seriously, as a perpetual minority, you aren't going to have as much money or brute influence, but that doesn't mean you need be poor and impotent. It's similar to being a woman. You aren't going to be the strongest or the richest, for reasons of biology or primogeniture, but the appeal is different, if for no other reason than it'll make you reevaluate the importance of being rich and powerful.

____________

The story of black Americans can be an insightful critique of modern democracy. With all of the talk surrounding and the blood spilled over installing secular democracies around the world, how it's worked out for black Americans in this land of plenty is a worthy subject, your mileage may vary.

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TomDavidson
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Kwea, the point is that Irami is actually arguing for segregation.
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vonk
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quote:
Originally posted by Samprimary:
too long didn't read

Thanks Sam. This really cleared up the whole debate for me. [Smile]
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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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There are merits of segregation, especially when it comes to ownership of artistic and cultural institutions. If the LDS had to rent their temples from Catholic landlords, I imagine there would be an LDS movement to buy the temples back, for good reason.

The economic, cultural, and political play between segregation and integration in a plural majority-ruled democracy can't justly be solved with a blithe laissez fair approach for two reasons: 1) money isn't the only motivator for cultural/economic institutions. We pretend that it is, but it's not. Sure, most publishers would rather make money than break even, but there are mitigating factors. There is a reason why O.J. Simpson's book was dropped, and it's not because it wouldn't have sold. If anything, the danger was that it would have sold too well. There is a reason why there are Christian publishers, and it's not the same reason that Willie Sutton robbed banks.

2) Group dynamics make it the case that when all else is equal and quite a bit is uncertain, in the marketplace of ideas, the owners are going to pick what appeals to them, and this isn't necessary a bad thing, but it does open up problems, especially for a perpetual minority in a majority-ruled society.

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TomDavidson
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quote:
1) money isn't the only motivator for cultural/economic institutions
Then why assume that it'll be the only determining factor? If people aren't motivated solely by money, surely people will also work against their own financial interest to help out valuable institutions -- for their own personal definition of "valuable," of course.

quote:
but it does open up problems, especially for a perpetual minority in a majority-ruled society.
Oh, absolutely. Tell it to the obese atheist. [Smile] But do I think we obese atheists should take our ball and go home -- or, as you're doing, demand that everybody else buy us a ball and a place to play? Hardly.
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pH
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I want a ball. [Frown]

-pH

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Synesthesia
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Segragation? Sounds unpleasent and outmoded.
I think we need to look beyond dualities a bit, but it will never happen in my lifetime. This sort of attitude really will not help people to evolve.

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David Bowles
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No, the answer is the destruction of the white majority. Even if there were separation of the two racial groups, the whites would continue to exploit the blacks and subjugate them... a new Black America would perforce need to trade and so forth with White America, and the UWSA would undoubtedly use its greater numbers and economic prowess (ill-gotten, of course, at the expense of minorities) to maneuver the UBSA into a second- or third-world level of economic subservience, much like the present USA does to Latin America and large chunks of the East and Middle East.

Just as the only way to eliminate US hegemony is to destroy this country, so the only way to eliminate the perfidious power of whites over blacks is to annihilate them altogether.

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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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Doesn't that sound a little extreme to you? How about we start with a few more black publishers, black school boards, and prison officials who read these books and go to these schools.

I actually don't think that white politicians and owners are looking to exploit us any more than Roger Federer is looking to exploit Andy Roddick, he is just looking to win. If the Man has his foot on my neck, I really think it's so that he can get a better view of the stars and hasn't thought to notice where he is stepping.

A classic example of this is black participation in the Union movement over the last 100 years. What a complicated mess that is. Integrating the trade unions was a good idea, right up until we realized that since blacks came in with the lowest seniority, we just ended up creating more jobs for whites. Then the answer was black Unions, but liberal whites saw them as anti-integrationist and Communists saw them as denying the common "brotherhood of workers."

