This action might not be possible to undo. Are you sure you want to continue?
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Index...................................................................................................................................................................1 1NC Shell.............................................................................................................................................................2 Space Links.......................................................................................................................................................10 Technology Links...............................................................................................................................................12 At: Aliens link....................................................................................................................................................12 Modernity links..................................................................................................................................................14 Racism Normative.............................................................................................................................................19 Apocalypse Now................................................................................................................................................22 Alternative Solvency.........................................................................................................................................24 Role of the ballot...............................................................................................................................................29 Framework........................................................................................................................................................31 Afrofuturism performance good........................................................................................................................39 General Performances Good..............................................................................................................................40 General Science Fiction Good............................................................................................................................41 At: Afrofuturism ignores American women........................................................................................................45 At: Afrofuturism ignores queer politics..............................................................................................................48 AT: Japanese Answers.......................................................................................................................................50 AT: Chicana Answers.........................................................................................................................................52 AT: Brazilian Answers........................................................................................................................................54 AT: Hip Hop Bad................................................................................................................................................61 .........................................................................................................................................................................67 At: Electronic music bad....................................................................................................................................67 AT: Cap K..........................................................................................................................................................68 At: Perm............................................................................................................................................................69 Affirmative answers..........................................................................................................................................70
Whitey on the Moon
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We open this round as an opportunity to interrupt the hegemonic structure of white privilege within the debate round. As two white kids from private schools, we can use our social position to elicit a critique that will not be pushed to the margins in debate of the status quo. Only through this discursive resistance can we hope to dislodge the roots of oppression and domination that are generated within our own community. The affirmative has actively made the choice to remain complicit with and advance the logic of white domination, closing the door for anyone that does not fit the strict traditional, socially constructed norms of policy debate and public policy discourse.
Whitey on the Moon
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The apocalypse has already happened but the aff acts as if they can stop it. They fail to realize that the harms that they have identified have already been perpetrated by the system they have actively chosen to endorse in the 1ac. You should reject the affirmative for their complicity with the march of modernity that discursively reproduces the worst atrocities in history within the debate round. Only in its absence can we orient ourselves toward an Afrofuture. – the 1ac representation of technological advancement and space exploration strengthens modernity through a white-washed construction of progress – Modernity by its nature inevitably produces apocalyptic futures – we must reconfigure our future seeking jubilee instead of progress Galli 09 (Galli, Chuck, "Hip-Hop Futurism: Remixing Afrofuturism and the Hermeneutics of Identity" (2009).
Honors Projects Overview. http://digitalcommons.ric.edu/honors_projects/18.) Gilroy contends that thinking about the future has a distinctive character in Black traditions and has roots in the material history of many Black peoples. He references the high frequency of Black spirituals based on “deliverance” and postulates that the mind of the Black slave was firmly planted in the future because the present was so hopeless and wretched. To grossly summarize his very brilliant works and arguments, Gilroy proposes that since the Black present has so often provided no impetus to survive or hope of personal and group betterment, the future became a mental and spiritual location for Blacks on the plantation, wherever that may have been.54 Gilroy considers himself to be a successor in this theoretical lineage (though obviously not informed by the same lived conditions as slaves and colonial subjects) and admits that when considering issues of race theory, racism, and anti-racism, he prefers to “[invoke] the unknowable future against the unforgiving present.”55 Gilroy believes that “Corrective or compensatory inclusion in modernity should no longer supply the dominant theme” of anti-racist discourse and says that people should “self-consciously… become more future oriented,” drawing his inspiration from Franz Fanon, who advocated that one should know his history, but break from it if he is ever to be free.56 In his book The Black Atlantic, Gilroy deals with what he sees as a stark ideological differentiation between Western peoples and peoples of the African diaspora regarding their respective eschatologies.57 On the one hand, he identifies the theme of a futuristic “utopia” in the Western literary tradition. Western futurism, he claims, operates within a framework of European modernity and holds to the idea that society is progressing through rationalism, and that such progress will lead humans to better lives.58 Essentially, in the popular Western tradition, technological advances and material gain are seen as indicators of progress, and such progress can be followed along a rational path (that is, a path which rationalizes the continued perception of increased technological complexity and material gain as measures of advancement) toward a utopia where basic needs are no longer extant thanks to innovation, labor, and the removal from society of things which interfere with progress. Conversely, Gilroy points to a long tradition of “the jubilee” in Black literature and history that is inconsistent with the Western belief in utopia.59 If utopia is a state of perfect being achieved through a process of societal progress, jubilee is a process of being perfect regardless of the eventual destination.60 Gilroy relates the story of a female slave who fled to a free state with her children before the American Civil War and took refuge in a house. Upon finding her whereabouts, slave hunters surrounded the house with firearms and demanded that the woman and her children come out. Rather than do the “rational” thing and surrender in hopes of receiving less punishment for herself and he children, the woman grabbed a knife and slit the throat of one of her small children, making for the others in hopes of achieving the same ends.61 For the slave woman, the murder of her children is a jubilant thing, for it defies slavery as a practice and institution, terrorism, White supremacy, and American law. The act of perfect being in the moment supercedes the hope of attaining personal, material betterment. Gilroy credits this phenomenon of the jubilee in Black thought partially to the relationship between Blacks and labor.62 As Europe entered the Modern era and individual rights began to (slowly) replace the feudal labor system, Europeans began to see a correlation between their labor, personal progress, societal progress, and the betterment of everything through work.63 Blacks, Gilroy argues, were not infused with the same (some say Protestant) work ethic, tending to associate Modern labor with terror, slavery, colonization, and a diminishing of individual rights. As he succinctly puts it: This inclination towards death and away from bondage is fundamental. It reminds us that in the revolutionary eschatology which helps to define this primal history of modernity, whether apocalyptic or redemptive, it is the moment of jubilee that has the upper hand over the pursuit of utopia by rational means.64 The repeated choice of death rather than bondage articulates a principal of negativity that is opposed to the formal logic and rational calculation characteristic of modern western thinking and expressed in the Hegelian slave’s preference for bondage rather than death.65 This resulted in a vastly different interpretation of the technological, economic, and civil advances created through work. Rather than seeing these European markers of cultural “progress” as proof that work was directly 3
The modern labor ethic was/is thus seen as Middle Ages feudalism gone through metamorphosis and reemerged with a new selling-point of universality. The aim here is to grasp some relatively broad. has practically issued an official.” A muted rebuttal has been made for centuries to the grand structure by which humans of various colors and backgrounds have been told to measure goodness – this progress-hermeneutics superstructure. 4 . and what I have termed the progress-hermeneutics superstructure.”67 The queue to take this post-apocalyptic position can arguably be drawn from a number of instances in Black history: the abduction of Africans and subsequent transportation to an alien land. then. though not de facto.in describing it.66 Music critic and writer Mark Sinker says that the “central fact” of Afrofuturist art is “that the Apocalypse already happened. which led to a better life. or even the subjugation of a people to the needs of the Cross-Bronx Expressway and the abandonment of the society which followed. arguments that postulate the existence of something which occurs with such frequency in the futuristic imaginings of Blacks that it warrants a prefix such as Afroor Black. thanks to modernity. and as a basis for hope that future benefits can be attained through more work. It seems to follow that if Afrofuturist thought has been constructed in a mindset of post-apocalypsis. All of these concepts will play a major role in the treatment of my coming proposition that “hip-hop futurism” be considered a unique and important praxis in its own right. We have identified the popular definitions of Mark Dery and Alondra Nelson as well as the concepts of utopia.Whitey on the Moon SNFI 2011 Camp Tournament Neg Arg Group related to a more perfect life. that the concept of the jubilee would very easily come to be a prime futuristic aspiration since the march of modernity led to the apocalypse in the first place We have. For now. I will move on to illuminate the many futuristically oriented modes of production in hip-hop which will hopefully lay sufficient groundwork for the introduction and exploration of hip-hop futurism. statement of monopoly to the world) that progress is tied to labor and that such progress is necessarily “good. however. apocalypse. jubilee. Gilroy argues that Blacks interpreted their work as antithetical to their own interests and perceived as a lie the notion that labor led to advancements. I would add this thing to Dery’s and Nelson’s definitions of Afrofuturism – that there is essentially a challenge to the entire European notion (which. generally recognized definitions and characteristics of Afrofuturism. the institution of generational slavery and the construction of a legal hell.
27 W.S. 2005. n28 Clearly. I examine the private prison real estate ownership and management industry.whites derive economic and political power from these corporations. In the ante-bellum era.S. The American economy is about consumption. [*48] In Part II. 41. I argue that white supremacy is fueled by social constructions. whose duty is to increase shareholder profit. desire and pleasure. I examine reports about the prison population produced by the U. of black identity that legitimize the exploitation of blacks for social and economic advantage. 5 .Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group The march of modernity has ignored and trampled the plight of the black body beneath its heels. I argue. exhibits a desire to preserve a social. Boston College Law School. n30 and from that a market has materialized in the consumption of black crime. n27 In Part I. From that point on. the discursive representations that sustained that system have materialized in all facets of society. and power. in short. resistance was aimed at the war machine and the military industrial complexes domination of black bodies – today modernity marches through with the flag of the prison industrial complex as the newest means of controlling and objectifying the black body – the apocalypse occurs everyday and is sanctioned by white privilege and the white body as the human ideal Vargas 05 (Geiza Vargas. I also consider narratives produced by the U. I study a form of narrative written by those who profit from the incarceration of black bodies . In the 60s. and legal structure through which whites can extract pleasure. or fantasies. “White Investment in Black Bondage”. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Private prisons mirror our social hierarchy . the end of slavery did not eradicate such conceptions. n25 It is. government. I argue that as the law processes more and more black bodies. Department of Justice (DOJ). Juris Doctor. Reconstruction ended slavery but gave way to a more diffuse form of socially constructed slavery through the violence of Jim Crow. and as prisons further entrench themselves as investment vehicles.S. Rev. n35 In reading these reports. history n31 that many white Americans wish to forget. I am interested in how our government represents black crime to the public. The emergence of private prisons. Professor Anthony Paul Farley's theories about race and fetishism bolster my argument that white fantasies of blacks are deeply rooted in American history and reflect American values of pleasure consumption. it marked an opportunity to adopt new ways to objectify blacks ways which continued to serve whites.) [*47] This Article is about the criminal justice system's joint venture with Wall Street. economic. a division of the U. the dynamics that distinguished slavery reappear. New Eng. n33 The narratives consist of certain annual and quarterly financial reports n34 and registration statements filed with the U. L. n32 In this Article. whites dominated a culture that marked blackness with savagery and inferiority. Slave narratives are important accounts of a violent time in U. I am interested in [*49] how corporations represent the opportunity to invest in the confinement of (black) human bodies. In reading these statistical reports. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).private prison owners and operators. n26 In this Article.S. profit. about the how the law sanctions white supremacy.S. n29 Rather. power systematically denied to blacks. It is about white fantasy.
and sexuality. values. but instead through the positioning of social bodies to engage in self-control. claims that “Urban Debate Leagues have proven to increase literacy scores by 25%. to improve grade-point averages by 8 to 10%. How are black students integrated into a competitive educational community from which they have traditionally been excluded? How are they represented in public and media discourse about their participation. The success of the program has also generated renewed interest amongst college debate programs in increasing direct efforts at recruitment of racial and ethnic minorities.comm. One such organization. public representations of black underachievement and reform efforts depend on the versatility of social and cultural stereotypes consistent with the argumentative structures and social ideologies that make rhetorical efforts at reform intelligible. Philosophy of education scholar Jeff Stickney argues that scholars interested in 6 . It is a space in which academic achievement is performed according to the intelligibility of one’s race. Pongratz argues that the educational system. The debate community serves as a microcosm of the broader educational space within which racial ideologies are operating. to achieve high school graduation rates of nearly 100%. beliefs and behaviors consistent with the broader society. class. it becomes possible to integrate school pupils into the school’s institutional framework more effectively than ever before. Non-profit organizations dedicated to alleviating the black/white achievement gap have also proliferated. and how do they rhetorically respond to such representations? If racial ideology is perpetuated within discourse through the stereotype. requires the use of race. particularly that which revolves around the black/ white achievement gap. then mapping the intelligibility of the stereotype within public discourse and the attempts to resist such intelligibility is a critical tool in the battle to end racial domination. The program has been fairly successful and has received wide scale media attention. state.” 16 In other words. The racist disciplinary power of the debate community that marginalizes blackness can only be sustained and instituted by those within it—we all must say NO MORE and shed the chains of exclusionary white oppression.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group Our discussion of the discursive constructions that make racial domination possible is key to stop it and spills over into the broader educational space. Education theorist Ludwig Pongratz argues that the testing focus in the standards and accountability movement is “probably the most effective means of realizing disciplinary procedures. Reid-Brinkley 08 (Shanara Rose Reid-Brinkley. For Bourdieu. and federal governments.S.” 14 Gender theorist Terry Lovell argues “Through habitus. social norms are incorporated in the body of the individual subject.” 13 Acclaimed French Sociologist Pierre Bourdieu’ theory of habitus is useful here.” 18 In essence there is a discursive consistency amongst education reform proponents for characterizing reform efforts as a change in perspective from previous values and beliefs about how best to educate America’s youth. and gender imagery that is intelligible to the general public.” 11 He argues further that the contemporary “reformist drive” sweeping western nations is a tool designed to replicate normative practices. function as a disciplinary “apparatus” that shapes and molds social bodies into normalized social systems. http://www. and to produce college matriculation rates of 71 to 91%.” The UDL program is housed in over fourteen American cities and targets inner city youths of color to increase their access to debate training. class.” 17 Public discourse about education reform. like those attached to public education in the U. The UDL program creates a substantial pool of racial minorities with debate training coming out of high school.edu/faculty/documents/reidbrinkley_shanara_r_200805_phd. As policy debate is intellectually rigorous and has historically been closed to those marked by social difference. 12 The disciplinary character of modern education systems do not operate through institutional control.pitt.pdf) The attempts at educational reform are not limited to institutional actors such as the local. In other words. Pongratz notes that “in this way. Education reform engages in a discourse of “paradigm shift. it offers a unique opportunity to engage the impact of desegregation and diversification of American education. Such training of students defined as “at risk” is designed to offset the negative statistics associated with black educational achievement. including reform efforts. the disciplinary character of the school system only functions in so much as disciplinary parameters can be internalized by the members of a social body. habitas represents the incorporation of the “social into the corporeal. gender. from experts to politicians to the news media. building on the work of Michel Foucault. Assistant Professor of African American Studies and Communications as well as the Director of Debate at the University of Pittsburgh. the Urban Debate League. What is missing from the study of education reform and the black/white “achievement gap” is an analysis of the discursive construction of racial “images and stereotypes with which” the public is “confronted. “can only be efficacious if it is objectified in bodies in the form of durable dispositions that recognize and comply with the specific demands of a given institutional area of activity. that college debate directors may tap to diversify their own teams. an internalization of the discourse of institutional power.” 2008. In essence.” 15 An institution. “THE HARSH REALITIES OF “ACTING BLACK”: HOW AFRICAN-AMERICAN POLICY DEBATERS NEGOTIATE REPRESENTATION THROUGH RACIAL PERFORMANCE AND STYLE.
Stickney argues that the discourse supporting educational reform functions to discipline educators into a compliance that belies any attempt to critique and engage the viability of the reform effort to the specific contexts educators find themselves working within. 20 While Stickney is interested in engaging such discourse for the purpose of furthering theoretical scholarship on curriculum development. his study raises the question of how the public discourse surrounding education reform may function to discipline its differently situated stakeholders.” 19 In other words. 7 .Whitey on the Moon SNFI 2011 Camp Tournament Neg Arg Group the production of education reform discourse should be concerned with “how a change of perception is to be brought about or secured.
Thus. reformulated and popularized by Louis Althusser. “THE HARSH REALITIES OF “ACTING BLACK”: HOW AFRICAN-AMERICAN POLICY DEBATERS NEGOTIATE REPRESENTATION THROUGH RACIAL PERFORMANCE AND STYLE. this project is not simply interested in the study of the production and maintenance of dominant ideologies. This project is interested in the ideological discourses and representations of race. current scholarship has been expressly critical of such a conceptualization of ideology. More importantly. Raymond Williams. ideology is defined as a result of economic structures. Social actors participate in the production and maintenance of culture. they have reapplied a complete eradication of difference within the debate sphere by running framework. For Althusser. the economic structures are pre-existent and thus. And. must be interrogated for processes of normalization implicated in the success and achievement of black students in American society. the focus on resistance in cultural studies can prevent us from studying the manner in which dominance is maintained. both through structure and discourse. Contemporary racism is reproduced and maintained through discursive constructions that are circulated through ideologies. They become simply social beings produced by the superstructure. Althusser argues that “ideology represents the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence. However. within the field of cultural studies. http://www.comm. an internalization of ideological discourse as inscribed through various apparatuses of power. both dominant and subordinate. Ideology functioned to naturalize the dominant structure encouraging individuals to participate by engaging in practices and behaviors designed to maintain that system. The dominant narratives. racial ideologies will likely remain a critical tool by which racial difference is signified.pitt. One criticism of this version of ideology is that it assumes there is a truth. In other words. And. simultaneously. Such ideologies were theorized as part of the superstructure resulting in the limited ability of subjects to exercise agency. Reid-Brinkley 08 (Shanara Rose Reid-Brinkley. Assistant Professor of African American Studies and Communications as well as the Director of Debate at the University of Pittsburgh. particularly. We can agree that there is not some true expression of reality out there that we are somehow blinded from seeing. as its material. an ideological analysis provides us with an opportunity to critically analyze the networks of power through which ideologies flow and gain discursive and representative dominance. gender. Despite significant criticism of the concept of ideology. ideologies were thought to construct an imaginary reality by which social beings became dependent on the structure as it functions. as media and communications scholar Nicolas Garnham cautions. if the individual or the subject is not critical to the development of such ideological structures. Noted theorists. All racial ideologies do not function the same way. etc. In essence. and sexuality within the public conversation about race and education. third. it remains significantly useful in the study of social domination. representation and performance.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group It is your responsibility as an intellectual to map out the structures that support social dominance because it is individual participation that sustains it. that we are unable to ascertain because of the false consciousness produced through ideological discourses. I utilize ideological criticism as a rhetorical method. We can agree that ideology is both produced by and produces economic and social structures. bred within institutional structures. class.pdf) To begin an investigation of these questions of race. “ideology stands in a secondary position relative to something which functions as its infrastructure.” 68 In other words. we can agree that social actors and their actions are not determined by ideology as much as social actors are strongly influenced toward accepting those ideologies as within their best interest. but are instead determined by them. we must look to the manner in which social actors engage in resistance efforts within and through such dominant ideologies. including Michel Foucault. ideology was considered to be deterministic. 67 Second. somewhere out there. As long as racism remains a social phenomenon in our society. Yet. as Foucault argues. Thus. dominant ideologies allowed the social structure to reproduce itself without ensuing conflict. 69 He notes that it is the responsibility of intellectuals to map out structural and social dominance. The Marxist conception of ideology. but simply productive of it. and Stuart Hall have offered significant critiques of such a view of the relations of power in social system. in order to make sense of their very lives. as it made the critical turn away from the study of dominant ideology and toward the cultural and everyday practices by which subjects engage ideological domination. they are 8 . In any given situation.” 66 Such a conception of ideology was necessary to explain why the working class did not rise up against the ruling class. revolves around the assumption that social bodies are trapped within a “false consciousness” that blinds them to the truth. binding individuals to the imaginary reality.” 2008. economic determinant.edu/faculty/documents/reidbrinkley_shanara_r_200805_phd. both dominance and resistance are likely to be active in varying degrees. Ideologies help to make stereotypical representations intelligible to an audience. uninfluenced by ideology. The affirmative has made an active choice in the 1ac to endorse an ideology that discursively advances the basis of white privilege. Instead of realizing that they have endorsed a system of discursive violence. then social subjects become agent-less.
and sexuality as rhetorical strategy in public deliberations. gender. I argue that the news media relies on racial stereotypes of black youths to make the UDL participants intelligible to the viewing and reading audience. how racial ideologies reproduce social dominance. gender. I argue that the use of subcultural style offers a means for the Louisville students to resist the norms of white privilege that permeates the traditional debate landscape. Academic policy debate is a competitive activity available to high school and college students. 9 . contemporary ideological representations of race have changed and in some ways remained the same. We must interrogate the use of ideological representations of race. a rhetorical focus can map the public discursive maneuvers that (re)produce and resist these social ideologies. and performance within educational discourse is of critical importance to the future course of educational opportunity in American society. It is necessary for the audience to view the students as “at risk” in order to later demonstrate their exemplary status. Looking to specific contexts through which we analyze the significance of racial ideologies allows us as scholars to map out the forces of power active through racial difference. It is quite clear. I seek to demonstrate the connection between the public representation of blackness and the performative strategies engaged in by Blacks in the attempt to resist the stereotypes associated with such representations. the Urban Debate League. to engage in a critical re-negotiation of intellectual knowledge making practices within the debate community. The rhetoric surrounding race. culture. class. In this chapter we are interested in how a majority white community responds to confrontational protest rhetoric in resistance narratives centered around racial representation and performance. and how those affected by that dominance attempt to resist it. that has received wide media representation. and black popular culture such as gospel and hip hop. In this chapter. class. including signifyin’. they also create circumstances for resistance. the debate community attacks the Project’s violation of the community’s notion of order and decorum. as ideologies often function to dominate. I have chosen a localized context from which to interrogate the ideological representations of race that may operate in any given American educational context. I argue that the debate community engages in anti-movement resistance strategies. Through these three case studies. The activity dates back to the early 1900’s in American history. And. I analyze the representation of UDL participants in local and national newspapers. privilege. inner city youths. The rising interest in diversifying policy debate at the high school level through non-profit organizations has fueled attempts to diversify at the college level. as well as. I argue further that the Louisville students engage in rhetorical practices that violate the genre of policy debate speechmaking. sexuality and context. and gender status to be redeemed in news media representation. We must understand the strategies of signification that are most persuasive and powerful to the general public audience. This project seeks to engage both dominance and resistance. It is the students’ ability to mimic the performative dynamics of success that allows their race. I conclude that such a practice demonstrates the social significance of the stereotype even in positive portrayals of inner city black youths. Instead of an outright rejection of the Louisville Project. I ask how do black students respond to the racial ideologies surrounding their debate participation? What are the rhetorical strategies by which they engage a majority white audience in public discussion about race. Chapter Four is an analysis of the debate community’s response to the Louisville Project. The rhetoric surrounding race and education offers one space from which to analyze the social reproduction of racial dominance. I argue that successful black students are scapegoated in news media representation and then redeemed by their debate participation. Specifically. In this chapter. that the public discourse surrounding race and education is extensive and far beyond the space allotted for this project. To engage in the ideological analysis of race and education discourse. I analyze three case studies within American policy debate and its representation. an extended primetime story by 60 minutes on the Baltimore Urban Debate League. What representations of racial others are most intelligible to the public and how might racial others respond to that intelligibility? As our previous discussion of the “acting white” thesis and the rise of cultural explanations of racial difference indicate. To engage in this investigation I review three elimination round debates at the Cross-Examination Debate Association’s National Championship Tournament. 70 It is an extracurricular activity that pits students against one another in a rigorous mental and verbal challenge. it is important to read the social actors involved and watching as embodied. This chapter analyzes the University of Louisville Malcolm X debate program as it pushes the debate community to confront its race and class privilege. More specifically. Thus. Chapter Two is an analysis of a non-profit organization for minority. And. and performance? I argue that these students use black sub-cultural styles. I specifically focus on the most successful of the Louisville teams made up of the partnership between Elizabeth Jones and Tonia Green. This project takes seriously the use of performative and cultural style as a strategic and rhetorical engagement with contemporary racism in America.Whitey on the Moon SNFI 2011 Camp Tournament Neg Arg Group often complicated by intersections of class. Chapter Three is an analysis of race and performance in national college policy debate.
Space Links One of the main focuses of Afrofuturist writers was Space exploration and Extraterrestriallity Eshun 92 (Kodwo Eshun MA in Arts. ever on the lookout for clues and resources that point the way out of alien nations and conditions of bondage” (Gray 166). Thesis Submitted to the Graduate College of Bowling Green State University for a Master of the Arts Degree. Masters degree candidate. Themes of alien embodiment and futuristic landscapes are commonly used in literary and musical expressions by subaltern groups. insofar as it resurrects the common other in all of us. this thesis is in no way suggesting that the futuristic themes and sounds of hip hop are inherently new to hip hop or innovative. Through the persona of a time-traveling nomadic figure known as the Data Thief. Although their efforts were revolutionary their adventures did deal with the same sense of resistance to commercial conformity as current artists face. one that can be used to reconfigure the post Atlantic black experience and help to unexoticize the black body. “SOUTHERN-PLAYALISTIC-HIPHOP-SPACESHIPMUSIC”. commodification. Course Leader of Arts at Goldsmiths College . African sonic processes are here reconceived as telecommunication. “Afrofuturists claim that blacks scattered across the Atlantic world are aliens in an alien land. “Sun Ra. futurology. We must question the legitimacy of using the tools of hegemonic knowledge to tear down the master’s house. one can use these tools coupled with creativity to profit from the profitless situation of the ghetto. The Last Angel of History created a network of links between music. also known as The Mothership Connection. The notion of a black secret technology allows Afrofuturism to reach a point of speculative acceleration. This paper serves as an additional lens through which to view post-human representations in Afro-Futuristic thought and their connections to hip hop artistry. These alien and futuristic metaphors are essential to the promulgation of Afro-Futurist teaching. as the distributed components of a code to a black secret technology that is the key to diasporic future. de-humanization) to counter societies’ hegemonic structure. Focusing on hip hop as a stage to explore Afrocentric identity and space encourages us to ponder whether or not it is “logical to expect a culture that has been placed on the margin of society’s concern to employ the same language (pedestrian speech patterns or performance) used by those responsible for such marginalization. 1980s and 1990s patterned themselves after Sun Ra and used spacethemed sounds and futuristic beats. Imagine the archaeologists squinting at the cracked screen of the microvideo installation that shows the Data Thief trapped in the 10 . thereby reinforcing the very practice that [repressed] them” (Wilkins 2000). Young 11 (Sade Marie Young. For Wayne and Andre to step into a new frontier and phone home to a planet that their minds have metaphorically left is shrewd and entertaining. Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash employed space imagery and sound. their essayfilm which remains the most elaborate exposition on the convergence of ideas that is Afrofuturism. Using and constructing new identities for their post-human bodies has proven the “potential for black wealth and power” (McLeod 344) that George Clinton’s lyrics have long prophesied. Perry. Clinton and many other musicians of the 1970s. Lee Perry and George Clinton all call upon similar tropes and metaphors of space and alienation that link their common diasporic African history to a notion of extraterrestriality” (McLeod 344). These works lead towards a re-appropriation of what blackness and the performance of otherness looks and sounds like.) To clarify.Further Considerations of Afrofuturism)Page (9) The London-based group Black Audio Film Collective released The Last Angel of History. In the hip hop tradition. and diaspora. They were neither from the South nor dealing within the realms of neo-liberalism and the commodified trappings of popular hip hop tropes.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group The use of alien and futuristic metaphors in an Afrofuturist context allows us to resurrect the common other within all of us and unexoticize the black body within the debate sphere by linking blackness with the notion of extraterrestriality. Thus. August 2011. space. It is necessary to use those tools (capitalism.
This is not to say that the dominant US sf tradition did not occasionally attempt. McIntosh. whose 1970 track "Whitey on the Moon" (1970) contrasts the corporate profiteering of the US space program (so close. This shared assumption accounts for the relative absence of people of color from such sf: if race was going to prove unimportant. three figures analyzed in terms of their use of the recording studio. William Tenn.. Theodore R. among others. Reader in Film and Literature at the University of the West of England. though. the Arkestra. DC Comics put Superman in the ring with Muhammad Ali and then concocted a convoluted narrative that culminated in the speedy declaration of Ali's victory by a technical knockout as. Mack Reynolds. Sweatt vs. Ray Bradbury. to consider issues of race and prejudice in contemporary and future worlds. and Parliament-Funkadelic funk producer George Clinton. ideologically. which has emerged from an unhappy past of racial misunderstandings and conflicts" (James 47. Afrofuturism (Jul. SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group . and the Mothership Connection. published between 1949 and 1961. and the support of art work and record label as the vehicle for concept albums that sustain mythological. the idea of extraterrestriality and the idea of space exploration. Robert Sheckley. each is working with a shared set of mythological images and icons such as space iconography. The fallacy of their plan presumes a color-blind world while marginalizing the oppressive history behind space exploration Bloud 07’(Mark Bould. reggae producer. why even bother thinking about it. C. Allen De Graeff's Human and Other Beings (1963) collects sixteen such stories. Fredric Brown. . programmatic. 177-186. when energies could instead be devoted to more pressing matters. George P. see also Kilgore). Elliott. Kornbluth. such as how to colonize the solar system or build a better robot? And so questions of race remained as marginalized as black characters-at best. to much of the Campbell-Heinlein tradition) with the impoverishment of black urban communities: "I can't pay no doctor bill (but Whitey's on the moon)/Ten years from now I'll be payin' still (while Whitey's on the moon). Parliament’salbum cycle to argue that “largely independent of one other. Eric Frank Russell. The exclusion of people of color from sf's future had already been noted by. Frederik Pohl. Perry’s s recording studio. it seemed.' It is not insignificant. the Arkestra. stripped of his superpowers. and architech of dub reggae.M. that only one-third of these stories addressed the position of African Americans with anything like directness. UK) From the 1950s onwards." The space race showed us which race space was for. Science Fiction Studies. 11 . generally depicting humankind "as one race. 2007). Black Audio director John Akomfrah and scriptwriter Edward George integrated a thesis from critic John Corbett’s “Brothers from Another Planet.” an essay whose title references John Sayles’s science-fiction movie of an alien that takes on African American identity to escape his interstellar captors. sf in the US magazine and paperback tradition postulated and presumed a color-blind future. songwriter. pp. and Richard Wilson. Lee Perry. the vinyl record. No. Smith. For example. 2. Corbett pointed to Ra’s group. Cogswell. 34. J. Oklahama State Regents (1951). Akomfrah and George take up in particular the oeuvres of Sun Ra and his group. A year after Star Wars. only two or three of them could be seen to have black viewpoint characters. composer. with varying degrees of equivocation. the well-whupped Man of Steel refused to hit the canvas (until a split second after the referee announced the result). Banks. by Raymond E. and cosmological world pictures. Leigh Brackett.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament history vaults of West Africa .” The affirmative is continuing an ongoing tradition of privileged Eurocentric science programs that neglect the positioning of the black body. Gil Scott-Heron. the Black Ark. Vol. Evelyn E. despite the growth of the Civil Rights movement in the 1950s and such high-profile events as McLaurin vs.T. Chewbacca's Jim to Han's Huck.
adopt and mobilize conceptualizations of race. For example. technology. scholars generally agree that the movement began in the late 1950s with jazz musicians such as Sun Ra and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry who presented themselves as alien visitors from other worlds. No. Communication. Carol Cooper. and the desegregation of Little Rock (1957). their stories suggested. “An Afrofuturist Reading of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man”) Although there have been relatively few book-length studies of Afrofuturism to date. Black Arts Movement authors including Ishmael Reed and Amiri Baraka also began telling stories about fantastic black people who travelled freely through time and space. Rethinking History. Miller (DJ Spooky). Afrofuturism.Whitey on the Moon SNFI 2011 Camp Tournament Neg Arg Group Painter (1951).3 In the 1960s. gender and kinship. 2002 (Alondra. the Montgomery Bus Boycott (1955-56). Nelson studies the production of knowledge about human difference in biomedicine and technoscience and the circulation of these ideas in the public sphere: Her research focuses on how science and its applications shape the social world. science and technology.Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies School of Literature. Brown vs. she also explores the ways in which social groups challenge. and social and cultural theory. these artists demonstrate both the pervasiveness of Afrofuturism throughout contemporary culture and the diverse ways that this aesthetic practice has evolved in tandem with new sciences and technologies themselves. Vol. 9. in some instances. pp. Paul D.20 Eshun belongs to a growing number of critics exploring the intersections of black cultural production. June/September 2005. techno DJs such as Spooky That Subliminal Kid and Derek May.. Afrofuturist artists broadened the scope of their attention to encompass both outer space and cyberspace. including aspects of personal identification. and science fiction collected under the rubric Afrofuturism. Duke University Press.S. Associate Professor of Sociology at Columbia University.and reconstruction of Afrodiasporic subjectivity in digital culture. and Culture 05 (Lisa. Taken together. Nalo Hopkinson. racial formation and collective action. By blending science fictional motifs with more conventional modes of black cultural expression these artists insisted on the right of Afrodiasporic subjects to fully participate in the dawning space age. the announced desegregation of the US Army (1951). what right did anyone have to prevent them from staking their claims on the future since it was actually unfolding in the present? With the advent of global communication and information technologies in the 1970s and 1980s. engage and. 2/3. including Greg Tate. visual artists such as Carrie Weems and Fatimah Tuggar. and the many 12 . 297-313. if black men and women could imagine themselves travelling to other worlds and other times. Sheree Thomas. Mark Dery. After all. socio-historical studies of medicine. and speculative writers including Nalo Hopkinson and Minister Faust all explore the de. In turn. the murder of Emmett Till (1955). At: Aliens link Slavery is analogous to alien abduction – thus blacks have been living in an alien nation for centuries – thus the black body does not represent the ideal of humanity – Afrofuturist discourse demonstrates a move by black bodies from the subhuman to the posthuman Nelson. ] Technology Links New Science and technology develop in tandem with Afrofuturism – it demands a place for the black subject in our imaginations of space Yaszek 05. Kodwo Eshun constructs an argument that posits a specifically black constellation of the posthuman in which New World black subjects have privileged access to the posthuman because they were denied the status of human for so long. holds an appointment in the Institute for Research on Women and Gender (IRWaG). the Board of Education (1954). ethnicity and gender derived from scientific and technical domains. 2002) page 27 Taking the negative ontological placement of black subjects in Western modernity as his point of departure. Her areas of specialization include race and ethnicity in the U.
