Or Repression of the "Fourth World"
Note to Reader:
The term "fourth world " comes from a conversation I
had with Amin Sharif. His view is that the term "third
world" is not really appropriate to oppressed racial
minorities in white countries. They do not have land which they
are trying to retrieve. They suffer from being treated like the
"Other" in the white man's homeland. They cannot,
seemingly, be integrated, despite the pretense. This "ghettoization"
was true of Fanon and others who came from the Caribbean. And
this condition is true of black Americans, though they have been
in America several centuries.
So Sharif argues we need to revise our
theorizing, for "third world" philosophies do not
speak to the needs or conditions of these fourth world peoples.
Black Americans then have more in common with these racialized
European populations than they have with African or Asian
peoples who are still trying to recover their lands and
political power over these resources. Philosophies like
"black nationalism," Garveyism, Pan-African socialism
would thus be relegated to the trash-bin of history, no longer
relevant except as academic subjects of study.
Below are comments from the blogger
Rachel Sullivan, who has been covering the Paris situation.
I recommend you to take a look at what she has compiled. There
are also a few excerpts from the NYTimes. . . . What is
interesting in the Paris situation is that "white
racism" has become such an acceptable political policy even
in liberal post-war Europe, much more now a mirror of America.
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I have been blogging about racism in France
on my website for the past couple months (This is one of those
times where I really wish I was bilingual.).
It piqued my interest over the summer when
there were several terrible apartment fires that killed many
west African immigrants, in particular children. This led
me to question—what
is going on there that all of these children are dying. As
I researched further, I did find several interesting facts that
I think can add to this discussion.
First, the French do not measure ethnicity or
religion in official surveys. It appears that they have a
law akin to Propostion 54 that was proposed in California a few
years ago. This makes tracking the ethnic and religious
make-up of the population nearly impossible—a
great example of the flaws of the colorblind ideology.
Although I agree to some extent with the
point Ben Bowser makes about this being about culture and
ethnicity and not so much race in the way that Americans think
of it, I think that these groups are indeed becoming
increasingly racialized. I'm not so sure that North
Africans can pass for White that easily. Even here in the
US, I frequently notice the term "racial profiling"
used to discuss profiling Middle Eastern Muslims.
I also find it interesting to note that there
really seems to be solidarity between the Black Africans and the
North African Muslims. The pictures I have seen very
clearly show both groups protesting (However, the protests for
the house fires appeared to be almost all Black).
I know there are many eastern European
immigrants in France, who are phenotypically White, and they do
not seem to be facing this ghettoization and discrimination,
which I think could help make this case for why race does
matter. (I'm no expert on this, so maybe someone can enlighten
me on this if I am wrong.)
I also think it is important to acknowledge
that the runner up in the election a few years back was a right
Le Pen. He reminds me of a George Wallace like candidate,
who lost by a large margin, but still had a noticeable percent
of the population willing to vote for him.
Two more points, and then I'll stop: I also
think it is interesting that they have class based affirmative
action but not racial or ethnic affirmative action. Clearly that
model is not working. And one last important point that I
just realized yesterday—it
is not immigrant youth who are rioting, for the most part it is
the children of immigrants. These are young people who
have grown up in a wealthy industrialized country and expect the
opportunities that come with that. . . .
PS-I have a small collection
of stories about this on
my website for any one interested. . . . including a few stats about unemployment and an
article that talks about the colorblind policies.
9 Nights of Rage: Truthout.org
Nearly 900 vehicles were torched and 250-plus
people arrested as French police desperately battled the country's worst rioting for decades, which has now
raged for nine consecutive nights.
* * *
violence has isolated the country's tough-talking, anticrime
interior minister, Nicolas Sarkozy, whom some people blame for
having worsened the situation with his blunt statements about
"cleaning out" the "thugs" from those
France has been grappling for years with
growing unrest among its second- and third-generation
immigrants, mostly North African Arabs, who have faced decades
of high unemployment and marginalization. Critics say Mr.
Sarkozy's confrontational approach has polarized the communities
and the government. . . .
"We see among the rioters kids of 13 to
15, who are swept along, who are encouraged to take all the
risks, and the others, the ringleaders, who are used to creating
trouble - they terrorize everyone, and don't want to stop,"
said Franck Cannarozzo, a deputy mayor of Aulnay. "Rather
than playing on their Playstations, they attack the
The rioting began last week in
Clichy-sous-Bois after two teenagers were electrocuted when they
hid in an electrical substation from the police. Local youths,
who believed the police had chased the boys into the enclosure,
took to the streets, setting cars on fire in protest.
"On paper we're all the same, but if
your name is Mohamed, even with a good education, you can only
find a job as a porter at the airport," said Kader, 23, who
works at the airport. He complained that the immigrant suburbs
had been neglected by the current government.
