For The Shame of New Blackery

When a certain cohort of Black celebrities attain class privilege, they turn into New Blacks. The term coined by Pharrell, is an old concept in 21st century window dressing. New Blackery is respectability politics magnified by the coveted access, resources, and luxuries that a large bank account brings. With an elevated class status, New Blacks forget the lens by which lower and middle class Black people view racism and race relations because such a lens doesn’t help their brand or bottom line.

When we see a dead Black body laid in the street for over four and half hours, we see a tradition of racist oppression, in which Black bodies are targeted, captured, and killed by a network of institutional racism every 28 hours … not a bully. To us, bullies are those members of law enforcement, vigilantes, and their barely-guised racist supporters who, collectively, uphold these racist systems by justifying deadly behavior by those in authority.

To us, bullies are police units that rely on broken windows policing to reinforce racist oppression, embolden the racial caste system, and ultimately invigorate the prison industry and criminal justice behemoth.

Unlike Kanye West, we do not believe racism is a “dated concept,” or that “classism is the new racism” … because racism is still the new racism. Racism and classism are intricately linked, and — unlike Kanye’s shortsighted views that those oppressive systems are different — there’s enough scholarship that exposes the overlapping layers.

Hell, the Ferguson DOJ report detailed how race and class connect in that municipal units target Black folk in order to generate revenue for the locale. In doing so, Black people are trapped in a vicious cycle of poverty as substantial fines are leveraged for the most minor offenses.

We don’t believe racism dies when Black people extend a loving hand to white people, as Common seems to believe. His perspective is odd considering his impressive involvement with Selma, and legacy as a socially conscious pro-Black lyrical storyteller. Even he’s not immune to New Blackery.

New Blackery is getting more shameful in respectability. Raven-Symoné went on national television and defended the reporter who said that First Lady Michelle Obama looks like a cast member of The Planet of the Apes. Raven-Symoné denied the obvious racist overtones by saying “some people just look like animals,” and then compared herself to a bird. Wow. Self-hate is so sad.

And then there’s the use of the N-word, always a controversial element of New Blackery. Terrence Howard threw his respectable hat in the ring when he said he allows his white friends to use it around him because hey, “it’s just a noun.” Never mind the violent relationship that’s immediately reignited when the N-word is uttered from a white person’s lips. Never mind the intrinsic shift in power that relegates Black folk to the underclass when the N-word is spoken from the mouth of white privilege.

New Blackery is shamefully frustrating because of the durable class element. Black celebrities have large credible platforms, and their words reach the masses. Whether they want to be or not, they are representatives of the Black community, and when their words go against our racial and cultural principles of Blackness, it’s us — grassroots Black folk — that deal with the consequences of their ignorance.

It is us who have to defend against white people who say that they’re colorblind and post-racial, and the next great frontier is class equity. It is us who have to expend the emotional, spiritual, mental, and physical labor defending Black people who are murdered by cops. It is us who have to demand justice in an oppressive society dominated by white people who have little incentive to destroy the racial caste system from which they benefit.

New Blackery is selfish. We bare the brunt of their irresponsible foolishness while they profit from whitewashed assimilation.

*Featured Image Credit: www.noisy.vice.com

Photo on 6-15-14 at 12.18 PMArielle Newton, Founder/Editor-in-Chief. Get at me @arielle_newton. Get at us @BlkMillennials.

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17 responses to “For The Shame of New Blackery

  1. When it comes to the N-word, I recently learned the etymology of it. The word “n*ggers” mostly likely stems from the word “Negus” which meant “to reign” and was used as a classification of the kings in the ancient Ethiopian countries. Now I don’t think it’s a coincidence that colonial whites started using this word from the same continent it stemmed from after they took slaves and started to use it undermine the strength of us to remove the “king” meaning.

    So in a sense, when we today use the word, we’re not “reclaiming” it, because it was ours from the start. We just lost and forgot the origins of it that had us believe whites invented the word, which is another case of giving credit where it isn’t due. My point to all this is, before I had doubt using the word. Now, I don’t, because I do consider me and my friends “negus”. We need to bring this meaning back to the mainstream to let it be known that the same way the Swastika used to mean the complete opposite of what it was turned into by Nazis, the N-word was too.

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  2. Arielle, I respect you highly. Whites are rarely divided amongst themselves racially. This brings me to question the creation of another term like “New Blackery.” Isn’t it just another racial division amongst Black cultures at large (African, afo-latino, West Indian, American etc.)? I think this is not something that should be associated with the color of the skin by calling it “Blackery,” but rather something more associated with their political views. Your thoughts?

