Erotic Discontent (Sexual Politics , Oppression Studies)

From the beginning of its conception, it was believed that Negroes could be shown how to effectively imitate other people in order to be better people. Woodson writes: ‘when the Negroes in some way would learn to perform the duties which other elements of the population had prepared themselves to discharge they would be duly qualified it was believed, to function as citizens of the country.’ In fact, the social relations did not change much as these people remained, ‘nominally free but economically enslaved’. At the same time, in learning about things that did not pertain to his immediate needs, ‘it soon became evident to him that he was losing ground in the basic things of life.’ Missionary teachers from the north attacked the Liberal (but irrelevant) education the Negro was given, and as a dispute broke out, for generations, the quarrel continued: ‘Labour was the most important thing of life, it was argued; practical education counted in reaching that end; and the Negro worker must be taught to solve this problem of efficiency before directing attention to other things.’ Despite this dispute about the values of an industrial education versus a classical education, in the end, in either case, the Negro was not prepared for the task of life. Negroes, in being barred from higher pursuits, were not able to develop captains of industry, or meet demands.

Despite their competence and skill sets and the time of emancipation, just a few generations later, many of these people had been reduced to mastering incompetence: ‘the Negroes do not proportionately represent as many skilled labourers as they did before the Civil War.’ They had de-evolved, and seem to have remained in decline since this time. I have, through these passages attempted to reveal something somewhat profound; that the Africans who emerged from bondage were, to an extent, actually in a worse position than they were whilst enslaved. Many Africans were in such a backwards state that missionaries had to come in to “educate” the Africans into the tasks of living, and this is what few people seem to grasp. These were dynastic people that were fit for the tasks of life, prior to their bondage, and yet, made so dependent on the system of bondage, these people emerged from their enslavement in a pathetic position. Globally speaking, as far as I can conceive, we are oppressed all-over, and we are “oppressed.” Debating our name (African, Negro, Black, etc) is beside the point, because primarily, we are oppressed, and operated by remote control. Our oppression is political, and needs to be examined in order to be deconstructed. This is the basis of oppression studies.

In the preceding passages I have laid the foundation for, and outlined the blueprint of, the examination of sexual politics. According to Neely Fuller, “sex is the most powerful motivating force among people next to the system of white supremacy itself because whatever the dominant system is that’s what people react to on the planet … that’s mistreatment of people based on colour… sexual motivations are the second… the racists apparently, according to the evidence have studied how people who are subject to them, are motivated sexually.” From hereon, sexual politics will be the focus of this review of the Negro, but what is sexual politics? In order to make sense of this question, firstly, an understanding of [relevant] politics is essential. Essayist Martin Kilson notes that ‘… politics is the process through which a significant share of modern services and benefits is allocated among competing sectors of society.’ Evolving this definition, I contend that ‘…sexual politics refers to the processes by which males and females market their bodies as commodities, and manage their diverse sexualities in their respective efforts to compete for attention and gratification.’ Attempting to abbreviate this definition, I will summarise by stating, ‘…sexual politics refers to the ways in which genders market their bodies, and manage their sexualities, in competing for gratification.’

Aldous Huxley argued that many of his “purely fantastic” predictions made in Brave New World, made thirty years ago, “have come true or seem in process of coming true.” In fact, Huxley’s sentiments outlined in Brave New World Revisited (BNWR) form the basis for sexual politics: the mechanisms of compensation recruited by oppressed people attempting to manage their identities, under domination. I BNWR Huxley wrote that sexual obsessions are promoted to maintain domination: “…the other characteristic features of that happier and more stable world–the equivalents of soma and hypnopaedia and the scientific caste system–are probably not more than three or four generations away. Nor does the sexual promiscuity of Brave New World seem so very distant. There are already certain American cities in which the number of divorces is equal to the number of marriages. In a few years, no doubt, marriage licenses will be sold like dog licenses, good for a period of twelve months, with no law against changing dogs or keeping more than one animal at a time. As political and economic freedom diminishes, sexual freedom tends compensatingly to increase. And the dictator (unless he needs cannon fodder and families with which to colonize empty or conquered territories) will do well to encourage that freedom. In conjunction with the freedom to daydream under the influence of dope and movies and the radio, it will help to reconcile his subjects to the servitude which is their fate.”

About omalone1

I live I die I write
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