When I grew up, I did hear the term 'black spasm' before in just such a pejorative context. It was an insult to call somebody a black spasm, but exactly what kind of insult I do not recall. So I am re-inventing the term to mean the response to that question. Tell me about your humiliation at the hands of white people. I know you must have experienced it. It's part of the black experience. I cannot tell, nor do I care to estimate the extent to which any black individual finds fault with the question, or might be negatively affected by the presumption. But I cannot see how it's not essentially prying. Why wouldn't anyone shiver at the cheek of the question?
People have been commenting that we have returned to 1968 in America. I dig the metaphor. My particular take on it is that we are treating today's cops like yesterday's Vietnam vets. People have decided the lenses through which they want to perceive the lives of others and we have come to a moment in which black Americans are celebrated for sharing their humiliations. That's a political and social agenda that I despise, and have my entire life.
Ellis Cose wrote about this problem very persuasively in his 1994 book 'The Rage of a Privileged Class'. So this is the power of the politicization of black life which is the ability for the moral one-upmanship of 'social justice' to make anyone they please a martyr for their cause, whether or not the individual actually suffered. In short, I don't decide how much racism affects my life, you do. I deal with this problem on a periodic basis, as I have the occasion to comment on race in America with the authority vested in me as an award winning black blogger. I accept the fact that I have a racial identity whose shape and meaning lies beyond my control. Yet I do determine what I will and will not respond to.
We saw this at the beginning of the Obama Administration. More beer summits anyone?
- Six Pounds of Racism
- What's Your Excuse?
- Life and Death of the Boohab - An Anti-Racist Activist's Retrospective