(4): Eternal Sunshine, Electric Sheep
With blackness being defined by white brands and conspicuous consumption, for the non-white ‘neutral’, the contradiction is apparent on two accounts: not only is the black, white in disguise, having become the very thing it thought it was against; blackness doesn’t even provide a means to counter the [Asphyxiating] white culture, as it does not encourage individual identity. So far, all blackness has provided is a diverse form of uniformity, which does nothing to challenge the prevailing ideas of group politics, collective dominance and cultural supremacy. In truth, the idea of being a member of a group contradicts the ideas of being an individual, as such rigid lines – through patriotic dogmas – ruin/compromise and limit identity, leaving those capable of protest with no legitimate means of challenging the society of spectacle.
To be white is to conform, to be black is to be disobey, but to be non-white is to be permitted with the capacity for being intellectual, and yet, this leaves open the potential for a huge contradiction. It means that the non-white can actually embrace being black, reinventing the identity cultivated to protest against mediocrity. The question will present an ultimatum for the system, deciding whether or not to represent the black intellectual accurately? The non-white is, after-all, in a process of transformation, when attempting to decide their allegiance. They may not commit to either side, or deny the other, which itself, serves to provide them with a dual heritage. The non-white is a human being, and therefore, with infinite potential, and yet, the non-white must first commit to the political order, and will to benefit from the economic system, begging this: since the state of affairs will have no impetus to reform, or evolve, what will be provided to harness non-whites in terms of their exceptional development? (P 76)
(8): No Comparison
“Blackness” operates in the context of a societal hierarchy that exists to ensure that it remains as a subordinate identity and position. In terms of the scale of social values, whilst “intelligence” ranks high as a desirable trait – 1: “ideal” – in contrast, “blackness” ranks much lower, coming in just above level/rank 5: “counter ideal”. Blackness ranks at 4: “liminal”, and rarely breaks into the higher echelons of the hierarchy because blackness is inherently associated with sickness, danger, illness, and pollution. This being so, the idea of a black intellectual is a contradiction in terms of the “the black image in the white mind.” The dominant culture (“whiteness”) must struggle with the black intellectual because it has no way to deal with them. Whilst routinely criminalised, pathologised or medicalised, there is nothing wrong with the black intellectual – the gifted black – and yet, because blackness – especially when in “protest”, and questioning the “status quo” – is generally seen as “imposing”, professionals are frightened by it, and tend to “diagnose” the “gifted” black as “challenging”, or, more precisely, “challenged.” (p 118)