Smith BLKS188 Fall 18

I sat down at my desk to read the class assignment never thinking, however naïvely, that the content would be quite so jarringly racist. I am sure my reaction to the Hegel excerpt was in no way unique, nonetheless I would like to share my thoughts on the reading, in the particular the racism.

As I began to read I was alarmed at Hegel’s easy use of racial slurs, upon googling I found that Hegel was born and lived in a time that had only just begun to question such language. I continued to read, assuming that he would change his tone and reveal the climax of his sick joke. No such luck. After the first few paragraphs I realized with a chill that he was far from joking—he was truly attempting to justify the slave trade, among other highly offensive comments. He truly believed that the African people are inferior to—at least his own people—if not the entirety of the west. After I cooled down a bit from my initial reaction, I began to reflect upon the impact of such works on the collective mind of a society and contemptable influence it could have on naïve, uneducated, and educated minds alike.

I then began to think how strange it is that so much of racism is truly rooted in ignorance. How Hegel himself, although a considerably well respect and educated man, could be so ignorant as to believe that the African peoples of which he writes were lesser than him, based on few pieces of evidence i.e. that he had heard that they performed magical rituals (p.151) and worshiped in a manner he did not fully understand.

Additionally, I was reminded of our conversation in class about how Ryan Coogler when he decided to direct Black Panther had not been to Africa. Perhaps Hegel could have benefited from an culturally immersive experience.

One Reply to “Smith BLKS188 Fall 18”

  1. I hope you won’t mind that I think it’s good to begin a semester being jarred, although I’m not setting out to frustrate and enrage you all…Hegel’s views, as you indicate, infiltrate and pave the way for problematic and ignorant contemporary positions, and so must be wrestled with.

    I like the playfulness and sarcasm of your “culturally-immersive experience” at the end, but I also want you to keep going with it, to think about it in terms of face value, of what those words and that experience might be. What is culture and who gets to define it – this is in part Snead’s question, and also Coogler’s. Justin Simein‘s written on this: the gap between ideas of (“authentic”) Black culture and the lived lives of Black humans in disparate ways. Keep going with this and see where it takes you?

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