Thursday, January 26, 2006

WWKD?: Civil Rights Movement and Critical Re-envisioning

"Cartoon Network must apologize and also commit to 
pulling episodes that desecrate black historic figures,"
Sharpton, a civil-rights activist and former Democratic
presidential candidate, said in a statement Tuesday.

I think Sharpton is absolutely wrong on this one, folks.

What Sharpton calls "desecration" I call "critical re-envisioning."
Let's not fool each other or ourselves any longer, the Civil Rights
Movement failed. Only *part* of Dr. King's dream was achieved,
the part where B/black people with middle-class aspirations, who
wanted the "same" as white folks (who were middle and upper class)
wanted. Some of them got it, and once they got it, they began to
distance themselves from "them" -- meaning working and working
poor B/black people.

Now, my purpose here is not to create a discussion about class and
class aspirations and the ways in which I feel the B/black community
was lost right there (and using at least Fanon and hooks to back me up),
but to discuss the passing of the torch.

You see, the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement, it's failures and
achievements is left to us -- us "young" folks who are still grappling
the effects of it. You see, Sharpton fails to notice that the fictional
Dr. King
only uses the "N" word out of frustation with this generation
of B/black
folks who believe King's Dream was about getting crunk,
having a "grill" full
of platnium and diamonds, getting our collective
"groove" and "drink" on --
but we don't care anymore. We don't care
about each other. We don't care
about the state of our people. Indeed,
we don't even THINK of ourselves as
a people unless we want something.
We sell each other down the river with a glance.

But you know what, that is not what I want to talk about either.

I want to talk about how our history is belongs to us, those of us who
ourselves in the position to do something with that history, to
upon it. Personally, I am very proud of McGruder because he
does not
allow himself to be silenced -- I am sure he knew, just as I
knew when I
was thinking of writing about Rosa Parks and how troubled
I felt about
her, an essay that troubled me for a month, but I could not
commit to
paper and eventually put out of mind because I knew it
would not be
taken well by my peers, by anyone who saw it. And all I
wanted to do
was ask... "Really, y'all?"

What MrGruder did was to re-envision history and cultural criticism
as well. How WOULD Dr. King respond to today's world? People do this
all the time with historical figures. Consider: WWJD?


Who didn't feel that McGruder was on point when he said that people
would turn their backs on King if he had, for instance been against the
war in Iraq and Afghanistan (as I was and I did lose friends over that
Or that people would find King culturally irrevelent (as they did
Rosa Parks
-- and especially when she sued OutKast over a song she didn't
and no one TOOK the time to understand beside noticing the
song was named
after her and deciding that, yes, she must have a case...
plain ridiculous
speciousness). The only persong who stood beside him
was Huey who tried
to warn him, tried as well and as respectfully as he
could... but there are
some things you have to see and witness for
yourself to fully appreciate.

If we are to get anything from our history, we have to stop thinking of our
leaders and historical figures as being past the point of satire,
critical criticism, etc. We have to stop thinking that to see
one human quality
in our historical figures as denying the great things that
person did. But also,
we have to stop thinking that, well, and I am going
against how I have thought
all these years, we have to stop thinking that
all avenues have already been
taken and the only thing we can do is hop
in-line and go with the flow because
we are unable to make new pathways
when it comes to changing what will
become our collective history.

The "N" word offends me, too. However, I have always felt we had to think
the "N" word within context. However, something inside of me still jumps
shudders and dreads at the utterance of it, but in that episode of
Boondocks I
understood the usage, the cry embedded in McGruder's usage,
in the fictional
King's usage, of it.

I want to move to Canada, too... but it's just too damn cold for my tastes.

- Quentin Ergane


Post a Comment

<< Home