[ March 29, 2007, 02:24 PM: Message edited by: Irami Osei-Frimpong ]

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David Bowles
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African- American Publishers

All-Black school boards? Stupid idea, unless the community is nearly 100% African-American. I live in an area that is > 90% Hispanic, and the school boards reflect this. Do you have statistics that you can point me toward that show a similar demographic representation is NOT happening in predominantly Black areas?

As for prison officials, I'd like to see a study that credible demonstrates that any dearth of African-American applicants for such positions is due to some sort of systemic barriers rather than, say, very few Blacks wanting the jobs... and of course I think a better focus for your concern would be lowering the percentage of prison inmates who are African American...

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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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quote:
How about we start with a few more black publishers, black school boards, and prison officials who read these books and go to these schools.
That's what I said, and you can have all of the black publishers, black school boards, and black prison officials in the world, but unless you have a black intelligentsia, serving as the organizing force, you'll just get these awfully shallow ghetto-trash novels on one side, and on the other, black people spouting retread, class-based, white capitalist solutions-- or leftist critiques-- that are unable, unwilling, and intellectually ill-equipped to address the singular ethnic problem of the black situation in America.

I chose black publishers and black school boards as a plausible first step towards the long term goal of cultivating a black intelligentsia.

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JonnyNotSoBravo
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Irami,

I think you would accept Henry Louis ("Skip") Gates, Jr. as one of your black intelligentsia.

Is it possible that the real crisis of the Negro intellectual is the growing anti-intellectualism (at least according to Jesse Jackson at the 2006 anniversary of Brown vs. the Board of Education) within black America? That a black man isn't "hard" if he's an intellectual? That the rappers, basketball players, and football players are far more glorified than the intellectual? Of course, my hypothesis is slightly biased since the number of college educated black American women is much higher than that of men, isn't it?

Compare this with the Jewish culture, which IMO, seems pro-intellectual. Or the white American culture, which seems neutral on being an intellectual, or at least very mixed between the people who do not revere an education and the people who do.

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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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Gates is so so. I think he is a step better than Jackson, Pitts, et al., who think the whole problem is solved by forcing black families to go to church.

quote:
Is it possible that the real crisis of the Negro intellectual is the growing anti-intellectualism (at least according to Jesse Jackson at the 2006 anniversary of Brown vs. the Board of Education) within black America?
The roots of black anti-intellectualism are complex and manifold. I don't know them all, but I can tell you a few. It starts in the situation of slavery, and then it becomes bone deep with Jim Crow. With Jim Crow laws, educated blacks fared worse for the awareness of the corruption of the American cultural, legal and economic system. They were resented by whites as uppity and dangerous, and they were estranged from blacks for bringing the evil eye of whites who were powerfully invested in and would forcefully maintain the status quo.

By educating blacks from 1860 to 1970, you risked awaking a lumbering, sleeping giant of a black righteous class that could argue the same fine points whites were using to maintain their authority. In peril, was the sanctity of our American institutions. Contrast this with non-slave immigrants. By and large, educating immigrants isn't going to make them distrustful of democracy, but by educating black people, you may show how the system had been used against them, disclosing the immorality of our American institutions(which are at best amoral), and then-- and this is the kicker-- ask them to participate, anyway.

The result is a disrespect for white authority and white laws, and since whites(and God) founded and maintained the nation's institutions, the aura of worldly lawlessness which abounds in black America. Whatever law is on the books of this country isn't our law, and that's the ethos explaining the high black incarceration rate. I'll be the first to say that I don't respect written law. That's why I can't get excited about law school or the ERA thread.

As a people, the struggle for our dignity wasn't won through black participation in formal education. It wasn't won through physics or chemistry. It was won through moral authority, and its the US' social and moral problems that need to be addressed before black people will abide by white institutions, I think.
______

Back in 1961, Neely Fuller said, "If you don't understand White Supremacy (Racism)--what it is and how it works, everything else that you understand will only confuse you."