S. Smith, Immigrant
Rioting Flares in France for Ninth Night (NYTimes, 11/5/05)
* * *
But as the car-burning spread from
Clichy-sous-Bois, the suburb where the youths died, to
neighboring suburbs on Wednesday, the government expressed
concern that the incident could ignite broader unrest among
frustrated first- and second-generation North African
immigrants, who have borne the brunt of France's economic weakness.
. . .
Prime Minister Dominique de Villepin has
seized control of the government's response from his rival,
Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy, in what appears to be an
effort to assuage anger in the country's North African
population over Mr. Sarkozy's blunt authoritative style. Mr.
Sarkozy, who had raised temperatures with tough remarks this
week, did not speak Wednesday at the government's weekly
question-and-answer session before the legislature. . . .
The periodic violence highlights France's
failure to integrate immigrants into the country's broader
society, a problem that has grown in urgency as the unemployment
rate climbs. Most of the country's immigrants are housed in
government-subsidized apartments on the outskirts of industrial
cities. They benefit from generous welfare programs, but the
government's failure to provide jobs has created a sense of
disenfranchisement among the young. A highly observant form of
Islam has grown popular among the mostly Muslim population.
S. Smith, Chirac
Appeals for Calm as Violent Protests Shake Paris's Suburbs (NYTimes,
posted 7 November 2005
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Blacks in Hispanic Literature: Critical Essays
Blacks in Hispanic Literature is a
collection of fourteen essays by scholars and
creative writers from Africa and the Americas.
Called one of two significant critical works on
Afro-Hispanic literature to appear in the late
1970s, it includes the pioneering studies of
Carter G. Woodson and
Valaurez B. Spratlin, published in the 1930s, as
well as the essays of scholars whose interpretations
were shaped by the Black aesthetic. The early
essays, primarily of the Black-as-subject in Spanish
medieval and Golden Age literature, provide an
historical context for understanding 20th-century
creative works by African-descended, Hispanophone
writers, such as Cuban
Nicolás Guillén and Ecuadorean poet, novelist,
Adalberto Ortiz, whose essay analyzes the
significance of Negritude in Latin America. This
collaborative text set the tone for later
conferences in which writers and scholars worked
together to promote, disseminate, and critique the
literature of Spanish-speaking people of African
descent. . . .
Cited by a
literary critic in 2004 as "the seminal study in the
field of Afro-Hispanic Literature . . . on which
most scholars in the field 'cut their teeth'."
* * *
Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in
By Melissa V.
According to the
author, this society has historically exerted
considerable pressure on black females to fit into one
of a handful of stereotypes, primarily, the Mammy, the
Matriarch or the Jezebel. The selfless
Mammy’s behavior is marked by a slavish devotion to
white folks’ domestic concerns, often at the expense of
those of her own family’s needs. By contrast, the
relatively-hedonistic Jezebel is a sexually-insatiable
temptress. And the Matriarch is generally thought of as
an emasculating figure who denigrates black men, ala the
characters Sapphire and Aunt Esther on the television
shows Amos and Andy and Sanford and Son, respectively.
points out how the propagation of these harmful myths
have served the mainstream culture well. For instance,
the Mammy suggests that it is almost second nature for
black females to feel a maternal instinct towards
As for the source
of the Jezebel, black women had no control over their
own bodies during slavery given that they were being
auctioned off and bred to maximize profits. Nonetheless,
it was in the interest of plantation owners to propagate
the lie that sisters were sluts inclined to mate
* * * * *
A Life of Rebellion and Reinvention
By Jamal Joseph
In the 1960s he exhorted students at Columbia University to burn their college to the ground. Today he’s chair of their School of the Arts film division. Jamal Joseph’s personal odyssey—from the streets of Harlem to Riker’s Island and Leavenworth to the halls of Columbia—is as gripping as it is inspiring. Eddie Joseph was a high school honor student, slated to graduate early and begin college. But this was the late 1960s in Bronx’s black ghetto, and fifteen-year-old Eddie was introduced to the tenets of the Black Panther Party, which was just gaining a national foothold. By sixteen, his devotion to the cause landed him in prison on the infamous Rikers Island—charged with conspiracy as one of the Panther 21 in one of the most emblematic criminal cases of the sixties. When exonerated, Eddie—now called Jamal—became the youngest spokesperson and leader of the Panthers’ New York chapter. He joined the “revolutionary underground,” later landing back in prison. Sentenced to more than twelve years in Leavenworth, he earned three degrees there and found a new calling. He is now chair of Columbia University’s School of the Arts film division—the very school he exhorted students to burn down during one of his most famous speeches as a Panther.
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The White Masters of the
The World and Africa, 1965
By W. E. B. Du Bois
W. E. B. Du Bois’
Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization
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Ancient African Nations
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Negro Digest /
Browse all issues
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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan
The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll
Only a Pawn in Their Game
Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for
George Jackson /
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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg
Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804
January 1, 1804 -- The Founding of
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update 29 March 2012