According to the supposed non-racists Ta-Nehisi Coates and his many worshipers who wanted Dolezal unemployed, racism and whatever language it creates are creations by racist ‘white’ people through their white supremacy view of the world. The two-way street of racist language is not true of their supposedly non-racist language; they claim to see reality as it really is not as their words make it out to be as racists do. Coates is considered a genius for describing the situation as follows: “race is the child of racism, not the father.” By “race” and “racism”, he is not referring to the use of those words in several millennia of different applications that include tribal, religious, ethnic, national, and many other differences but only as used in his self-centered narrow view of the world consisting of “race” and “racism” based on skin color. According to this line of thought, we will never be able to eliminate the discrimination and oppression of physically perceived black bodies by physically perceived white bodies because of the ongoing legacy of slavery and of a white supremacy view of history, the present, and the future. Thus, their argument is that being ‘black’ is by definition a skin color but also an oppressed ‘race’ forced to accept racism and race as a fact of life. If “race” truly “is the child of racism, not the father”, cannot the father die and we would still have the son that is “race”? This seems to be the implication and is how his thought plays out in practice to create new school racism.
So, for supposed non-racists such as Coates just as for Dolezal and racists alike, being black connotes both a sense experience skin color and also a cultural and social identity that is called being ‘black’. Coates further complains that the “black bodies” created by racism are in need of protection from those who call themselves “white”; of whites casting of him and his “people” into a black “race” that knowingly glance at each other at airports and know they share a special bond; and of the reality, unity, and language of his black “people” and “tribe”. Unlike racists though, for supposed non-racist Coates and his worshipers this ‘race’ identity is defined not solely by skin color but by skin color combined with oppression, slavery, and discrimination by whites based on black skin color. This is why he need not get into issues of mixed heritage; his focus is completely self-centered into a simple white and black distinction: white is bad; black is good.
The logic is as follows: white people by their white supremacy oppression and discrimination of black bodies, especially through slavery, created and create anew every day “black bodies”, and a black “people”, “tribe”, or “race” that are now in need of protection from this oppression and discrimination by white people, therefore white people such as Dolezal should not be allowed to pretend they are ‘black’. If they do, the only proper connotation for them is a derogatory ‘wigger’ or ‘putting on black face’ because such pretension is just more oppression — taking the good created by the struggle of being ‘black’ and making it ‘white’.
Actually, this logic makes sense from a defeatist perspective. Since their premise is that omnipresent white supremacy physically, socially, and culturally makes “black” inferior and thus American culture and society will treat ‘black bodies’ unjustly as an inferior ‘race’ of black bodies, Coates and his worshipers conclude they must accept they are “black bodies” of a black “people”, “tribe”, or “race” and as a defense mechanism exclude anyone from being one of them who are not “black bodies” in a black “people”, “tribe”, or “race”. If they do not watch out for each other, no one will is a valid defense used by religions, ethnicities, tribes, nations, and so forth throughout history and often is the mechanism used to create or empower the identity of the ethnicity, society, culture, and so forth. Does it work the other way with their version of ‘race’? Since according to Coates and his worshipers we live in a world of white supremacy in which white people are by definition the oppressors of blacks, are black bodies unable to call themselves white?
For example, President Obama’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice has led a life of prestige, privilege, and power among the powers-that-be. She was born in Washington, D.C., of two black parents consisting of a Cornell University economics professor who was also the second black governor of the Federal Reserve System and an education policy scholar. She is a three-sport athlete, student council president, and valedictorian from National Cathedral School in Washington, D.C., an upper class private girls’ day school, and is a graduate of Stanford University and New College, Oxford. She served on the staff of the National Security Council and served as Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs during President Bill Clinton’s second term and as UN ambassador. She is married to a white guy ABC television producer. She has two kids. Based on culture and social relations, to any working class kid such as myself she appears to be modern upper class and a very powerful member of our modern ruling class intelligentsia who would screw me and give the orders to kill me and my entire family (doubt if she would do the killing herself since new school powers need not bloody their hands with the actual killing) if need be to keep her family, friends, and other members of her 1984 Orwellian Inner and Outer Party in power.
Since by definition she is one of white society’s oppressors of black people, can I call Susan Rice a white woman? Can I call her a white woman who happens to be black (as I usually do)? No, this would be racist because she is physically black and calling her white implies that being a ruling class oppressor is acting white which is racist though true according to Coates. What if she went to “Black No More” and changed to a white skin color? Is she still black? According to Coates and his worshipers’ logic, the answer is yes because she was born black and thus shares in the legacy of oppression, slavery, and discrimination that is being born ‘black’.
Thus, the logic of Coates and his worshipers works both ways: under no circumstances can a white be black nor a black be white. Our technology of “White No More” and “Black No More” thus would do nothing to solve this problem. Even if skin color stopped being a genetic marker fixed at birth and became just a fashion choice and thus we could eliminate the concept of skin color ‘race’ and associated racism entirely to replace it with an -ism against persons who choose black as the fashion choice of skin color, all of this would still be racist. Being ‘black’ is a race, people, or tribe created not by skin color but by racism; it is a legacy of racism and slavery that is a birthright to all who are black. Any attempt by whites to be ‘black’ hijacks that legacy and is an attempt to hide it and its responsibilities (such as reparations) and is racist.
In the fabric of language used by the supposed non-racists who wanted Dolezal to lose her job, by Coates, and by his worshipers, just as with the language fabric of racists, the initial fabric tread or stitching that associated being black with skin color at some point has become disassociated from skin color. For Coates and his worshipers, ‘black’ now means a legacy of oppression, slavery, and discrimination because of black skin color. It is a legacy handed down from black generation to black generation as a genetic birthright regardless of the circumstances of the birth, the actual skin color, or of the life circumstances of the child: thus we have new school racism. This change in language tread and stitching is a substantive and essential change in the use of the words ‘race’ and ‘racism’. If “race” truly “is the child of racism, not the father”, the father can die and we would still have the son — regardless of technology. Having race around allows for it to become a racist father itself of new school racism as contemplated in some of my prior blogs dealing with new school racism.
Why such a defeatist view of life? Racist whites put persons with black skin color into an unjust black race so they must accept and continue being in an unjust black race? Historically, when such a defense mechanism is accepted, it is done either by the powers to keep a group in their place or as a smokescreen for hidden intentions for power by the ambitious. Which is it for Coates and his worshipers? For this contemplation to progress in anyway, we must forget the polemics and deal with a further contemplation of the nature of language and its meaning: its usefulness. Coates is definitely a genius poet as poetry is defined by the philosopher Nietzsche: “the art of creating ripples in shallow water to give the impression they are deep.” Such genius serves only the selfish interests of the poet and to confuse and to obscure the actual meanings or usefulness of words.