I am myself until you come along and make me the Other…
This is the kind of stuff you think and say after reading Frantz Fanon.
Who am I in relation to you? You alter me with the burden of your suppositions of who you think I am or am supposed to be. I exist as myself when I am alone without outside pressures, but upon entering Society, I am tagged by labels and pigeon-holed into stereotypical images set up and dictated by the powers that be––the government, intellectuals, the media, clothes designers, Hollywood movie producers…
In Black Skin White Masks, Fanon observed that the Black Man was reduced to a penis, dehumanized and objectified into a sexual thing, whereby he posed a threat to white men while becoming forbidden fruit to white women. And while I see what Fanon is saying, I also see the opposite side of that coin: Al Roker.
I was watching him on one of those late night shows when it dawned on me that Al Roker is the “safe” and acceptable version of the Black Man. He is the deflated penis. Even when he was 340 pounds, he was so jolly that he posed no threat to white America and her mainstream culture-at-large. I think he became even more endearing after he told his I-crapped-my-pants (while in the White House) story to the world. It’s okay everybody, this is a black man in lower caps. He engenders none of the hate-mongering that Obama faces as a hyper-smart (“clean & articulate”), successful Black Man who is not afraid to voice his opinion and challenge you.
I doubt we will ever be as evolved (“clean & articulate”) on these matters of race and society as Frantz Fanon was, but I hope that we can, at least, be aware of how we relate to one another in the face of our histories and life experience that are awash in the morass of race and society, no matter our ethnic affiliations.
So while we’re on the topic of being aware, I was in the Pylones store in Grand Central Terminal when I saw these dolls. Umm, I didn’t know Asians had slits for eyes, but I guess the manufacturer, Present Time, thinks so. I have sent them correspondence asking them to reconsider these dolls now that we are in the year 2013 where people (in the free world anyway) are no longer kept “from participating in modern history as a free and independent force” (Skine, 1950).
When I get a response I will post it herewith.
All this talk of race, society and modern history sure makes me really hungry! Nothing better than to heed my ethnic affiliations and eat some noodles, y’all!
Easy buckwheat noodles
(you don’t have to make the noodles, just buy them)
1. Boil water, add a pinch of salt and noodles. If you get a Japanese brand, you’ll see that the noodles are individually proportioned for your cooking convenience so you’ll ration as you see fit. Lower heat and cook for about 4-5 minutes. Drain.
2. Toss with sesame oil, soy sauce and sesame seeds. You can add in kimchi if you like.