and jungle. empower or encode the alien.org/article_S0261143003003222. in Afrofuturist musical configurations. ways that bring along in their wake the potential for different experiential worlds. funk. classless and genderless plurality of the dance floor.2003(Ken McLeod. bypassing the modality of the human in the process of moving from the subhuman to the posthuman. the underclass.more often resides in their ability to articulate different ways of construing the body. regional or national radio broadcasts brings listeners together in time outside of space that both 13 .and early twenty-first-century life. hip hop.21 Eshun’s 1998 volume More Brilliant than the Sun: Adventures in Sonic Fiction represents the most extensive manifesto of this movement. As cultural musicologist Jody Berland has recognised. listening to local. Mcleod. Such images.. as well as providing a dazzling account of the technicity of black music. The mutation of African male and female slaves in the eighteenth century into what became negro. p. Futurism and Meaning in Popular Music”.” are largely instrumental. in Eshun’s frame of reference.2003(Ken McLeod. also allow room for alternate.34) The adoption and embodiment of alien and/or futuristic personas represents one of the most powerful of such articulations. many. That whole process. and sometimes militaristic notions of progress that have characterised much of late twentieth. and into an entire series of humans that were designed in America. for example. As such this article is concerned not just with the politics of music and the construction of identity but also with the politics of potential.whether youth. Futurism and Meaning in Popular Music”. if any.the space alien as a transcendent form of Other capable of challenging simplistic binaries of male/female. by any other name. of course. its ability to reflect. (McClary 1994. etc. Particularly evident in rave culture. As illustrated below. shifting forms of nonhuman otherworldliness replace the human as the central characteristic of black subjectivity: The idea of slavery as an alien abduction means that we’ve all been living in an alien-nation since the eighteenth century. emphasis mine) As a result of the dehumanizing forces of slavery. socio-cultural readings of rock/popular music have been situated upon various notions of youth music as resistance to mainstream/dominant values. ranging from the majority of African American literature to the history of soul and the blues. published October 23 2003) As explored in the work of the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies. It’s in the music that you get this sense that most African. in Adorno's words. aliens and the future deflect the often darkly rational. black/white. 11). tracing different forms of alienness and posthumanity through various genres of post– World War II black popular music. a fundamental fascination with the unknown. There is this sense of the human as being a really pointless and treacherous category. the use of alien tropes in popular music typically resists the bourgeois concept of normality which. the key behind it all is that in America none of these humans were designated human. more pluralistic definitions . Eshun describes these two modes of thinking as Afrodiasporic futurism and the humanist futureshock absorbers of mainstream black culture.cambridge. According to Eshun. if not most.Americans owe nothing to the status of the human. The subject position of alien disrupts normative social binaries like male/female. published October 23 2003) The fascination with such images involves. including jazz. black posthumanism stands in stark contrast to the strong humanist strand found in a host of black cultural styles. As Susan McClary has remarked: The musical power of the disenfranchised . Similarly. Psychoanalytic theorists have also sought to explain 'Otherness' in terms of the 'non assimilable alien. alien labelling allows for a symbolic incorporation of the idealised raceless. journals. he argues. Derridian deconstructive readings of rock music typically seek to explain popular music in terms of its Otherness or 'difference' or. (192 – 93. space. ethnic minorities. techno.. “Space Oddities: Aliens. In these genres. p.org/article_S0261143003003222. Author and Teacher of Tibetian Buddhism. Eshun’s important work unearths some of the radical strands of black music that refuse to uncritically embrace the Western conception of “the human.Whitey on the Moon SNFI 2011 Camp Tournament Neg Arg Group contributors to the AfroFuturism Web site and listserv. Music disrupts normality . however. certain kinds of black popular music stage black subjectivity. scientific. journals.cambridge.mimicking an alien presence Mcleod. of who we might become. “Space Oddities: Aliens. repress. Author and Teacher of Tibetian Buddhism. women or gay people . 171). As such. Eshun claims that the sign of the human harbors a negative significance. one that is common to all the disenfranchised groups that McClary lists. p. Reflecting an ultimate mystery and associated feelings of awe and quasi-spirituality. such literal representations of resistance and metaphoric 'difference' lie at the heart of many instances of space and/or alienation appropriation. the unidentified. Music is heavily involved in both the creation and literal colonisation of. black/white or rich/poor. leads to 'the very disintegration of the subject' (Adorno 1987. and therefore do not rely on the black voice as a figure of value. monster' (Kristeva 1982.
Further Considerations of Afrofuturism) Page (3) Imagine a team of African archaeologists from the future—some silicon. the Affirmative/negative has propped up the normative protocol of knowledge that is whiteness. Instead of civilizing African subjects.driving.. dislocation. thus creating an urgent need to demonstrate a substantive historical presence.Whitey on the Moon SNFI 2011 Camp Tournament Neg Arg Group narrates an imagined community and defines a cultural space but also takes us outside of where we are and our everyday activities . Ongoing disputes over reparation indicate that these traumas continue to shape the contemporary era. would be struck by how much Afrodiasporic subjectivity in the twentieth century constituted itself through the cultural project of recovery. etc. The focus I want to propose is one that succeeds the Enlightenment’s “turn to the subject” and Deconstruction’s “turn to language” in what I would call a “somersault towards rhythm. but of a culture of control – alternative knowledges help highlight the manner in which knowledge is bound and policed Perkinson. and slavery were the first moderns. memory is never lost. our archaeologists from the United States of Africa. Foucault’s notions of naïve and subjugated knowledges are helpful in 14 . Typical “white maleness” is not merely a function of appearance. the forced dislocation and commodification that constituted the Middle Passage meant that modernity was rendered forever suspect. It is never a matter of forgetting what it took so long to remember. it has been necessary to assemble counter memories that contest the colonial archive. pleasure and an ever-elusive future. as part of a culturally particular episteme of “knowing the human” that is constituted precisely in the imperialistic pretension to know “universally. Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Marygrove College and of Social Ethics at Ecumenical Theological Seminary. Whether intentional or not. theft. This desire has over determined Black Atlantic intellectual culture for several centuries.. novelist Toni Morrison argued that the African subjects that experienced capture. the edge of that framework? In our time.” are themselves idolatrous. the vigilance that is necessary to indict imperial modernity must be extended into the field of the future. working. What are the parameters of that moment. Sifting patiently through the rubble. 2005’ [James W. Like a time-travelling. connects listeners to fantasy. mutilation. (Berland 1998). abduction. Shamanism. Only the art of forgetting. the early twenty-first century. In their Age of Total Recall. some carbon. to bring Africa and its subjects into history denied by Hegel et al. some wet. the USAF. the USAF archaeologists surmise. racism and hip hop culture (pg. thereby situating the collective trauma of slavery as the founding moment of modernity. a museum from their past: a museum whose ruined documents and leaking discs are identifiable as belonging to our present. omnipresent alien presence – music takes us outside of our bodies and place while simultaneously reminding us of our location and what it means to live there Modernity links The collective trauma of slavery is the founding moment of modernity – this forever renders modernity suspect – we must continue to indict imperial modernity as we look toward the future Eshun 92 (Kodwo Eshun MA in Arts. and dehumanization that philosophers like Nietzsche would later define as quintessentially modern. 120-122)]JB The great question in the precincts of academe is the degree to which the humanities or social sciences. imperial racism has denied black subjects the right to belong to the enlightenment project. alienation. Imagine them reconstructing the conceptual framework of our cultural moment from those fragments. in general. They underwent real conditions of existential homelessness.” To some degree. Thus music. Course Leader of Arts at Goldsmiths College . In an interview with critic Paul Gilroy in his anthology Small Acts. some dry—excavating a site. To establish the historical character of black culture. Rather.
112).” on the other hand. single reference. specifying. language in general) cannot say except through its own rupturing (Gilroy. 96. 142. or as politically cunning as those of a King or a Baldwin. was transvalued in terms of a different time code. by way of an act of multiplication in the dimension of time. are much further down the line and “conceptualization” is at an even greater remove.” The white male body remains normatively “regnant. eventually. in spite of a more recent training in race neutrality. 6–7. 69). as aesthetically stunning as those of a Hurston or a Morrison. When James Brown screams “I. Wrestled into the language of a sine curve and sound. How does such a claim register in the protocols of knowing that carry the imprimatur of “higher education”? It registers in the body. three.” before moving on to the next part of the sentence. What must be “highlighted” in the envisioning processes characteristic of theoria. is exactly a turn away from the eye toward the ear. Murphy. Afrofuturism developed as a cultural response to the failure of the Civil Rights Movement to solve the consequences of centuries of racial oppression – the Earth has become no refuge for black people and they have turned to the mothership 15 . the arch of a back created instant syncopation in the visual mode—a matter of “troping” the words actually said with two. Never mind that society today is avowedly color blind and secular in its public practice. My argument is that the Western university is generally not. the caterwauling of an unmet desire. There has often been. Racism. the space of public speech. and lying (Gates. 15. He emphasizes the for ironic improvisation characteristic of “black” language use as the requisite “trope” requiring attention. Such an exercise is a savvy “volatilizing” of the solidity of dominant organizations of space. 2001. 1972. 145–146). In this sense. and found institutional investment in the southern plantation and the northern suburb. however.’s work in The Signifying Monkey offers a helpful cipher by which to query the history. 45). 1. words have been made the reservoir of a promiscuous wit. Walker. capacity Constructing the Break 91 Ironic Polyphony Henry Louis Gates. inverting insult and aggression into a masterful “put-down” that was simultaneously a “put-on. 76–77. 53). 77.” nine times in a row on his hit record. Clear “articulation” and certain “identification. he is trying to say something about the core of human being that the first person pronoun (or indeed. but a rhythmic resonance giving rise. the flash of an eye. capable of exploring the cadences of a quiet timbre. in academic interventions culturally coded as “African American. “Capping” on one’s enemies. the impression is one of a mixing of high frequency melodic lines with low frequency base-beats that grip the 92 Shamanism. Goodman. That it is schooled to understand its own peculiar disposition as “universal” and “exemplary” is the very substance of its Constructing the Break 93 sense of entitlement and apotheosis.” “I. 213). the mistaking of map for territory (Esteva and Prakash. the fixation of meaning in a incidental to thought. thought is easy prey to the design of domination. to a groan (Perkinson. But the body habituated in white upbringing carries a deeper memory and an older code. 54. the catharsis of a whole community of ancestry still locked up in silence inside a moving bone (Brandon. 40. 82–83). the statistics still descry the facts: university departments remain reflections of the white affirmative action that has characterized this country from its modern inception) (Mills. and afraid of itself. even when that body is white. Deep thinking begins with a plastic body. was given explicit theological valence in Puritan colorcodes. “Identity. the bob of a head. as a primary political tactic for a people under surveillance (Gates.” “I. and of the flow of meaning through space. Ironic and parodic improvisation opening out the paradigmatic register of speech underneath the syntagmatic chain emerges.”6 as erect as a tree stump and as (im)mobile. 1980.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group catching a glimpse of the bounded and policed terrain of knowing that is in question here (Foucault. in such ritual revisions. and Hip-Hop Culture mind and grope the trunk all at once. Cut off from a wide-ranging repertoire of gestural performance. ignorant of the night inside its own cells. Since the emergence of the ethnicity paradigm for explaining sociocultural difference beginning with the University of Chicago in the 1930s. The considerable skill with double-voiced discourse that has been so evident a feature of Afrodiaspora survival tactics gained street-level recognition in the United States by the late nineteenth century as a collective capacity to defy oppression through signifying. in his analysis. but also in quite ruthless pedagogies of time and timing. Light skin today is a social palimpsest—bearing contradictory witness to the racial project—even when the persona is committedly antiracist. The jerk of a neck.” a proliferation of meaning that can be experienced as simultaneously “dense” in depth and “dazzling” in intertextuality.” in my experience. today remains a “sacred” inscription in and on the typical middle-class body. More often than not. 49). 104–115). 219–221. though. five.” served the need to find ways of preserving dignity while also preserving life in a hostile world. and male. as recent studies have made clear. Please. The absolutizing of white privilege that began with Columbus. African American creativity inside the disciplinary domains of the academy has often taken the form of a subversive “mathematics. Please. typical “white maleness” is not merely a function of appearance. but of a whole cult and culture of controlling norms (Dyer. Having a body that is freed for more full-bellied forms of expression is by no means a guarantee against take-over by dominating categories. but also in written interventions as erudite as those of a Du Bois or a Cornel West. Willis. is not first of all a word. It works not only at the level of sight. 44–45). “Please. Jr. able to recognize such within its own protocols of “knowledge. But neither is gesture accidental and The kind of body offered as the preferred signifier in most academic departments is a living icon of ideology and dominant class This body’s hieroglyphics (the history of affirmative action efforts and multicultural initiatives aside. focusing all its lights in the surveilling eye of objectivity. or fifteen alternative inflections by way of the timing of the bodily gesture on top of or underneath the speech.” Not only in oral presentations. it has become de rigueur to educate dominate class people in the designs of the color-blind eye (Omi and Winant. What was heard simplistically and eagerly in one way by the Master or Boss could be made to encode an altogether different and even opposite meaning for those in the know.
2009.or Black. April 1. (Chuck. History should not be Repeated: Western Ideas of Superiority should be Dropped in Favor of Respect Towards Alien Life Forms Galli 9. (Chuck. April 1.136 “The Wisdom and Understanding of the Fifteen Beliefs of the Universal Zulu Nation” explicitly dictates that “if someday we do meet Aliens from another planet.” A muted rebuttal has been made for centuries to the grand structure by which humans of various colors and backgrounds have been told to measure goodness – this progress-hermeneutics superstructure.138 Though no longer subject to immediate death as punishment for insolence. Until “popular Pan.in describing it. the slave eventually becomes enlightened to the master’s way of thinking and accepts this new paradigm over death. has practically issued an official. Paper 18. then the whole Universe must be ruled with equal justice for all.Faculty of Arts and Science at the Rhode Island College for the Program in African and African-American Studies. Rhode Island College Honors Project. I would add this thing to Dery’s and Nelson’s definitions of Afrofuturism – that there is essentially a challenge to the entire European notion (which. essentially. in a very real sense. Peace. though not de facto. argued that the slave prefers death to adaptation into a philosophical framework which led to his own enslavement.” referencing the people-stealing which took place during the trans-Atlantic slave trade.”137 The insistence repeated throughout Zulu Nation texts that racism and other forms of discrimination be renounced even regarding life forms we have not yet encountered seems to represent a mindset which developed from an “alien people” (Africans) who were not afforded such rights when they arrived on someone else’s mother planet (Europe and the New World. an outer-space oriented musical and artistic aesthetic took hold. According to Paul Gilroy: This period of intense musical creativity arose between the demise of Black Power and the rise of popular Pan-Africanism triggered by Bob Marley. modernity.40 There was. “Hip-Hop Futurism: Remixing Afrofuturism and the Hermeneutics of Identity”) The Zulu Nation’s and Afrika Bambaataa’s engagement with alien life and alien planets deserves significant attention as well. Mark Dery. the descendants of alien abductees. (Chuck. buttressed by the history of jubilee in slave societies. and style. the Zulu Nation has preferred to let die the modern idea of betterment through superiority over others by both respecting alien life forms which are not even known and by respecting phenomena of the seen and unseen which are brought to them from outside. an intellectual vacuum during this transitional phase as regarded how Blacks were to carry over the spirit of a proud “Blackness” of the civil rights and Black Power era into a new epoch which was defined in large part by the failure of these very movements to produce their full emancipatory promises. “Hip-Hop Futurism: Remixing Afrofuturism and the Hermeneutics of Identity”) We have. Rhode Island College Honors Project. 2009. “Hip-Hop Futurism: Remixing Afrofuturism and the Hermeneutics of Identity”) Particularly germane to this thesis is the sudden popularity and frequency of Afrofuturist music which arose in the 1970’s funk scene.) The Zulu Nation abandonment of Western ideas of alien encounter fits a theoretical framework articulated by Fredrick Douglas who objected to Hegel’s assertion that in the mater-slave narrative.Faculty of Arts and Science at the Rhode Island College for the Program in African and African-American Studies.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group Galli 9. 2009.Faculty of Arts and Science at the Rhode Island College for the Program in African and African-American Studies. an alien planet. Paper 18. the foundational thinker in Afrofuturist discourse. or somewhere “out there. It was dominated by the desire to find a new political and ethical code in which the contradictory demands for blackness on one side and postcolonial utopia on the other could be articulated together under the bright signs of progress. 16 . Douglass. April 1. arguments that postulate the existence of something which occurs with such frequency in the futuristic imaginings of Blacks that it warrants a prefix such as Afro. The disappointment resulting from the end of the civil rights era inspired an artistic genre which had given up hope of an earthly refuge for Black people and instead turned to a mothership. Rhode Island College Honors Project.Africanism” assumed this role as navigator to the future. statement of monopoly to the world) that progress is tied to labor and that such progress is necessarily “good.” European Structure Monopolizes Modern World Undermining the Progress of other Races Galli 9. Paper 18. has said that “African-Americans are. thanks to modernity. then.
political. Whether it be the White House or the pyramids. to be evangelized by Christianity.2 After briefly reviewing the Afrofuturist tendencies in Ellison’s critical writing I turn to a more extensive consideration of Invisible Man itself. In other respects. invented some of the most revolutionary technological innovations of their times. “An Afrofuturist Reading of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man”) Given this interest in alternate history. hip hop futurism disrupts and abandons the notion of a wholistic/determinate subject Galli 9. and Culture (Lisa. more hidden persuaders promise us. To understand how Ellison’s novel fits into the history of Afrofuturism we must first consider the political and aesthetic mission of Afrofuturism as a whole movement. to be modernized by industrialism. they just steal it from other artists who apparently created their records in a total intellectual vacuum and can claim originality over their work. Paper 18.196 There is a serious bone of contention here. Blacks were only “subjects” in the sense that they were subjects of dominating empires for the bulk of Black history. Blacks have been constructed by White nations and histories as objects of various political and philosophical subjects: the Black was to be civilized by Western culture. complex. 2009. Though Blacks produced almost the entire crop and mineral wealth for European colonizing nations in Africa and the New World. However. June/September 2005. 297-313.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group The White West have dominated colored bodies – given that these bodies were never defined as truly subjects. In its broadest dimensions Afrofuturism is an extension of the historical recovery projects that black Atlantic intellectuals have engaged in for well over two hundred years. Rethinking History. and important works are brushed off as “illegitimate” because the true labor is perceived as having been performed by those outside of hip-hop. (Chuck. are privy only to socially dominant groups. and contributed their foods. Hip-hop is often treated in the same way.195 If originality and authenticity are one and the same. it is a literary clarion call for an Afrofuturist imaginary that was just barely thinkable at the time of Invisible Man’s publication. the creation of fantastically rich. Blacks. 17 . Communication. In a very real sense. the American Negro slaves are not considered the founding fathers of the United States. between Black communities and Western modernity.Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies School of Literature. According to Toni Morrison. Ellison ultimately leaves it to the next generation of artists to imagine what alternative futures might replace them. whether those remaining in Africa or those taken abroad. “Hip-Hop Futurism: Remixing Afrofuturism and the Hermeneutics of Identity”) Hip-hop futurism’s abandonment of the subject as a whole. provided invaluable labor and raw resources for the United States.creators of such ambitions.Faculty of Arts and Science at the Rhode Island College for the Program in African and African-American Studies. No. literary. enjoyable. perfect entity makes sense given two of its main influences: the Black experiences in the Americas and the politics of abandonment in American urban areas. political. We must create afrofuturist imaginary – A building of the future through a critical rethinking of the past is necessary to resist the system of white privilege that permeates our current route to a social. 178). but as tools employed in them. as avenues of possibility for the realization of Western ambitions rather than subject. and economic futures that many of our leaders and other. As with his critical writing Ellison’s fiction powerfully anticipates the tenets of contemporary Afrofuturism. In this sense his novel is not an Afrofuturist one per se. those who actually built societies are often times not credited for their creations. supported by empirical evidence. Thus historical. and other aesthetic representations of Afrodiasporic history insist on both the authenticity of the black subject’s experience in Western history and authenticity of this experience as a literal embodiment of the dislocation felt by many modern peoples. and the hip-hop artist is not considered to be constructively creating. then what incentive do hip-hop producers have to remain loyal these ideas? The Baganda cotton farmer is not credited with the vitality of the British Empire. if we think metaphorically. 9. Vol. music. it is perhaps not surprising that the authors who have been most closely associated with literary Afrofuturism have been fabulists such as Ishmael Reed and Amiri Baraka and science fiction authors such as Samuel Delany and Octavia Butler. pp. Rather. April 1. these projects demonstrate how the conditions of homelessness and alienation experienced by African slaves and their descendants anticipate what philosophers such as Nietzsche claimed were the founding conditions of modernity (Gilroy 1993. demonstrating a very real need for black Americans—and indeed all Americans—to resist the whitewashed social. p. Rhode Island College Honors Project.1 In this article I propose that we think about Ralph Ellison as a kind of early or proto-Afrofuturist as well. DJs and MCs allegedly do not make music. 2/3. and words to “Western” cultures. and economic future Yaszek 5. and are the largest measures of “progress” in a modern sense. they are often portrayed not as authors of such endeavors. were treated. or to be exterminated by any means necessary.
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As we approach the future, blackness is conflated with catastrophe – signifying the failure of global capital’s progress – the growing technological dependency worldwide creates a dangerous situation for those bodies denied access to the narrative of progress Yaszek 5- Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies School of Literature, Communication, and Culture (Lisa, June/September 2005, Rethinking History. Vol. 9, No. 2/3, pp. 297-313. “An Afrofuturist Reading of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man”)
Afrofuturism is not just about reclaiming the history of the past, but about reclaiming the history of the future as well. Kodwo Eshun argues that our most culturally pervasive visions of tomorrow are generated by a ‘futures industry’ that weaves together technoscientific findings, mass media storytelling practices, and economic prediction to make sense of its own movements. More often than not, the futures industry conflates blackness with catastrophe. For example, Eshun notes that ‘African social reality is overdetermined by intimidating global scenarios, doomsday economic projections, weather predictions, medical reports on AIDS, and life-expectancy forecasts, all of which predict decades of immiserization’ (Eshun 2003, pp. 291 – 292). As such, Africa becomes a site of absolute dystopia, an imaginary futurological space where the persistence of black identity signifies a disastrous failure in the ongoing progress of global capital as a whole. Of course, these predictions are not limited to the continent of Africa. Rather, they implicitly and explicitly structure dominant
As its name implies, perceptions of blackness in Atlantic nations as well. Nelson notes that over the past decade Western discourse has become increasingly dominated by the rhetoric of ‘the digital divide,’ an expression that serves primarily as ‘a code phrase for the tech[nical] inequities that exist between blacks and whites’ (Nelson 2002, p. 1). According to Nelson, the rhetoric of the digital divide does more
than assume that, in the best of all worlds, technology can and should eliminate racial distinctions. It also assumes that ‘race is a liability in the twenty-first century’ and that blackness is ‘always oppositional to technologically-driven chronicles of progress’ (p. 1). Whether proponents of this concept attribute the digital divide to material,
economic, or cultural differences, the end result is the same: even in the seemingly most advanced nations black subjects cannot hope to participate fully in the world of tomorrow.
Afrofuturist discourse attempts to reconfigure the relationship between science, technology and race – such a reimagniation of the future disrupts and transforms the Western narrative of exclusion Yaszek 5- Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies School of Literature, Communication, and Culture (Lisa, June/September 2005, Rethinking History. Vol. 9, No. 2/3, pp. 297-313. “An Afrofuturist Reading of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man”)
Afrofuturist artists fight these dystopic futures in two related ways. First, they use the vocabulary of science fiction to reconfigure the relations of race, science and technology. Noting that ‘science fiction has long treated [alien] people who might or might not exist,’ author Octavia Butler argues that the genre provides an ideal language for artists interested in the seemingly fantastic possibility that there might be Afrodiasporic subject relations that exist outside those most commonly described by the discourses of the futures industry (quoted in Crossley 1988, p. xvi). Furthermore, as I
have argued elsewhere, Afrofuturist artists like Butler herself appropriate deracinated images of robots and cyborgs to specifically politicized ends, as tropes through which to explore the appropriation of black labour in the name of national or global progress and to celebrate black mastery over communication and information technologies.4 As such, these tropes become powerful tools for
demonstrating the Afrodiasporic subject’s cognitive dissent—or what W.E.B. Du Bois called ‘double consciousness’—from those visions of tomorrow that are generated by the futures industry. Second, Afrofuturist artists disrupt, challenge and otherwise transform those futures with fantastic stories that, as Ruth Mayer puts it, ‘move seamlessly back and forth through time and space, between cultural traditions and geographic time zones’ and thus between blackness as a dystopic relic of the past and as a harbinger of a new and more promising alien future (Mayer 2000, pp. 556 – 566). For example, the Detroit electronic duo Drexciya present themselves in the liner
notes to their albums as sea creatures evolved from the premature babies born by African women who were raped and thrown overboard in the course of the Middle Passage. After years of building dazzling submarine civilizations, the Drexciyans now stand poised to head for the stars. By retelling the story of the Middle Passage as the disturbing but ultimately triumphant tale of strangers in a strange land, Drexciya ‘produce self-destroying narratives, fictions that strain against the conventional pull of identification and closure’ (Mayer 2000, p. 563). These acts of ‘chronopolitical intervention,’ as Eshun calls them, double, triple, and even quadruple
readers’ consciousness about what it might mean to live in a world made by people of colour—in other words, to live in a black future (Eshun 2003, p. 298). Thus Afrofuturist artists like Drexciya encourage disalienation from the world of
tomorrow by insisting on a multiplicity of black futures that are distinctly alien to those whitewashed ones featured regularly in Hollywood films, Sci-Fi Channel television programming, and glossy computer magazines.>
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Afrofuturism Breaks the Socially Imposed Chain to Retrieve the Future Yaszek 5- Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies School of Literature, Communication, and Culture (Lisa, June/September 2005, Rethinking History. Vol. 9, No. 2/3, pp. 297-313. “An Afrofuturist Reading of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man”)
Ellison’s protagonist to simply witness what he calls ‘the boomerang of history.’ Eventually he must learn to take control of history and deny those whitewashed histories of the future predicated on the erasure of black subjectivity. He learns this lesson from Brother Tarp, an unassuming old man who becomes a kind of spokesperson for
Of course it is not enough for Afrofuturity. As a young man in the south, Tarp refuses to give up his possessions to a white man; later, he refuses to accept the sentence of life imprisonment he receives for doing so, and, after nineteen years of patient waiting, he finds his opportunity and escapes to the north. As he tells the invisible man: ‘I said no to a man who wanted to take something from me; that’s what it
cost me for saying no and even now the debt ain’t fully paid and will never be paid in their terms. . .. I said no. . .I said hell no! And I kept saying no until I broke the chain and left’ (p. 387). Significantly, this passage does more than demonstrate one man’s refusal to play the role that has been socially scripted for him. It shows how, in refusing this role, one man can change the future: Tarp’s ‘debt’—such as it is—will never be paid because he refuses to become the subservient black man he is supposed to be. Instead, he removes himself from the future that has been imposed on him and allies himself with the Brotherhood in the hope of a better tomorrow.
The Affirmatives discursive construction of apocalyptic impacts ignores the manner in which black spaces are characterized as the battlefields of global warfare and economic struggle – Africa as the dark continent becomes the space of racist projections as we progress toward futurity – violent oppression becomes inevitable
Eshun 92 (Kodwo Eshun MA in Arts, Course Leader of Arts at Goldsmiths College, Further Considerations of Afrofuturism) Page (5-6)
If global scenarios are descriptions that are primarily concerned with making futures safe for the market, then Afrofuturism’s first priority is to recognize that Africa increasingly exists as the object of futurist projection. African social reality is overdetermined by intimidating global scenarios, doomsday economic projections, weather predictions, medical reports on AIDS, and life-expectancy forecasts, all of which predict decades of immiserization. These powerful descriptions of the future demoralize us; they command us to bury our heads in our hands, to groan with sadness. Commissioned by multinationals and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), these developmental futurisms function as the other side of the corporate utopias that make the future safe for industry. Here, we are seduced not by smiling faces staring brightly into a screen; rather, we are menaced by predatory futures that insist the next years will be hostile. Within an economy that runs on SF capital and market futurism, Africa is always the zone of the absolute dystopia. There is always a reliable trade in market projections for Africa’s socioeconomic crises. Market dystopias aim to warn against predatory futures, but always do so in a discourse that aspires to unchallengeable certainty. The AFF conceptualizes Africa where misery and doom is all that exist and that mentality can only be detrimental
Eshun 92 (Kodwo Eshun MA in Arts, Course Leader of Arts at Goldsmiths College ,Further Considerations of Afrofuturism) Page (5-6)
If global scenarios are descriptions that are primarily concerned with making futures safe for the market, then Afrofuturism’s first priority is to recognize that Africa increasingly exists as the object of futurist projection. African social reality is overdetermined by intimidating global scenarios, doomsday economic projections, weather predictions, medical reports on AIDS, and life-expectancy forecasts, all of which predict decades of immiserization. These powerful descriptions of the future demoralize us; they command us to bury our heads in our hands, to groan with sadness. Commissioned by multinationals and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), these developmental futurisms function as the other side of the corporate utopias that make the future safe for industry. Here, we are seduced not by smiling faces staring brightly into a screen; rather, we are menaced by predatory futures that insist the next years will be hostile. Within an economy that runs on SF capital and market futurism, Africa is always the zone of the absolute dystopia. There is always a reliable trade in market projections for Africa’s 19
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Racism is a persistent deep-rooted construct in our society that even titanic cultural move-ments have been unable to eliminate in any significant way. White Americans rarely provide support for the movement unless it grants them some benefit that will only serve to further the racial tensions their policies have fostered. Harvard Law Review, 93 (April, 1993, The Harvard Law Review Association, “BOOK NOTE: AND WE WILL NOT BE SAVED.