The major disconnect between formal education and black youth is that formal education teaches "everything else" while black people, youth and adults, are still trying to figure out how some Man's foot got on their neck. For example, until I figure out how my doofus white male boss, who gets three times my salary, is in a position to be my doofus white male boss, I don't care about fractions.

[ March 30, 2007, 05:34 PM: Message edited by: Irami Osei-Frimpong ]

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TomDavidson
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quote:
the US' social and moral problems that need to be addressed before black people will abide by white institutions, I think.
Perhaps it would be easier if you stopped thinking of them as white institutions...?

And you realize, of course, that doofus bosses are doofus bosses regardless of the race of the employer and the employee, right?

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David Bowles
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Well, Irami, I for one am reluctant to allow people in my society to ignore present law because some earlier iteration of it was used in to exploit their ancestors...
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King of Men
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quote:
As a people, the struggle for our dignity wasn't won through black participation in formal education. It wasn't won through physics or chemistry. It was won through moral authority, and its the US' social and moral problems that need to be addressed before black people will abide by white institutions, I think.
Personally, I think that as long as this is your attitude, you haven't won at all; you've merely forced recognition that you have a right to dignity, which is a totally different concept.
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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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quote:
Well, Irami, I for one am reluctant to allow people in my society to ignore present law because some earlier iteration of it was used in to exploit their ancestors...
We are only talking about a generation, if that. What's important isn't the actual laws, or even that it took another hundred years to get those laws enforced, but the fact that the system that created those initial laws is still in tact. The fixes for the race problem in America affected at a superficial level. We've treated the symptoms without treating the disease. There is something profoundly inadequate about majority rule democracy. There is something profoundly inadequate about posing as a capitalist meriocracy when in the end, positions are doled out by family relations, status symbols, sporting partners, fraternity brothers, college buddies, and pretty tall people. Lastly, there is something profoundly inadequate about having the balance of your life being determined by how well you study some other culture's curriculum. It's a little like worshipping a false idol.

The middle bit about the false capitalist meritocracy doesn't bother me so much, except that we are slow to admit it. And since we are slow to admit it, it creates a culture of hypocrisy and degrades the individual humanity of those not in the chosen groups.

If we just admitted that, "Hey, I don't like being around a fat atheist assistant. They are bad for my morale. I'd rather have this cute little former Catholic school girl, not only is she fun to look at, we can joke about going through cataclysm," or on the flip side, "Look, I know these tests are culturally biased, or at least morally uninvolved, but I don't have time to read these 5,000 essays, so just give me the highest 20, and we'll go from there to weed to five."

But instead, the employers or institutions run the fat atheist or low scoring candidate through all of these hoops, sometimes even recruit them, to give the appearance of a fair procedure. That way, the employer, the cute little chickie assistant, the high scoring sociopath, and the recruiter, are all confident in the justice in the world, and the people in the infelicitous groups are left feeling terribly, terribly uneasy. And if they are conscientious, even when they do happen to be in the right group, they understand that it's a contingent fact not based on what it's purported to be based.

[ March 30, 2007, 07:22 PM: Message edited by: Irami Osei-Frimpong ]

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King of Men
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quote:
and of course I think a better focus for your concern would be lowering the percentage of prison inmates who are African American...
The simplest way to do this, of course, is to lock up Whitey. Would you like to volunteer? [Big Grin]
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Kwea
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How about admitting the world isn't black and white....and I am not talking about just race as an issue.

Pardon the pun. [Smile]


There IS a meritocracy....but it isn't absolute. Most things aren't, and while viewing them as such makes formulating opinions easier it doesn't mean those opinions are even close to the truth.

The best worker doesn't always get the job....but the best worker may not be what is needed, either. Even hear of the Peter Principle? Where you get promoted to the level of your utmost incompetence?


