When I think of cultural identity, I automatically think of discontinuities in an individual’s identity such as participation in more than one culture, religious beliefs, and location that must be recognized. The idea that “‘black culture’ is a concept first created by Europeans and defined in opposition to ‘European culture’” is incredibly upsetting as it eliminates those considered multiracial or otherwise multicultural. Why does society have to be divided by separate, non-measurable and incredibly diverse culture? And how does this affect those that are participating in more than one culture, what does this mean for them? (Snead 62). Continue reading “The Philosophy of Propaganda”
On Religion and African Tradition
While reading through Hegel’s piece, I could not believe what I was reading with my own two eyes. Phrases such as “the negro, as already observed, exhibits the natural man in his completely wild and untamed state”, clearly defines Hegel’s opinion on fellow members of humanity (150). However reading through most of the excerpt, I was mystified at how Hegel manages to create a story around the African person, that they are self-serving, believing they are the creators of the rains, the reason for a death, sounds oddly like the Christianity that Hegel so desperately tries to compare the Africans to. Continue reading “On Religion and African Tradition”
What the Hegel?
“Slavery is in and for itself injustice, for the essence of humanity is Freedom; but for this man must be matured. The gradual abolition of slavery is therefore wiser and more equitable than its sudden removal.” (Hegel, 157)
The racism in the excerpt from Hegel cannot be understated. It is written with this sense of having no doubts in his knowledge, even though it is clear he has attempted to learn nothing about the people of Africa. His judgement of African peoples against the supposed successes of those in the West make for an insulting and shallow explanation of the thousands of years of civilization in Africa.
Hegel as a “villain”
When presented with the Hegel reading, we were cautioned that Hegel would serve as the “villain” in our talks about Afrofuturism. After having read the excerpt, it is clear that Hegel is the “villain” due to his misgivings about the “African character” (Hegel 150). Hegel states that, “We must lay aside all thought of reverence and morality – all that we call feeling – if we would rightly comprehend him; there is nothing harmonious with humanity to be found in this type of character,” (Hegel 150) insinuating that black individuals do not possess the same level of understanding about existence as white individuals do. In the context of this class, and in the context of Black Panther, Hegel’s comments about the “African character’s” fallacies in ethics and morality are particularly interesting.
culture of just enough change
Something that struck me is when Snead says our society today has a “need for repetition”, a majority say they want change and equality for everyone when in reality they want it, if it benefits themselves and if the parts they liked about the culture before has remained unchanged. Our culture is our identity, so when we start to alter the fabric of our society we begin to alter ourselves. We begin to feel content and happy in this social bubble and when it bursts, unhappiness and civil unrest ensues. To avoid this we strive maintain this feeling of comfort and being content that we mistake for happiness “through a perpetual repetition of apparent consensus and convention that provide a sense of security, identification and rightness”. Progress just for progress’ sake should be done away with as well as the denial of changes that need to be made but don’t only because a large group of people won’t be impacted by them or may even be unhappy with them.
“Religion begins with the consciousness that there is something higher than man. But even Herodotus called the Negroes sorcerer’s:- now in sorcery we have not the idea of a god, of a moral faith..”-Hegel
Religion to many is to have faith and belief in a higher power. It is to be fully devoted to a way of life. History has shown that religion can bring together people but also destroy relationships from anything to family relationships or friendships. In this excerpt, Hegel has used religion to his advantage to create this image of Africans as savages with no structure in their lives or communities as a whole. Hegel’s ignorance about the different cultures in Africa lumps Africans all in one group. Hegel then goes on to say Africans don’t have religion and because of this, they are sorcerers. Continue reading “Hegel’s Excerpt”
The confidence of repetition in black culture
Standard conceptualizations of culture account for both tradition and, seemingly inevitably, progression as a function of passing time. In his analysis, however, Snead establishes white/European culture and black culture in a condition of opposites: whereas an impulse to transform imbibes white culture, a comfort with repetition characterizes black culture. Although ethnocentric observers like Hegel might conflate a penchant for repetition with “backwardness,” I think that, juxtaposed with white cultural flightiness, black repetition indicates soundness in identity (Snead 63).
General invocations of white culture often exist in vague, yet deeply held, sentiments—like those expressed by white folks whose historical miseducation enables them to cherish, albeit inappropriately, Confederate iconography. Continue reading “The confidence of repetition in black culture”
BKS 188- Afrofuturism-Week 1 Reflection
Moonlight was a phenomena, Get Out was a tragedy, and Black Panther was mystical. In the case of all these films, I always was left with a feeling that black culture was inherently being put into opposition. In context to Black Panther, the whole film embraces the beauty that is the African diaspora and ties it to concepts of afrofuturism. When I looked at both James Snead’s work and Hagel’s eurocentric perspective on black people, establishes that blackness is in contrast to Western and western based communities. Continue reading “BKS 188- Afrofuturism-Week 1 Reflection”
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.
Continue reading “Smith BLKS188 Fall 18”