FACES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WELL: THE PERMANENCE OF RACISM. By Derrick Bell.”) The substance of Bell's argument is as straightforward as it is bleak: "[I]t is time to 'get real' about race and the persistence of racism in America" (p.5). Racism is an integral feature of American society; "[e]ven those herculean efforts we hail as successful will produce no more than temporary 'peaks of progress,' short-lived victories that slide into irrelevance as racial patterns adapt in ways that maintain white dominance" (p. 12 (emphasis omitted)). Bell provides several explanations for the persistence of racism. Whites provide blacks "little protection against one or another form of racial discrimination unless granting blacks a measure of relief will serve some interest of importance to whites" (p. 53). Fur-hermore, poor whites, instead of acknowledging the similarity of their position with that of blacks, are "easily detoured into protecting their sense of entitlement vis-a-vis blacks for all things of value"
White media and literature have created a culture that downplays the implication that slavery holds for the present and future by manipulating the history of black liberty Lavender, Associate Professor of English at Central Arkansas University, 11 (2011, Isaiah, Race in American Science Fiction. Indiana University Press, Pgs. 56-58, CJC)
Undoubtedly, American slavery survives in our cultural imaginaion, in our records, even in our sf. Terry Bisson’s
provocative Fire on the Mountain (1988), for example, describes an alternative history where John Brown’s raid, with the assistance of Harriet Tubman, succeeds at Harpers Ferry. The resulting changes include a socialist black republic in the Deep South that shapes much of the world’s politics. Bisson’s novel demonstrates that slavery is very thoughtfully studied by the author, giving us a
feel for its social environment, its common activities and values, as we progressively compile as much of its tradition as possible. Yet some aspects of the slave experience will always remain outside of this constructed history because the manner in which history is written is largely flawed. I say “flawed” because individual authors bring their various prejudices to bear on historical records and translate happenings through specific agendas. In other words, they influence our understanding of slavery by carefully shaping and manipulating our knowledge. This influence, positive or negative, affects how different races perceive historical slavery and each race’s position in relation to it. Racism, then, becomes specific to these social experiences recorded in history, charging “black” and “white” subjectivities in different ways, and fixing identities in racial categories that have proven nearly impossible to transcend. A case in point, William Styron’s Pulitzer Prize–winning The Confessions of Nat Turner (1967), offers a
fictionalized account of the brutal and violent 1831 Southampton, Virginia, slave revolt led by the infamous Nat Turner, in which fifty-nine white people died. Black objections to the novel concern the possible misrepresentation of history and the appropriation by white writers of the iconic image that Turner symbolizes for many black Americans. Undeniably, some people will feel that Styron’s race undermines the artistic value of his novel as a social document because he has little personal association with slavery as a white man in America. Styron is a white man from the South using a black historical figure to talk about slavery. His reinterpretation of the past through his neo– slave narrative clearly diminishes the blacks’ sense of ownership of this history. But even more, his interpretation sees only white men as historical subjects, and as a white American male he is fundamentally incapable of seeing beyond that fact. In defense of Styron, I believe that people on both sides of the color line have to deal with the consequences of slavery. “Although slavery has ended,” Sherryl Vint comments, “its traumatic and continued effects on Americans, both black and white, have not been dealt with” (“Only,” 242).
Through his three “laws” of robotics, Asimov justifies the unapologetic slavery of mechanical beings by “protecting humans” while in fact the laws ensure supreme dominance of the “superior” race. The same laws that enslave blacks today are justified with the premise that they are “protecting humans”. Lavender, Associate Professor of English at Central Arkansas University, 11 (2011,
Isaiah, Race in American Science Fiction, Indiana University Press, Pgs. 60-61, CJC)
Central to Asimov’s future are the famous three “laws” of robotics: First, “a robot may not injure a human being, or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm”; second, “a robot must obey the orders given it by human beings except where such orders would conflict with the First Law”; and third, “a robot must protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws” (44–45). These laws 20
wherein technology. science and technology. Asimov’s laws regulate robot behavior toward humanity by placing conditions upon robot actions. Eshun notes that ‘African social reality is overdetermined by intimidating global scenarios. in some instances. that in science fiction robots represent technological descendants of humanity. Afrofuturism. enslaved robots. the difference between white masters and black slaves. for example. Other scholars pick up on the underlying robot as slave connotation. In turn. If. Such benign edicts are the basis of Asimov’s seemingly inadvertent endorsement of racism as an acceptable starting point for relationships between conscious.”14 Tracing the 21 . the robots of the stories take command of the Earth in a quiet uprising led by the “passing” robot Stephen Byerly. perhaps an unthinking construction of what might be called meta-slavery. he is apparently unconscious of the racist innuendo. Asimov is refashioning the slave codes that subjugated blacks while he serves a progressive philosophy based on the assumption that technological consciousness can be denied free will because it is inherently inferior.e. i. which only has meaning in its relation to the black other as non-human – in the black diaspora. Ultimately. thus becoming a logical step in our transformation to posthumanity. It is questionable whether Asimov saw the racial implications in his stories—that the difference between humanity and the robots mirrors. humanity becomes denaturalized because of these historical exclusions Nelson. I think it would be useful to investigate a few critical responses to Asimov’s celebrated law. the futures industry conflates blackness with catastrophe. but about reclaiming the history of the future as well.) (June 2005 “afrofuturism and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. ethnicity and gender derived from scientific and technical domains. and a formerly “hidden” race dialogue emerges. Therefore. I am suggesting. and life-expectancy forecasts. a human sense that African slaves did not possess wills and were therefore not human. Arguably then. 2002) page 27 Afro-Caribbean theorist Sylvia Wynter’s attempt to recast the human sciences in relation to a new conception of “man” provides contexts in which to think the “human” that not only bridge the ever widening gap between the cognitive life sciences and humanities but also incorporate the colonial and racialist histories of the “human. they actually ensure the technological bondage and inferiority of robots. however. Kodwo Eshun argues that our most culturally pervasive visions of tomorrow are generated by a ‘futures industry’ that weaves together technoscientific findings.Whitey on the Moon SNFI 2011 Camp Tournament Neg Arg Group ensure that humanity remains in charge. an imaginary futurological space where the persistence of black identity signifies a disastrous failure in the ongoing progress of global capital as a whole. adopt and mobilize conceptualizations of race.S.2/3) As the name implies. pp. intelligent entities. humans must protect themselves by creating a limiting consciousness for robots in the form of a positronic brain. racial formation and collective action. holds an appointment in the Institute for Research on Women and Gender (IRWaG). presents conditions that distance us from historical human slavery but promote interrogations of its essential characteristics. gender and kinship. Consequently. Racism against african americans is undermined by more intimidating issues Yaszek. (Afrofuturism is not just about reclaiming the history of the past. the three laws require robots to protect humans from harm. she also explores the ways in which social groups challenge. Asimov’s relatively simple laws dictate that mechanized beings shall always be subordinate to humanity because men are afraid of their own creations. socio-historical studies of medicine. to follow the commands of humans to the letter unless this conflicts with the first law. the self-saving act does not interfere with the first two laws. then. and only if. Africa becomes a site of absolute dystopia.. 291 – 2920). Associate Professor of Sociology at Columbia University. that these implications must be examined. that the relationship between man and machine must be that of master and slave because robots are rivals that will surpass human capabilities. In essence. “ Rethinking History: The Journal of Theory and Practice 9. Duke University Press. The concept of free will is obviously key because it is a repetition of the antebellum period in American history. and to practice selfpreservation if. As such. For example. Communication and Culture. More specifically. weather predictions. including aspects of personal identification. Asimov is indirectly suggesting that the practice of slavery is required for the betterment of humanity at the expense of artificial persons. engage and. Her areas of specialization include race and ethnicity in the U. Lisa 2005 ( Assosciate professor and directors of undergraduate studies school of literature. while Asimov’s three laws are intended to ensure the safety and superiority of humans. all of which predict decades of immiserization (Eshun 2003. Robots can better protect humanity as a whole by managing the world’s resources. I contend. medicalreports on AIDS. and economic prediction to make sense of its own movements. and social and cultural theory. Blackness functions as the antithesis to human – the universal human is defined as white and male.. mechanically. doomsday economic projections. 2002 (Alondra. Nelson studies the production of knowledge about human difference in biomedicine and technoscience and the circulation of these ideas in the public sphere: Her research focuses on how science and its applications shape the social world. More often than not. mass media storytelling practices.
Wynter maintains that the because its limitations are rendered abundantly clear. but break from it if he is ever to be free.edu/honors_projects/18.” 436).” Apocalypse Now The apocalypse has already happened but the aff acts as if they can stop it. racism. . black subjects served as limit cases by which “man” could define himself as the universal “human” (“Disenchanting Discourse. wherever that may have been. Current debates about the posthuman might do well to incorporate these ontological others into their theories in order to better situate and analyze the porous perimeters of the “human. Western futurism. Only in its absence can we orient ourselves toward an Afrofuture. and that such progress will lead humans to better lives.”55 Gilroy believes that “Corrective or compensatory inclusion in modernity should no longer supply the dominant theme” of anti-racist discourse and says that people should “self-consciously… become more future oriented. wherein whiteness connotes the full humanity only gleaned in relation to the lack of humanity in blackness. In black culture this category becomes a designation that shows its finitudes and exclusions very clearly. He references the high frequency of Black spirituals based on “deliverance” and postulates that the mind of the Black slave was firmly planted in the future because the present was so hopeless and wretched. “man” appears as “man” via dis-identification. . and such progress can be followed along a rational path (that is. To grossly summarize his very brilliant works and arguments. Man as a selected being and natural organism . labor.59 If utopia is a state of perfect being achieved through a process of societal progress. he claims. “the black population groups of the New World [acted] as the embodied bearers of Ontological lack to the secular model of being. They fail to realize that the harms that they have identified have already been perpetrated by the system they have actively chosen to endorse in the 1ac. as the conceptual Other” (“Beyond the Word. the moment in which black people enter into humanity. Black humanism disenchants “Man as Man. Moreover. the Cartesian “Rational Man” and then. slave hunters surrounded the house with firearms and demanded that 22 . in the popular Western tradition. as the universal human. Chuck.60 Gilroy relates the story of a female slave who fled to a free state with her children before the American Civil War and took refuge in a house. thereby denaturalizing the “human” as a universal formation while at the same time laying claim to it. Honors Projects Overview. . Upon finding her whereabouts.16 Because New World black subjects were denied access to the position of humanity for so long.15 In the discursive and material universe of “biological idealism. .54 Gilroy considers himself to be a successor in this theoretical lineage (though obviously not informed by the same lived conditions as slaves and colonial subjects) and admits that when considering issues of race theory. beginning “at the end of the eighteenth century.57 On the one hand. Put differently. Here. a path which rationalizes the continued perception of increased technological complexity and material gain as measures of advancement) toward a utopia where basic needs are no longer extant thanks to innovation. the future became a mental and spiritual location for Blacks on the plantation. Man. You should reject the affirmative for their complicity with the march of modernity that discursively reproduces the worst atrocities in history within the debate round. Galli 09 (Galli. this very idea loses its ontological thrust longue durée of Western modernity.” bringing “into being different modes of the human” because it deploys the very formulation of “man” as catachresis (“Disenchanting Discourse.” drawing his inspiration from Franz Fanon.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group religious conception of the self gave way to two modes of secularized subjectivity: first.” 645).58 Essentially. Gilroy deals with what he sees as a stark ideological differentiation between Western peoples and peoples of the African diaspora regarding their respective eschatologies. ‘man as man’” (“Beyond the Word. "Hip-Hop Futurism: Remixing Afrofuturism and the Hermeneutics of Identity" (2009).” 466).” 641). Conversely. technological advances and material gain are seen as indicators of progress. Gilroy points to a long tradition of “the jubilee” in Black literature and history that is inconsistent with the Western belief in utopia.” the second of Wynter’s modes of secularized being.ric. who advocated that one should know his history. he prefers to “[invoke] the unknowable future against the unforgiving present. jubilee is a process of being perfect regardless of the eventual destination. he identifies the theme of a futuristic “utopia” in the Western literary tradition. and anti-racism. “humanity” refuses to signify any ontological primacy within Afrodiasporic discourses.) Gilroy contends that thinking about the future has a distinctive character in Black traditions and has roots in the material history of many Black peoples. Gilroy proposes that since the Black present has so often provided no impetus to survive or hope of personal and group betterment. operates within a framework of European modernity and holds to the idea that society is progressing through rationalism. http://digitalcommons. and the removal from society of things which interfere with progress. .56 In his book The Black Atlantic.
April 1. Rather than seeing these European markers of cultural “progress” as proof that work was directly related to a more perfect life.” A muted rebuttal has been made for centuries to the grand structure by which humans of various colors and backgrounds have been told to measure goodness – this progress-hermeneutics superstructure. The modern labor ethic was/is thus seen as Middle Ages feudalism gone through metamorphosis and reemerged with a new selling-point of universality. economic. Gilroy argues that Blacks interpreted their work as antithetical to their own interests and perceived as a lie the notion that labor led to advancements.”67 The queue to take this post-apocalyptic position can arguably be drawn from a number of instances in Black history: the abduction of Africans and subsequent transportation to an alien land. has practically issued an official.61 For the slave woman. 2009. “Hip-Hop Futurism: Remixing Afrofuturism and the Hermeneutics of Identity”) <This resulted in a vastly different interpretation of the technological.66 Music critic and writer Mark Sinker says that the “central fact” of Afrofuturist art is “that the Apocalypse already happened. arguments that postulate the existence of something which occurs with such frequency in the futuristic imaginings of Blacks that it warrants a prefix such as Afroor Black. tending to associate Modern labor with terror. The act of perfect being in the moment supercedes the hope of attaining personal. and as a basis for hope that future benefits can be attained through more work. and American law. Gilroy credits this phenomenon of the jubilee in Black thought partially to the relationship between Blacks and labor.in describing it. I would add this thing to Dery’s and Nelson’s definitions of Afrofuturism – that there is essentially a challenge to the entire European notion (which. terrorism. the murder of her children is a jubilant thing. All of these concepts will play a major role in the treatment of my coming proposition that “hip-hop futurism” be considered a unique and important praxis in its own right. Rather than do the “rational” thing and surrender in hopes of receiving less punishment for herself and he children. the institution of generational slavery and the construction of a legal hell. however. that the concept of the jubilee would very easily come to be a prime futuristic aspiration since the march of modernity led to the apocalypse in the first place We have.65 This resulted in a vastly different interpretation of the technological. White supremacy. generally recognized definitions and characteristics of Afrofuturism. though not de facto. then. or even the subjugation of a people to the needs of the Cross-Bronx Expressway and the abandonment of the society which followed. We have identified the popular definitions of Mark Dery and Alondra Nelson as well as the concepts of utopia. and civil advances created through work. societal progress. Rhode Island College Honors Project. apocalypse. jubilee.64 The repeated choice of death rather than bondage articulates a principal of negativity that is opposed to the formal logic and rational calculation characteristic of modern western thinking and expressed in the Hegelian slave’s preference for bondage rather than death. For now. which led to a better life. I will move on to illuminate the many futuristically oriented modes of production in hip-hop which will hopefully lay sufficient groundwork for the introduction and exploration of hip-hop futurism.62 As Europe entered the Modern era and individual rights began to (slowly) replace the feudal labor system. It seems to follow that if Afrofuturist thought has been constructed in a mindset of post-apocalypsis. making for the others in hopes of achieving the same ends. the woman grabbed a knife and slit the throat of one of her small children. and civil advances created through work. Overview Paper 18. Rather than seeing these European markers of cultural “progress” as proof that work was directly related to a more 23 . personal progress. It reminds us that in the revolutionary eschatology which helps to define this primal history of modernity. and a diminishing of individual rights. were not infused with the same (some say Protestant) work ethic. Gilroy argues. and what I have termed the progress-hermeneutics superstructure. for it defies slavery as a practice and institution.63 Blacks.Whitey on the Moon SNFI 2011 Camp Tournament Neg Arg Group the woman and her children come out. Europeans began to see a correlation between their labor. thanks to modernity. As he succinctly puts it: This inclination towards death and away from bondage is fundamental. The affirmative articulation of their case harm proves that there is no value to human life – The apocalypse has already occurred – the colored bodies that have faced alienation and dispossession of their homelands reside in alien nations – the very nature of modernity caused the apocalypse Faculty of Arts and Science at the Rhode Island College for the Program in African and African-American Studies. whether apocalyptic or redemptive. economic. slavery. material betterment. The aim here is to grasp some relatively broad. colonization. and the betterment of everything through work. Galli 9 (Chuck. it is the moment of jubilee that has the upper hand over the pursuit of utopia by rational means. statement of monopoly to the world) that progress is tied to labor and that such progress is necessarily “good.
and verbal volatility. the white-masculine-hetero as normative is unconsciously reproduced and sustained. Gilroy argues that Blacks interpreted their work as antithetical to their own interests and perceived as a lie the notion that labor led to advancements.Whitey on the Moon SNFI 2011 Camp Tournament Neg Arg Group perfect life. which led to a better life.68> Alternative Solvency Through each discursive act. They navigate social space—both public and private—unobstructed. It seems to follow that if Afrofuturist thought has been constructed in a mindset of post-apocalypsis. That this writing began with an instance of black female confrontation of white males does not gainsay that claim..66 Music critic and writer Mark Sinker says that the “central fact” of Afrofuturist art is “that the Apocalypse already happened. They do so in various modes of gender inscription and sexual orientation. maleness. un(re)marked. Indeed. Whatever the actual negotiation of white normativity overall. that the concept of the jubilee would very easily come to be a prime futuristic aspiration since the march of modernity led to the apocalypse in the first place. other ethnic identities and cultural heritages likewise pose implicit critiques of the way whiteness. is the encounter with black male performances of the body. and as a basis for hope that future benefits can be attained through more work. heterosexual class formation. or even the subjugation of a people to the needs of the Cross-Bronx Expressway and the abandonment of the society which followed. whether the individuals in question otherwise challenge the social order of domination or largely reinforce its requirements. as prototypical of the particular history of this country from its very inception. In the actual moment of such a conjuration. 2005’ [James W. 24 . Its particular constellation of meanings—its whiteness. but only points to the complexity of the way race engenders body language and vice versa. They constitute an unproblematic physicality in the body politic. maleness. It is also important to note here that white middleclass females. Perkinson. and normative power tend to be conflated in the dominant culture of this country. African American innovations of public “blackness”—as embodied forms of social commentary and contestation—realize the quintessential counter-hegemonic possibility of what it means to be a human being in America.” Paramount among such moments of challenge. Shamanism. a large part of this body’s social inscription is accomplished in and by its production and occupation of certain spaces in a normative4 “realization” of quite particular protocols. Just as importantly.”67 The queue to take this post-apocalyptic position can arguably be drawn from a number of instances in Black history: the abduction of Africans and subsequent transportation to an alien land. middle class-ness. Contestation 0f white privilege in public arenas through black and other ethnic identities cultural elaborations. It is this body that stands as the hegemonic body par excellence. Black occupations of public space regularly and continuously challenge the limits of allowable deviance in gestural style. Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Marygrove College and of Social Ethics at Ecumenical Theological Seminary. as indeed white working-class females and The Body of White Space 181 males. “whiteness” is forced onto the surface of the social body and into question. it is black cultural elaborations of the body that give sharpest relief to the arbitrariness of social norms of embodiment. racism and hip hop culture (pg. The policing of such a body is an accomplished fact of middle-class pedagogy that rarely requires external reinforcement. And they do so in no small measure because blackness historically has been made to appear (in the discourses of white supremacy and white racism) as the mutually exclusive opposite of whiteness. The modern labor ethic was/is thus seen as Middle Ages feudalism gone through metamorphosis and reemerged with a new selling-point of universality. and heterosexuality—are produced and reproduced in discourses that are not simply verbal. resist the social norms of embodiment. black urban male forms of embodiment most profoundly unmask “invisible whiteness” as itself a gendered. as a quality of humanity that was essentially fixed and irreducibly different from the whiteness it licensed as its “other” pole of meaning. 120-122)]JB The hypothesis already limned in the above story is that white middleclass male forms of embodiment in this country are largely unconscious and inarticulate. That such is the case only begins to come to consciousness for most white males in the challenge of other forms of embodiment that have enough power in a given confrontation to resist those protocols and either explicitly or implicitly interrogate their “normativity. and white participants in gay and lesbian lifestyles also stand as partial “challenges” to the taken-for-grantedness of the dominant forms of white male embodiment. They tend to encode technologies of normativity that normally do not require the work of conscious performance.5 In such everyday public improvisations of black embodiment as a cultural semantics of domination and resistance. sartorial statement. How such a conflation is made to cohere and what the theoretical stakes are in recognizing it requires a layered analysis. the institution of generational slavery and the construction of a legal hell. physical posture.
In essence. social norms are incorporated in the body of the individual subject. from experts to politicians to the news media. but instead through the positioning of social bodies to engage in self-control. function as a disciplinary “apparatus” that shapes and molds social bodies into normalized social systems. and federal governments. to achieve high school graduation rates of nearly 100%. As policy debate is intellectually rigorous and has historically been closed to those marked by social difference.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group Our discussion of the discursive constructions that make racial domination possible is key to stop it and spills over into the broader educational space. Pongratz argues that the educational system.” 13 Acclaimed French Sociologist Pierre Bourdieu’ theory of habitus is useful here.comm. One such organization. class. it offers a unique opportunity to engage the impact of desegregation and diversification of American education. values. gender. the disciplinary character of the school system only functions in so much as disciplinary parameters can be internalized by the members of a social body. state. The success of the program has also generated renewed interest amongst college debate programs in increasing direct efforts at recruitment of racial and ethnic minorities. and to produce college matriculation rates of 71 to 91%. The racist disciplinary power of the debate community can only be sustained and instituted by those within it. 20 While Stickney is interested in engaging such discourse for the purpose of furthering theoretical scholarship on curriculum development. Education theorist Ludwig Pongratz argues that the testing focus in the standards and accountability movement is “probably the most effective means of realizing disciplinary procedures. claims that “Urban Debate Leagues have proven to increase literacy scores by 25%. to improve grade-point averages by 8 to 10%. What is missing from the study of education reform and the black/white “achievement gap” is an analysis of the discursive construction of racial “images and stereotypes with which” the public is “confronted.” The UDL program is housed in over fourteen American cities and targets inner city youths of color to increase their access to debate training.pitt. including reform efforts. beliefs and behaviors consistent with the broader society. and sexuality. and how do they rhetorically respond to such representations? If racial ideology is perpetuated within discourse through the stereotype. and gender imagery that is intelligible to the general public. it becomes possible to integrate school pupils into the school’s institutional framework more effectively than ever before.” 17 Public discourse about education reform. Non-profit organizations dedicated to alleviating the black/white achievement gap have also proliferated. his study raises the question of how the public discourse surrounding education reform may function to discipline its differently situated stakeholders.” 11 He argues further that the contemporary “reformist drive” sweeping western nations is a tool designed to replicate normative practices. Reid-Brinkley 08 (Shanara Rose Reid-Brinkley. habitas represents the incorporation of the “social into the corporeal. In other words.edu/faculty/documents/reidbrinkley_shanara_r_200805_phd. class. How are black students integrated into a competitive educational community from which they have traditionally been excluded? How are they represented in public and media discourse about their participation.” 14 Gender theorist Terry Lovell argues “Through habitus.pdf) The attempts at educational reform are not limited to institutional actors such as the local. For Bourdieu.” 18 In essence there is a discursive consistency amongst education reform proponents for characterizing reform efforts as a change in perspective from previous values and beliefs about how best to educate America’s youth. Such training of students defined as “at risk” is designed to offset the negative statistics associated with black educational achievement. public representations of black underachievement and reform efforts depend on the versatility of social and cultural stereotypes consistent with the argumentative structures and social ideologies that make rhetorical efforts at reform intelligible. The program has been fairly successful and has received wide scale media attention. an internalization of the discourse of institutional power. like those attached to public education in the U. 25 .” 2008. particularly that which revolves around the black/ white achievement gap. The UDL program creates a substantial pool of racial minorities with debate training coming out of high school. requires the use of race.” 16 In other words. Education reform engages in a discourse of “paradigm shift. Philosophy of education scholar Jeff Stickney argues that scholars interested in the production of education reform discourse should be concerned with “how a change of perception is to be brought about or secured.” 19 In other words. It is a space in which academic achievement is performed according to the intelligibility of one’s race. building on the work of Michel Foucault. Stickney argues that the discourse supporting educational reform functions to discipline educators into a compliance that belies any attempt to critique and engage the viability of the reform effort to the specific contexts educators find themselves working within. 12 The disciplinary character of modern education systems do not operate through institutional control. Assistant Professor of African American Studies and Communications as well as the Director of Debate at the University of Pittsburgh.” 15 An institution. Pongratz notes that “in this way.S. then mapping the intelligibility of the stereotype within public discourse and the attempts to resist such intelligibility is a critical tool in the battle to end racial domination. http://www. “can only be efficacious if it is objectified in bodies in the form of durable dispositions that recognize and comply with the specific demands of a given institutional area of activity. that college debate directors may tap to diversify their own teams. The debate community serves as a microcosm of the broader educational space within which racial ideologies are operating. “THE HARSH REALITIES OF “ACTING BLACK”: HOW AFRICANAMERICAN POLICY DEBATERS NEGOTIATE REPRESENTATION THROUGH RACIAL PERFORMANCE AND STYLE. the Urban Debate League.
Thus. 55 Schools represent at their best. encrusted on the “flesh” of the body at the “surface” level. the body as an integral site of rhetorical voice problematizes our current emphasis in the field of rhetoric toward ignoring the body in favor of a focus on verbal discourse. and other educational rituals that continually reinforce the culture of power. Thus. Despite these limitations. an analysis of the racialized body might very well depend on a level of irrationality and subconscious reasoning. a “pollutant. The speaking subject is a talking body.” 65 Instead.” 63 For McNaughton who is interested in visual argumentation through prison tattooing. from non-colored or white bodies. Rhetoric and argumentation scholar Melanie McNaughton's essay. I theorize the racialized body as speakerly.edu/faculty/documents/reidbrinkley_shanara_r_200805_phd. The colored body signifies a biological difference. they simply cover the body and are not of the body.pdf) Particularly. a focus on the body per se may demonstrate a greater difficulty than McNaughton's essay implies." suggests that “Given daily contact with the bodies of others. Post-structural education theorist John Warren describes schooling in terms of the institutional maintenance of purity. Such a supplement will not be cleanly identifiable as engaging in "claims supported by evidence and reasoning. as critically implicated within any rhetorical situation. that violence is indicative of a cultural affiliation and not an inherent state of that marked body.” on and in the social body. they take the form of cultural values. As prison tattoos are overlaid on the skin in distinctive patterns chosen by the wearer. or to use symbolic anthropologist Mary Douglas' language. its function as visual argument is more cleanly interpreted by onlookers." 57 Warren suggests that bodies of color. an inherent difference. 60 The Deleuzian metaphor of a body without organs is particularly useful here. rhetorical communication and if so how might we begin to read and theorize the speaking body. If the body speaks. understanding the ways that bodies argue visually is important to understanding the operations of rhetoric in our lives.pitt. 59 The black body represents dirt or a stain. And. and yet her study does not really look to the body as argument. the black body signifies a difference from white bodies that makes the colored body significantly more visible in majority white societies. Thus. that body that pollutes.comm. The body must be invisible in order to focus on the mind. one that must be controlled and contained.” 2008. must engage the body as rhetorical. In other words. despite the fact that significant gains have been made in reducing the social belief in the biological difference between the races. In this project. and while certainly difficult and painful to cover or remove. Tattoos are an overlay on the surface of the body. resulting in a body without organs. yet the flesh signifies on internal processes of the biological body. whom does it to and what might it be saying? McNaughton's study leads us toward theorizing the body as argumentative." 56 In other words. This structure is mediated discursively and our disruption of it is enough to make racist notions of black identity unintelligible. as critical to the educational and social maturation of student minds. where the surface level of the skin comes to (re)present biological difference. While tattooing may represent and signify violence to the average onlooker. The body becomes critical in understanding and evaluating what the speaking subject says and what is said about the speaking subject. in particular. tattooing might still clearly fit under the more traditional rubric of style or performance. a pollutant and contaminant free environment. the tattoo wearer could signify other than a violent subjectivity were the tattoo not there. “THE HARSH REALITIES OF “ACTING BLACK”: HOW AFRICAN-AMERICAN POLICY DEBATERS NEGOTIATE REPRESENTATION THROUGH RACIAL PERFORMANCE AND STYLE. 58 For cultural theorists Homi Bhabha and Franz Fanon. For it is the flesh that signifies.” 64 However. "rather.” 62 In essence. I seek to interrogate the manner in which racialized bodies supplement verbal argument in public discourse. in the school environment the presence of the body is a social pollutant of the educational space. I read the body. Warren suggests that bodies of color represent a bodily contaminant that can only result in a systemically cycling psychosis as these bodies can never fully be rendered absent. In other words. the colored. styles of interaction. Color is written on the skin.” 61 Educational structures may or may not be directly racially discriminatory. a rhetorical consideration of the representation and performance of black people in a majority white environment. 26 . and as such. http://www. as racism in signification is hardly ever completely rational. Such an ambivalent stance results in the shading of the consistencies between all human bodies. as much as it looks to the style or the styling of the body as argument. Reid-Brinkley 08 (Shanara Rose Reid-Brinkley. according to McNaughton. I am interested in the speaking body of the other. McNaughton's essay leads rhetoricians toward asking the question of whether or not the body signifies within and through verbal. Warren notes that "the body is perceptually rendered absent in an effort to center perceptual attention on the mind. particularly within interracial public interactions. intent on justifying such rhetoric as "operating by way of claims supported by evidence and reasoning. methods of learning. The fact that bodies of color remain present despite the fact that they are supposed to be absent "is exactly what maintains white privilege. Yet. or more specifically. both its social representation and its performance.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group The aff’s perception of educational space positions blackness as a pollutant to be purged from the system. exceed attempts to render them absent. while political correctness reduces the ways in which such beliefs can be expressed. if the body can never be rendered fully absent then it is exceedingly relevant to the racial signification process in educational spaces and public discourse about those spaces. not the internal processes of the body. American public and social discourse tends toward that belief. The educational system attempts "to erase the impact of the body. "Hard Cases: Prison Tattooing as Visual Argumentation. or darkens the purity of the holistic social body. Assistant Professor of African American Studies and Communications as well as the Director of Debate at the University of Pittsburgh. McNaughton's essay reads the tattooing of bodies through the theoretical vocabulary of argumentation theory.
one of his daughters. 2010.and thirty-year-old women’s murders were preceded a few months earlier by another hate crime in Newark. Stereotypical images and representations strengthen this ambivalence. 2003. a desire that resists mandates to accept that which is not enough. This story from real life is not meant to serve as the proof for my argument. Thus. And. Imagining a queer subject who is abstracted from the sensuous intersectionalities that mark our experience is an ineffectual way out. The deeper point is indeed “political. It is important not to hand over futurity to normative white reproductive futurity. Shani Baraka. Baraka and his wife. Munoz 07' (Jose. racial stereotypes function to make the discussion intelligible. but certainly not more. but there is the fact of an aggression constantly on the verge of brutal actualization. Racial stereotypes are par for the course in public discourse. If race is only a performance then one can choose what to perform. The mimetic violence resonates across time and to the scene of the loss that the author will endure decades later. but the discussion depends on the very intelligibility of the white body. were killed by the estranged husband of Wanda Pasha. He anticipates and bristles against his future critics with a precognitive paranoia in footnote 19 of his first chapter. no lexicon that identifies homophobia per se. The way to deal with the asymmetries and violent frenzies that mark the present is not to forget the future. Instead. In the world of The Toilet there are no hate crimes. queer kids. And. While Edelman does indicate that the future of the child as futurity is different from the future of actual children. Such a stance constitutes an ambivalent position by which one believes and actively supports efforts to ensure racial equality while simultaneously insisting that help must come with socially responsible behavior. The term “acting” in reference to acting White. and yet. The Barakas have both become ardent antiviolence activists speaking out directly on LGBT issues. Duke North Carolina) The question of children hangs heavily when one considers Baraka’s present. it is not just the black body that must be intelligible.” but that is all the more reason to call on a utopian political imagination that will enable us to glimpse another time and place: a “not-yet” where queer youths of color actually get to grow up. Through his tremendous loss he has decided to further diversify his consistent commitment to activism and social justice to include what can only be understood as queer politics.Whitey on the Moon SNFI 2011 Camp Tournament Neg Arg Group I argue that it must read out of the visual surface of the speaking body. Such an escape via singularity is a ticket whose price most cannot afford. have in part dealt with the tragic loss of their daughter by turning to activism. He rightly predicts that some identitarian critics (I suppose that would be me in this instance. Black or Latino does imply that race is simply a performance. Indeed. culture. Racialized kids. the play’s highly homoerotic violence is in crucial ways nothing like the misogynist violence against women that befell the dramatist’s family or the transgenderphobic violence that ended Gunn’s young life. Queerness should and could be about a desire for another way of being in both the world and time. and Queer Futurity”. Duke University Press Editor. Queers Futurity. who is also one of Baraka’s daughters. The violent fate of their child has alerted them to the systemic violence that faces queer people (and especially young people) of color. Radical Black Traditions. The here and now is simply not enough. Gunn was a black transgendered youth who traveled from Hoboken to Greenwich Village and the Christopher Street piers to hang out with other young queers of color. 27 . This attempt to inoculate himself from those who engage his polemic does not do the job. “CRUISING THE TOILET LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka. Public representation of poor. are not the sovereign princes of futurity. white gay male crypto-identity politics (the restaging of whiteness as universal norm via the imaginary negation of all other identities that position themselves as not white) is beside the point. in which the future is internalized through the success of a specific superior. and performance. That dominant mode of futurity is indeed “winning. The thirty-one. I use this public and academic discussion as a critical example of the changing public discourse about race and educational inequality. those who perform cultures that are outside the normative mainstream make a choice and must be responsible for the consequences. Utopian and willfully idealistic practices of thought are in order if we are to resist the perils of heteronormative pragmatism and Anglo-normative pessimism. I mention these tragedies because it makes one simple point. He all but ignores the point that other modes of particularity within the social are constitutive of subjecthood beyond the kind of jouissance that refuses both narratological meaning and what he understands as the fantasy of futurity. This project will not directly analyze the representation of young blacks in public rhetoric about the “acting white” thesis. the killing of fifteen-year-old Sakia Gunn. Real violence has ironically brought Baraka back to a queer world that he had renounced so many years ago. his framing nonetheless accepts and reproduces this monolithic figure of the child that is indeed always already white. As the public and the media engage in argumentation about the education crisis. black students is bound within this complex narrative of race. these groups such as gays and blacks are not part of the conflict and without this inclusion we are left to a dystopia which must be changed. Rayshon Holmes. In the final analysis. and her female lover.” as. However. Amina. The future is only the stuff of some kids. On August 12. Cultural explanations of race may prevail. despite my ambivalent relation to the concept of identity) would dismiss his polemic by saying it is determined by his middle-class white gay male positionality. the body remains a specter of the natural. the stereotype remains tied to it. that thing that cannot be changed. Future is not predetermined but a struggle. political as Edelman’s argument.
