Sunday, December 12, 2004

Black on Black

On White

By Mark Connolly
Editor, Dallas Bureau
Manning Marable, an African-American historian at Columbia University, summarized the case against (Clarence) Thomas at the outset of his court career: "Even though he is black in terms of his racial identity, Thomas in terms of his political program, in terms of his repudiation of civil rights, is arguably . . . the whitest man in America." . . .
What does that mean?

Is black, or being black, an issue of skin color and genetics, or is it merely defined by a social agenda? Is being white more about what position one takes on an issue, or is it about a lack of melanin? Is being 'black' or being 'white' that simplistic?

Or are 'black' and 'white' politicized concepts that no longer contain meaning beyond opportunistic rhetoric? Where it is actually to the benefit of certain groups or persons to attempt to stabilize and solidify racial disharmony in the interest of their personal agendas and aspirations. Where their personal success is more important than racial harmony. Or, subtly, where their success and livlihood has become dependent on the maintenance of the status quo of racial tension?

I am taking Mr. Marable's comment out of context, and am now running with the ball in that direction. I am not at this point saying this is how Mr. Marable feels. But there are a lot of questions raised in my mind by his comments on Clarence Thomas.

If it is just a matter of social agenda, why do we not ever hear about a white man being the most black man in America? Or can't white people have a social agenda? In terms of actual numbers, there are more downtrodden poor and un or under educated white people in American than any other race.

Why is it that when Black people 'act white' it is generally defined (by blacks) as being successful and having their own opinions that don't toe the race line, but when white people 'act black' it is generally defined (by blacks and whites) as being a rap singer and grabbing your crotch continuously?

And why are 'being white' and 'opposed to affirmative action' two phrases that go together like Ham and Eggs?

Can you not be considered successful by the black community in any fields besides sports/entertainment, religion, education or public service and still be considered black? What does that mean, "to be considered black" and why is it that being downtrodden and unsuccessful, but 'still black' is preferable to 'acting white' as a successful and productive scientist for example?

And why do some black people seem to want it to stay that way? fb