There is a blend, a mix of reasons, that people advance in the business world, in the world of finance, and in most other realms. Nothing is just because of favoritism, or race, or intelligence. It is a combination of factors....some in our control and some not.


But being a great worker, or student, or apprentice....whatever....makes you far more likely to advance to the next level, if that is what you want. It often is more of a meritocracy than it is anything else.


But if you don't play by the rules, stop whining about it. You aren't treated any different than anyone else who ignores the rules.


Most of your arguments sound exactly like the critiques of modern lit....the one dominated by whites, according to you....it is all Steven King and Dan Brown that sells rather than more intelligent fare......

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Irami Osei-Frimpong
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I just finished, "The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual," and it's easily the best historical analysis of the dilemmas put to ethnic blacks in America I've read.

It's a book of uneven quality, but the outstanding chapters are thoroughly compelling, insightful, and bold. His overall argument, that the radical solution to the current problems faced by the black community-- and to the structure of modern pluralistic democracy-- need to derive from a hitherto slim to non-existent class of black American scholars, and not imitators, and furthermore, that this class of scholars stand financially and politically independent from whites, is compellingly wrought.

quote:

Most of your arguments sound exactly like the critiques of modern lit....the one dominated by whites, according to you....it is all Steven King and Dan Brown that sells rather than more intelligent fare......

But to suspicious extent, WASPs are still coasting on the dubious wisdom of the founders.
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Kwea
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No....PEOPLE are, as your complaints about the black people mentioned by others here in this very thread prove.


Even by your standards, which seem to be very similar to the complains of many educated white lit professors, there isn't a lack of popular black writers, but a lack of what YOU consider QUALITY black writers.


Popular doesn't equal intelligent writing to intellectuals of any color, and in fact popularity can hurt an authors standing in any intellectual community....


Regardless of the race of the author.

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MrSquicky
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Does anyone one else just love the irony of this thread?

edit: I mean, there's just this huge disparity between who Irami seems to be saying are the only people he is talking to and the people who he actually is talking to.

[ April 13, 2007, 09:31 AM: Message edited by: MrSquicky ]

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Tresopax
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quote:
His overall argument, that the radical solution to the current problems faced by the black community-- and to the structure of modern pluralistic democracy-- need to derive from a hitherto slim to non-existent class of black American scholars, and not imitators, and furthermore, that this class of scholars stand financially and politically independent from whites, is compellingly wrought.
Is it similarly true that the problems faced by whites in America can only be solved by white scholars, who need to distinguish themselves from scholars of all other races?

It sounds to me that the overall argument of The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual is built upon a premise of racism.

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James Tiberius Kirk
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quote:
Is it similarly true that the problems faced by whites in America can only be solved by white scholars, who need to distinguish themselves from scholars of all other races?
To be fair, I'm not sure this is such a revolutionary idea (I'm referring to the "need to be solved" statement, not the rather different "can be solved" one). Historically, you could substitute any ethnic or cultural group and apply the same principle.

--j_k

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Kwea
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quote:
Originally posted by Tresopax:
quote:
His overall argument, that the radical solution to the current problems faced by the black community-- and to the structure of modern pluralistic democracy-- need to derive from a hitherto slim to non-existent class of black American scholars, and not imitators, and furthermore, that this class of scholars stand financially and politically independent from whites, is compellingly wrought.
Is it similarly true that the problems faced by whites in America can only be solved by white scholars, who need to distinguish themselves from scholars of all other races?

It sounds to me that the overall argument of The Crisis of the Negro Intellectual is built upon a premise of racism.

I agree, although of course I don't think having more black business owners or publishers is a bad thing for anyone.


But I object to it if they only get the jobs because they are black, rather than on merit. I think that of there was a white man claiming that blacks being involved in these types of endeavors was diluting the power of the white man I would be just as offended.


Whites are NOT one group of people with a common agenda, and anyone who thinks otherwise is ignorant.


What is good for me isn't always good for the guy working at another store, regardless of his race.

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