Despite the hardship that must be endured. and Queer Futurity”. more nearly. to a lesser degree. Recognition of this order challenges theories of antirelationality that dominate queer criticism like Edelman’s and the Leo Bersani of “Is the Rectum a Grave?” and. Radical Black Traditions. Duke North Carolina) Thus the play’s dramatic conclusion is not an end but. Munoz 07' (Jose. an Agambenian means without an end. 2010. is imaginable only if one can frame queerness as a singular abstraction that can be subtracted and isolated from a larger social matrix. 28 . by their very nature. but the option of simply opting out of it. By finishing on a note not of reconciliation but of the refusal of total repudiation — a gestural enduring/supporting — The Toilet shows us that relationality is not pretty. Queers Futurity.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group We must not accept the ideal that the future is inevitably oppression-centric. we must come to recognize that with actions and with our discourse. change is possible. or describing it as something that has never been available to us. “CRUISING THE TOILET LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka. Duke University Press Editor. relational.24 The act of accepting no future is dependent on renouncing politics and various principles of hope that are. it is important to recognize that change is possible. Homos.
It resonates only on the level of reproductive futurity. in his powerful polemic No Future: Queer Theory and the Death Drive. when I negotiate the ever-increasing sidewalk obstacles produced by oversized baby strollers on parade in the city in which I live. on the Lower East Side. Duke North Carolina) Lee Edelman. In a 1978 interview. The interview works as a mild disavowal of the play’s ending. well after the heyday of his nationalist separatism and his immersion in a particular Marxist-Stalinist configuration. A reading aligned with this polemic would reject an understanding of this bloodied embrace between men as indicating any notion of a principle of hope. like signification. as a community. it was not originally made for us. in exchange for giving up on futurity.edu/faculty/documents/reidbrinkley_shanara_r_200805_phd.pitt. is a certain jouissance that at once defines and negates us. hope exists and if we can embrace a rejection of today's society and engage in intellectualism with regards to afro futurism and the racism and the ideas that branch of of this. Edelman’s psychoanalytic optic reveals that the social is inoperable for the always already shattered queer subject. a negation of this primal. Queers Futurity. and most of the friends I had were white. What we get. but I think that is why that kind of ending seemed more appropriate to me at the time. “THE HARSH REALITIES OF “ACTING BLACK”: HOW AFRICAN-AMERICAN POLICY DEBATERS NEGOTIATE REPRESENTATION THROUGH RACIAL PERFORMANCE AND STYLE. like O’Hara and Allen Ginsberg. is always. Perhaps that gesture is a manifestation of queerness’s jouissance. Instead. http://www. I nonetheless refuse to give up on concepts like politics. Baraka described the end of the play as tacked on. they have reapplied a complete eradication of difference within the debate sphere by running framework.’ the side of outside the consensus by which all politics confirms the value of reproductive futurism. “CRUISING THE TOILET LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka. Instead of realizing that they have endorsed a system of discursive violence. Role of the ballot It is your responsibility as an intellectual to map out the structures that support social dominance because it is individual participation that sustains it.pdf) 29 . we can. Reid-Brinkley 08 (Shanara Rose Reid-Brinkley. Indeed. Duke University Press Editor. is calibrated on embracing the necessary failure within the symbolic and within the protocols of reason.18 I have attempted to outline this polemic in a fashion that displays some of my admiration for it. for instance. was this really the way it had to end? The whole thing needed some kind of rapprochement — there was a question of wanting to offer that kind of friendship that existed across traditional social lines.comm. the sheer magnitude of the vehicles that flaunt the incredible mandate of reproduction as world historical virtue. constitutive and negative act. I sat there for a while thinking.20 We know that many of these white friends on the Lower East Side. Edelman’s emphasis on queer jouissance. The affirmative has made an active choice in the 1ac to endorse an ideology that discursively advances the basis of white privilege. Radical Black Traditions. Thus Jones’s only justification for the play’s ending would be rebuffed by an Edelman-inspired reading. Munoz 07' (Jose. installing as it does the perpetual hope of reaching meaning through signification. hope.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group Despite a bleak future that is being developed by the society of today.”19 But as strongly as I reject reproductive futurity. I didn’t go around thinking in my mind this is the case. his charge that we take up our abjection within the social. 2010. and a future that is not kid’s stuff. and Queer Futurity”. wishes to alert his readers to the fact that “the structuring optimism of politics of which the order of meaning commits us. Maybe there are moments after the frenzy of negation that is symbolized as extreme violence in The Toilet.”17 Political hope fails queers because. like Ray cradling Foots’s head. I could not be more hailed with a statement like: “Queerness names the side of ‘not fighting for the children. Assistant Professor of African American Studies and Communications as well as the Director of Debate at the University of Pittsburgh. I agree with and feel hailed by much of No Future. The author’s need to justify his end as the appeasement of his immediate social world needs further scrutiny. abandoning politics and hope. change the way we conceptualize the world and decrease the amount of oppression. Edelman recommends that queers give up hope and embrace a certain negation endemic to our abjection within the symbolic. At the time I was married to a white woman.” 2008. I would argue. that might display an ethics of embracing one’s constituting negation. a display of ambivalence that ignores its queer affect and tenor. It certainly reads like a smoldering moment in a Jean Genet text . explaining that it was meant to end with the fight. were also a little lavender.
Thus. but simply productive of it. as ideologies often function to dominate. The Marxist conception of ideology. that the public discourse surrounding race and education is extensive and far beyond the space allotted for this project. inner city youths. The rhetoric surrounding race and education offers one space from which to analyze the social reproduction of racial dominance. current scholarship has been expressly critical of such a conceptualization of ideology.” 68 In other words. particularly. reformulated and popularized by Louis Althusser. simultaneously. class. Looking to specific contexts through which we analyze the significance of racial ideologies allows us as scholars to map out the forces of power active through racial difference. contemporary ideological representations of race have changed and in some ways remained the same. The dominant narratives. Specifically. The rhetoric surrounding race. I have chosen a localized context from which to interrogate the ideological representations of race that may operate in any given American educational context. For Althusser. the focus on resistance in cultural studies can prevent us from studying the manner in which dominance is maintained. gender. However. Despite significant criticism of the concept of ideology. Ideology functioned to naturalize the dominant structure encouraging individuals to participate by engaging in practices and behaviors designed to maintain that system. Thus. as Foucault argues. “ideology stands in a secondary position relative to something which functions as its infrastructure. I analyze the representation of UDL participants in local and national newspapers. binding individuals to the imaginary reality. then social subjects become agent-less. culture. we must look to the manner in which social actors engage in resistance efforts within and through such dominant ideologies. Noted theorists. representation and performance. Chapter Two is an analysis of a non-profit organization for minority. and performance within educational discourse is of critical importance to the future course of educational opportunity in American society. I analyze three case studies within American policy debate and its representation. uninfluenced by ideology. And. class. an internalization of ideological discourse as inscribed through various apparatuses of power. but are instead determined by them. we can agree that social actors and their actions are not determined by ideology as much as social actors are strongly influenced toward accepting those ideologies as within their best interest. sexuality and context. What representations of racial others are most intelligible to the public and how might racial others respond to that intelligibility? As our previous discussion of the “acting white” thesis and the rise of cultural explanations of racial difference indicate. the Urban Debate League. they also create circumstances for resistance. Contemporary racism is reproduced and maintained through discursive constructions that are circulated through ideologies. Such ideologies were theorized as part of the superstructure resulting in the limited ability of subjects to exercise agency. both dominant and subordinate. 67 Second. this project is not simply interested in the study of the production and maintenance of dominant ideologies. This project is interested in the ideological discourses and representations of race. In any given situation. as well as. revolves around the assumption that social bodies are trapped within a “false consciousness” that blinds them to the truth. both through structure and discourse. Academic policy debate is a competitive activity available to high school and college students. And. As long as racism remains a social phenomenon in our society. ideologies were thought to construct an imaginary reality by which social beings became dependent on the structure as it functions. We can agree that ideology is both produced by and produces economic and social structures. as media and communications scholar Nicolas Garnham cautions. And. how racial ideologies reproduce social dominance. within the field of cultural studies. must be interrogated for processes of normalization implicated in the success and achievement of black students in American society. it remains significantly useful in the study of social domination. that has received wide media representation. Yet. To engage in the ideological analysis of race and education discourse. in order to make sense of their very lives. Social actors participate in the production and maintenance of culture. both dominance and resistance are likely to be active in varying degrees. The activity dates back to the early 1900’s in American history. We must interrogate the use of ideological representations of race. economic determinant. All racial ideologies do not function the same way. that we are unable to ascertain because of the false consciousness produced through ideological discourses. and Stuart Hall have offered significant critiques of such a view of the relations of power in social system. We can agree that there is not some true expression of reality out there that we are somehow blinded from seeing. They become simply social beings produced by the superstructure. This project seeks to engage both dominance and resistance. 69 He notes that it is the responsibility of intellectuals to map out structural and social dominance. bred within institutional structures. Raymond Williams. as its material. I utilize ideological criticism as a rhetorical method. it is important to read the social actors involved and watching as embodied. I argue that successful black students are scapegoated in news media representation and then redeemed by their 30 . including Michel Foucault. a rhetorical focus can map the public discursive maneuvers that (re)produce and resist these social ideologies. racial ideologies will likely remain a critical tool by which racial difference is signified. In essence. somewhere out there. ideology was considered to be deterministic.” 66 Such a conception of ideology was necessary to explain why the working class did not rise up against the ruling class. More importantly. gender. 70 It is an extracurricular activity that pits students against one another in a rigorous mental and verbal challenge. and sexuality as rhetorical strategy in public deliberations. as it made the critical turn away from the study of dominant ideology and toward the cultural and everyday practices by which subjects engage ideological domination. It is quite clear. an ideological analysis provides us with an opportunity to critically analyze the networks of power through which ideologies flow and gain discursive and representative dominance. and sexuality within the public conversation about race and education. Thus. Althusser argues that “ideology represents the imaginary relationship of individuals to their real conditions of existence. an extended primetime story by 60 minutes on the Baltimore Urban Debate League. dominant ideologies allowed the social structure to reproduce itself without ensuing conflict.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group To begin an investigation of these questions of race. We must understand the strategies of signification that are most persuasive and powerful to the general public audience. the economic structures are pre-existent and thus. Ideologies help to make stereotypical representations intelligible to an audience. etc. third. ideology is defined as a result of economic structures. and how those affected by that dominance attempt to resist it. And. One criticism of this version of ideology is that it assumes there is a truth. if the individual or the subject is not critical to the development of such ideological structures. gender. In this chapter. they are often complicated by intersections of class. In other words.
and black popular culture such as gospel and hip hop.. racism and hip hop culture (pg. To engage in this investigation I review three elimination round debates at the Cross-Examination Debate Association’s National Championship Tournament. Pagden. Shamanism. The erudite knowledge will be supplied by Hegel. we can imagine the construct as a linkage of Foucauldian erudite and naïve knowledges (Foucault. 61–62). subject to criticism. 82–83). 1–2). privilege. More specifically. which are that system’s raison d’être. The claim runs something like this: White supremacy is the basic structuring practice of the modern world system in terms of which extraction. 46. Chapter Three is an analysis of race and performance in national college policy debate. production. this discourse was contested in the identity 31 . 63–64. In this chapter we are interested in how a majority white community responds to confrontational protest rhetoric in resistance narratives centered around racial representation and performance. and performance? I argue that these students use black sub-cultural styles. Framework White supremacy has transplanted itself in Western culture. The race discourse mobilized by that practice has gone through continuous “development” that can be periodized historically (Pagden. Chapter Four is an analysis of the debate community’s response to the Louisville Project.” caused by an enemy. 1980. class. It was first worked out as a theological discourse effecting a sharp divide of spiritual discernment between presumed “Christianity” and perceived infidelity and sorcery in the early period of conquest and colonization (Omi and Winant. 51). 2005’ [James W.Whitey on the Moon SNFI 2011 Camp Tournament Neg Arg Group debate participation. In developing a “genealogy” of this claim regarding whiteness. 120-122)]JB The last 500 years of modern geopolitical aggression and transnational economic domination by which Europe transplanted itself around the globe and took over. in the 1960s. I argue that the debate community engages in anti-movement resistance strategies. Omi and Winant. 1982. 17. West. It was reworked into a metaphysical discourse on geography and biology in the Enlightenment. I specifically focus on the most successful of the Louisville teams made up of the partnership between Elizabeth Jones and Tonia Green. I ask how do black students respond to the racial ideologies surrounding their debate participation? What are the rhetorical strategies by which they engage a majority white audience in public discussion about race. 1–2. The two combined form my overall attempt to “know” racialization as a form of witchcraft. and consumption of resources are differentially organized. Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Marygrove College and of Social Ethics at Ecumenical Theological Seminary. These practices are often reterritorialized into different forms of domination that manifest themselves as a white fear of blackness. I argue that the use of subcultural style offers a means for the Louisville students to resist the norms of white privilege that permeates the traditional debate landscape. to engage in a critical re-negotiation of intellectual knowledge making practices within the debate community. 25–27. It is the students’ ability to mimic the performative dynamics of success that allows their race. and further shifted into anthropological discourse regarding cultural difference in the twentieth century (Mills. Through these three case studies. I argue further that the Louisville students engage in rhetorical practices that violate the genre of policy debate speechmaking. is more clearly organized in its basic life-world patterns and power privileges by the racial category of white/non-white than by any other observable category of demarcation. I conclude that such a practice demonstrates the social significance of the stereotype even in positive portrayals of inner city black youths. This project takes seriously the use of performative and cultural style as a strategic and rhetorical engagement with contemporary racism in America. Instead of an outright rejection of the Louisville Project. The naïve knowledge is this indigenous African reading of trauma and early death as “unnatural. Modernity is the advent of white supremacy as a global system of hegemony. 47. This chapter analyzes the University of Louisville Malcolm X debate program as it pushes the debate community to confront its race and class privilege. I argue that the news media relies on racial stereotypes of black youths to make the UDL participants intelligible to the viewing and reading audience. including signifyin’. appropriation. the debate community attacks the Project’s violation of the community’s notion of order and decorum. It is necessary for the audience to view the students as “at risk” in order to later demonstrate their exemplary status. In this chapter. and gender status to be redeemed in news media representation. dictating which resources can be utilized and which forms of knowledge are produced. In the United States in particular. This fear has infiltrated the debate space in the form of framework in the sense that it attempts to erase all signs of difference to safeguard “traditional” ideals of what this space should Perkinson. The rising interest in diversifying policy debate at the high school level through non-profit organizations has fueled attempts to diversify at the college level. My contention is simply that “whiteness” is also the great category of bewitchment that both masks and mobilizes the basic circuits of consumption. I seek to demonstrate the connection between the public representation of blackness and the performative strategies engaged in by Blacks in the attempt to resist the stereotypes associated with such representations.
17 In the forums of barber shops and beauty parlors.22 It has been disciplined not so much in intense forms of local community that act as a confirming chorus23 and supply a range of innovatory24 models and improvisational motives.” Against the hard eye of a watching white culture. has been more about the meeting of norms. I understand my own effort here as also contestatory in attempting to mobilize indigenous categories to unmask race discourse as perhaps most suggestively “known. Obviously. Traditional styles of debate are committed to sustaining white culture and epistemology. 108–109). White embodiment in the public spaces of this country. white habituation in the body is also partially glossed in the correlative notion of contemporary monitoring. In outlining her theory that white genetic survival is the core motivation of the white supremacy system. 104– 106. Black culture expects social time and space to be aggressively negotiated and contested in forms of communication that are physically and emotionally demonstrative. American versions of Irish blarney. there has been no positive white cultural production coming into being in a serious struggle against invasive powers.20 But if black forms of embodiment can. not subversive stylizations of individuality (Kochman. ontology. The contradictions of race were relativized in a percussive “multiplication” of the body.” is heuristic and provisional—a positing of denial in the very act of probing it. 120-122)]JB In the face of such an invaded circumstance. indeed. but as itself the quintessential witchery of modernity. and despite its subswas emulated by other groups concerned to preserve other forms of identity from being “metabolized” by whiteness (Omi and Winant.” whiteness has not been generative of a white community per se.16 As a counterforce to oppressive white voyeurism. black cultural protocols demanded and reinforced an oppositional facility (Kochman. black survival could then be understood. 24. in part.18 They inculcated dramatic expressivity and elaborated a contrastive sensibility capable of deflecting the power of a controlling gaze by communally proliferating the gazes before which the body-on-display negotiated its meanings. quietly fitting in.” in call and response from the pew and “you can’t touch this” antiphonies on the dance floor. other exigencies of survival. some of the distinctiveness of that response. such an interpretation of the opaque depths of Christian symbolics. 127).19 Its own pedagogical forms rework the body as what Stuart Hall calls a “canvas of representation” (Hall. 44). The genealogy of the claim finds its root in an observation made by Cress Welsing.” if not accurately analyzed. the antidote for such would obviously have to be capable of countermanding that invasive force “in kind. West 32 . Black ideals and culture in debate are excluded and monitored in the form of framework Perkinson. English understatement. Again and again.” This complex ritual alchemy transposing the “horrific” into the “heroic”— the dream of a dark divinity compelled to offer its flesh to the teeth of believers in the light—will serve as a kind of template for our own analysis. a largely vacuous assertion “that whatever else I may be.Whitey on the Moon SNFI 2011 Camp Tournament Neg Arg Group politics of black power activism. Where “white” identities have indeed forged profound expressions of culture. 131). black culture developed a performative countercompetency (Kochman. but rather in a more plastic mode of spatiality. This rite is built on eating the body and drinking the blood of a Jesus whose originally dark features have only been lightened over two millennia in a gradual process of repressing the raw form of the terror of what I would call “eating and divinizing the scapegoat. to develop tactics for living under and around such a surveillance. in a hundred different tiny gestures of everyday life.. Anthropologist Thomas Kochman is helpful in grasping. imagining a layer of deep liturgical “forgetting.21 not causing a spectacle (Pile. elaborating hidden living space in plain view under the surfacesignificance of the incarcerating category (of “blackness”). xiii–xv). Shamanism. she finds signs of a white fear of annihilation by black potency continuously exhibited in the symbolic productions of Western society—most notably in connection with the Christian rite of communion (Cress Welsing. It has been constituted in a gaze that solicits conformity. Whatever forms it took. black response for over three hundred years now could be said to have taken collective shape (in part) as a harder eye15 of communal support and surreptition. East Coast sophistication. from a comparative white point of view. be understood as (in part) the cultural products of ongoing attempts to deal with various kinds of surveillance. Dutch Reformed discipline. Jewish spunk. 27–29). 110. it has been under the impress of other necessities. 18–19. to have been a constant struggle to combat the effects of such an intrusion. culture critics and race theorists have remarked on the difference between white and black enculturation in this country in terms of a different set of expectations regarding public expression and physical exhibition. 155). Associate Professor of Philosophy and Religious Studies at Marygrove College and of Social Ethics at Ecumenical Theological Seminary. or anthropology. racism and hip hop culture (pg. 230). governed by more generic ideals. 114. in street rituals of “capping” and porch rituals of “specifying. In its genesis as an “empty negation” (Dyer. challenging the “assimilation designs” of the Chicago School “ethnicity paradigm” with a demand for pluralism and autonomy. not as theology. historically. 2005’[James W. at least I am not black. Italian humor. German industry.
as such. “Offering debate at under-served schools addresses…inequalities. Assistant Professor of African American Studies and Communications as well as the Director of Debate at the University of Pittsburgh. Whiteness.” 11 Warner and Brushke go on to note that “debate-asoutreach” can be particularly powerful as the debate community learns to become increasingly more accepting of stylistic differences that are likely to result from the diversifying of that activity. Warner along with Brushke argue: With UDL support. that the best they can generally hope for is becoming the best in that UDL and perhaps getting recruited by the local UDL partner.” 6 Stepp notes further that the activity remains primarily dominated by white males. we can identify the one operation that gives whiteness a certain common character. usually with impunity.Whitey on the Moon SNFI 2011 Camp Tournament Neg Arg Group Coast trendiness. They are told that if they learn the norms and procedures of traditional debate they can achieve just like everyone else. the UDL movement creates a sense of hope that educational opportunities can significantly impact the social consequences of race. Things like framework sustain the privilege that rich. and the economically under-served gain a conduit to positions of institutional power…More basically. the students learn that victory is possible and that economic disadvantages can be overcome. 10 Warner and Brushcke demonstrate their commitment to the UDL’s ability to be efficacious in encouraging and producing educational success and achievement amongst “under-served” communities.25 It has more simply been either fascinated or frightened and acted accordingly.” 12 However. students from under-served high schools can go to tournaments and compete against students from wealthy school systems. economic disadvantages become less of a barrier when confronting rhetors. Southern hospitality. debate scholar and debate director. the program has not resulted in a significant increase in the participation levels in national level college policy debate.edu/faculty/documents/reidbrinkley_shanara_r_200805_phd. Its only formative condition has been the blackness it projects and punishes. Bryn Mawr taste. the emergence of the Black Power Movement of the 1960s).” including both team awards and speaker awards.pitt.pdf) Despite the UDL’s success at increasing the participation levels of racial/ethnic minorities and women in high school policy debate. Dr. 3 Even with the financial resources made available to UDL students to increase their successful participation in high school and the specific interest of college debate teams in recruiting minority students. By 2005 Warner’s position on the UDL had drastically changed: Students are hoodwinked and bamboozled into believing that they can receive access to all of the benefits of interscholastic debate. perhaps. Midwestern practicality. especially within the debate community. ethnicity. Even those UDL students who have chosen to debate in college still remain statistically under-represented at the most successful levels of national competition. he experienced a growing discontent. from middle to upper class backgrounds. and that has not happened. private schools: Skills of discourse are equalized. Ede Warner at the University of Louisville became significantly involved in the development of debate curriculum. They are told that debate is a "way out" and can improve their lives. For these authors. in the same way that I have convinced students that the game could change to allow for more diversity.” 5 He notes further. Reid-Brinkley 08 (Shanara Rose Reid-Brinkley. http://www. white males already have while rigging the activity even more against black youth. They argue that debate “audiences must appreciate these new forms.comm. there does not seem “to be a proportional increase in their winning. the door that they open can only be used when the other side accepts those that walk through it. and ultimately living their life as a regional debater or a non-competitive national debater. What they are not told: that debate tools alone won't overcome their disadvantages. Debate thus addresses at all levels the problems that the under-served confront when approaching institutions so often governed by the graduates of rich. UDL participants are largely choosing not to participate in college policy debate. 8 As the UDL movement gained attention from those in the debate community interested in diversifying the activity. the training of UDL summer institute faculty members. when students from UDL schools debate against elite high schools and win. notes that “If even a very small percentage of those UDL students went on to college debate there should be an obvious and profound change in participation by ethnic groups. “THE HARSH REALITIES OF “ACTING BLACK”: HOW AFRICAN-AMERICAN POLICY DEBATERS NEGOTIATE REPRESENTATION THROUGH RACIAL PERFORMANCE AND STYLE. and so on—all find their conditions of creation in something other than “white struggle.” White desire The Body of White Space 193 (as “white”) has simply not been that contested or threatened. they have not managed to change ethnic participation levels in college debate. 4 Jon Brushke.” 2008. and the instruction of UDL students. as Warner observed the national development of the UDL and its impact on the nationally competitive high school circuit and the college debate community. It has faced no hard eye of opposition (until. in fact. gender and class. 9 In a 2001 essay. They will not share in the resource expenditures of the larger 33 . has had no daunting historical enemy. 7 Stepp and Gardner note that although female and minority participation is increasing. But there. that “Whatever other benefits these leagues have offered their participants. Despite the presence of UDLs within the community. In other words.
’ 1 34 . but because the game is rigged against them. and what the community asks them to become to achieve ‘success.Whitey on the Moon SNFI 2011 Camp Tournament Neg Arg Group debate structure. who they are. Why? Not because of anything they do. they will not be on the pre-bid track and they will not receive the rewards reserved for a select few in national debate.
private prison owners and operators. in short. New Eng. government. the end of slavery did not eradicate such conceptions. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). I am interested in [*49] how corporations represent the opportunity to invest in the confinement of (black) human bodies.) [*47] This Article is about the criminal justice system's joint venture with Wall Street. L. [*48] In Part II. n33 The narratives consist of certain annual and quarterly financial reports n34 and registration statements filed with the U. profit. n35 In reading these reports. I argue. 27 W. I examine reports about the prison population produced by the U. In the ante-bellum era. economic. and legal structure through which whites can extract pleasure.whites derive economic and political power from these corporations. a division of the U. I am interested in how our government represents black crime to the public.S. The notion of a private prison designed to profit from the objectification of black bodies functions as a mirror for the social hierarchies we have created within debate. I study a form of narrative written by those who profit from the incarceration of black bodies . n30 and from that a market has materialized in the consumption of black crime. Slave narratives are important accounts of a violent time in U. history n31 that many white Americans wish to forget. “White Investment in Black Bondage”. It is about white fantasy. Vargas 05 (Geiza Vargas. n29 Rather. of black identity that legitimize the exploitation of blacks for social and economic advantage. Private prisons mirror our social hierarchy . 2005. I also consider narratives produced by the U. In reading these statistical reports. n32 In this Article. it marked an opportunity to adopt new ways to objectify blacks ways which continued to serve whites. about the how the law sanctions white supremacy. n25 It is. Juris Doctor.S. and as prisons further entrench themselves as investment vehicles. Boston College Law School. Department of Justice (DOJ). exhibits a desire to preserve a social. I argue that white supremacy is fueled by social constructions. n27 In Part I. whites dominated a culture that marked blackness with savagery and inferiority. or fantasies. desire and pleasure.S. the dynamics that distinguished slavery reappear. I examine the private prison real estate ownership and management industry.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group Laws serve as the socially constructed foundations of a slavery advanced into modernity and are based on fantastical white conceptions of blackness. Rev. 41. Professor Anthony Paul Farley's theories about race and fetishism bolster my argument that white fantasies of blacks are deeply rooted in American history and reflect American values of pleasure consumption. The emergence of private prisons. whose duty is to increase shareholder profit. I argue that as the law processes more and more black bodies. n26 In this Article. The American economy is about consumption. power systematically denied to blacks. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). n28 Clearly.S.S. 35 . and power.
" n43 While Pashukanis was concerned with the implications this fact had for the Nineteenth Century Russian proletariat. it poses similar problems for blacks in the United States today. and "of all types of law. L. for it is only where the category of race is deemed natural.e. this was a kind of power that could not be wielded apolitically. n48 This discriminatory law enforcement produces black crime. n47 Vast resources have been expended regulating black behavior. 27 W. is largely a response to a white imagination that perceives blacks as a threat. n51 seem biological. it is precisely criminal law which has the capacity to affect the individual person in the most direct and unmitigated manner.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group The link to framework positions our arguments not only as useless for debate but as a deviant act that must be controlled and rejected. New Eng." This fear begins to explain the law's track record of criminalizing certain activities conducted by blacks that it condones when perpetrated by whites. 41. [*51] it can be said that American law. n45 Justice Harlan. Vargas 05 (Geiza Vargas." n55 36 . n41 Importantly." n53 Racism can only flourish when a legal structure supports it. Ferguson dissent. n52 As Professor Farley argues in The [*52] Black Body as Fetish Object. spoke directly to this underlying fear when he wrote: "Sixty millions of whites are in no danger from the presence here of eight millions of blacks. independent of social choices. i. as applied to blacks. 2005. Rev. n54 Whites' perceptions and values control the legal structure in the United States.) Russian philosopher and legal scholar Evgeny Pashukanis argued that criminal law represented the ultimate manifestation of power over an individual. "every historically given system of penal policy bears the imprint of the class interests of that class which instigated it. U. the mass production of black crime makes two socially constructed concepts. crime n50 and race. that is. This notion of what is and isn’t fair is based upon a structure of law created for and sustained by whiteness to extend and legitimize the control of black bodies. n49 Ultimately. n44 With good reason.S. vindicating a white conception of blacks and criminals as synonymous. history is riddled with state and federal laws that principally served to oppress a so-called inferior race. “White Investment in Black Bondage”. in his Plessy v. "blackness is presented as a natural object. Boston College Law School. Juris Doctor. that the hierarchical ordering of things can by enjoyed. n42 Instead.
n62 Before the Civil War.. prison. n74 thereby justifying "the racial transaction . n73 The police give flesh to the fantasy [*55] that the black man is inherently criminal.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group Framework as a voting issue forces the judge to identify our critical advocacy with deviance in order to preserve their homogenous view of policy debate in the same way that police identify blackness with crime in order to preserve white rule. and our blackness had been established . Professor Devon Carbado recalls several encounters he had with the police soon after arriving in the United States. we're really sorry about this. 2005. presumably signaling that they were not at a crime scene. n64 After emancipation. we take it quite seriously. n61 It is an important one because it captures a brutal truth in the United States blacks have never lived free from police surveillance or intrusion." n67 While segregation is no longer the official law of the land. the Black Codes n65 and Jim Crow n66 sanctioned white practices that "reduced blacks to a condition described [*54] by the Freedman's Bureau officials as worse than slavery. but when we get a call that there are [black] men with guns. In (E)racing the Fourth Amendment. Fugitive Slave Acts n63 empowered vigilante white policing. “White Investment in Black Bondage”.) The police are important agents in enforcing the structure of the law and ensuring that the ruling "class" is not "dispossessed" of [*53] its "class rule." n71 Then.e. . the officers departed. the drug war now grants police the authority to stalk black neighborhoods n68 and reduce black men into presumed deviants in need of state supervision. we really are sorry for the inconvenience. Two officers entered the apartment.. i. these incidents seemed like "part of a broader informal naturalization process that structured the racial terms upon which [he] became American.once more ." n59 In the United States. 27 W. Eight police officers arrived at the apartment and "pinned" the occupants "against the wall at gunpoint. Rev. Our privacy had been invaded. Boston College Law School. the police are the first to paint a black face on crime.. After about two minutes. n72 The cycle is self-sustaining.. L.routinized social power freely expended upon black bodies . Your ballot is key to stop the chain of relating identity with criminality.as a crime of identity. Juris Doctor. n69 For Carbado." n75 37 . New Eng. 41. n60 Gunnar Myrdal. ." With that apology. Again. in his study of the "American Dilemma" began his chapter on the black man's experience with the police with this observation. we experienced a loss of dignity. "Look." n70 One incident Carbado recounts occurred at his sister's apartment after he picked up two of his brothers from the airport. Vargas 05 (Geiza Vargas. they came out shaking their heads.