    Liked by 1 person

    • hi Francisco, not to debate anything you are discussing with Arielle or about the divisions within the black community at all…

      But yes, Whites have ALWAYS divided. Not sure it’s always been “racial” but European history is a history of war among white tribes essentially. Irish people fought each other based on religious differences, but the discrimination and classism breaks down in similar ways. French whites are not ever going to truly identify with English whites. They are entirely different cultures. Hungarian, Ukrainian, and Polish whites are hugely discriminated against by gentrified whites like the Russians. Many Jewish people during the 1900’s are often called anti-semetic for changing their names and denying their religious heritage in order to avoid first world war and and then world war 2 Nazi/German persecution(s). Sweden is not Rome.

      Being white is not being of one people and the privileges you perceive for the general population of whites in the U.S. varies greatly.

      In terms of Pharrell… he is benefitting from a white owned entertainment industry and one connected to Jewish and Christian propaganda machines that make tons of dough particularly during war time. It’s always good to wear a big hat and sing about being Happy as a deflection from the fact that ISIS was a created by our going to Iraq due to George W.’s “leadership”. There’s a frontline special coming out about these this soon.

      Peace.

      Like

    • hi Francisco, not to debate anything you are discussing with Arielle or about the divisions or language choices within the black community at all…

      But yes, Whites have ALWAYS divided. Not sure it’s always been considered “racial” but European history is a history of war among white tribes essentially. Irish people fought each other based on religious differences, but the discrimination and classism breaks down in similar ways. French whites are not ever going to truly identify with English whites. They are entirely different cultures. Hungarian, Ukrainian, and Polish whites are hugely discriminated against by gentrified whites like the Russians. Many Jewish people during the 1900’s are often called anti-semetic for changing their names and denying their religious heritage in order to avoid first world war and and then world war 2 Nazi/German persecution(s). Sweden is not Rome. (for example)

      Being white is not being of one people and the privileges perceived for the general population of whites in the U.S. varies greatly. Regardless of “fitting in better” based on the lightness of skin due to the colonized mind, whites do in fact find differences and divisions to fight about as much as any other people. The access to the money and ownership and power has been denied white women. It’s not equal. And women get raped and sexually harassed out of power and ownership. I do not identify with very many white men and women. I have not been “protected” by their institutions, churches, military might, or rabid consumerism. (for example)

      In terms of Pharrell… he is benefitting from a white owned entertainment industry and one connected to Jewish and Christian propaganda machines that make tons of dough particularly during war time. It’s always good to wear a big hat and sing about being Happy as a deflection from the fact that ISIS was created by our going to Iraq due to George W.’s “leadership”. We made ISIS. We made the terrorists and the war on terror. It’s big business. Hollywood is helping with movies glorifying the American Sniper. Pharell is helping by schilling vanilla scented Glade candles at Christmas time…

      I suppose it sounds like I am on a lot of tangents… But I don’t think so.

      Peace.

      Like

  3. There is a saying, that countries have the leadership they deserve, be it good or bad, same goes for artists, they are what the public makes of them. The problem is not the artist themselves, but the public at large that idolize them. If music fans wanted socially conscious artists, most artist would be socially conscious. Artists this days have more creative control on their music than ever before, yet their music is still about hoes, cars, murders and money, because that is what the public wants. With all the ways we have now to access all kinds of independently produced music, the blame cannot be put on the music industry. The reason MLK, Ghandi or Nelson Mandela succeeded is because the public at large embraced and fought for the ideals this men represented. My favorite artist ever is Bob Marley, every year on February 6th all around Africa and the World, parties and concerts are thrown to celebrate him, some (me included) even consider him a modern day prophet. But Bob Marley was a product of his Age, a time when the Third World was in full “liberation war” mood, that is why his songs echoed with so many different cultures. I highly doubt he would reach worldwide super-stardom in this day and age. Take his song: War for example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=loFDn94oZJ0 it was inspired by a speech His Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie made at the UN. I seriously doubt it would be hit in this day and age.

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  4. I’n’I build a cabin;
    I’n’I plant the corn;
    Didn’t my people before me
    Slave for this country?
    Now you look me with that scorn,
    Then you eat up all my corn.

    Build your penitentiary, we build your schools,
    Brainwash education to make us the fools.
    Hate is your reward for our love,
    Telling us of your God above.

    Here comes the conman
    Coming with his con plan.
    We won’t take no bribe;
    We’ve got (to) stay alive.

    Bob Marley – Crazy Baldhead :https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k34boxNrqL8
    PS: sorry for the long post, just wanted to show how his lyrics are still relevant 30 years after his death.

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  5. So that means that new Blackery means that we have to deal with all the stereotyping, all the insults and bad offensive jokes and deny our identity, our dignity and our rights? That’s pretty fucked up?

    Like

  6. Pingback: Empire and the Black Community | The Advocate·

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