Racism Again

They are black. We are white. That is for the sake of argument. It is the immediate visibility of this difference that makes it so penetrating, so final. The only man so far who has bridged the gap, is Michael Jackson, a transracial victim of his own disease. Whatever that disease really is.

 

Because of the history of the European expansion, its vigour and brutality in all aspects, that difference has become charged. Black students in America feel more comfortable at black colleges, where they can disolve their blackness into the norm and be themselves.[1] I can understand that. Here in Jamaica, I would also like to disolve my whiteness. People treat me with so much pre-judgement. Not bad judgement, not good judgement. But I cannot unfold myself, without having to penetrate a thick shield of preconception, without the fear of being misunderstood. And even when I have penetrated that shield there is always a wariness.

 

Is this justified?

 

NO.

 

Whose fault is it?

 

Fault?

 

Europeans caused all this didnít they?

 

Nonsense!

 

What do you mean nonsense? You are yourself a racist if you deny that the Europeans were at fault! If you deny their racism.

 

Nonsense! I do deny their racism. They do not remain an homogenous entity at that level. At the level of racism, Europe and the European colonisers are hopelessly fragmented. As is racism. If I am a racist, you must judge for yourself. If you want me to be a racist, it might be convenient to you in your short term purpose. But the fact is that their racism is not their racism at all. It is the racism of those-who-were-racist. And those-who-used-racism-to-enrich-themselves. Functional racism

 

Then there are racists, who are doubly unfortunate and douby dangerous, in that their racism is the result of the misguided aesthetic I have talked about above. The most damaging racism is merely aesthetic and is used to justify the metaphysical. It has been conceptualised in a misguided sense of aesthetic superiority. It is the ignorant who find themselves able to adore the Negro or to abominate him, because of their wild ability to generelise the particular and believe to see what they have so comfortably grouped into a category, to love a style. By that you merely expose your own emptiness, doing precisely what your distinctions were supposedly geared to disguise.

 

My basic thesis is, that a. Black men and white men, must refrain from existing against each others background. People have formed a habit of being which is primitively dialectical. Blackness only exists against whiteness, and vice verse. In fact this dialectic served the white man horribly well in formulating his superiority, giving him the confidence to conquer and exploit. But that is not the whole world. There is another way. Get rid of the dialectic. There are many men who are merely men, they exist in their own right. Not against the background of racial relativity. I hope to be such a person. And on that basis I want to analyse Jamaican arhitecture.

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[1] cf. Ebony, August 1996.