quoted from darkblack on firedoglake:
“It never ceases to amaze that the same old cycle perpetrates in some quarters, with no regard to who or what… Person or group X says person or group Y is all wrong, out of line, ‘burning the last bridge between X and Y in this country’…
…unless they do it Person or group X’s way.
Therefore doing their part to continue divisiveness and suspicion, whether they are aware of it or not.
This might surprise some people, but Mau-Mauing The Flak Catchers is still in print. And liberal bloggers didn’t leave people in the arms of Katrina.
I am certainly interested in Liza’s views, as I do the views of others…But if mine are to be discounted out of hand because I am supposedly racist, then it makes communication and understanding difficult.
I am not a racist.
From an artistic viewpoint, which is my sole contribution to this episode, I demand to be judged on my broader work.
It was fortuitous that Gilliard linked to Liza…Forced exposure creates honesty.
So let us all take advantage of it before the exploiters come along.”
I recall there was a significant dust up over the “black-face” depiction of Senator Joseph Lieberman during the primary campaign in Connecticut. Since that time, another flare up occurred following Slick Willie’s meeting in his Harlem office with a group of non-black bloggers. While reading comments to a write up at FireDogLake, I came across this line, “I demand to be judged…” and decided to take a look at the broader work. From my perspective, there are some interesting patterns that emerged. The patterns are probably obvious to some folks and imperceptible to others. I believe the patterns betray a sense of cultural tension that may or may not be racism, but it’s definitely white supremacist in orientation.
The artwork depicted at this flickr site tends to depict african-american african-black cultural artistic and historical phenomena from a white supremacist framework. That may be too simplistic, but by saying the framework of the artist is white supremacist I am suggesting that the artist has chosen to traffic almost exclusively in white supremacist imagery (with respect to Black folk). These images are generally caricatures and ancient American stereotypes from the era of the Saturday Evening Post and Steppin’ Fetchit. The artists tends to traffic in these images for the purpose of conveying those traits most typically associated with Blacks (by white supremacists). The traits are disloyalty, weakness, stupidity, and cowardice. There are more traits, but in a political context, these may be the most relevant.
These traits suggest a white supremacist orientation precisely because there is no juxtaposition with a Black aesthetic norm. For me, this indicates that the artist clearly operates outside of a Black cultural milieu. There are no normalized frames of reference to satirize. The satire is exclusively derived from recapitulations of old Saturday Evening Post-era imagery. It’s simply too easy to traffic in pre-1960’s anti-black images to communicate with a political audience. The “left” leaning of that audience is immaterial, given that Americans on both sides of the aisle have found common cause in anti-black activity. To be fair, I wanted to see if a collection with a preponderance of satirical images would also use “normalized” imagery for “whites.” The site has numerous examples of this: Bushmore, How’s Our Driving, Fascinating, LieBush – to name a few. There aren’t any “normalized” images utilizing African cultural phenomena. This is substantively different than normalized depictions of black individuals like Condoleeza Rice or Mike Tyson. The cultural (graphic, textual, etc.) formulations reveal a deeper level of insight than the mere re-presentation of a photo.
At this deeper level, the depictions of African phenomena are remarkably consistent. Take the case of Joe Lieberman: he has been depicted in black face with George Bush, as a lawn jockey (aka Porch Monkey), and Mr. Bojangles. But there is a twist…when Lieberman is depicted within “white” cultural paradigms, Lieberman is often feminized and the context is almost invariably sexual. There is a pattern here: A Cabinet Post, A Little Necking, Auld Lang Syne, Codless, Sitting In A Tree, Love Connection and others.
It seems like the artist has trouble capturing any African cultural phenomena in ways that do not comport with latent memories imbibed over decades. Does that mean this artist is racist? It doesn’t matter because this artist can consistently be relied upon to provide material that will be of considerable value to racists. The artist is clearly a white supremacist (which is not a function of biology or ethnicity – anyone can join the group). The artist appears to convert objects of scorn to “others” in order to communicate a heightened level of contempt. It’s an interesting tactic. It’s not unique – in fact, it’s timeless. It’s like a graduate seminar in high-tech hate: Photoshop 505: Dehumanization and Objectification or Using an Artistic Viewpoint to Scapegoat.
“Forced exposure creates honesty.” Truer words…