Once You Go Black

Once You Go Black, by K.J. Adan

Tonight on TV I watched a group of white art critics turn their noses up at a sculpture, produced for a reality show art competition. They seemed to be disgusted with their lack of disgust, as the artist had been challenged to make something shocking. He had produced three black heads,  to which one critic said looked like “primitive candle art”.

When the artist, a young black man, explained that the heads were like bombs waiting to go off, symbolizing the state of the young black man in urban neighborhoods, the critics slowly began to “understand” the art. The “critics” began discussing the piece amongst themselves, and came to find the young black man’s art, “a work of genius.”

This is a quirk of leftist intellectuals. Once a speech, piece of art, music, or agenda appears to reinforce their concept of a noble, struggling minority, suddenly it is utterly brilliant. When something comes from a subculture, it has a gritty urban validity that is for some reason of crucial importance to leftists.

I’ve tried to sort out this “Black is Better”, or rather “African-American Is Authentic” phenomenon among the white left for a while. I thought it might be a white guilt thing, but if that were the case, wouldn’t white leftists spend more time around actual black people? Wouldn’t they be tripping over themselves to buy homes in the ‘hood?

I don’t think it’s guilt. It seems to be a reach for relevance. Having family who came over on the Mayflower is now seems snobbish and bland, and no longer enough to be the belle of the bourgeois cocktail circuit. To white folks who grew up pretty much privileged in carbon-copy suburban neighborhoods, the “black experience” is apparently quite seductive.

Black people in America are born with a meaningful background. It gives instant validity and gravitas to the person who can claim it. Even if you had a lovely family life and grew up with two cars and an ivy league education, a black person is only a generation or two removed from tragic treatment.

 That sure beats being white bread, right? There is no need for black people to claim they worked for their privilege because they are owed by the universe. Being black, or communing with “black issues”, excuses you from just being normal and happy, which are intellectually unchallenging…or something.

The authenticity of blackness is drummed into us by our popular entertainment. I wrote two weeks ago that, as a little girl in England, I was fascinated with the American portrayal of American blacks on television. They were colorful (no pun intended), insightful, and funny. In dramas, they were frequently tied to unfair treatment wherein the bad guys (educated white businessmen, it seemed) would get what was coming to them by the closing credits.

My mum and I were always cheering for the black underdog. What I now realize is that black persons have been deified in American entertainment. Hollywood seems to have produced a giant “We’re sorry! We‘re just awful!” to the black population, likely as payback for all the blaxploitation films of the 1960’s.

This long, sloppy and wet apology has treated black people as an exalted class in Hollywood’s output. Black men overcome insurmountable obstacles; they are advisors, level-headed sidekicks, healers, and leaders. A black character endowed with anything less than godlike powers of perception, compassion, common sense, and wit would be seen as a racist caricature, that is unless the character was created by black people for black people.

There is nothing wrong with black people getting a positive spin in movies and TV, especially since some would argue that some forms of black music, such as gangsta rap, paint a negative picture. However, I do feel like we’ve been groomed over the years to readily accept, with giddy glee, any black leader who would come along.

Guess who came along?

Whoever runs against Obama in 2012 has to be black, even though the majority of voters are white. That doesn’t matter, as this generation of white folk has been programmed to pick the darker-skinned candidate.

A white woman will not beat a black man. A white man offering everybody in America candy, a magic wish lamp, and a free house while sitting in a wheelchair will not beat a black man. Anybody in possession of sane fiscal policy and jaw dropping insight will not beat a black man…unless he is another black man. It has nothing to do with being perceived as a racist; I realize that now. It has everything to do with what we’ve been taught: Once you go black, you never go back!

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