n89 Black is manipulated reality. [*57] blackness represents a shade of inferiority. Rev. and therefore. n78 Whites' feelings of superiority are rooted in a fantasy that equates their skin complexion with industry. L. not by the fact of doubling but by the violence out of which the veil is woven. “White Investment in Black Bondage”. n103 Private prisons are almost entirely white enterprises. n94 Black is ugly and scary. and for. n86 and their historically superior position means the police are not stalking their neighborhoods or entering their homes and businesses looking for drugs. hatred. objective. anger. both artists have turned towards museological emulation. and race-less. white. and with law-abiding qualities. thus laying bare. intelligence. n81 In the words of Professor Farley: "The veil creates a world [*56] in which reality is doubled . The joint venture between private prison magnates [*59] and federal and state governments not only generates investment dollars. white privilege. n85 Whites are not first perceived as suspect. James Baldwin wrote that if the black man is not who/what the white man thinks he is. the police are not making arrests that would reflect the actual occurrence of white crime. n93 Black is criminal. Juris Doctor. does not perceive whites as drug addicts or traffickers because drug laws are not enforced against them. it is traumatic.and the conditions of communication's possibility have been destroyed. black is not white and never can be. n106 Afrofuturism disrupts the framework of institutional knowledge Eshun 92 (Kodwo Eshun MA in Arts. Frantz Fanon writes that "the feeling of inferiority [of the colonized] is the correlative to the European's feeling of superiority . n105 Private prisons testify to the fact that in the United States. n87 And more important. 2005. n83 The criminal justice system. n100 American slavery was the most sadistic expression of that fantasy. n102 Speaking from the position of the fantasized object. economic. Any upheaval in the universe is terrifying because it so profoundly attacks one's sense of one's own reality. n99 A deeply rooted fantasy that marks and equates blacks with criminality has driven the law's present and historical relationship with [*58] blacks. 27 W. whiteness is a veil over blue eyes. created by. n84 To be marked white is to "qualify" as legally and socially superior. Voting on this argument only enforces the system that is only fair in the eyes of the oppressor. n101 and history has well-preserved the dynamic. n95 And most important. White Masks. n79 Whites also fantasize the law as rational. Slavery allowed whites to delight in white supremacy. Further Considerations of Afrofuturism) Page (5-6) For contemporary African artists. separate. n96 What is white? What is the pleasure of whiteness? Whiteness is meaningless n97 unless there is a system that recognizes white privilege. n91 White fantasies of black connect past to present supremacy. New Eng. n92 For whites. In the tradition of Marcel Broodthaers and Fred Wilson.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group The aff’s appeals to objective rules are based in the same flawed system of laws that whiteness wraps itself in an attempt to sustain privilege. society. whites have no intention of relinquishing the social. It is the racist who creates his inferior. Try to imagine how you would feel if you woke up one morning to find the sun shining and all the stars aflame. n104 Prisons full of black bodies provide the assurance that blacks are who/what whites think.black. n90 Black is a legal fiction that marks dark skin with white fear. n98 Enter American law. Course Leader of Arts at Goldsmiths College. it also generates the Other. because it means that the white man is not who he thinks he is: The danger.) In Black Skin. legal. . and unequal . understanding and intervening in the production and distribution of this dimension constitutes a chronopolitical act. (and therefore) wealth. Boston College Law School. It is possible to see one form that this chronopolitical intervention might take by looking at the work of contemporary African artists such as Georges Adeagbo and Meshac Gaba. You would be frightened because it is out of the order of nature. 41. Vargas 05 (Geiza Vargas. The right imagery of black allows whites to maintain control of who they think they are. n88 Black is a loaded word that operates the black body. n80 But alas.. and political power that they presently possess." n82 Whites fail to recognize that a legal system that consistently offers and protects white privilege will always seem objective and rational from their perspective. in the minds of most white Americans is the loss of their identity. and perversions. 38 .." n77 The right fantasy of black gives whites ownership and possession of not just blackness but of whiteness. desire.
however. race. In doing so. Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies School of Literature. critical and utopian. Whatever medium they work in. .” Rethinking History: The Journal of Theory and Practice 9. Lisa.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group manipulating. Ellison uses these tropes and references to signify a number of dystopic futures where blackness is technologically managed. Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies School of Literature.2/3) Although there have been relatively few book-length studies of Afrofuturism to date. it combats those whitewashed visions of tomorrow generated by a global ‘futures industry’ that equates blackness with the failure of progress and technological catastrophe. and yes. Afrofuturist artists broadened the scope of their attention to encompass both outer space and cyberspace. This dual nature. In the novel proper. founding a structure where there isn’t one. I propose that he none-the-less deploys a range of science fictional tropes and references throughout his work in ways that profoundly anticipate later Afrofuturist thinking about the future of black history and culture. Recently. Afrofuturism is a process of ‘signification that appropriates images of technology and a prosthetically-enhanced future’ to address the concerns that people of color face in contemporary culture (Dery 1994. 136). scholars generally agree that the movement began in the late 1950s with jazz musicians such as Sun Ra and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry who presented themselves as alien visitors from other worlds. Gaba’s “Contemporary Art Museum” is “at once a criticism of the museological institution as conceived in developed countries. “Afrofuturism and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. if black men and women could imagine themselves travelling to other worlds and other times. For example. Although Ellison claimed that his novel was not science fiction.2/3) (Afrofuturism appropriates the narrative techniques of science fiction to put a black face on the future. and future in a new practice of technoscientific storytelling. even the future that deny the black Atlantic experience.and reconstruction of Afrodiasporic subjectivity in digital culture. present. these artists demonstrate both the pervasiveness of Afrofuturism throughout contemporary culture and the diverse ways that this aesthetic practice has evolved in tandem with new sciences and technologies themselves. p. visual artists such as Carrie Weems and Fatimah Tuggar. Communication and Culture. After all. By blending science fictional motifs with more conventional modes of black cultural expression these artists insisted on the right of Afrodiasporic subjects to fully participate in the dawning space age. and art: by hiding out under New York City and stealing electricity to power his turntables. and speculative writers including Nalo Hopkinson and Minister Faust all explore the de. They are also profoundly interested in the power of the Afrofuturist artist to generate counter-histories that reweave connections between past.) Authors of the Black Arts Movement insist that african americans have a right to the space age and therefore also to the current age Yaszek. techno DJs such as Spooky That Subliminal Kid and Derek May. as well as the utopian formulation of a possible model for a nonexistent institution. what right did anyone have to prevent them from staking their claims on the future since it was actually unfolding in the present? With the advent of global communication and information technologies in the 1970s and 1980s. the opening and closing scenes of Invisible Man hold forth the possibility of a different relationship between technology. artists and scholars have indeed coined a name for this kind of storytelling: Afrofuturism. Afrofuturist artists are profoundly interested in identifying those histories of the past. First and foremost among these concerns is the representation of history. and critically affirming the contextualizing and historicizing framework of institutional knowledge. mocking. Black Arts Movement authors including Ishmael Reed and Amiri Baraka also began telling stories about fantastic black people who travelled freely through time and space.) 39 . As Mark Dery argues. . however tentatively. is related to the artist .” Rethinking History: The Journal of Theory and Practice 9. However. Communication and Culture. Lisa. ( June/September 2005. Ellison’s protagonist creates a space outside linear time where he can begin to rewire the relations between past and present and art and technology. (In the 1960s. In doing so. ( June/September 2005. “Afrofuturism and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. their stories suggested. without losing sight of the limitations of existing models that belong to a certain social and economic order based in the harsher realities of domination”. Taken together. the figurehead for a hopeful new Afrofuture. he becomes. present. Afrofuturism performance good Afrofuturism uses art to generate counter-histories and places people of color into the future Yaszek.
the problem is not never-ending. Baraka renounces queerness a few years later. Queers Futurity. discourse is not enough. the not-yet-here. if it is to have any political resonance. and Queer Futurity”. The gestural speaks to that which is. and for futurity. it is instead a future being within the present that is both a utopian kernel and an anticipatory illumination. I am not interested in cleansing the violence that saturates almost every utterance and move in the play. is therefore not an act of redemption that mitigates violence. is a relational and collective modality of endurance and support . Queer utopia is a modality of critique that speaks to quotidian gestures as laden with potentiality. Bloch rejected what he called “abstract utopias” that. He even shouts down the play’s set designer. in a public forum. Radical Black Traditions. there is a performance of futurity embedded in the aesthetic. Only through memorable acts can identity redemption be claimed by the People. the combatant lovers nonetheless have this moment of wounded recognition that tells us that the moment in time and in this place. Duke University Press Editor. It is a being in. semi-rough-trade lover. shattered by internal and external frenzies of homophobic violence. is finally still. “CRUISING THE TOILET LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka. living within the queer temporality of the gestural. Larry Rivers. within the frame of Agamben’s writing. Queerness. as end can't be used to describe this quandary.”15 The gesture interrupts the normative flow of time and movement . – We are a Queering of debate Performativity Munoz 07' (Jose. although I do not want to cast the gesture of tenderness as redemptive.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group General Performances Good Performance is the only solvency for any single type of oppression equalization. who is always doing/running his mouth or his feet. Battered and bruised. The image of the lover holding/enduring/supporting the other’s battered body is poignant when we recall that Foots. “CRUISING THE TOILET LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka. a temporality that sidesteps straight time’s heteronormative bent. Whether it is for feminism.”16 The queer futurity that I am describing is not an end but an opening or horizon. is not all there is. that indeed something is missing. But I nonetheless want to consider how we might read this ending within the nexus of the historical moment. Indeed. on the significance of a critical function that resonates like the temporal interruption of the gesture. but something is being endured and supported. The politics of queer utopia are similarly not based on prescriptive ends but. a lover one has betrayed. 2010. however disrupt the natural flow of life where vulnerability exists an can be taken advantage of. needs to be more than an identitarian marker and articulate a forward-dawning futurity. like the blackness of a black radical tradition. Gesture for Giorgio Agamben is exemplary of the politics of a “means without ends. For Bloch. 2010. The gesture is not the coherence or totality of movement. The gesture of cradling one’s lover’s head. would indeed be a prescriptive “end. to use Bloch’s phrase. the straight painter who was also Frank O’Hara’s art-boy. instead. The queerness of queer futurity. Gestures and actions do not solve the racism or sexism in our society. racism.” The gestural exists as an idealist manifestation and not as a monolithic act directed toward an “end”: “What characterizes gesture is that in it nothing is being produced or acted. Duke North Carolina) The play’s final moment is worth dwelling on. Munoz 07' (Jose. or sexual orientation. Queerness in my formulation is also not-quite-here and no-longer conscious (both terms are central to Bloch’s project). Queers Futurity. Radical Black Traditions. Instead it is a flow of time where power and discourse change and the glitch in this flow must be utilized to slow down the concept of power. toward. The dialectical movement that I am attempting to explicate is the interface between an engagement with the no-longer-conscious and the not-yet-here. the moment of a pain-riddled youth. This Blochian hermeneutic is especially felicitous when considering the queer residue and simultaneous potentiality that lay at the center of the example that Jones/Baraka and The Toilet generate. However.14 This moment nonetheless tells a story that suggests some kind of futurity. a relational potentiality worth holding on to. Bloch’s protocols of aesthetic analysis directed an eye toward what he called the anticipatory illumination of art. and Queer Futurity”. relational to an author’s status as outsider among outsiders in a lost bohemia. Duke North Carolina) aesthetic production does more than socially symbolic work. 40 . an expired avant-garde. Duke University Press Editor.
No. Communication. Slavery as the foundation of the U. the afrofuturists claim that black arts. and sampling) while at the same time referencing the displacement of slavery. conscientious. theater—and in particular literature. depended on the “systematic. resonated with a sense of alienation with the mix. the African American historical and cultural condition is inherently the stuff of sf. Associate Professor of English at Central Arkansas University. In other words. Rethinking History. 9. such as the legacy of slavery and the forced abduction and relocation of Africans to a strange land governed by strange white beings. Weheliye notes in his discussion of sonic Afromodernity. p. 37-38. and apprehending the subject in a number of different arenas that do not insist on monocausality’ (ibid. Artists such as Sun Ra. Vol. Afrofuturism is separate and distinct from sf. 102). and theater. then. present. Indiana University Press. pp.ing of technology and sound (synthesizers. African-American’s story of enslavement and genocide should be told through mediums such as music. the invisible man’s basement home becomes a kind of time. scratching. 297-313. As such. Race in American Science Fiction.. turntables. providing him with a new perspective from which he can see both the multiple aspects of the Afrodiasporic experience and its complex relations to the ‘many strands’ of American reality. sonic technologies that enable the recording and mass distribution of sound both transform and extend what Weheliye identifies as ‘the two main techniques of cultural communication in African America’: orality and music (ibid. Significantly. ‘the sonic’ functions like ‘the science fictional’ in Afrodiasporic art: both provide alternate means by which to rethink history and subjectivity outside of dominant visual and discursive structures. and OutKast quickly come to mind.6 But afrofuturism has expanded to claim all black cul-tural production—music. Lavender. dance. These technologies are useful for both musicians and other artists who incorporate sonic elements into their work because they ‘open up possibilities for thinking. CJC) Afrofuturists feel that sf unceasingly symbolizes events that have shaped black culture. Herein lies the flaw of afrofuturism. hearing. and massive destruction of African cultural remnants. dance. the invisible man’s ability to multiply his consciousness directly correlates with his increasing mastery over new technologies.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group Performance Allows Alternate Means to Rethink the System Outside of Current Boundaries Yaszek 5.S. and future—as well as how technology impacts black people. By way of contrast. and Culture (Lisa. In many respects. 11 (2011. “An Afrofuturist Reading of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man”) In essence. Ellison’s protagonist begins to experience the kind of multiple consciousness that is itself the first step towards the creation of a new and more egalitarian multiracial futurity. Pgs.and spaceship that carries him outside of the known world. especially music. Isaiah. Much like Kodwo Eshun’s ideal Afrofuturist subject.Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies School of Literature. This is to say that nearly all black writing is sf because of black peoples’ perceived and experienced dislocation in the Western world dating back to the transatlantic slave trade. General Science Fiction Good Afrofuturism can be the inspiration for new technical and creative innovations in space exploration and development – the language of science fiction is a necessary space of resistance as it is one of the signature languages of modernity 41 . seeing. p. not synonymous with it. then. the ‘hegemony of vision’’ and visual technologies is a distinctly raced one in which the privileged ‘look of white subjects deduces supposed inferior racial characteristics from the surface of the black subject’s skin’ (2003.). As Alexander G. Performance key to fair neg ground. Afrofuturism is its own aesthetic register that “merely” borrows from the sf tradition by adopting some science fictional motifs such as the alien encounter or time travel to explore black life—past. George Clinton. June/September 2005. 746).” according to Delany (Dery. 2/3. paintings. painting. 107).
The formation of Bill Haley and His Comets (1953) followed in this tradition. by harnessing one of the signature languages of modernity—the language of science fiction— Afrofuturist artists automatically create new audiences for their stories: those primarily young. space was a popular subject. As Alondra Nelson puts it. “An Afrofuturist Reading of Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man”) As a popular aesthetic movement centered on seemingly fantastic tropes such as ‘the encounter with the alien other’ and ‘travel through time and space. a pun on the famous Halley's comet. published October 23 2003) Rock and roll developed roughly contemporaneously with the era of space exploration and the concomitant boom in science fiction. immediately linked space travel with 1950s teenage rebellion. Clinton and Perry space and alien themes are integral to a musical stream of Afro-futurism in which artists project empowering images of black power through futuristic imagery and control of technology. DJs and participants engaged in various forms of electronica and techno dance music. George Clinton's funk stylings. albeit with a twist. whose wild stage antics could have come from outer space.3 A similar early image of space and early rock 'n' roll rebellion is evident in the DJ antics of Allan Freed which were broadcast to the world in the mid-1950s via his radio show. science fiction can prompt us to recognize and rethink the status quo by depicting an alternative world. 92 (Kodwo Further Considerations of Afrofuturism. In this context. historiography. June/September 2005. Music evolved from space and boosted Afro-futurism Mcleod. published author. and musicians. Indeed. be it a parallel universe. the progressive album-oriented rock of Pink Floyd.sidered the domain of geeky white boys into a rich. Author and Teacher of Tibetan Buddhism. and politically charged medium for the interrogation of ideology. the association of space and alien themes with rock 'n' roll rebellion is found throughout rock's history and has had an impact on nearly all its stylistic manifestations. Good science fiction re-presents the present or past.afrofuturism. 2/3. the genre has proven fertile ground for a number of black and feminist writers. Assistant Proffesor in American Studies at UC Santa Cruz. A cultural moment when digitopian futures are routinely invoked to hide the present in all its unhappiness. the alternative rock of Smashing Pumpkins and in the urban genres of hip hop and techno dance music. In its earliest manifestations. “Space Oddities: Aliens. Page 3) ast forward to the early twenty-first century. For this reason. A leading candidate for the first ever rock 'n' roll record. it was also consciously chosen to reflect the image of rock 'n' roll rebels.org/article_S0261143003003222. pp. white. Ramirez.4 As evident in the music of Sun Ra. MA in Arts. It tweaks what we take to be reality or history and in doing so exposes its constructedness.cambridge. the astro-jazz of Sun Ra. or revised past.2003(Ken McLeod. inquiry into production of futures becomes fundamental. and Culture (Lisa. and power relations as projected into the future Eshun. Science Fiction has many aspects that change the world Ramirez 08 (Catherine S. Course Leader of Arts at Goldsmiths College. The band name Comets was. rather than trivial. Jackie Brenston's hot rod ode 'Rocket 88' (1951). of course. To list a few examples. Afrofuturism/Chicanafuturism) More than mere escapism. journals.’ Afrofuturism holds the potential to bring the Afrodiasporic experience to life in new ways. the science fictional elements of Afrofuturism provide both ‘apt metaphors for black life and history’ and inspiration for ‘technical and creative innovations’ of artists working in a variety of traditional and new media (http:// www. the New Wave experimentalism of Nina Hagen and Gary Numan. 297-313. exciting. Furthermore. Science Fiction can revolutionize the present – by theorizing about otherness. Rethinking History. the reggae-dub mixes of Lee Perry.net/text/about. difference. Futurism and Meaning in Popular Music”.Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies School of Literature. No. The field of Afrofuturism does not seek to deny the tradition of 42 . distant future. artists.html). and most prevalent. These innovative cultural workers have transformed what was once con. 9. Moon Dog Rock 'n' Roll House Party. such themes are employed in the glam rock of David Bowie. Communication. Vol. The most recent.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group Yaszek 5. however. Western and middle-class men who comprise the majority of science fiction fans and who may never otherwise learn much about the history of their country save what they haphazardly pick up in the high school classroom. from Edgar Arceneaux to Marion Zimmer Bradley. manifestation of alien imagery and identification occurred in the plethora of artists. identity. and epistemology.
Capital continues to function through the dissimulation of the imperial archive. virtual futures generate capital. reaching for others into tomorrow. The present moment is stretching. and the Stolen Legacy thesis. from The Truman Show to The Matrix. SF capital is the synergy. Egyptology. To analyse black popular futures in this way is to situate them as fallout from social movements and liberation movements. Hollywood’s love for sci-tech fictions. consultancy papers—and through informal descriptions such as sciencefiction cinema. Information about the future therefore circulates as an increasingly important commodity. think-tank reports. As New Economy ideas take hold. these futurisms adjust the 43 . fictional media. provided an astronomical knowledge of the “Sirius B” Dog Star. Today. slipping for some into yesterday. which in turn contribute to an explosion in the technologies they hymn. Given this context. as it has done throughout the last century. however. Dogonesque cosmology. and delivery of reliable futures. to command us to make them flesh. Bridging the two are formal-informal hybrids. Before Martin Bernal’s Black Athena. To be more precise. A subtle oscillation between prediction and control is being engineered in Fur t her which successful or powerful descriptions of the future have an increasing ability to draw us towards them. Kodwo E shun now deploys a mode the critic Mark Fisher calls SF (science fiction) capital. avantgardists from Walter Benjamin to Frantz Fanon revolted in the name of the future against a power structure that relied on control and representation of the historical archive. reversing Hegelian thought by insisting upon the original African civilization.Whitey on the Moon SNFI 2011 Camp Tournament Neg Arg Group countermemory. By excavating the political moments of such vernacular futurologies. In identifying the emergence and dissemination of belief systems. science fiction is neither forward-looking nor utopian. it is clear that the effect of the futures industry—defined here as the intersecting industries of technoscience. it would be naïve to understand science fiction. and market prediction—has been to fuel the desire for a technology boom. the situation is reversed. in Gilroy’s words. the Dogon mystic. Rather. can therefore be seen as product-placed visions of the reality-producing power of computer networks. Looking back at the media generated by the computer boom of the s. as offering “a significant distortion of the present” (Last Angel of History ).” By creating temporal complications and anachronistic episodes that disturb the linear time of progress. that demonstrated a compensatory and superior African scientific knowledge. In the colonial era of the early to middle twentieth century. Dogon cosmology. Delany’s statement. a lineage of competing worldviews that seek to reorient history comes into focus. it becomes apparent that science fiction was never concerned with the future. if not as direct parts of those movements. These moments may be historicized by politicospiritual movements such as Black Christian Eschatology and Black Power. as merely prediction into the far future. Rather. Further Considerations of Afrofuturism) Page (5-6) Gilroy argues that the articulations sketched above tend to overlap with historical flashpoints. in William Gibson’s phrase. Looking back at the genre. but rather with engineering feedback between its preferred future and its becoming present. and postwar politico-esoteric traditions such as the Nation of Islam (NOI). Course Leader of Arts at Goldsmiths College. and venture capital. management. technological projection. The alliance between cybernetic futurism and “New Economy” theories argues that information is a direct generator of economic value. Egyptology’s desire to recover the lost glories of a preindustrial African past was animated by a utopian authoritarianism. weather reports. Afrofuturists include many different races with many different spin-offs and describes their innocence Eshun 92 (Kodwo Eshun MA in Arts. The powerful employ futurists and draw power from the futures they endorse. George G. Today. or as a utopian project for imagining alternative social realities. Afrofuturism is by no means naively celebratory. It is clear that power now operates predictively as much as retrospectively. it aims to extend that tradition by reorienting the intercultural vectors of Black Atlantic temporality towards the proleptic as much as the retrospective. It exists in mathematical formalizations such as computer simulations. science fiction is a means through which to preprogram the present (cited in Eshun ). in Samuel R. Science fiction might better be understood. it becomes critical to analyze how. economic projections. located within the expanded field of the futures industry. M. “even as the movement that produced them fades. futures trading. and the totalising reversals of Stolen Legacy–style Afrocentricity are immediately evident. from Men in Black to Minority Report. such as the global scenarios of the professional market futurist. James’s Stolen Legacy simultaneously emphasised the white conspiracies that covered up the stolen legacy of African science. Ogotomelli. the regressive compensation mechanisms of Egyptology. religious prophecy. power also functions through the envisioning. thereby condemning the disempowered to live in the past. there remains a degree of temporal disturbance. science-fiction novels. sonic fictions. elaborated by French ethnographers Marcel Griaule and Germaine Dieterlen. The NOI’s eschatology combined a racialized account of human origin with a catastrophic theory of time. The reactionary Manichaenism of the Nation of Islam. the positive feedback between future-oriented media and capital.
Ellison’s protagonist—much like Frankenstein’s monster— finds himself subject to manipulation by white culture through literal applica.tions of electricity. At the end of the battle royale the invisible man scrambles for coins tossed on to an electrified rug by an amused group of white townsmen. young man. as 44 . James of Stolen Legacy. meanwhile..I can observe in terms of living personalities to what extent my money. Elsewhere in Invisible Man a black factory worker notes that ‘we the machines inside the machine’ (p. he cannot find. 42. representing the dispossessed present. The invisible man describes his fellow college students as ‘robots’ with ‘laced up’ minds (p. p. This analogy of racial terror with semiotic process spliced the world of historical trauma with the apparatus of structuralism. what Ellison’s protagonist is looking for is the possibility of a black future that. 33). [a] mechanical man’ (p. Chronopolitically speaking. The two genealogies crossbred with a disquieting force that contaminated the latter and abstracted the former.Whitey on the Moon SNFI 2011 Camp Tournament Neg Arg Group temporal logics that condemned black subjects to prehistory. Miller. Although white members of the Brotherhood explicitly oppose themselves to capitalists like Norton. so as to disabuse apparatuses of knowledge of their innocence. abduction. representing the future’ (Ellison  1989. they. Only you can tell me what it really is. these science fictional allow Ellison to suggest that American institutions do more than simply conspire to ‘Keep This Nigger-Boy Running’ (p. and the Brotherhood leaders themselves treat black men as scientific prototypes. 36). . treat black men as natural resources rather than as human beings. in the 1930s of the novel.. and contemporary intellectuals such as Toni Morrison. later. and then finally the leftist political group known as the Brotherhood. the paint factory he works for when he first moves north. “Afrofuturism and Ralph Ellison’s Invisible Man. my time and my hopes have been fruitfully invested’ (pp. Greg Tate. at the paint factory hospital white doctors carefully administer a kind of electrical lobotomy to Ellison’s protagonist to ensure his future docility. 45). 385). Communication and Culture. This attitude is clearly encapsulated in a Brotherhood poster entitled ‘After the Struggle: The Rainbow of America’s Future. Her argument that the African slaves that experienced capture. and mutilation were the first moderns is important for positioning slavery at the heart of modernity. In a interview with the writer Mark Sinker. and Paul D. Here then the black subject is figured as a kind of venture capital.” Rethinking History: The Journal of Theory and Practice 9. As I read this text in the history of Afrofuturism. cultural critic Greg Tate suggested that the bar between the signifier and the signified could be understood as standing for the Middle Passage that separated signification (meaning) from sign (letter). a blond brother (in overalls) and a leading Irish sister. . but only insofar as the black subject conforms to a predictable and carefully controlled vision of the future of which he is not totally a part. Ellison strategically deploys the language of science fiction to emphasize the alienation of black subjects from these kinds of whitewashed futures. these revisionist historicities may be understood as a series of powerful competing futures that infiltrate the present at different rates. Afrofuturism can be understood as an elaboration upon the implications of Morrison’s revisionary thesis. 94). Kodwo E shun. 350). too.realization are thwarted because he is treated as little more than a blankslate upon which institutional authority projects its own vision of the future. An American Indian couple. . In each case his dreams of self. 217). Lisa. Taken together. the rich white college trustee who tells Ellison’s protagonist: ‘You are my fate. The most explicit acknowledgement of this comes from Mr. . the Brotherhood equates blackness with futurity. . and binds cruelty to temporality.’ The poster depicts ‘a group of heroic figures. Ellison’s novel follows the adventures of an unnamed protagonist who tries to become a national leader by allying himself with various institutions: the historic black college he attends as a young man in the south. and [black] Brother Tod Clifton and a young white couple (it had been felt unwise simply to show Clifton and the girl) surrounded by a group of children of mixed races. theft. The effect is to force together separated systems of knowledge. Revisionist logic is shared by autodidact historians like Sun Ra and George G. then. Norton. Associate Professor and Director of Undergraduate Studies School of Literature. ‘one step in the experiment’ of making society new (p. Furthermore. Ellison remarks that black men have been treated as natural resources for science instead of humans—blackness is futurity but also different from perception of whitewashed future Yaszek. Ellison also insists that. Like later Afrofuturists. . Much like Norton.2/3) (Ellison performs just this kind of chronopolitical intervention in Invisible Man by inviting readers to critically assess the rhetoric of the mid-century futures industry as it served to define appropriate modes of American— and specifically African American—subjectivity.( June/September 2005. M. Through you. representing the dispossessed past. The cognitive and attitudinal shift demanded by her statement also yokes philosophy together with brutality. a disillusioned black vet dismisses the invisible man himself as ‘a walking personification of the Negative. a natural resource available to white investors speculating in the stock market of tomorrow. They conspire to keep him running right into the future as well. both during the battle royale and his stay at the paint factory hospital.
Race in American Science Fiction. So the next chapter continues along the historical chain of black-white race relations by considering how segregation has been recorded in science fiction through various Jim Crow extrapolations. Isolating the enigmatic phrase “Apocalypse bin in effect” from the Public Enemy track “Welcome to the Terradome. Meta-slavery demonstrates how slavery lives on in our cultural awareness and helps us ask how to deal with this history. and the constitution of Black Atlantic subjectivities: from slave to negro to coloured to evolué to black to African to African American. Afrofuturism therefore stages a series of enigmatic returns to the constitutive trauma of slavery in the light of science fiction. meta-slavery gets at notions of disempowerment. and Lion’s Blood have certainly been patterned after slave narratives. 11 (2011. CJC) Meta-slavery tales. Course Leader of Arts at Goldsmiths College. . the everyday implications of forcibly imposed dislocation. Consequently.Whitey on the Moon SNFI 2011 Camp Tournament Neg Arg Group the alien others of America. . unconscious reflections of racism.” Mark Sinker’s essay “Loving the Alien” argued that this lyric could be interpreted to read that slavery functioned as an apocalypse experienced as equivalent to alien abduction: “The ships landed long ago: they already laid waste whole societies. if not Western history. Extraterrestriality thereby becomes a point of transvaluation through which this variation over time. to that moment. Now 45 . and also direct confrontations of racist attitudes displayed in sf. can function as allegories for the systemic experience of post-slavery black subjects in the twentieth century. Further Considerations of Afrofuturism) Page (5-6) Afrofuturism uses extraterrestriality as a hyperbolic trope to explore the historical terms. Barr. Kiln People. this achievement arguably rendered wishing on the moon moribund. consciously or otherwise. Such interchange is implicit in any discussion of race. Rather. but rather as an identification with the potentiality of space and distance within the high-pressure zone of perpetual racial hostility. black subjects are defined by complex historic and material relations that cannot be streamlined to fit institutional visions of tomorrow. Such sf stories as Stars in My Pocket like Grains of Sand. By exploring how slavery plays itself out in sf. These stories and others like them reveal the imbalance between the reality of race and the dream of freedom that still endures in America today. 87-88. especially as they re. These narratives also articulate disempowerment as well as the cultural horrors of American history. Afrofuturist science fiction functions as an allegory for post-slavery black bodies – the apocalypse has already occurred – blacks are living in an alien nation Eshun 92 (Kodwo Eshun MA in Arts. Kindred. Professor of Communications and Media studies at Fordham University. meta-slavery narratives can make positive contributions to the ongoing dialogue on race and American identity. is recast in the light of Afrodiasporic history. and in some respect neo–slave narratives. Isaiah. It is not that black subjectivities are waiting for science-fiction authors to articulate their lifeworlds. can become a resource for speculation. “the site of humankind’s only manned exploration of another celestial body” (Parrett 1). marginalized within literature yet central to modern thought. Pgs. Africa and America—and so by extension Europe and Asia—are already in their various ways Alien Nation. . It should be understood not so much as escapism. as such. understood as forcible mutation. transforming literary expressions of this painful time into complex associations of racial subjectivities. Indiana University Press. Afro-Future Females) On 20 July 1969. Associate Professor of English at Central Arkansas University. the various tools of otherhood such as meta-slavery provide us with a means to explore the black/white binaries of science fiction in new ways. it is the reverse.cord the abiding interest in slavery’s legacy. Although science fiction is largely overlooked by the academy on the subject of race. Apollo 11 successfully landed Neil Armstrong on the surface of the moon.” At: Afrofuturism ignores American women Black female science fiction writers help spur the imagination of what is out there Barr 2008 ( Marleen S. ) Science fiction tales of meta-slavery are essential to the study of the economic slavery and imbalance present within modern day culture Lavender. Science fiction. are essential to the study of race in science fiction. The conventions of science fiction. abducted and genetically altered swathes of citizenry.
