Well, Edward Said probably puts it better, but he's so damn wordy:
Most people are principally aware of one culture, one setting, one home; exiles are aware of at least two, and the plurality of vision gives rise to an awareness of simultaneous dimensions.
From Reflections on Exile and Other Essays, 2000.
There are also some pertinent quotes from C.L.R. James on the 'Negro Question', but some people have problems doing any external reading. Which is the problem, really.
I don't think about "coons" and "minstrels" and "misunderstandings" and "stereotypes."
says Rachel Lucas. And I knew that was the case for some people, which is why I quoted so heavily in the post she takes objection to. If you're not into the whole clicking thing, the title of this was, "Take a deep breath, slowly count to ten ." The first line was, "Going ballistic at the slightest provocation gets real old, real fast."
Failing to heed either warning -- perhaps I should have gone with the original title, "Calm the fuck down" -- she goes on to say:
And so it goes. Once again, blacks and/or [insert any minority here] read something into a white person's speech that doesn't exist. Attribute racism or insensitivity where none exists. Insult Whitey and call her names despite a complete lack of wrongdoing on her part because they hear something in her speech that is not there.
[. . .] The point I'm trying to make is, it is my observation that often, black people themselves can perpetuate clichés and stereotypes. I am white, and when I eat watermelon, I am overcome with memories of eating it with my friend Julie (also white). There is no other connotation in my mind. When I think of big butts, I think of myself and all the women in my family. And all the women in America. I don't think of black women in particular. That is reality/truth/fact. If somebody hears the words "big butt" and "watermelon" in the same sentence and are immediately offended and instantly smell insensitivity, who's got the hang-up?
. . .
Well, Rachel, perhaps if your moms had dropped you on your big butt as a child, rather than on your head, you'd be capable of either comprehending written material, or having sense enough to request clarification when you miss the entire point of something.
Or perhaps I'm giving you too much credit.
I've said it before and I'll say it again: Whitey doesn't see color everywhere he looks. Whitey doesn't associate watermelon with black people. Whiteys my age don't even know about most of the "Coon Caricature" stereotypes. And that doesn't mean that we're oblivious to the past.
The last sentence contradicts the penultimate one.
I shall go over this again. Slowly. I shall use small words. Not. Everyone. Sees. The. World. The. Same. Way. As. You.
This does not seem like a difficult concept. If you're still confused, just ask. There are no stupid questions, just stupid people.
Let's take race out of the equation. It seems to cloud minds.
Kabuki plays deal primarily with forbidden topics, with social issues and social tensions that have no other outlet. Since kabuki directs itself at common people, rather than the noble class, the plays are passionate, lurid, sometimes violent, and often scandalous. In order to deal with forbidden topics, the playwrights cleverly write history plays, using historical incidents, most of which are familiar to the audience, to discuss contemporary politics and scandals.
[. . .] Although your senses are filled with costume, color, scenery, spectacle, noise and music, the focus of your attention is on the actor's skill which displays itself in a large stock of formalized "movements" or "conventions" (kata: "form," "pattern," "model"). Kabuki as an actor's theater is a theater of gesture; all kabuki acting is "patterned acting." Each gesture, whether in movement, dancing, speech, or music, is highly formal and traditional. You know exactly what to expect, what kinds of movements will come where, and all the excitement of the play lies in the actor's execution of these movements. These gestures embody most of the dramatic and cultural meaning of the play, and though they are highly formalized and take great skill, their subject matter is almost always human passion and the often fierce conflict between the inner passions and outer obligations and decorum.
I cannot appreciate Kabuki. I don't know what the gestures mean, the historical references are lost to me, the formality has a distancing effect rather than drawing me in. Were I to attend a performance with someone who knows the form, I'm pretty sure they'd be laughing or shocked or thrilled at things which would leave me saying, "What?" and "I don't understand." and "Where's the tea?"
We would, in a very real sense, not have seen the same play at all.
Was that clear enough for you fuckheads?
Update: Changed the link to point to the actual article, rather than Rachel's home page.
This involved looking at the article again.
I should not have done that.
Also, Jason has withdrawn in disgust, which is not the same as apathy.
Or, in my case, saying, "Screw you guys, I'm going home."