slightly dated response to recent comments

Well, since I’ve been inattentive to these comments and let the blog slow down just a little too long. I appreciate folks responding. judd, I understand your argument entirely. When I sat down to write that post, the Hollertronix stuff was, literally, close at hand, and I brought them up because they are symbolic/emblematic of a much larger, systemic problem. In other words, I could have talked about the phenomenon of white appropriation of Black music using hundreds of examples, but the burden of the kind of critique I’m trying to do is that if one singles out a particular artist, it seems unfair to hold them entirely culpable for a system (white supremacy) that was around long before they were born, and, at the rate we’re going, is going to be around for quite a bit longer. The alternative is to make an argument that is completely abstract, which then can be said to be just that, completely abstract.

I’m trying to find a language in which to talk about appropriation in a way that gets at white privilege-greater mobility, access to resources (of all sorts), being taken more seriously by club owners, etc.-without just, one by one, attacking individual white artists. hal brings up the issue of “…nefarious racist intent”. That speaks directly to the dilemma here. It is very unlikely that the two members of Hollertronix set out with any racist intent whatsoever. The question for me is: how, as a white person, do you participate in your life in such a way that does not contribute to the consolidation of white supremacy. As a white person, I am not able to simply jettision my privilege, even if I wanted to. And that’s because it is a consensual dynamic. Others grant it to me, whether I ask for it or not. All I can do is to remain aware of where it operates invisibly, and not do those things that constantly rely on it. Thus, Hollertronix (again, one instance) could have chosen other modes of self-representation on their site/flyers.

Why is the opening page of their site consist of two Black guys? If you didn’t know the artists, you could be forgiven for thinking that those two guys are them. If it’s part of a marketing concept, it is an instance of appropriating Black bodies, images, etc. in order to make Hollertronix appear cool?, Black, ‘down’ with Black people? I don’t know. But the fact that this sort of practice is unending cannot but lead to a demand for a pedagogical strategy by which white people learn about their white privilege at an early age, so that it is not perpetuated. The slipperiness of white supremacy is that is everywhere and nowhere. In this sense, I take the risk of asserting that racism per se can be defined as one or a series of discrete acts. These acts can range from the 41 bullets fired into the body of Abner Louima, and James Byrd-whose feet were tied to the back of a pick-up truck as he was dragged, mutilated, and killed-to the everyday racist acts-shouted/whispered racial epithets, being unable to get a taxi, security officers following a Black person in a retail store, being mistaken for an employee, and the list is endless. In all of these acts there is racist intent

White supremacy is not only what is still called institutional racism, but the accretion, over hundreds of years (in the US), of juridical, social, political, domestic practices which, though not intentionally racist, position non-white people below white people. And that remains a simplification.


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