To this ancient tradition of symbol-making. From the ’90s. In this instance. science fiction puts into play something that we know. Adulthood Rites. Octavia E. in short. and to rest assured in that impossibility—after all. insofar as she must go back in order to give birth to her ancestors and. the imitation of art by the real world is not usually the way we think it goes. Spillers | in the very act of imagining. might be thought to have something of a prohibitive relationship to certain historical formations. that is rather familiar. or. The melding of the familiar and the strange is not only the essence of the marvelous. protagonists. But there is every reason to believe that the moon landing. the protagonist of Kindred. which violent act of parturition will tear her arm off when she eventually makes it back to the novel’s diegetic time frame. Wild Seed (1980). more precisely. but the very ground of the uncanny. including the fictions of science. engendered by the real world of power relations. Afro-Future Females) The central point of Afro-Future Females is that black women impact upon science fiction as authors. and editors. while it so rearranges the signposts that the outcome is strange and defamiliarized. African-American literary development would locate its center of gravity in realism. as it reverses the logic of futurism and time travel by taking us backward in time. finds herself on a path of reentry onto slavery’s old ground. Imaginative Encounters Introductions: Imaginative Encounters magic. running back over the centuries. We have no fiction quite like it in joining so terrible a historical contingency to the canons of the magical. Butler most certainly inhabits a central chapter of a revised African-American literary history. We might describe it this way: the writings of the imaginative artist. in that regard.” then the work of fantasy and make believe has a genuine role to play in processes of social construction and identity formation. belongs to the same period. Barr. Survivor (1978). there is that fragile membrane-moment that we like to call the Constitution— but one also wants to believe that the thought itself is. We do not want to know that the cost of our being here has been inestimable and that the way to our current peace swims in blood and the truncated bodies of the violent dead. but it must be so. actresses. which returns us to what we know in a way that we had not known and experienced before. among which the “extraterrestrial” prominently figures—one scholar calls them the “translunar narrative”—deposit traces that the thickest empiricisms may well translate into products after their own encodations. That Butler indeed thought it. thus. encompassing Patternmaster (1976). and Clay’s Ark (1984) (Gates and McKay 2515–29). the figurative dimension suddenly shifted into the literal. Octavia E. owes its fruition as much to poetry and the range of the imaginative arts as to the initiatives of science and technology. I wish to create a dialogue with existing theories of Afro-Futurism in order 46 . according to the dynamic dance of mimesis that Oscar Wilde celebrates in the “Decay of Lying” (970–93). black women writers continue to make significant contributions. unthinkable. Put another way. The realm of the extraterrestrial. Among black women writers in the genre of science fiction. But if there is more than one way “to make it real. On the basis of this substantial. paradoxically. as well as space exploration more generally. Not only does one try to think that such an occurrence is impossible. inscribes the most daring of fictional moves with a result that is profoundly disturbing: if fictional time lays claim to plasticity. we awaken here to full consciousness and its blasts of discomfort. This volume of criticism on science fiction with its brilliant new stars opens a path here to considerations of other worlds that illuminate the one we now so uncertainly inhabit. perhaps the writer’s best-known novel. and Imago. Kindred (1988). alongside a sustained reassessment of the powers of the uncanny. we have seen the future that is represented from one of its angles—the terrible past—and it is a cautionary tale that we dare not disbelieve. In this case. Mind of My Mind (1977). Butler’s Lauren Olamina transports us deep inside the twenty-first century by way of The Parable of the Sower and The Parable of the Talents. When Dana. and the fantastical. Butler’s “Xenogenesis” series that tells the story of a new Lilith (Iyapo) takes us across the ’80s decade of the writer’s career and includes Dawn.Whitey on the Moon SNFI 2011 Camp Tournament Neg Arg Group that going to the moon no longer counted as a patent impossibility. one might well believe. back to the future. Forced from our slumber of feigned innocence. in utter recoil to terror. shudders Hortense J. or the entire gamut of fictions that pose alternative models of reality. Butler has created entire alternative worlds that uncannily reflect reality and deflect and undermine it at the same time by generating subjects who improve on the available human models. then realism would seem to match up well with its origins in the problematic of the everyday. if the latter defines narrative strategy and modes of characterization according to mimetically vivid and verifiable principles. Professor of Communications and Media studies at Fordham University. Dana’s return demarcates a proleptic leap. Kindred is also rare in its refusal of a unidirectional concept of time and the inevitability of progress. then it can retrogress as well as progress. and the act of imagination that had fired the engines of poets and songwriters and graced the most youthful eroticisms with the stuff of myth and dreaming now belonged to the precincts of the engineer and the computer specialist. to someone called Dana. By this logic. Butler’s fictional projects in the reterritorializations and displacements of realism’s objects trace back to the 1970s and her “Patternist” series that immerses the reader in the cosmos of the immortal and hermaphroditic Doro. certain historical formations that arise in the world of realpolitik bear a critical relationship. single-authored canon. to literary realism. plucking this contemporary character out of a world that parallels our own and from the nesting place of an interracial marriage. African American Women writers change the society through their Science Fiction writing Barr 2008 ( Marleen S. she and the reader make the one return journey that they have both determined is the most dreadful event that the mind could conjure up and that the body.
futurologists. in one guise or another. These texts can be used as a platform for scholars to mount a vigorous argument in favor of redefining science fiction to encompass varieties of fantastic writing and.” in recognition of the negative correlation between the genre’s market share and its critical legitimation. African-American signification that appropriates images of technology and a prosthetically enhanced future—might. Sheree R. In their contributions to this volume.Futurism gives rise to a troubling antinomy: Can a community whose past has been deliberately rubbed out. imagine possible futures? Furthermore. African American SF writings deal with the community tracing back to other planets Barr 2008 ( Marleen S.7 For this change to occur—in order to end the marginalization of science fiction which relentlessly relegates the genre to subliterary status—it is necessary to define the broad fantastic tendency in AfroFuturist texts as science fiction. . is too often brought to bear upon black bodies. and whose energies have subsequently been consumed by the search for legible traces of its history. It is necessary to rethink “science fiction” in light of Afro-Futurist fiction. does Norman Spinrad’s glib use of the phrase “token nigger” to describe “any science fiction writer of merit who is adopted . The notion of Afro.” Speculative fiction that treats African-American themes and addresses African-American concerns in the context of twentieth-century technoculture— and.Whitey on the Moon SNFI 2011 Camp Tournament Neg Arg Group to generate fresh ideas about how to apply race to science fiction studies in terms of gender.Americans are. too. Professor of Communications and Media studies at Fordham University. for want of a better term. The big-tent rubric figures in this collection’s central argument which goes beyond the point that marginalized texts and authors have been excluded from the itself-marginalized science fiction genre. This is especially perplexing in light of the fact that African. Rabkin’s notion of a “super genre. be called Afro-Futurism.”5 While presenting a complex method to redefine “science fiction” is certainly beyond the purview of this preface. and technology. The claim that black people do not write science fiction is dependent upon defining science fiction as texts that black people do not write. the Tuskegee experiment. teardrop-shaped household appliances dreamed up by Raymond Loewy and Henry Dreyfuss. Their essays and stories present a valuable argument concerned with repositioning previously excluded fiction to redefine science fiction as a broader fantastic endeavor. and Disney’s Tomorrowland all still haunt the public mind. Kilgore points to the intermingling of fantasy. SF writers. 47 . . Black science fiction writers alter genre conventions to change how we read and define science fiction itself.Dubey explains why previously impossible-to-imagine female Afro. Mark Dery | set designers. go away!’” What Gibson has termed the “semiotic ghosts” of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. Barr. or tasers. women. and Charles Saunders have chosen to write within the genre conventions of SF. and the rest of the imagistic paraphernalia of science fiction” have historically functioned as “social signs—signs people learned to read very quickly. and history. time. keep out. forced sterilization. Octavia E. Traditional constructions of science fiction have divided the genre into a fantastic continuum that often excludes fantasy. They inhabit a sci-fi nightmare in which unseen but no less impassable force fields of intolerance frustrate their movements. Afro-Future Females)Hack this: Why do so few African-Americans write science fiction. For example. And technology was like a placard on the door saying. a genre whose close encounters with the Other—the stranger in a strange land— would seem uniquely suited to the concerns of African-American novelists? Yet. therefore.Futurist stories emerge when black-centered fantasy interrogates “normal” science fiction premises. Afro-Future Females at once applies Afro-Futurism to written and visual texts and offers something very different from existing scholarship. Expanding “science fiction” to include written and visual Afro-Futuristic imaginative visions changes the dynamic in which science fiction is always defined as inferior to mainstream realistic literature. takes on a curious significance. Delany. Thomas. official histories undo what has been done to them. Andrea Hairston.4 The anthology’s umbrella approach is not new in that it has for a long time been reflected by “speculative fiction” and by Eric S. and streamliners—white to a man—who have engineered our collective fantasies already have a lock on that unreal estate? Samuel R. Instead. The volume’s contributors expand Mark Dery’s masculinist foundation for our understanding of Afro-Futurism by explaining how to formulate a womancentered Afro-Futurism. more generally. in a very real sense. Frank R. to include a range of black women’s writing that would otherwise be excluded. Madhu Dubey and DeWitt Douglas Kilgore describe a new enlarged fantastic tendency. I emphasize that it is necessary to revise the very nature of a genre that has been constructed in such a way as to exclude its new black participants. They signaled technology. Paul’s illustrations for Hugo Gernsback’s Amazing Stories. Norman Bel Geddes’s Futurama at the 1939 New York World’s Fair. ‘Boys’ Club! Girls. Delany has suggested that “the flashing lights. I note that my term “feminist fabulation”6 encompasses black women’s science fiction. the sublegitimate status of science fiction as a pulp genre in Western literature mirrors the subaltern position to which blacks have been relegated throughout American history—in which context William Gibson’s observation that SF is widely known as “the golden ghetto. don’t the technocrats. and people of color. So. Moreover. be it branding. and Nalo Hopkinson which I have included collectively indicate the ways in which science fiction should be reconceptualized. in the grand salons of literary power. Butler. only Samuel R. the descendants of alien abductees. Black and Hispanics and the poor in general. Nisi Shawl. Butler. the dials. the chromiumskinned. Steven Barnes. to my knowledge. the stories by Octavia E.
Queers Futurity. Duke North Carolina) This essay takes its lead from Fred Moten’s brilliant In the Break: The Aesthetics of the Black Radical Tradition. Cecil Taylor. to an even larger degree disciplinary accounts of avant-garde aesthetics underplay both explicitly queer presences and (perhaps especially) racialized participation. Moten counters Banes’s now almost canonical rendering of a downtown art scene that excludes black artists like LeRoi Jones. Greenwich Village 1963: Avant-Garde Performance and the Effervescent Body. I do want to look at these minoritized historical players because they disrupt dominant historiographies of queer avant-gardism and radical aesthetics and politics. and influence.6 Gloria Anzaldúa famously indicated that jotería (queers) could be found at the base of every liberationist social movement.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group At: Afrofuturism ignores queer politics Our Alternative is inclusive of Queer politics – queers have been foundational revolutionaries across various periods of activism – they are a significant part of Afrofuturist and Chicanafuturist politics Munoz 07' (Jose. which Banes is uninterested in. Duke University Press Editor. 2010. and in some ways already “alternative” canon of the American avant-garde.3 Moten describes the conterminous relationship between black radical politics and improvisational aesthetic practices associated with blackness. Radical Black Traditions. Anzaldúa’s injunction to look for jotería is a call to deploy a narrative of the past to enable better understanding and to critique a faltering present. These characters inhabit what Moten calls the B-side of this avant-garde’s history. All Oppression is connected Stacyann Chin Being queer has no bearing on race or class or creed my white publicist said true love is never affected by color or country or the carnal need for cash I curb the flashes of me crashing across the table to knock his blond skin from Manhattan to Montego Bay to witness the bloody beatings of beautiful brown boys accused of the homosexual crime of buggery amidst the new fangled fallacies of sexual and racial freedom for all these under-informed self-congratulating pseudo-intellectual utterances reflect how apolitical the left has become I don’t know why but the term lesbian just seems so confrontational to me 48 .5 While I am not proposing an alternative canon of what is an already existing. and Samuel Delaney. In this sense her call for mestiza consciousness is a looking back to a fecund no-longer-conscious in the service of a futurity that resists the various violent asymmetries that dominate the present. “CRUISING THE TOILET LeRoi Jones/Amiri Baraka. labor. Looking at the racial blind spots in Sally Banes’s historiography of New York’s historical downtown bohemia. and Queer Futurity”.4 Here I am interested in casting light on not only those important historical figures but also others like Mario Montez (the Warhol screen superstar who played Juanita Castro) or Dorothy Dean (the black woman who was the acknowledged ultimate fag hag of the day and worked as the sharp-tongued bouncer at Max’s Kansas City).7 And while tales of social movements in the United States continue to ignore jotería.
Whitey on the Moon SNFI 2011 Camp Tournament Neg Arg Group why can’t you people just say you date other people? Again I say nothing tongue and courage tied with fear I am at once livid ashamed and paralyzed by the neo-conservatism breeding malicious amongst us Gay Lesbian Bisexual Transgender Ally Questioning Two spirit Non-gender conforming—every year we add a new letter our community is happily expanding beyond the scope of the dream stonewall sparked within us yet everyday I become more afraid to say black or lesbian or woman—everyday under the pretense of unity I swallow something I should have said about the epidemic of AIDS in Africa or the violence against teenage-girls in East New York or the mortality rate of young boys on the south-side of Chicago even in friendly conversation I get the bell hooks-ian urge to kill mother-fuckers who say stupid shit to me all day bitter branches of things I cannot say out loud sprout deviant from my neck fuck you-you-fucking-racist-sexist-turd fuck you for wanting to talk about homophobia while you exploit the desperation of undocumented immigrants to clean your hallways bathe your children and cook your dinner for less than you and I spend on our tax deductible lunch! I want to scream all oppression is connected you dick! at the heart of every radical action in history stood the dykes who were feminists the anti-racists who were gay rights activists the men who believed being vulnerable could only make our community stronger as the violence against us increases where are the LGBT centers in those neighborhoods where assaults occur most frequently? as the tide of the Supreme Court changes where are the LGBT marches to support a woman’s right to an abortion? what say we about health insurance for those who can least afford it? HIV/AIDS was once a reason for gay white men to act up now your indifference spells the death of straight black women and imprisoned Latino boys apparently if the tragedy does not immediately impact you you don’t give a fuck 49 .
dykes trannies and all those in between we are not simply at a political crossroad we are buried knee deep in the quagmire of a battle for our humanity the powers that have always been have already come for the Jew the communist and the trade unionist the time to act is now! Now! while there are still ways we can fight Now! because the rights we have are still so very few Now! because it is the right thing to do Now! before you open the door to find they have finally come for you AT: Japanese Answers 50 .Whitey on the Moon SNFI 2011 Camp Tournament Neg Arg Group offer a social ladder to those of us inclined to climb and watch the bottom of a movement fall out a revolution once pregnant with expectation flounders without direction the privileged and the plundered grow listless apathetic and individualistic no one knows where to vote or what to vote for anymore the faces that represent us have begun to look like the ones who used to burn crosses and beat bulldaggers and fuck faggots up the ass with loaded guns the companies that sponsor our events do not honor the way we live or love or dance or pray our life partnerships are deemed domestic and the term marriage is reserved for those unions sanctioned by a church controlled state for all the landmarks we celebrate we are still niggers and faggots and minstrel references for jokes created on the funny pages of a heterosexual world the horizons are changing to keep pace with technology and policy alike the LGBT manifesto has evolved into a corporate agenda and outside that agenda a woman is beaten every 12 seconds every two minutes a girl is raped somewhere in America and while we stand here well-dressed and rejoicing in India in China in South America a small child cuts the cloth to construct you a new shirt a new shoe an old lifestyle held upright by the engineered hunger and misuse of impoverished lives gather round ye fags.
135-181. Number 1. we might perhaps take the recurring themes raised by successive exchanges between African Americans and various Asian immigrant populations as one narrative strand within Asian American history. Spring2003. regardless of actual status.) Obviously. often criticized in Chicano/Latino and Asian American studies.” caught between Toni Morrison’s contention that immigrant groups “learn” the perils of being identified with blacks and the historical sweep of affinity and common cause that scholars have traced between black Americans and Japanese Americans. historical instances of conflict and cooperation seem increasingly salient. cultural.html) Almaguer notes the centrality of the specter of slavery to the increasingly triumphant discourse of free labor.) http://muse. Filipino Americans. in a state where the imminent lack of a single ethnic majority presupposes a complex and shifting political terrain.) The Chinese and African-Americans are racialized through similar discourses in the American narrative – those bodies other than white bodies face violent and coercive reprisals at the hands of white America Widener 2003 (Daniel Widener. Chinese Americans. the complex interaction between people of African and Asian descent in California shows how binary examinations of race. Finally. as unsuitable for dignified. Islam. positions: east asia cultures critique. became “champion of the darker races” at precisely the same moment when black activists. after all.html) (In addition to showcasing the tremendous importance of Japanese immigrants to black conceptualizations of self-determination. and South Asians—all in turn—have found themselves the counterpoint to African American demands for the reallocation of state resources. This strand contains both a “history from above” as well as a “history from below. extended even further beyond the boundaries of race than his observation at first suggests. From the callous language of sugar and cotton planters to the contemporary parlance of public policy research.1widener. modernism. Assistant Professor of history at the UCSD ps the Japanese Are to Be Thanked?” Asia. and self-organized work provided a means 51 . Moreover.” As Henry Yu points out. Volume 11. not as predictors conjured by a presentist urge. Japanese Americans. both the role played by the black power movement in the development of a panethnic Asian American identity and the undeniable affinity between many elements of black and Asian American youth culture suggest that links between the communities contain an important interconnected response. and Pacific Islanders.” which Ralph Ellison saw as the basis of bonds between blacks. a generation of North America’s most influential social scientists took “the Negro Problem” as a point of departure for building an understanding of “the Oriental Problem.pp.135-181. and political dimensions of post-1960s Asian American life. and the Construction of Black California”. Number 1.edu/journals/positions/v011/11. However. positions: east asia cultures critique. and the Construction of Black California”.) http://muse. voluntary. Although the interwar interregnum remains justifiably celebrated as a high point of African diasporic sentiment. Chinese immigrants. Assistant Professor of history at the UCSD ps the Japanese Are to Be Thanked?” Asia. Spring2003. more remains to be said concerning the role of African America in the conceptual. and that a young Ho Chi Minh occasionally attended the soapbox orations of Marcus Garvey. but as reminders that the past reveals complexities which oftentimes persist into the present day. Volume 11. Borrowing from Amiri Baraka. intellectuals. the transpacific tale of interwar Los Angeles reminds us that black internationalism often moves along channels not explicitly routed through race. South Asians.jhu. (Viewing all blacks.jhu.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group Racism against blacks is only part of the system of domination that constrains all people of color – The development of Asian and Black social positionality in the American context indicates a cross-cultural complexity in both the experience of and resistance to oppression Widener 2003 (Daniel Widener. Asian Americans.”3 Although these so-called problems came to be seen quite differently. Recalling something of the breadth of this moment reveals that the “identity of passions. Asian Americans.edu/journals/positions/v011/11. Nevertheless. prove equally unsuitable for capturing the historical experience of African Americans. it remains worth noting that Langston Hughes composed his Pan-African paean The Negro Speaks of Rivers while on a train bound for Mexico. any attempt to theorize connections between populations of Asian descent in relation to their contemporary experiences with African Americans must involve sensitivity to historical particularities. and artists were debating the relative merits of Marxism. At the same time.1widener. Imperialist Japan. surrealism. and a whole mélange of competing strains of nationalism. the burden of comparison continues to shape external representations of both groups.pp. one can perhaps find in the history of black North Americans and successive Asian immigrant groups a sort of “changing same.
found themselves repeatedly forced to defend American aims in the Pacific. “African Americans. Afrofuturism/Chicanafuturism) Science fiction lends itself easily to stories by and about people of African descent in the New World. they remain impor. noting that “every reason that exists against the toleration of free blacks in Illinois may be argued against that of the Chinese here. into the present day. Number 1. Spreading an impassioned missive complete with Japanese bombers.1widener. who came to account for some 9 percent of the entire population of California. The San Francisco Alta California was unequivocal in describing the mutual undesirability of both groups. official histories undo what has been done. This is not to suggest that “negroization” was a pre condition of bigotry or racial violence. and tasers come readily to mind)” (1993. these figures and groups attracted thousands of blacks searching for a swift end to a seemingly intractable racism. positions: east asia cultures critique. comparisons continued.edu/journals/positions/v011/11. the Tuskegee experiment. and the Moorish Science Temple contained but a miniscule fraction of black America. found themselves racialized along lines laid elsewhere. and Policarpio Manansala achieved a wide consonance in African American life. Indeed. the vocabulary of the Asiatic black man remains preva. and the Construction of Black California”.35) AT: Chicana Answers Afrofuturist and Chicanafuturist have a large role to play in science fiction writings Ramirez 08(Catherine S.tant both as precursors to the explosion of a technophilic Afro-futurism in the 1970s and as a profound instance of the social construction of race from below. 736). and arms. the Pacific Movement of the Eastern World. and music that address the relationship of black people to science. slavery.lent in both the discourse of the Nation of Islam and in contemporary rap music. and Indian” as “generic terms. Laws prohibiting those ineligible for citizenship from holding mining claims applied equally to slaves and Chinese sojourners.” the language of the “Asiatic Black Man. and alienation. Assistant Professor of history at the UCSD ps the Japanese Are to Be Thanked?” Asia. Like blacks. and the vision of Japanese “motherships. and humanism have been grouped beneath the rubric of Afrofuturism.1 These texts use science fiction themes.” and the fiery destruction of a racist white world proved enduring. As cultural critic Mark Dery has noted. in various guises.html) (Elusive Asian radicals spread a message of apocalyptic racial revolt throughout the United States’ internal colonies which survives. Assistant Proffesor in American Studies at UC Santa Cruz. present. So pervasive were these sentiments at the time that black support. published author. are the descendants of alien abductees.jhu. Fard. in a very real sense. such as abduction. Works of literature. Thus the Chinese. complete with lynchings.ers of Roosevelt. Ramirez. eager to prey on drug-addled and defenseless white women. forced sterilization. However fanciful such scenarios might be. nagur apparently became a general term as well. . displacement. to renarrate the past. and prohibitions against interracial relations and court testimony. Satohata Takahashi. Volume 11.pp. Asiatic Black man ideas still exist in modern rap music Widener 2003 (Daniel Widener. segregated institutions. they inhabit a sci-fi nightmare in which unseen but no less impassable force fields of intolerance frustrate their movements.” According to Takaki. for example. Some of these challenged credulity.” betrayed but “a slight re.135-181. the Chinese were taken as fearsome sexual predators.) http://muse. film.itary defeat at the hands of the Asian power became part of the litany of black humor.moval from the African race. the message of Japanese deliverance spread by W. Asian Americans. though with complexions in some instances approaching fair.Whitey on the Moon SNFI 2011 Camp Tournament Neg Arg Group by which to demonize Mexican and Chinese labor as well.” And while this generalized white supremacy eventually made greater provision for ethnic particularity. describing “Negro. Mongolian. and technology is too often brought to bear on black bodies (brand. while the prospect of American mil.ing. . One writer. Spring2003. like Walter White. art. While the membership rolls of the Society for the Development of Our Own. D. Butler’s Parable of the Sower was the first Afrofuturist work I read. and in the mid-1990s it rekindled my passion 52 . The proponents of this vision often sought to tie African Americans and Asians together biologically. technology. Both the rapid destruction of indigenous California and the endemic hostility toward the region’s Mexican population were accomplished without widespread recourse to anti-black rhetoric.”9) African Americans and Asian radicals have vision of Asiatic motherships in space. and future of the African diaspora. early state statutes and constitutions conflated all nonwhites. argued that “the Chinese . Nevertheless. troops.
At the same time. Ramirez. and progress. More recently. Native Americans. I first saw Martinez’s dazzling sculptures and wall hangings at the show Cyber The present ideas of society keep Chicanas/Chiancos.A. and prisons of the present. However. some of the most powerful Chicanafuturist works.) (fig. After a gang of marauders kills her family and destroys her home and community. including their detritus. and Native Americans are usually disassociated from science and technology. and passion. I’m thinking of forced sterilizations. the protagonist. intuition. All too often. It questions the promises of science. and the collaborative projects of the MeChicano Alliance of Space Artists (M. first performed in 1967 and thus one of the earliest examples of Chicanafuturism. especially black women. she heads north in search of water and employment. as represented in great part by empiricism and the Cartesian subject.A. reservations. Lauren Olamina. which I introduced in Aztlán in 2004. the concept of Chicanafuturism was also inspired by the work of New Mexican artist Marion C. which depicts a pre-Columbian goddess at a desktop computer. Gloria Anzaldúa’s 1987 theory of “alien” consciousness endeavors to undo the lega. which I had abandoned in an effort to be cool once I started high school. in contrast. she picks up other refugees. is like no other I had encoun. and steel played in the European colonization of the New World. Chicanos. Chicanas. is generally imagined as white. homophobia. Afrofuturism/Chicanafuturism) Like black people. and survival. Assistant Proffesor in American Studies at UC Santa Cruz. Assistant Proffesor in American Studies at UC Santa Cruz. offers a more expansive defini. especially Mexican workers. Afrofuturism/Chicanafuturism) By appropriating the imagery of science and technology. 1). Assistant Proffesor in American Studies at UC Santa Cruz. borrows from theories of Afrofuturism (see Ramírez 2004). which reflects diasporic experience. and economic crisis. as automatons. Chicanos. This 1995 novel offers a fairly common sci-fi scenario: it is set in the year 2024 in a Southern California plagued by drought. Alma López’s 2006 update. Already. rationality. published author. technology. Ramirez. While it is indebted to Afrofuturism. throw into question the link between science. published author. and Native Americans have been injured or killed by and/or for science and technology. athletic brown woman cradles a laptop. environmental racism. some of whom are fugitive slaves. and Afrofuturists out of the future.cies of patriarchy. The future. El Teatro Campesino’s acto Los Vendidos. transform Mexican American life and culture.” a condition that causes her to experience others’ physical sensations as if they were her own. Here. López’s 1988 logo for the Chicana feminist organization Mujeres Activas en Letras y Cambio Social. mestizaje. people of color have been erased from the future. technology. And like Afrofuturism. or in any other literary genre for that matter. Afrofuturism/Chicanafuturism) The concept of Chicanafuturism. Martinez. as many of the science fiction movies and TV shows of my childhood made evident. Chicanafuturist works disrupt age-old racist and sexist binaries that exclude Chicanas and Chicanos from visions of the future. and humanism for Chicanas. civilization. Chicanafuturism questions the definition of humans Ramirez 08(Catherine S. in which a young. Chicanafuturism explores the ways that new and everyday technologies. Examples include Yolanda M. and we are fixed in a primitive and racialized past. and Jared M.tion of “human” as it criticizes racist and classist perceptions of Chicanos and Mexicans. signifiers of civilization. Chicanafuturism interrogates definitions of the human. Diamond’s provocative argument about the important role guns. we are linked to savagery. She is an African American teenager afflicted with “hyperempathy. Similarly.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group for science fiction.tered in science fiction. such as Martinez’s santos and Guillermo Gómez-Peña and Roberto Sifuentes’s performances as El Naftazteca and El Cybervato.5 At the same time.6 In addition. Ramirez 08(Catherine S. Ramirez. ghettoes. just as many of us were excised from narratives of the past and remain hidden from view in the barrios. pollution. The origin of Chicanafuturism Ramirez 08(Catherine S. raceless [and] bodiless” (Nelson 2002. Chicanafuturism articulates colonial and postcolonial histories of indigenismo. and progress.7 Chicanafuturism confronts and answers the questions that Afrofuturism cant 53 . Along the way. La Luchadora. carnality. published author. many Chicanas.S. Chicanos. 1). germs. and white supremacy in the United States by rejecting Enlightenment epistemology and ontology. information technologies such as the Internet have prompted some cultural critics to celebrate the present and imminent future as “placeless. and other people of color. hegemony.
progress. and the human? These are the questions Chicanafuturism offers and confronts. race. In the case of Brazilian hip hop.D. one has to believe in the design. University of Massachusetts. Theories of Afrofuturism have taught me to see cultural products that would not necessarily be classified as science or science fiction. I have organized this book according to three pertinent categories: space.A. And Laura Molina’s 2004 painting Amor Alien (fig. civilization. Austin. a term that literally translates as “believers” but more specifically refers to “evangelical” or non-Catholic Chris. Like Anzaldúa’s theory. Urbana-Champaign. history and class systematically contextualize the meaning of these categories. University of Texas. Brazilian hip hoppers attempt to redesign social categories of race. Amherst. the connection to science fiction is probably less apparent at first. They foreground intention as the force of change to create and maintain a high level of intentional force. including normative gender and sexuality. therefore. classes. hip hoppers represent the world as “reality” and “truth” in extremely dogmatic ways. I also believe that meaning is highly dependent on intention. The ideological and institutional connections between “evangelicalism” and Brazilian hip hop will be discussed later. Martinez’s Catholic icons distort the santo tradition of which they are still a part. They do this explicitly through a range of material (image and sound) and ideology (discourses. As I state later. published author. Ramirez. are clearly science fiction. hip hop is a process of becoming. and to a lesser extent anywhere outside of Brazil. often defined vis-à-vis gringo. Assistant Proffesor in American Studies at UC Santa Cruz. Ph. and gender as well as socio-geographical categories such as periferia and marginality (marginalidade). like the music of Parliament and Midnight Star. networking practices). a force and set of beliefs that 54 . Social Anthropologist “Ideologies of Marginalitiy in Brazilian Hip Hop” Palgrave Macmillan ltd. Ph. history. This book is an ethnography of Brazilian hip hoppers1 as they have attempted to institute an alternative system of ideology. Urbana-Champaign. or the norm.M. ideas and people from the United States. Social Anthropologist “Ideologies of Marginalitiy in Brazilian Hip Hop” Palgrave Macmillan ltd. University of Texas. science and science fiction. as. Derek Pardue 2009 B. it points to the alien as a symbol for Chicana and Latina sexuality. Set in the near future in the border region between the independent nation of Aztlán and Gringolandia (the former United States of America). often for the first time. however. Before I outline the chapters of the book and introduce in greater detail the pertinent debates and fieldwork methodologies.D. I systematically underscore my analysis as historically grounded and class inflected. Cherríe Moraga’s play The Hungry Woman: A Mexican Medea (2001) reinterprets ancient Greek and Mesoamerican myths as well as the promises and pitfalls of Chicano cultural nationalism. These theories have inspired me to ask: What happens to Chicana/o texts when we read them as science fiction? To Chicana/o cultural identity? And to the concepts of science. University of Massachusetts. or at the very least through the lens of. Yet for others.stitute and develop their identity as “hip hoppers.8 Taken as a whole. such as Los Vendidos and Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera. It is a process of developing. I certainly appreciate that meaning is context-driven. As they con. Disenfranchised Brazilian youth see hip-hop as a sociocultural system with which they can take control and potentially redesign their lives and conditions.M. Hip hoppers are crentes.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group Ramirez 08(Catherine S. Chicanafuturism defamiliarizes the familiar. Austin.” Brazilian youth try to take control and refashion burdensome cultural categories such as Brazilian (brasileiro) and Brazilian-ness (brasilidade). Afrofuturism/Chicanafuturism) Finally. I want to convey the feeling and power of belief as essential to hip hop. AT: Brazilian Answers Brazilian Hip Hop and the culture that surrounds it is used as a means of altering the sociocultural status quo which pushes certain races.tian devotees in Brazil. M. Amherst. Like good science fiction.” Brazilian Hip Hoppers have turned their culture into a criticism of national classifications of race and gender through which they are able to empower themselves. full of moments of recognition. Furthermore. narratives. and genders to the periferia (margins) Derek Pardue 2009 B. an empowered sense of self. University of Illinois. it brings into relief that which is generally taken for granted. Hip hop. these works show that science fiction is just as well suited for Chicanas and Chicanos as it is for African Americans. modernity.pers to be humble (an important class marker to be discussed later) and relatively easy going on a personal level.pers make this fact acutely apparent. and gender. M. University of Illinois. Brazilian hip hoppers periodically refer to hip hop as a “salvation” (salvação). 2) offers a sci-fi riff on mid-twentieth-century Mexican calendar art. I want to demonstrate through a short vignette the logic of hip hop as a “salvation. technology.A. class. Europe. Some. While I found most hip hop. but for right now. such as tradition. like Amor Alien.
