Thursday, April 30, 2009

Preference and power

Sammy Stephens got me thinking about how the most celebrated African-Americans are the ones that can be reconciled in some way with the preferences of white America.

The preference of white America when it comes to "blacks" is, first and foremost, not to be bothered with their problems. Needless to say, white America is much more comfortable with African-Americans who offer themselves as articles of consumption, to be considered at leisure, admired or discarded accordingly, rather than as people with needs who disproportionately are not having them met. African-Americans who bring some "value" to white America are exalted accordingly; African-Americans who focus primarily on African-American issues are more likely to be perceived as "divisive," even "racist."

Of course, the same argument can be made for women under male predominance: the most celebrated women are the ones who most conform to male preference -- half-naked and underfed, they are easily observed everywhere in the culture; the least popular -- e.g., the distinguished "feminazi" -- may not be outwardly concerned with men at all.

So it goes with all concerns. Those that can be aligned with the preferences of power are accorded legitimacy, while those that cannot are either attacked or ignored.


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