Am I Black, Am I White?
By Marvin X
The artist known as Prince asked the question
of the New Age, "Am I Black, Am I White," in his song
"Purple Rain," and in his lifestyle, asked another
important question, "Am I man, am I woman?" Prince, in
his search for clarity on the question of race and gender, so
troubling to so many of his peers today, must be applauded for
desiring to go into such troubled waters, troubling enough that W.E.B.
Du Bois called the first part of the question the problem of
the 20th Century. Who will admit or claim it was solved? Thus we
enter the 21st century grappling with this terrible conundrum,
so perplexing and vexing we are totally bewildered by surface
appearance and thus blindfolded, unable to see the meta-reality
of the deep structure.
For example, when we say black-on-black
homicide, it is a misnomer because we cannot call nigguhs who
kill nigguhs black or African, or even Africans who kill
Africans over diamonds, gold, uranium or other minerals. They
are colonial and neocolonial monkeys. Nigguhs who kill nigguhs
are savages, existing on the lowest level of civilization, even
worst than the African killers because the nigguhs have
experienced more of modernity or so-called civilization in their
western captivity. In other words, we should know better. But in
truth, we and our African brothers are in the same boat of
ignorance, hate and greed. We have been so victimized by the
West that we are for the most part indistinguishable from the
Western man and woman.
He and she who appears to be black is not. He and she who
appears to be white is not. I am a revolutionary black
nationalist. But I am not a racist; I am a realist: I am looking
at reality, beyond the surface appearance. My friend called me
on his birthday and told me a white woman wanted to treat him to
lunch, but he was hesitant. I know the white woman, so I told
him she was not white, but had a black soul and he should keep
the lunch date. I said what would you prefer: to have lunch with
a so-called black woman with blond hair, fake blue eyes, red
lipstick -- looking like a monkey's asshole? In other words, why
have lunch with a dirty-faced white woman, at least go for the
real deal Holyfield.
This white woman in question came to an event in Philly full of
black recovering addicts. She sat down in the midst of them for
two hours watching my video docudrama ONE DAY IN THE LIFE. A so-called
black woman in the audience ran out into the lobby, claiming she
was uncomfortable in the presence of so many dope fiends. She
sought comfort in the arms of the white woman host who calmed
her down with words and hot chocolate.
The ultimate problem is consciousness not color. What does color
have to do with it? And to move into the second part of our
question: what does sex have to do with it, what does sex have
to do with anything in the world of consciousness? We love James
Baldwin and Langston Hughes
because they were two bad writing motherfuckers, and their
writing has nothing to do with their sexuality--who gives a damn
about their sexuality? Were they obsessed with their sexuality?
When an actor auditions for my theatre, I don't give a damn what
he is sexually, but he better be able to play the part or to
hell with him or her.
One of my daughters calls her hip hop generation the
pseudo-conscious. And why not include my generation from the 60s
as well. We had false notions about race, not to mention sex. We
called for black power, then went home to beat our wives -- an
exhibition of white power.
We excluded whites from our movement who were no doubt sincere
in their revolutionary consciousness, but included rotten, no
good, snitching ass, FBI/CIA nigguhs because they had black
skins. How ignut was/is this?
Elijah Muhammad loved women and gave women power because of
their consciousness, because they, unlike the men, didn't want
to be the messenger, but only wanted to help the messenger. When
wanted a job done, he didn't care if a so-called white devil
performed the job, just get the job done. My mother was the
same, in her real estate business, she was not going to wait all
day for a black plumber when the white plumber had proven
himself reliable. Dr. Ben says we must be more patient with our
people because of the mental damage, but I am not going to put
my clothes in a Muslim cleaners if I have to return five times
because they are closed during business hours. That ain't
Muslim, that ain't Black, that's nigguhs disguised as black
My mother never said she was a black business
woman, she said simply, "I'm a business woman." So
cast away illusions: stop faking and stop accepting fakery.
Blackness is a state of consciousness, as is whiteness. The
problem with whiteness is that it is pathological and
indistinguishable from the addiction Western addiction called
white supremacy. For the most part, blackness is simply an
attempt to exist, to love, to be at peace in the world. In this
sense, a lot of white people should be called "black,"
and many blacks should be called "white."
Check Marvin's writings also in his book
of essays, IN THE CRAZY HOUSE CALLED AMERICA, Black Bird Press,
2002, $20.00, Or send $25.00 (includes postage and handling) to Black Bird Press, 3116
38th Ave., Suite 304, Oakland, CA. 94619.
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