Social Anthropologist “Ideologies of Marginalitiy in Brazilian Hip Hop” Palgrave Macmillan ltd. Ph. and citizenship. most aficionados agree that what distinguishes breakin’ from poppin’ and lockin’ is the performative emphasis on spins (head. University of Texas. I understand hip hop in Brazil to be an ideology of represen. In their personal introductions. and other body parts) rather than footwork. Austin. periphery males.M. For many.D. and neighborhood pride or general “attitude. namely malandros or hustlers with little to offer to society other than a little ditty. University of Illinois. University of Illinois. In this book. Although there is some debate over these terms.7 and tradition. while poppin’ and lockin’ came from California. “Cair no samba” is a popular saying referring to standard lyrics of 1930s sambistas. sounds.lematic socialization process. ethics. The hierarchy inherent in the hip hop community reflects the artists as racialized subjects Derek Pardue 2009 B. beliefs. Brazilian hip hop is about a dynamic material “design” and “making of” society (Pardue 2005). M. and politics. Austin. Amherst. Hip hoppers refer to this national hegemonic formation as the system (o sistema).lence.” Hip Hop restructures the way we view the production of culture and formation of identities whilst critiquing Brazil’s current method of categorizing people socially.5 racial democracy.D. rather than a daily life filled with meaningless violence and insurmountable corruption. and revealing problems of mainstream Brazilian views of social difference mostly around the markers of class and race (to a much lesser extent. As they organize and coordinate a range of images. I draw from the energy and spirit of the majority of São Paulo hip hoppers and argue that in the process of transforming periferia reality. University of Massachusetts. The language of hip hop in Brazil has created an alternative ideology which revolves around constructing criticisms of the status quo’s perception of gender and race and therefore has the potential to empower a new space identity. Austin. data collection. Ph.” Hip hop becomes a cultural matrix with which practitioners attempt to represent and thus change the current state of things. and poppin’. hip hop involves the “concept” (conceito) of imagining and acting on real changes. In short.D. In Brazil.Whitey on the Moon SNFI 2011 Camp Tournament Neg Arg Group helped reorient their lives. Urbana-Champaign. Urbana-Champaign. in this case. back.8 and they understand this “system” as part of Brazil’s prob.2 Hip hop as a design for “real. Ph. hip hoppers create and codify an alternative ideology.A. M. ubiquity should be about respect. Urbana-Champaign. hip hoppers use the material and discourse of marginality to save themselves from further negativity and by extension transform the periphery into a place and concept more akin to empowerment than marginality. such as Noel Rosa and Ary Barroso.6 tropicalism. Therefore.A. lockin’. Derek Pardue 2009 B. Derek Pardue 2009 B. hip hoppers comment on and contribute to a contemporary understanding of race and gender in Brazil.ing of daily life. local hip hoppers directly connect “salvation” to “reality. symbolizing a step backward into mainstream notions of black. with the aim of both legiti. hip hop “saved” (salvou) them from wrong and the despair of quotidian life in the urban peripheries. M. University of Texas. Virtually all Brazilian hip hoppers are invested in retelling periphery “reality” through narratives of marginality. For rapper Necaf. According to hip hoppers. and narratives around the key themes of marginality and vio.M. gender and sexuality). Social Anthropologist “Ideologies of Marginalitiy in Brazilian Hip Hop” Palgrave Macmillan ltd. hip hop functions as a general concept of culture.A. a dynamic and generative set of practices through which practitioners formulate a system of identity concepts. breakin’ originated on the East Coast.tation and personhood positioned in relation to a cluster of primar. University of Massachusetts.ily national hegemonic discourses and practices represented in such terms as cordial. Amherst. University of Texas. in effect. honesty. hip hop “saves” one from “falling into samba” (cair no samba)—an expression. University of Illinois.ity” includes formal aesthetics and ideological ethics for the structur.” Street dance includes break dancing. Amherst. In addition. Social Anthropologist “Ideologies of Marginalitiy in Brazilian Hip Hop” Palgrave Macmillan ltd. In general. aesthetics. deconstructing this phrase and recasting it with contemporary criticisms of what they hold to be national ideologies of race. and ultimately my 55 . Hip hoppers are. Other significant factors that shape hip hop in São Paulo and that have structured my experience. samba composers and musician.mating the periferia as a potentially empowering space of identity.M. Hip hop is an “alternative system” (sistema alternativo) of cultural production and identity formation grounded in what practitioners call the four “elements. In local terms. class. University of Massachusetts.
dents around urban Brazil. Hip hop production mani.sism. Marcelo D2. hip hop is hierarchical with respect to “emic” or “insider” categories such as knowledge. Naldinho. consultants and I have traded copious amounts of information in the form of recorded material. preto. and on television. Those on the prefeteria have become targets of prejudice and are now caught in the cloud of social invisibility that surrounds the lower class. the relative marginal status of urban popular culture in the Brazilian academy. Hip hop studies in Brazil are late in coming when one considers that hip hop has enjoyed more than two decades of life and practice. black (negro. they represent an understanding of it in performance.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group analysis include hip hop hierarchy and geographical location. hip hop hierarchy is multifaceted and dynamic given various macro-level contextual factors. rap. and those few sociological studies actually car. folk.mulate countless moments of dehumanizing experiences. rappers. 2002) has cogently argued. clas. hip hoppers explicitly link information to who they are. periferia residents accu. in practice.ity. since. periferia identity normally signifies a set of negative attributes.D. However. Austin. M. and soul lyrics. University of Illinois. In short. As I checked my ideas and analyses during the writing of this text against opinions of Brazilian consultants online.ardo Soares (2000.” In short. University of Massachusetts.1 which in itself reveals a class dimension to the process of topic selection in the social sciences in Brazil. Social Anthropologist “Ideologies of Marginalitiy in Brazilian Hip Hop” Palgrave Macmillan ltd. Urbana-Champaign. we all are like this to some degree—that is. “otherness” is relegated to indigenous and Afro-Brazilian groups in rural spaces. Part of the analytical challenge I address in the following chapters is to attempt to track hip hop hierarchy from the perspective of ideology and position.ried out tended to reduce youth culture to students. participants have been understandably suspicious of outside research. poor.M. history. and skills. Brazilian hip hoppers are always in search of more. Of course. Ph. as well as in relation to “etic” or more general categories such as market forces within the Brazilian and international music industries and nationalist conceptions of art.mation that consultants exercised demands of reciprocity. we are what we know. Amherst. this division of emic/etic is an abstraction. “to be informed” is a valuable asset that speaks to culture.tion” access among marginalized youth in urban Brazil. University of Massachusetts. M. and they divulge it in spaces of education and media communication.sive head nod done in silence. business. were even more underground in nature. Members of the hip hop community express judgment often in terms of being more or less “conscious. It is particularly with regard to exchanging infor. there is a great deal of influence and overlap between insider and outsider classifications. funk. who are usually equated with journalists. Thaíde. U. a practice that would later develop into Brazil’s first hip hop posses. Urbana-Champaign.A. If not expressed in terms of paucity. in part. There is a 56 . on the radio. current notions of “black. DJ Tano. As Brazilian sociologist Luiz Edu. (sub)urban.ness” at a national level of discourse significantly affect hip hoppers as they position themselves as racialized subjects in their performance.M. Rappin’ Hood. Ph.) kids and adults do not exist socially.fested itself in live events of B-boy crews.D. As targets of daily yet tacit prejudice within a social system deeply saturated in practices of racism. magazine inter.10 The term informação penetrated almost every conversation I had with hip hoppers. Social Anthropologist “Ideologies of Marginalitiy in Brazilian Hip Hop” Palgrave Macmillan ltd. and Afro-Brazilian and pop culture.” having or not having a consciência. and informal local histories. etc. and ideology. This delay reveals.A. Their worth to society is service. translations of U. For example.S. University of Texas. hip hop itself was not particularly visible. that is. Academia has become part of the oppressive system and is complacent in the negative representations of hip hop culture and those who participate in it. Of course.view translations. identity is seemingly always represented as a lack of or tardiness in access to modernity and citizenship. Scholarship on Brazilian youth culture in general was scarce until the 1980s. and regional-based markers of status. enacted in the quotidian gesture of the submis. pardo.2 In addition to the underground nature of early Brazilian hip hop. Austin. Another factor that contributed to scholars’ (and the society at large) late arrival to hip hop was that for the first decade of existence. The history of hip hop in Brazil is part of an overall story of “informa. Many hip hoppers see journalists as part of o sistema and thus perceive them as complicit in the negative representations the periferia receives daily in newspapers. One could forcefully argue that such paucity represents the skewed concerns of Brazilian academics. sexism.S. and pop music critics. According to São Paulo DJs. Simi- lar to any other cultural system. clandestine graffiti activ. in the case of the millions of shantytown resi. In the context of Brazilian hip hop. Informal and formal meetings of neighborhood groups. Derek Pardue 2009 B. and underground dance parties.ers. music producers. Amherst. University of Illinois. respect. University of Texas. Over the past several years. Such affects are reflected in hierarchical judgments directed at visible hip hoppers such as Bispo. or Mano Brown and lesser known or anonymous hip hoppers. Derek Pardue 2009 B. many young. we maintained a relationship of “information exchange.
and other official political parties. NGOs associated with the women’s and black women’s movements such as Fala Preta! and Geledés. The contemporary currency of consciência within Brazilian hip hop is in part due to hip hop’s roots in popular social movements organized in response to the military dictatorship (1964–85) in urban Brazil. With that said. This was particularly true during the early to mid-1970s when the Black Power Movement in the United States. Ph.-centered media and entertainment indus. In his description of the foundation of Posse Hausa. The ideology of Brazilian hip hop involves the strong connection between self expression and social change whilst using evolving consciousness of blackness to create alternate ethics for Brazilian culture as a whole. Hip hop.ment) was officially founded in response to an explicit.ing the state.tries.): [The appropriation of forms. This process is akin to what Fredric Jameson has described as part of the objective of literary analysis that is tracing the “repressed and buried reality” in a manner that explicitly links to a “master narrative” (Jameson 1981) such as Marxism or. Amherst. 37–43). the breakers. give support to the graffiti artists. hip hop. The former includes most directly the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Cultural Revolu. a hip hop organization located in the São Paulo indus. labor. the sound tracks of this AfricanAmerican cultural broadcast fed a new metaphysics of blackness elaborated and enacted in Europe and elsewhere within the 57 . M. Amherst. and state departments of culture. and histories of struggle] was facili.tated by a common fund of urban experiences.” Such organizational practices laid the groundwork for what would later become the “political openings” during the so-called “transition” to representative democracy during the mid-1980s (Alvarez 1990. The result is that there exists a latent expectation that hip hoppers are conversant with perti. To a significant extent. I investigate these in greater detail in Chapters 4 and 5 with regard to negritude and gender. it is important to note that Brazilian hip hop consciência is an uneven phe. Urbana-Champaign. It was there in August 1995 where I met members of the Posse Hausa. all of whom could go there wherever and be able to say that they were from the Posse Hausa. This causes a host of internal contradictions. Social Anthropologist “Ideologies of Marginalitiy in Brazilian Hip Hop” Palgrave Macmillan ltd. violent act of racial prejudice directed at a black taxi driver. styles. hip hop organizations perceived the MNU as an important organization with which they could “traffic information. o sistema. active leaders. University of Illinois. the PT (Labor Party). education. Austin.Whitey on the Moon SNFI 2011 Camp Tournament Neg Arg Group “social invisibility” that shrouds Brazilian cities. 111–12) related to a flattening of historicity and an increasing proclivity to view culture as disspos. and the latter refers to the formation of the contemporary periferia. Hip hoppers’ contact with consciousness discourses and social activists exposed them to a number of social issues concerning class but also race.” (I discuss this research entrée in more detail in Chapter 4.tacts came through attending an MNU meeting in São Bernardo do Campo with a sociology graduate student from USP (University of São Paulo). While MNU representatives saw the emergent hip hop culture as an important channel into youth communities of African descent.). they would have an identity” (pers.D. and a stock of religious experiences defined by them both. in fact. Ph. the mili. while promoting capital accumulation. In 1978. University of Texas. a legacy of Africanisms.A. In fact. hip hoppers organize themselves in groups called posses and invest time in developing consciência. In fact.S. The dissemination of the struggles and victories of civil rights partici. University of Texas. Social Anthropologist “Ideologies of Marginalitiy in Brazilian Hip Hop” Palgrave Macmillan ltd. and health. resulted in expanding the structural base of the opposition to the government.nent debates.tion in the United States. more specifically. in the case of Brazilian hip hoppers.pants in the United States inspired periferia residents to make such connections between personal expression and group organization in the hope for social change.trial periphery city of São Bernardo do Campo. and prominent social institutions includ. blackness. which dictates a responsibility to know styles and skills primarily and politics and social context secondarily. comm.ditions of existence.nomenon and one skewed by limited interests. “The intention was to bring together more people.D. the MNU established significant partnerships with various posses throughout the São Paulo area.pers explicitly associate “consciousness” vis-à-vis a recognition of the system to identity formation. University of Massachusetts. Derek Pardue 2009 B. the rappers. ethnicity. in addition to the second wave of Brazilian urbanization.S. this is true as hip hoppers work closely with the MNU (United Black Movement). M.tary dictatorship employed a development model that. University of Illinois.M. was at it highest point of national and international exposure. although in organizational demise.tion before as part of the overall working-class process to develop an “oppositional consciousness. if at all.tinguishes Brazil from the general characterization of U.M. Austin.A. University of Massachusetts. this dimension of hip hop responsibility dis. Again. as well as by the memory of slavery. greatly influenced hip hoppers’ consciousness. The two forces of U. Urbana-Champaign. Brazilian hip hop’s ideologies of self-worth and “attitude” involve becoming conscious of race and. PV (Green Party). by the effect of similar but by no means identical forms of racial segregation. Brazilian youth who are serious (sério) use hip hop to combat what Jose Limón in his description of young workers in south Texas called a “growing depthlessness” (1994. Nino Brown states. Dislocated from their original con. respectively.able. the MNU (Unified Black Move. Derek Pardue 2009 B. The consciousness of Brazilian hip hop is derived from both the Civil Rights Movement and the Black Cultural Revolution in the United States and the Vargas dictatorship at home. Many hip hoppers refer to this period and their active extended family members a genera. Political scientist Sonia Alvarez explains that in Brazil. During the late 1980s and early 1990s. my first con. and ecology. feminism.
equipment. and in well-advertised public performances. University of Massachusetts. the work of formation is continuous. Social Anthropologist “Ideologies of Marginalitiy in Brazilian Hip Hop” Palgrave Macmillan ltd. organizing.ing the early ’90s. located on the southeast side of São Paulo municipality. Culture. and computer and Internet services are difficult but potentially manageable for the typical perife. The story of Rappin’ Hood. Gilberto Gil. more than others) influenced by “roots” reggae. In just thirteen years. University of Texas. as an “ethical” state. is well known by Brazilian hip hoppers. the two distinct projects being in fact the same: the subject is to be formed as one who consents to hegemony . Figures such as DJ Marquinhos. radio.rock. to participate actively in hip hop requires a certain material investment.tocopying services (e. but these products do not translate the full impact of Brazilian funk and soul. it is the prac. Again.” With that said.trators was part of the general competition among Brazilian cities. which nevertheless hip hoppers seek to unite through discursive pro. of course. or 0. and especially São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group underground. .” the term most widely used by popular media.g. funk. University of Massachusetts. . Artists such as Sandra Sá. they rather reside in sur. bus passes. Hip hop has become an vocalization of the Brazillian ethical state where culture is formed through a process of creating an “ethical disposition” Derek Pardue 2009 B. zines and flyers). which theoretically divides periferia communities.14 One can listen to the recordings of Trio Mocotó or Gerson King Combo. Heliópolis. Despite this gap.ria dweller and next to impossible for the typical favelado. The primary goal of “exchanging information” demands expenditure in the process of becoming “conscious. 21).tice. Urbana-Champaign. thus creating a nexus of what would later be recognized as an example of popular citizenship (Dagnino 1998. one of the founders of Posse Mente Zulu dur. Tony Tornado.M.” Purchasing recorded music. My approach to hip hop as an articulation of Brazilian citizenship is based on the assertion that “the state” in Brazil presently is best characterized.Similar to any other phenomenon of popular culture. contemporary Brazilian social commentary (some artists.A. and reflect. Amherst. in the late 1970s and early 1980s became an empowering site of what Gilroy describes as “a new metaphysics of blackness. Ph. according to a study conducted by Sebes (Secretary of Social Well-Being). Amherst. If not rented. young Brazilians such as Beto. alternative. Tim Maia. University of Illinois. as these new sounds.tion and sociocultural activity through their work in posses and other organizations. In fact. The residents do not own the land.A. and Banda Black Rio.8 The forementioned claim by São Paulo adminis.75 percent of the urban population. most performing hip hoppers do not live in favelas.. The function of the ethical state is “to form citizens and to gain consent. and Marcão (older colleagues of Nino Brown I met in 1997 at a cultural center in São Bernardo do Campo) practiced networking. a similar study conducted by Sempla (Municipal Secretary of Planning) reported over one mil. Brazilian hip hop discursively unites the favelas with higher class neighborhoods Derek Pardue 2009 B. Zulu King Nino Brown. Urbana-Champaign.tively a youth movement. M. Since 2000 he has been one of the most visible hip hoppers in Brazil appearing constantly on tele. and accrue positive hip hop value. He is from one of the largest favelas in Latin America. then the occupation is part of an “invasion. the complexities of production. In Rio. then. Social Anthropologist “Ideologies of Marginalitiy in Brazilian Hip Hop” Palgrave Macmillan ltd. following Gramscian scholars. internationalized Brazilian negritude by creating a hybridity of “traditional” Africanity.2). Austin. and narratives attracted a new generation of Brazilians looking for alternatives to “roots” samba. 83) Urban Brazil. researchers reported a mere 163 favelas in São Paulo with 8. hip hoppers explicitly include the favela as an originary point of narra. University of Illinois. paint supplies.tagonists such as the “marginal” and rhetorical tropes such as violence and crime in order to establish a new and different “system.9 Favelas are spaces of drastic socioeconomic measures. pho. does not manifest itself only as artifacts of aesthetic production or “objects of 58 . although they usually own the house. Ph. Tito. and globalized black pop of James Brown and oth. University of Texas.200 favelas.” The emergence of the Black Rio Movement in Rio de Janeiro and Brazilian funk and soul in both cities was more than compelling post-tropicalia grooves. M. Even in 1971. clothes. taking place not only through pedagogy but through the work of intellectuals in all the spheres of civil society” (Lloyd and Thomas 1998.552 shacks (barracos) and 41. The term favela almost exclusively refers to city spaces rented to squatters. develop their abilities to articulate (trocar uma idéia).tecture featuring houses (casas) over shacks or shanties (barracos).100 residents.lion favelados (shantytown residents) distributed in 1. public spaces constituted around an expressive culture that was dominated by music. and distribution at all levels that brings one closer to the meaning. images. some hip hoppers certainly do live in favelas and over time accumulate information material. especially between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. São Paulo city administrators and spokesmen during the first half of the twentieth century boasted that their city was the great Brazilian metropolis without favelas (see Figure 3. the favela has been part of the landscape for approximately a century. Austin. such as the November 20 celebration of Black Pride. The point is that the periferia is a heterogeneous space.rounding neighborhoods characterized by more conventional archi.ers.vision.D. This “new metaphysics of blackness” in urban Brazil was distinc.D. peruse the extraterrestrial lyrics of Tim Maia’s Racional album. (Gilroy 1993. and hip hop. Pardue 2008). consumption.ing beyond artistic and social dimensions. soul. and Nelsão Triunfo became transitional agents of “information” and helped provide coherence among Brazilian samba.M. In the case of funk and soul.
While certainly true. in fact. I became. because it highlights participatory citizenship and potentially the weakening of government authority and thus complicates state hegemony. it was investigation. hip hoppers are able to understand the stories of the objectification black bodies as more than a story of comparison against whiteness. MNU meetings and hip-hop activity demonstrate in different ways how race has become salient as a strategy in political organizing.” but used to refer to very dark skin color) make more sense than oppositional and socially loaded terms like “black” and “white. Since color is above all a “mark. because citizenship is not only an individual practice but also one of association. M. the situation is more complex. University of Texas. Derek Pardue 2009 B. M.”10 Brazilian Hip-Hop inspires marginalized youth to reconnect with the discourses of race and education. Brazilians. racist itself. Early studies of blackness as part of the Brazilian nation proposed that the state and citizenry have a great “debt” to Africans and Afro-Brazilian culture.A. University of Illinois. are accepted only as marks of Brazilianness. 59 . Amherst.”8 Stories can be defining moments as we reflect on experience. Urbana-Champaign. I felt my race as an unshakable fact. For the first time in Brazil.D. rarely describe other Brazilians of color as “black” per se. and even azul (literally “blue. M.M. Austin. but not as persons” (Guimarães 1999. Hip hoppers not only know this but also depend on it as their raison d’être.M.ulary terms to depict persons. Against the diverse racial background of Brazilian culture. It was held up for inspection and judgment. Urbana-Champaign.A. Like a lab experiment.17 Within such a frame of theory and practice. University of Texas. “blacks.9 In other words.16 Yet. Social Anthropologist “Ideologies of Marginalitiy in Brazilian Hip Hop” Palgrave Macmillan ltd. the combination of citizenship and hegemony theoretically resolves the historical problem of political democracy and social inclusion within a system of hierarchy. which articulates to the representational structures of the modern state (17). This is not a story of comparison. University of Texas. University of Massachusetts. Ph. How could one compare a moment of whiteness to a “fact of blackness” (again from Fanon)? Rather.Whitey on the Moon SNFI 2011 Camp Tournament Neg Arg Group knowledge” but rather as a process of “forming an ethical disposition” (7). Social Anthropologist “Ideologies of Marginalitiy in Brazilian Hip Hop” Palgrave Macmillan ltd. as well as indians.” terms such as escurinho (“little darky”). University of Illinois. Social Anthropologist “Ideologies of Marginalitiy in Brazilian Hip Hop” Palgrave Macmillan ltd. University of Massachusetts. as Maggie and Rezende (2002) concluded. 109). Amherst. Most Brazilians consider a claim of blackness beyond a notion of African cultural retentions to be anti-Brazilian and. utilize a range of focal yet often ambiguous vocab. Urbana-Champaign. It is for this reason that.D. Those AfroBrazilians who feel race as a fact to be argued and recast struggle against the mythological ideal that race as such tends to pass into the background as part of a unique chameleon society. The curiosity among a few Posse Hausa members of a white gringo wandering into their social network complemented the example of “whiteness” I provided to many of the MNU activists. as Fanon once described. The associative factor is important.A. this is a story of how persons make race work in the construction of new subjectivities and how race works on personhood as a structural force that “seal[s] [one] into that crushing objecthood. an “object in the midst of other objects” (1967. Ph. Ph. Race competes with class and gender for center stage in Brazilian popular solidarity movements. Austin. In essence. 27). University of Massachusetts. independent of racial identification. café com leite (“coffee with milk”).M. Amherst. a temporary moment of Brazilians consider the concept of blackness beyond African culture anti-Brazilian and racist and view it as a mark of Brazilian-ness Derek Pardue 2009 B. I would get over it. It would pass. and instead. Austin. University of Illinois. policy makers and scholars tended to reify blackness as a “mark” of nation—a fixed point of historic atrocity now corrected through national inclusion. Derek Pardue 2009 B. hip hop as an integral part of contemporary socialization in (sub)urban Brazil becomes potentially part of producing “normal” states through everyday fields of popular activity and imagination (Hansen and Stepputat 2001).D.
you see that’s what hip hop is about. University of Massachusetts. Urbana-Champaign. including the Casa da Cultura de Hip Hop.A. under the category of “cultural point.tions to such a characterization.”1 As kids become excited about hip hop.D. “gang- the explicit depiction of women as trading material between periferia men is rare in Brazilian hip hop.Derek Pardue 2009 B. “Whenever the subject is violent crime where outlaws are in charge. While other hip hoppers had implied such connections. But to do that.stand how to organize and who have developed the essential skills of expressing (returning for a moment to the opening section of this text) identity. Hip hop matters because it is one of the strongest discourses and practices of contemporary citizenship. group SP Funk recorded per. if not criticize the crass materialism of U. the very naming of a hip hop group becomes a space to denounce the “system” using the discourse of oppositional violence. They are not the bosses. fans. That is what attitude is about. Austin. excep. but it just doesn’t stick (não cola).Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group Hip hop matters.” rapper (MC) Jef. Blackness is the main influence in the creation of machismo in Brazilian Hip-Hop culture. While such “ghetto reality” receives steady airtime in U. for example. 109).istry of Culture under Gilberto Gil have subsidized a number of hip hop organizations.2 While a significant part of Brazilian society continues to write off hip hop as gringo imitation and simplistic anti-art. Austin. . And you beat on your chest (bater no peito). University of Massachusetts. in which they actually rap about “bitches. hip hop style.able community of practitioners.A.M. Brazilian Hip-Hop opens up space to critique the negative capitalist and misogynist elements of American Hip-Hop. and they don’t defend their place in this business through the constant use of guns” (Zaluar 1999. . Alba Zaluar. because the bourgeoisie has become irritated that state agencies such as the Min. at least avoid such a position. In addition. Machismo is an ideology of empowerment.M. it is an extension of attitude. .type figure of masculinity and productive violence. hip hop.mally figure as possession (posse)12 in the homosociality of favela masculinity (112). there is an undeni.13 If women take up arms and pursue conquest. I don’t really like talking to them though. which refers to the anonymous place of femininity in everyday life from a hip hop perspective.S. Zaluar demonstrates the various roles women play in crime syndicates but ultimately concludes that women nor. the weekend club performances tend to play up this aspect live on stage. there are some women who have a gangsta attitude. and sympathizers who under. Derek Pardue 2009 B. how so? Sure. women are not the main protagonists.S.alistic perspectives of women.” a word left untranslated. How. it’s against the system (anti-sistema) It’s more than that. The gangsta is the man (o cara). It’s feeling the energy and aggression of being a gangsta in your chest (sentir no peito). I mean it could happen. We [in the periferia] need to start over again.alto on the east side of São Paulo. J: Yeah. which generates various types of violence (Soihet 1999). In other words. woman rapper Cris attests to a certain influence from U. 60 . “gangsta” rap on Brazilian rap club performances. they transgress into masculinity as part of a recognized practice of male rage and machista power. You understand? Can a woman be a gangsta? DP: DJ C: Sure. In our conversation about rap music. introduces an article regarding the division of labor in crime by stating. (Burning Periphery) somewhat randomly in a locally organized hip hop event held in Jardim Plan. M. such as the ubiquitous phrase “grab a little body” (agarrar um corpinho). The association of violence to perife. There are. is part of the recuperation of the marginal as protagonist and potentially a positive figure. of course. a leading social chronicler of favela ways of life in Rio de Janeiro. University of Illinois. because the one in place now in the periferia is not working. because it gives voice—a transparent tone of demand. and the concept of “gangsta. Its participants have developed ideologies and institutions that now have a hold on not only the collective imagination of the periferia but Brazil at large. Masculinist discourses evince themselves in rhetorically “softer” machismo. while machismo may be toned down on Brazilian rap recordings. the reinterpretation of violence as resistant or productive has traditionally been the domain of men in Brazil. Ph. M. Amherst. Amherst. but rather they elide the issue.S. Social Anthropologist “Ideologies of Marginalitiy in Brazilian Hip Hop” Palgrave Macmillan ltd. The sta” rap and general so-called “playa” (player) hip hop. especially for those who historically and systematically have been marginalized from empowering discourses. Jefferson and Canhoto were particularly direct:What is gangsta to you? What is cool about it? You understand. they begin to pay attention to issues such as race and education and formulate opinions about pressing issues such as racial “quotas” in Brazil’s higher institutions of learning. In general. Brazilian hip hop matters. There are some women in hip hop who I consider gangstas. I met two members of the group Periferia em Chamas As I have mentioned elsewhere. DP: What about the name of your group “Periferia em Chamas”? How do you see burning an act of productive violence? J: The name is posture. University of Texas. University of Texas. This is not to say that São Paulo hip hoppers offer much of a sustained counter narrative or critique of such materi. who uses violence to make a new system. In September of 2001. Brazilian hip hoppers feel obliged to. Do you think of yourselves as gangstas? If so.ferson and DJ Canhoto made it clear that the gangsta is the arche.ria narratives in rap music.ever. because attitude is about strength. you gotta eliminate the present system.haps the most imitative album in the history of Brazilian rap music.
10 In the United States. physicality. Perry 2005. its own power to produce effects” (Lancaster 1992.” Machismo is an ideology practiced by men and women in which gender is naturalized through moral discourses of labor division. the greatest importer of African slaves in the Americas. machismo is not epiphenomenal to basic sociality and social change (e.. In the United States. and thus not black women as simply victimized objects of hip hop discourse (Keyes 1991. Social Anthropologist “Ideologies of Marginalitiy in Brazilian Hip Hop” Palgrave Macmillan ltd. Amherst. In Brazil. University of Texas.. 236). hip hop scholars have historically constructed their analyses of gender through the perspective of black feminism. . Scholars have presented the articulation of blackness to femininity or masculinity as a “natural” development in the case of the United States. University of Massachusetts. a Brazilian or more generally a Latin American “thing. Moment 2. In Brazil such social structures of gender are widely considered nationally inclusive. there is a Latin American distinction that requires specific attention. in the unconventional sense.fore is never absent. As Roger Lancaster forcefully argues in his ethnography about everyday life in Nicaragua. namely machismo and patriarchy.ness in its local expressions.tique.lic statuses) in the Latin American setting that is of special interest” (1995.g. it is worth reiterating that the spirit of Afro-centricity in moment 2 is closely related to the notion of hip hop “consciousness” and “attitude” overall and there. hip hop. husband and father as actual domestic roles rather than as pub. that is. public presence. Urbana-Champaign. This moment from 1992 to 1996 marks a relatively high level of consciousness symbolized in more systematic involvement with MNU (United Black Movement) and other black political groups. a smaller cadre of authors has given serious critical reflection on black masculinity as a complex issue within U. 128). . In the case of Brazil. because there are other historical and systematic matrices of gender. Social Anthropologist “Ideologies of Marginalitiy in Brazilian Hip Hop” Palgrave Macmillan ltd. did not end.D. The second historical moment of hip hop development involves an expansion of the term “black” (left untranslated in Brazilian Portuguese) to include a greater and more descriptive level of social cri. emotion. and other marks of social value (Gilmore 1990). Ferguson 2001).M. This constitutes what I am calling moment 3.A. As mentioned above.g. University of Illinois.D. Brusco’s definition of masculinity associated with her work on Colombian evangelicalism addresses the issue of order: “Masculinity is viewed as a culturally constructed bundle of roles. Austin. Pough. 84). It has its own materiality. in this sense. It is more than an ‘effect’ produced by other material relations. based on the particular “cultural design” of U. Machismo is a discourse constructed to resolve one of the basic problems of society—the “problem of order” and distinction.S. informs contemporary understandings of both machismo and patriarchy. this articulation is not so commonsense. . Richardson. Rose 1994. The point is that negritude has been significantly dynamic throughout Brazilian hip hop.” Following Rivera. University of Illinois.tion to a more acute sensibility to diaspora and Pan-Africanism. in addi. which have been emphasized in a more explicit fashion as part of a general Latin American way of life. 61 . With that said. M. and it is the problematic nature of the social reproduction of male domestic roles (e. Machismo is “an organization of social relations that generates ideas. has evolved music as a whole. Brazilian Hip-Hop is informed by and indicative of blackness. Ph. and Raimist 2007). These authors have asked the question. the exercise of historical periodization is heuristic in intent.Whitey on the Moon SNFI 2011 Camp Tournament Neg Arg Group Ph. “Puerto Rican women are portrayed [in hip hop] as ghetto-tropical. understood broadly as a claim for black female subjectivity. blackness has been essential in the very creation and development of machismo. how do young black women use hip hop to advance a range of agendas? In addition. particularly black. Sandinista Revolution) but rather sets conditions for people’s lives. but rather the dynamic of Afrocentricity changed toward the end of the 1990s with the relative success of narratives of crime and violence as “reality” told by the “marginal” as a hip hop protagonist. Nevertheless. hooks 2003. lighter-skinned variations on black femininity” (2003. Of course race. Pough 2006. Derek Pardue 2009 B. Urbana-Champaign. hip hop (and mainstream society) configures machismo and popular patriarchy as “black” and more recently Latino “things. hip hop (Boyd 2002. AT: Hip Hop Bad The use of technology in African-American music.S. Durham.
