General understandings of time tend generally, but wrongly, to conflate change with progress. In Snead’s writing, however, he parses out the implications of repetition and change, particularly along the black/white racial distinction, in such a way that challenges an oversimplified, direct relationship between change and progress. Most effectively, Snead advocates that changes does not necessarily indicate progress, and, instead links black repetition with historical value, as opposed to white change/cultural cycles with capitalist values: “Black culture highlights the observance of such repetition, often in homage to an original generative instance or act … In European culture, financial and production cycles have largely supplanted the conscious sort of natural return in black culture,” (65-66). With these statements, Snead, whether intentionally or not, sheds light on the problem of white folks appropriating and coopting black culture, without understanding its resonance or implications. For the purposes of Snead’s argument, black and white cultures essentially function in a condition of opposites: black culture preserves the past, and white culture generates revenue for the future. When broken down this way, Snead’s thesis makes it obvious why the appropriation of repetitious black culture by people who don’t understand the “homage to an original .. act” essentially robs cultural elements of anything but their pure aesthetic value (65).
In Tolson’s Libretto for the Republic of Liberia, a moment arrived early in the piece that helped me conceptualize Tolson’s writing within the framework of Afrofuturism as the interface of activism and art/aesthetics; this section consisted of lines 9-16. Whereas Hegel defines Africa from a racist perspective, Tolson characterizes Liberia in juxtaposition, which entails direct refutation of depictions of Africa as “side-show” or “bio-accident,” (10). Continue reading “Libretto: Liberia within Afrofuturism”
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”
“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”
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”