Masters degree candidate at Bowling Green State University. though cyborgs undoubtedly offer the potential for transcending limitation of bodily gender roles. micro-chip implants. Author and Teacher of Tibetian Buddhism. To quote Ken McLeod Dery. machine mythology and concept technics which routes and reroutes and criss-crosses the Black Atlantic' (Eshun 1998.) Music is the conduit of communication in the black community. 'Cyborgs populate a cultural landscape in which the human body is increasingly the site of what might be called micropolitical power struggles between an information-rich. p. suggests alternatives to the many dualisms with which we regard our bodies (notably questions concerning gender. I propose that the same reimagining is happening in hip hop through the dispersal of southern flavored artistry. Author and Teacher of Tibetian Buddhism. journals.18 In this sense. then of course funky cyborgs would seem like an utter contradiction. to the Roland 808 drum machine . In opposition to logocentrism. and the oil drum bashed and buffed to create Trinidad steel sound. “Space Oddities: Aliens. similar to alien imagery.cambridge. “Space Oddities: Aliens.2003(Ken McLeod. then we can read hip-hop as the response of urban people of color to the postindustrial landscape.) and the influence of machines on the human body (genetic engineering. In this respect blackness can be invented and made over via sound and representation. cell phones. Thesis Submitted to the Graduate College of Bowling Green State University for a Master of the Arts Degree.. Alternately. the use of technology by African-American musicians can be read in much different terms. identity politics. published October 23 2003) In contrast. he attributes the film as a “cinematic riff on black science fiction.. technocratic elite and the information-poor masses' (Dery 1992. Indeed Samuel Delany propounds the notion that hip-hop constitutes 'a specific miss-use [sic] and conscientious desecration of the artifacts of technology'. unheard sounds that arise from this miss-use of technology is intimately connected to what Kodwo Eshun calls 'AfroDiasporic futurism'. Music serves as a medium for blackness to be represented and reconstituted. sexuality and reproduction). Herman S. 507)..org/article_S0261143003003222. the masculine coding of machine culture also suggests that they are also prime sites for reinscribing feminine and homosexual subjugation/marginalization. [an instrument] dumped by many musicians. pacemakers. television. a digital diaspora of 'computer rhythms. picked up secondhand by black producers in Chicago who turned its 'unmusical' sounds into the basis of house music' (Zuberi 2001.org/article_S0261143003003222. but if we understand the machine as a product of human creativity whose parameters are always suggesting what's beyond them. Following this theme the music acts as cultural artifacts that contain “clues to black lives whose meanings can only be decoded (and renarrated) by 62 .2003(Ken McLeod. to the Afrofuturist” (163). black cultural studies and black Atlantic soundings. hearing aids and prosthetics) is commonly personified in the halfhuman / half-machine cyborg concept (popularised by Star Trek's villainous 'Borg' characters). journals. This reconciliation in the African American community takes place in the music. blacks use music to change the future while simultaneously negotiating the past and positioning themselves in the present. Engaging in Gray’s critique of the film The Last Angel of History by John Akrumpha. 6). What connects the cultural productions of blackness and hip hop are the futuristic counter-narratives that move towards reconciliation of the past and the present. p.cambridge. August 2011. The exploration of original. 149). Cyborg imagery. Young 11 (Sade Marie Young. Gray attributes the “most inventive producers of this reimagination of blackness. published October 23 2003) If we take a kind of Frankfurt School/ fascist/ industrial regimentation/ lack of creativity as our model for the machine. Gray continues that “the only hope of metaphorical and discursive escape is to be found in renarrating and reimagining the story of black dispersal and movement” (163). as English pop music specialist Nabeel Zuberi observes: 'The machinations of hip-hop work belong to a continuum of black "misuses" of technology from the broken bottleneck applied to the blues guitar. Futurism and Meaning in Popular Music”.16 The fear/fascination with the increasing dependence of humans on machines (computers.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group Mcleod. Specifically. Futurism and Meaning in Popular Music”. etc. Such thinking also directly ties into the general sense of black alienation as described earlier in this essay The Creation of The Funky Cyborg Mcleod. and . p. The art of turntable 'scratching' also plays into the notion of an intentional miss-use of technology.. black people are likened to aliens stranded in strange lands” (163). Lil Wayne’s blurring of genre and adoption of an alien persona allows his music to adopt an Afrofuturist perspective that navigates through and around the traditional stereotypical undertones of black identity while creating a future space for this identity. “SOUTHERN-PLAYALISTIC-HIPHOP-SPACESHIP-MUSIC”.
and he purposely mispronounces words because as he’s claimed on numerous records “only God can understand [him]. but he and his accompanying bona fide rock band also put on a very convincing performance of the rock star to come. read and re-encoded” (64). Wayne uses his last verse to reiterate his uninhibited alien/other self declaration proclaiming “They don’t make ’em like me no more/Matter fact they never made ’em like me before/I’m rare like Mr. and blackness into various alternative projects that question hip hop tradition. the present state of hip hop culture led them to become detached from limiting hip hop tropes. Wayne is notorious for his rock star lifestyle of illicit drug use. spaces. myth. After a few lines about murder for hire. sex and violence themes. make you wanna throw yo’ food up. If Wayne’s dominance and unique style have not been established for the listener by now his last few lines augment the aforementioned. and ultimately. these efforts can be viewed as an attempt to transcend the racialized and stereotypical characteristics of hip hop artistry. and mythologizer to craft identities and to perform cultural politics…”(165).” This introduction lets us know that the artist and lyrics we are about to hear are like nothing we have encountered previously. scientist. and forms” (164). Wayne uses each verse in “Phone Home” as an alien identity marker. cultural criticism. He re-authenticates himself by being the active consumer or even creator of the image and positions himself vis-à-vis the product being sold (the presumably fake rapper). he must carve out a niche in popular music’s reservoir before consumers let him cross those (figurative) genre gates. By positioning certain southern rap artists as Afro-futurists. In an attempt to break the monotony of rap conventions.” (164). 3. Though rock and roll is historically derived from African American musical traditions. This is a time-honored tradition in hip hop. and science fiction. 2. the four different women with whom he fathered children. on the other hand. 1” The countdown marks the beginning of our impending space odyssey. it is currently deemed as (at least popularly) exclusively white. Wayne is able to displace his southern origin. Drawing from his current success. Showcasing his newly trained guitar skills on his last few albums.” According to these lyrics. 2010 release date may speak to the enforcement of the hegemonic structure within such music. Clean wit hair/ no brake lights on my car-eer. in this case musical genre conventions (382). he’s so superior in style that he could literally digest them. Befittingly. The South is known for its rhythm and blues music and due to the popularity of artists like Wayne.” It is here that Wayne recognizes that his autonomy is invaluable in the rap industry. Wayne inevitably released a complete rock album titled Rebirth. Thus. Afrofuturists “constitute themselves as a formation and movement engaging in shared cultural projects that cut across genres. get in my spaceship and hover. In “Phone Home. He not only sounds the part (with loud singing and minimal word pronunciation).” More recently. Lil Wayne’s sixth studio album The Carter III contains the track titled “Phone Home. Though Lil Wayne garnered much success throughout his career. fast cars and loose women (evident by his multiple arrests. Wayne debuted the video for his first rock single.” This is the part where Wayne can become Weezy and just boast and brag about his skills. in which a alien is left behind on earth and attempts to contact his home planet in hopes of returning. rock seemed like the most natural progression for Wayne. and authenticate it with a fictional outer space and expand his profit margin through persona building. but he had yet to try to cross into the genre itself.Whitey on the Moon SNFI 2011 Camp Tournament Neg Arg Group Afro-futurists who traffic in sound. the lyrics could translate to meaning: that by establishing an alien persona.” Once again Wayne turns into Weezy and puffs out his chest in pure rap supremacy. southern hip hop has gained notoriety. Wayne’s metaphors are poetic and eerie yet they have a tendency to elicit imagery that enhances his narrative. he exclaims. and recognizes the commodity fetishism of the rap industry and “buys” into its ideology. southern authenticity. The title is significant because it insinuates that Lil Wayne “the rapper” has died and that he will be born again as a rock star. This imagery of denouncing the old and transcending to higher planes is reminiscent of other southern artists who have taken a different approach musically such as Andre 3000. they re-encode hip hop. Weezy F. Wayne’s new fascination is rock music. translator. Lil Wayne cast his gaze in to the future through genre expansion. Wayne feels that he is not even on the same planet as “other” rappers. Through this song. Wayne’s artistry cannot rest on the laurels of his hip hop fame. The fact that his album was “pushed back” four times before its actual February 2. “eat them 63 . scenes. Wayne’s current musical projects work hard to eliminate the genre restraints of hip hop completely. data thief.4. The rest of the song is a verbal barrage of metaphors that Wayne uses as an opportunity to authenticate himself as alien. they have developed contempt for the music industry.” Lil Wayne begins by chanting “We are not the same I am a Martian. The second verse begins “We are not the same I am an alien” and mid-verse he raps “Flow so sick. cast his gaze futuristically by medium expansion. “Phone Home” ends with the lines “ …So I’m polar/and they can’t get on my system cause my system is the solar/ I am so far from the othars.” The “phone home” title is a nod to the popular 1982 film ET: The Extra Terrestrial. who (unbeknownst to them) actively engage in post human/ post black futuristic play we can then begin to reconcile their disdain with the industry and their zest to expand the hip hop genre. “Prom Queen” which displays him in full rock and roll persona mode. dabbling in rock and pop genres but situates his past and present as a balance between the drugs. Martian and most importantly above par when compared to other rappers. While Andre 3000. a character without precedence he will in turn have fruitfulness and longevity in his career. he ends the verse declaring “hip hop is my supermarket/shoppin’ cart full of fake hip-hop artists. he was not content with his self-proclaimed title of “best rapper alive. It is as if rappers themselves acknowledge the constraints of the rap industry and see not genre expansion but actual separation from the hip hop genre itself as the only way to achieve the astronomical success that they seek. In the case of Wayne and Andre. In the first verse. He raps as if he does not have to adhere to the demands of the English language (because he’s a Martian). for one to showboat or brag about his rhyming capabilities. as well as adopting a more pop infused sound. He has worked to expand his brand through film. costumes and clothing lines. It is important to examine music because “black soundings function for Afro-futurists as perhaps the quintessential body of evidence that can be accessed. narrative. Gray argues that it is characteristic of the Afro-futurist to “draw on images like alien. Baby is Wayne’s pseudonym that he usually uses when he’s in lyrical rap battle mode. Consequently.” The chant is followed by a woman’s robotic voice welcoming the listener and preparing them for their galactic journey stating: “Greetings from Planet Weezy/ We will begin transmission in/ 5. “We are not the same /I am a Martian. and his admitted drug addiction). I mean others/I can eat them for supper. Playing the dual role of hip hop artist and rock star requires an application of “double consciousness” which Bunten (2008) describes as “implicit in the representation of ethnic identity within in the [typical] hegemonic encounter” of. In efforts to express themselves.” This is where Wayne is self-reflexive. but a southern rapper performing rock music has largely been uncharted territory.
he is in outer space on a different level than other hip hop earthlings. His second single titled Ground Zero is a hodgepodge collection of biblical. with many of the tracks ranging from love and love lost to illustrations of his extraterrestrial self. The intoxicating high is established during the first few lines. The “million miles from home” and “ground is gone” statements lead us to believe that Wayne has left Earth. drugs. Wayne’s eclectic persona exudes over into his Rebirth album as well.” (339) This sense of self-alienation can be attributed to Wayne’s willingness to transform. This space-themed song and Wayne’s rock influenced album have taken a departure from the urban hip hop norm and even the southern norms as he channels his artistic side. sex or violence. The aforementioned song is a far cry from the formulaic mainstream rap lyrics that focus on degrading women. Lil Wayne has been able to navigate though and around traditional performance tropes due to his self-proclaimed Otherness.Whitey on the Moon SNFI 2011 Camp Tournament Neg Arg Group up” stylistically and continue about his business. Though Wayne is new to the rock genre.” This opening line sets the tone of superiority for the rest of the song. he asks “and how can I pray when I got nothing to kneel on. in which he sells and promotes himself under this new image. one that is common to all the disenfranchised groups. The first verse ends with “I started on the block but that something to build on” Once again Wayne makes note of his humble beginnings. who has come to save/change things up a bit. but the rest of the imagery builds on Wayne’s already established celestial state of being. The song starts “Back the hell off /Rock n roll Jesus with all my nails on /all I need is a blunt and a bail bond.” Before the listener can decipher why he has nothing to place his knees on. Consequently his alienation from his original southern self can either expand his fan base or create distance between his established followers and his new creative turn. 64 . we can decipher that he believes he is the messiah. spending money. coming from the “block” but adds that that was just in preparation for his new status. He balances the biblical reference with the hard-edged drugs (blunt) and bad boy (bail bond) descriptions. Continuing the religious scheme. the chorus responds with: Hey The ground is gone don’t look now but the ground is gone I’m so high that the ground is gone and I don’t even know which crowd I’m on don’t look down but the ground is gone don’t look down cause the ground is gone right now I’m a million miles from home and I’m so high that the ground is gone The chorus gives us the double entendre of being high (intoxicated) and high (elevated) in the sky. popular culture and science fiction metaphors. McLeod (2003) states that “the adoption and embodiment of alien and/or futuristic personas represents one of the most powerful of such articulations. Wayne uses his Martian alter ego as a process of “transforming identity into a commodity” (Bunten 385).
Andre’s eclecticism shines most brightly in the song and accompanying video on the seventh track of his album titled Prototype. Andre expressed his growing dissatisfaction with hip hop stating “Hip-hop don’t have no fresh energy. none at all. that dudes try to cover up with machismo” (as quoted in Petridis). one must use the words sung to create a new identity in which authenticity can be established. which was released five years after Love Below. Andre’s style and his singing voice are categorically not human. and earned the group two Grammy’s. The track has a funk-laden sound. Weheliye describes how Barrett “distinguishes the singing voice from the signing voice of Euro-American alphabetical literacy” and how Barrett argues that the black singing voice “provides a primary means by which African Americans may exchange an expended. Du Bois’ concept of double consciousness. Andre was often quoted that he was beginning to become bored with hip hop. he began to see a time when he would outgrow the music. Focusing on Andre’s first solo effort. hip hop artists must navigate the duality of being authentic (being true to yourself) and marketable (doing what’s expected to sell). it is still rare or “alien” to hear an entire album of singing and pining over love or a love lost. The Afrofuturistic gaze provides a space for black art to be viewed and negotiated outside of the stereotypical lens 65 . or split their identities to subvert the often conflicting standards of authenticity and marketability” (Hess 298). recognized self. much like the rock album by Lil Wayne.E. whiteness. and the images are furthered in the aesthetics of the song’s music video. Reframing W. we have yet to see a rap artist open himself up emotionally and become so vulnerable on “wax. The video depicts a family of white-haired. Lindon Barrett in Blackness and Value: Seeing Double contrasts the value of the black voice with lack of value ascribed to blackness in American mainstream culture (Weheliye 27). Masters degree candidate. recognized self. Traditionally hip hop artists authenticate themselves through their words. He even talked of enrolling in Juilliard to study music formally (Sarig 187). Andre still wanted out. Although the album sold over five million copies. Andre uses his singing voice to capitalize on his commodified persona. It’s money driven. The song ends with Andre giving credit to the woman. Andre professes that all his hope and humanity was restored upon this meeting and even if they were to part now. The commodified persona acts as resistance as “rap artists confuse. will demonstrate how Andre turns to Afrofuturism (self-consciously) in efforts to break conventional hip hop codes and express his creativity. August 2011. everybody tryin’ to make tha cheque. select artists have carved alternative paths. he could not be “mad at God” because they “met today for a reason. Thesis Submitted to the Graduate College of Bowling Green State University for a Master of the Arts Degree. With the exception of Kanye West’s 808 and Heartbreaks. If the art of rapping is replaced with singing. Even though Andre is a rap artist. where the singing voice metonymically enacts blackness. and subhumanity” (Weheliye 28). and excessive money were the norm for hip hop videos. embodiment. valueless self in the New World for a productive. and disembodiment. loosely chronicling the fictional tale of a young man’s adventures of love.” In terms of Afro-Futuristic post-human-ness.” The performance of black masculinity in hip hop draws upon the idea of “doubleness. Although gyrating women.” Afrofuturists are involved in the global project of identifying and breaking codes that bar access to freedom from old narratives and debilitating discourses of black identity (165). and his love for her for “picking [him] up. and keeping it real” (Hess 302). they are cyborg or alien and serve as extensions of Andre’s “otherness” because of his use of auto-tune. Andre says he chose the title Love Below to describe “that bubbling under feeling that people don’t like to talk about. In an interview with the United Kingdom’s The Guardian. “Feeling uninspired and limited by hip hop. selling out.Andre uses the tale of self as extraterrestrial.” These last lines suggest that he had given up on his earthly existence until he met this woman. “Prototype” is a song about finding love and celebrating female adoration.B.” Gray adds that “to describe black people and their cultural practices these code breakers use epic tales and tropes of aliens.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group Andre 3000’s use of singing and abandonment of the dirty south persona is able to subvert stereotypical representations of the black body via an Afrofuturist gaze that allows blackness to take on a new productive. The Love Below is a romantic tour de force.” Upon their arrival they “experience the rarest of all human emotions…Love.” again positioning the artist’s construction of self with the authenticity of hip hop. Young 11 (Sade Marie Young. The verses are simple and serene as he croons about falling in love “again” with a woman who he feels may be his perfect match or at least the “prototype” of such. “SOUTHERN-PLAYALISTICHIPHOP-SPACESHIP-MUSIC”. fast cars. Through there are conscious rappers and records of substance being produced in mainstream hip hop. the “signing voice signals full humanity. nobody putting art in their albums anymore. the album consists primarily of singing and musical instrumentation.) After the release of Outkast’s third album Stankonia. As quoted in Weheliye’s “’Feenin’ Posthuman Voices in Contemporary Black Popular Music” essay. and dwellers whose aural soundtracks and imaginative visions are supplied by figures…” (165). A whole album dedicated to love is a conscious sidestep from the commercialized rap albums of gritty street tales and sex. The Love Below. with burgeoning bass and electric guitar riffs. travelers. The aforementioned video speaks to the different perspectives that black artists have been able to achieve through their artistry.” The rest of the video depicts the fairy tale encounter of love as described in the lyrics and ends with Andre turning into a human and staying on earth with his newfound love and their alien baby. This was also the era in which “rap’s mainstream marketability… prompted a widespread lyrical shift from claims of performer skills to concerns of crossing over. This subversion positions his music as the antithesis to the Enlightenment view of blackness and allows Andre to develop a discourse of self-objectivity that rejects the tenets that sustain racism. and bringing [him] back to this world. The narrator claims that the group has traveled “3000 light years from their home planet Prota. and serve as the “antithesis to the Enlightenment subject by virtue of not only having a body but by being the body” (Weheliye 28) thus revealing the power of his self-objectivity. multi-racial. aliens wearing long white gowns.
Whitey on the Moon SNFI 2011 Camp Tournament Neg Arg Group of negative representations. As a result of their success. and perform. sound. That is too narrow a measure for the brilliance and variety of black art and cultural imagination (414). A suffocating standard of "legitimate" art is thus produced by the limited public availability of complex black art. He argues that: This situation makes it difficult for blacks to affirm the value of nontraditional or transgressive artistic expressions. Instead of viewing such cultural products through critical eyes-seeing the good and the bad. the productive and destructive aspects of such art—many blacks tend to simply dismiss such work with hypercritical disdain. Michael Eric Dyson finds the weight of this representation problematic. or it is seen as bad because it reinforces negative perceptions of black culture. Either art is seen as redemptive because it uplifts black culture and shatters stereotypical thinking about blacks. Lil Wayne and Andre have become models to which popular culture can point to show how a black male rap artist should look. Wayne and Andre have had to battle this dichotomy of love and repulsion and pave distinct ways in which to express themselves and represent the southern hip hop culture authentically 66 .
At: Electronic music bad All in All being an Alien has brought unity and community to us. offer a prophetic glimpse into an imagined future (Nuttall 1968). “Sun Ra. Themes of alien embodiment and futuristic landscapes are commonly used in literary and musical expressions by subaltern groups. To be different. Masters degree candidate. That such diversity of the use of space and alien images exists. Thus.cambridge. Andre and Wayne’s use of these elements mixes the ideal blend of using the master’s tools to bring down the master’s house while still subverting the principles behind them. alternative ideals and states of being. Lee Perry and George Clinton all call upon similar tropes and metaphors of space and alienation that link their common diasporic African history to a notion of extraterrestriality” (McLeod 344). Although their efforts were revolutionary their adventures did deal with the same sense of resistance to commercial conformity as current artists face. Attali here recognises that sound technologies facilitate liminal. Perry. insofar as it resurrects the common other in all of us. “SOUTHERN-PLAYALISTICHIPHOP-SPACESHIP-MUSIC”. These works lead towards a reappropriation of what blackness and the performance of otherness looks and sounds like. commodification. published October 23 2003) In a sense. rock. subverting the often racist and heterosexist values of these genres themselves. In a similar fashion. ever on the lookout for clues and resources that point the way out of alien nations and conditions of bondage” (Gray 166).Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group The use of alien and futuristic metaphors in an Afrofuturist context allows us to resurrect the common other within all of us and unexoticize the black body within the public sphere. is a significant and familiar cultural metaphor marking the boundaries of social identity. however. It often represents a neo-Gnostic withdrawal from the world and its institutions 67 . this thesis is in no way suggesting that the futuristic themes and sounds of hip hop are inherently new to hip hop or innovative. imaginary identities . Focusing on hip hop as a stage to explore Afrocentric identity and space encourages us to ponder whether or not it is “logical to expect a culture that has been placed on the margin of society’s concern to employ the same language (pedestrian speech patterns or performance) used by those responsible for such marginalization. Thesis Submitted to the Graduate College of Bowling Green State University for a Master of the Arts Degree. In the hip hop tradition. Mcleod. dance and hip-hop music's use of futuristic space and alien themes denotes a related alienation from traditionally dominant cultural structures. (Sade Marie Young.org/article_S0261143003003222.this is in opposition to visual technologies which objectify and often statically fix images of alienation and alterity. It is necessary to use those tools (capitalism. This paper serves as an additional lens through which to view post-human representations in Afro-Futuristic thought and their connections to hip hop artistry. one can use these tools coupled with creativity to profit from the profitless situation of the ghetto. pop. appears symptomatic of a general alienation from late-twentiethcentury life and of an increasing need to strive for higher.) Young 11 To clarify. These alien and futuristic metaphors are essential to the promulgation of Afro-Futurist teaching. August 2011. what Jeff Nuttall has labeled Bomb Culture. For Wayne and Andre to step into a new frontier and phone home to a planet that their minds have metaphorically left is shrewd and entertaining. thereby reinforcing the very practice that [repressed] them” (Wilkins 2000). the futuristic concerns with social decay and nuclear destruction that obsess many artists (such as Klaus Nomi's Total Eclipse). 1980s and 1990s patterned themselves after Sun Ra and used space-themed sounds and futuristic beats. it is clear that space. journals. Afrika Bambaataa and Grandmaster Flash employed space imagery and sound. Whatever the ultimate rationale. one that can be used to reconfigure the post Atlantic black experience and help to unexoticize the black body.2003(Ken McLeod. Clinton and many other musicians of the 1970s. Indeed. “Afrofuturists claim that blacks scattered across the Atlantic world are aliens in an alien land. “Space Oddities: Aliens. Using and constructing new identities for their posthuman bodies has proven the “potential for black wealth and power” (McLeod 344) that George Clinton’s lyrics have long prophesied. pop cultural theorist Andrew Blake refers to this phenomenon as 'prophetic noise' (Blake 1999). Author and Teacher of Tibetian Buddhism. de-humanization) to counter societies’ hegemonic structure. futurism and alien images permeate popular music history and its many stylistic manifestations. In general. Futurism and Meaning in Popular Music”. or alien. They were neither from the South nor dealing within the realms of neo-liberalism and the commodified trappings of popular hip hop tropes.
rave is 'those altered moments when each of us in being truest to our uniqueness enters into a harmonious whole. published October 23 2003) While less well known than Bowie. 736). flashing lights and. futuristic images of aliens and outer space 354 Ken McLeod unite us with a common 'other' that transcends divisions of race. with its idealistic emphasis on creating a temporary classless. The term refers to African-American signification that appropriates images of advanced technology and alien and/or prosthetically enhanced (cyborg) futures.2003(Ken McLeod. from one's self. Such a state of idealistic non-differentiation closely mirrors Victor Turner's notion of communitas: 'an undifferentiated community or even communion of equal individuals'. as discussed earlier in this essay. The openness to the democratic pluralistic possibilities of the future may remain popular music's most lasting legacy. acceptance and the community of the dance floor.org/article_S0261143003003222. 208). Afro-futurism is found in a variety of artistic genres including the science fiction writings of authors such as Steve Barnes. “Space Oddities: Aliens. the sensory overload of the repetitive beats. Black diasporic consciousness seeks to return to an inaccessible homeland . raceless and genderless society on the dance floor. sexual preference. Samuel R.Whitey on the Moon SNFI 2011 Camp Tournament Neg Arg Group an artificial escape from social reality.in some sense. journals. sociologist Paul Gilroy discusses Black diaspora in terms of a history of dispersed peoples. the influence of various drugs combine to produce a hyperstimulated experience that helped facilitate a communal integration with the alien Other. genderless traveller from another world who transcends the socio-cultural baggage of Earth. and into a utopian future. Likewise. “Space Oddities: Aliens.cambridge. unity. rave participants often talk of harmony. Rave culture. In an era of increasing self-alienation and suspicion of government and religion. 'African-Americans are. Delany and Charles Saunders. has their use been more prevalent than in the burgeoning techno-electronic dance music scene. loud volume levels. Mcleod. Futurism and Meaning in Popular Music”. p. such as Egyptian theories of the afterlife. ecstatic dancing.22 Though commercially successful DJs. AT: Cap K 68 . found alien images to be a powerful symbol of that ideal.org/article_S0261143003003222. of course. Similarly. Therefore.. one of the most vibrant and pervasive displays of extraterrestrial themes in contemporary popular music occurs within the realm of what cultural critic Mark Dery has termed 'Afrofuturism' (Dery 1993. but also of the space that results from this dispersal . Fuelled by the feel-good warmth of Ecstasy. from commitment. As Mark Dery observes. In the words of rave author Cinnamon Twist. gender. Music Evolution and Space exploration created Afrofuturism Mcleod. Such Afro-futuristic art is typically concerned with black nationalism and empowerment and the creation of mythologies based on the confrontation between historical prophetic imagination. a trend particularly manifest in the fragmented popular music scene of the past decade. published October 23 2003) While the use of space and alien themes was common in 1990s alternative rock. journals.a faceless. p. if not outright salvation. p. Rock and popular music traditionally stress individuality (often in the guise of 'authenticity') to the point of virtually worshipping alienation. an imaginary utopian homeland that outer space metaphorically represents. such as the Chemical Brothers. Usually benevolently portrayed. and modern alienated black existence.2003(Ken McLeod. 736). the identity that ravers appear most often to identify with is that Space oddities 351 of a space alien . nowhere. new music culture is increasingly looking to outer space for inspiration. institutions seemingly incapable of solving earth's problems. a synthetic drug first therapeutically prescribed by psychiatrists to enhance intimacy and communication. Author and Teacher of Tibetian Buddhism..'a utopian eruption of space into the linear temporal order of modern black politics' (Gilroy 1993. p. Fatboy Slim and Moby are subverting much of the anti-elitist faceless ideology of early rave. in a very real sense. Octavia Butler. religion or nationality. The Use of Aliens in Rave culture created a Genderless and raceless harmony between people. 198). the descendents of alien abductees' (Dery 1993.cambridge. Futurism and Meaning in Popular Music”. films such as John Sayles' The Brother from Another Planet and in the android creations of New York graffiti artist/theoretician Rammellzee. Author and Teacher of Tibetian Buddhism. perhaps. Our Motto: Utopia or bust' (Twist 1995.
Poor whites. Racism is an integral feature of American society. the yearning for a true black homeland. "[e]ven those herculean efforts we hail as successful will produce no more than temporary 'peaks of progress. Bell provides several explanations for the persistence of racism.”) The "faces" in the title of Professor Derrick Bell's new book are those of poor African Americans [are] stranded at the bottom of society's well. At: Perm The affirmative cannot just add black culture to the affirmative and stir which is functionally their permutation argument – you must engage the racial characterization of humanity from the start Eshun 92 (Kodwo Eshun MA in Arts. Some of Bell's stories come from his own pen and some from the mystical intervention of his muse Geneva Crenshaw. alienation and estrangement. the belief in freedom symbols by African Americans. the need for involvement in protests. in Greg Tate’s formulation. “BOOK NOTE: AND WE WILL NOT BE SAVED. believes in "the use of literary models as a more helpful vehicle than legal precedent in a continuing quest for new directions in our struggle for racial justice" (p. well-known as a creative legal writer. n3Faces contains a melange of literary styles -. and indestructible component of this society" (p. 13). instead of acknowledging the similarity of their position with that of blacks. Whites provide blacks "little protection against one or another form of racial discrimination unless granting blacks a measure of relief will serve some interest of importance to whites" (p. These methods are only baby steps towards the more totalizing realization that. Black existence and science fiction are one and the same. Professor Bell. [its] lyrics unseemly" (p. Course Leader of Arts at Goldsmiths College . Although powerful and persuasive. whites derive self-esteem from peering down on them. allegory. the rejection of testimony about racial issues when made by blacks (p. by keeping African Americans in their lowly position.As a result of the disconnect between the whites and blacks in the lower class.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group Movements to disrupt capitalism fail to solve racism . 1993. the book is interesting as much for its unique style as for its controversial arguments. permanent. Bell explores several themes: the frustration of relying on the law to bring about an end to racism. ix). dislocating societies and 69 . who stand only slightly higher. and.5). are "easily detoured into protecting their sense of entitlement vis-a-vis blacks for all things of value" (p. ix). This stark image that begins Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism is only the first of many suggesting that "racism is an integral.The substance of Bell's argument is as straightforward as it is bleak: "[I]t is time to 'get real' about race and the persistence of racism in America" (p. poor whites. Nor is it a simple matter of inserting more black actors into science-fiction narratives. The stories are peopled with a variety of characters. Through these stories and the dialogues [*1359] between Bell and Crenshaw that usually follow.anecdotes. Racism is inevitable because there will always be a desire for the Caucasians to maintain their superior social standing which is only possible due to the color of their skin. 12 (emphasis omitted)). Most science fiction tales dramatically deal with how the individual is going to contend with these alienating. Afrodiasporic subjects live the estrangement that science-fiction writers envision. The Harvard Law Review Association.' short-lived victories that slide into irrelevance as racial patterns adapt in ways that maintain white dominance" (p. focuses on someone who is at odds with the apparatus of power in society and whose profound experience is one of cultural dislocation. By Derrick Bell. Your Kritik of capitalism Can’t solve our Alternative Harvard Law Review.even if to some listeners [its] style is strange. 93 (April. and dialogue. Furthermore. 53). n2 Faces thus adds to a growing body of scholarship that "attempt[s] to sing a new scholarly song -. FACES AT THE BOTTOM OF THE WELL: THE PERMANENCE OF RACISM. 144). In The Last Angel of History. 7). the conventions of the narrative in terms of the way it deals with subjectivity. who range from a radical white activist training in the Oregon woods to a charismatic black leader who falls in love with a white woman. refuse to join forces with their black counterparts in an effort to escape their common plight. a fictitious civil rights lawyer. science fiction.Further Considerations of Afrofuturism) Page (12) Afrofuturism does not stop at correcting the history of the future. Tate argued that “The form itself. Instead.
Afrofuturism’s specificity lies in assembling conceptual approaches and countermemorial mediated practices in order to access triple consciousness. sf narrative. As Jason King remarked at an Experience Music Project conference in 2004. Afrofuturism. It also takes debates about blackness and technology into the broader terrain of popular taste. Alexander S. 283-300. disco. Science Fiction Studies. is a psychosocial inevitability that all Afrodiasporic art uses to its own advantage by creating contexts that encourage a process of disalienation.” At the century’s start.) More mundanely. after the AAAP have all been disinfected. and house music with female and transgender voices have also drawn on the tropes of sf in their work. Maybe now we will have more studies of the uses to which black girls and women have put records and turntables. Herman Gray has tempered its technophilia with analysis of the everyday ways in which musicians conceptualize. The Undisputed Truth. Affirmative answers Afrofuturist literature is heteronormative – it excludes queers and women of color Zuberi. and talk about the use of digital technologies in their musical production. and Sylvester. "no opening at all for prosaic questions about the politics of music in general and more specifically the sexual politics of dance music" (145). 70 . Labelle. 2.org/stable/4241526 .7. some Afrofuturist critics often fail to examine the various technological mediations of black women's voices as signifiers of "humanity" or "soul. Weheliye's Phonographies: Grooves in Sonic Afro-Modernity (2004) develops his concern with the materiality of sound to begin to consider the ways in which girls and women use audio technologies such as personal stereos to fashion their environment sonically as they move through it. Television. after the site is sealed off. The condition of alienation. July 2007. one of the archaeologists dreams of six turntables. Weheliye rightly suggests that in their desire to reject the human for the posthuman.jstor. previously inaccessible alienations. quadruple consciousness. Vol. the male connoisseurship involved in collecting the "right" records and its relationship to high theory. (Nabeel. on that night. ready for the next day. understood in its most general sense." Weheliye's own work on sound effects such as the vocoder and the presence of the bleeps and audio quality of gadgets like beepers and mobile telephones in late 1990s R & B hits by female vocalists complicates the human/posthuman distinction ("Feenin"' 40). Imagine that later. “Is This the Future? Black Music and Technology Discourse” http://www. 2007. While sympathetic to much Afrofuturist discourse. Missy Elliot. beyond an analysis limited to the pursuit of male cultural capital. No. Dubois termed the condition of structural and psychological alienation as double consciousness. R & B. the realisation of the Invisible Man’s dream of hearing Louis Armstrong’s “What Did I Have to Do to Be So Black and Blue” multiplied to the power of 6.Whitey on the Moon Camp Tournament SNFI 2011 Neg Arg Group circumstances and that pretty much sums up the mass experiences of black people in the postslavery twentieth century. as well as in its consumption (148-84. It prefers music without vocals and ignores recording artists such as Earth Wind & Fire. the Afrofuturist canon of techno and hip hop is also selectively male and heterosexist. see also Zuberi). This is still a rare scholarly insight. in McRobbie's words. 34. pp. and Media Studies at The University of Auckland in New Zealand. and spectacle offer.Senior Lecturer on Film. integrate. soul.
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