Monday, November 05, 2012

Chauncey Devega, Black America's Blogger and Chief/ Leader of The Political Talking Nappy Heads/ Respectable Black People Past and Present.

The hard part of blogging for me is having to step away and feeling that I failed to keep my promise to grow this blog and become a better writer by being consistent. I know the only way to be a real writer is to write.

My absence wasn't long, but  it came exactly when I got an important "blog-shout -out" from Black America's "Blogger and Chief ", the irrepressible ( packing more flavor than a pack of Starbusts) Chauncey Devega, creator of the Black "pop" political blog, "Wear Are Respectable Negroes", 

After his mention,  my blog views jumped from 30 in one day, to 240 the next. But I've been following this dude for a while in the contextual emergence of what I  call "The Political Talking Nappy Heads" cause we got "naps", yo. 

Why else do you think Black scientists in the late 1960's invented the steel Afro-Pick? To get them naps out! 

Any way, as newspapers become further marginalized into irrelevancy by our non-reading reality TV based society, blogs are  the growing source of news and information, which is both good and bad.  Chauncey Devega is one of the positives. In fact he's so popular, he got his readers to fund his trip to a Sci-Fi convention. I attempted to poor icy green "hater-aide" on him, but he's too good of a cyber-dancer to be tagged so easily an gently exposed me for hating with cause, touché!

Any way, I've learned to play nice with my blogger elders, which has produces some amazing conversations in the gilded cyber parlor of those, upright respectable negroes. Although I'm the voice of the urban T.S. Eliot hollowed souls, "eyes you dare not meet in a dream" who dope fiend lean in front of Rorthchild's Liquors on Chicago's westside, part of the growing urban "Wasted Lands" of inner city America.

Below is the Wednesday, October 17, 2012  blog topic by Devega, my comment that started it, and an excerpt of Devega's, response.  

*warning viewer discretion is advised.  If you actually visit the sight, to read Devega's full post of October 17, beware, there is a video of a Black man cooking-up fried chicken in his drawls*  

"Would a Member of the Black Bourgeoisie Fry Chicken in His Underwear?"
( As you can see the Post is pure Devega  

"What does it mean to be a member of the black bourgeoisie? Is this an aspirational title? Is it measured by profession, trade, or economic resources?

I embrace the idea that we should all engage in acts of critical self-reflection when appropriate. Our conversation about Obama's performance in last night's debate where he mercilessly beat upon Mitt Romney, and the latter provided many options for a far more thorough thrashing than he received, prompted the following observation from one of our frequent commenters (the aptly named) Invisible Man:

"Our President is the manifestation of Black Bourgeoisie Politics and you are the messenger. White liberals need/ promote Black Bourgeoisie politics because it attacks (and you are a intellectual pit bull at this) Republicans and the right wing who are a direct threat to them and the small Black Bourgeoisie class."

I appreciate this formulation because 1) it strokes my ego and furthers a fiction that my commentaries are read by the gatekeepers and "powers that be" who have yet to send a brother a check; and 2) it suggests that there is a coincidence/coordination of strategy and tactics by critics in the black counter-public of the Right-wing's nefarious political agenda................continued"

The irony is the term "respectable" is the political currency of the Black middle and Bourgeoisie class.  Devega knows this, as he knows what the term Bourgeoise means, the word was in his blog header but seems to have disappeared when I looked for it today. Devega plays coy a lot, just as he pretends that his he isn't a political media go-to source to inflame and confound the right wingers, while doing what would be described by my Aunt Mert as "stirring some stuff up and keeping it going"

But I do think the word "Respectability" is worthy of some time as Devega uses it for a reason.

Respectability, as it relates to Black people, historically arose to demonstrate to white America that recently freed Black people, respected, accepted, and shared white political and social values post-reconstruction, and would behave to uphold them. 

This included holding no grudges from slavery. Whites generally considered slavery a best-practice for civilizing Black people, and  were not apologetic for it.  Respectability was also Black acceptance of the widespread violence, intimidation, fraud, and white supremacists violence, that reversed all gains of the Reconstruction Era, returning Black people to poverty, exploitation, disenfranchisement and Jim Crow segregation, as the only way for both races to live in "harmony" in America, as a large segment of whites wanted Blacks completely banished from America by violence if necessary.   

The politics of respectability was also about Black people countering widely disseminated myths created by white people that Black people were naturally sexually- therefore a constant threat to white women and daughters-deviant, shiftless, and criminal minded. And equally important, that "uppity" northern Black's demand for equality was a real threat to the southern way of life, already uphinged by the the liberation of Blacks in the first place. 

It could be easily argued that the politics of respectability was an important survival mechanism during a time of complete white terror and domination. Black towns were burned to the ground and it’s citizens lynched for the smallest sign of “disrespect” toward white a person, such as not stepping aside fast enough to allow a white person (especially a women) to pass first on a public street. 
Robert Norrell makes a strong case for this in his biography of  Booker T. Washington entitled Up from History The Life of Booker T. Washington.

The problem with Black respectability today is, for the Black middle class, it’s still anchored in a dark space of deep historical psychological damaged, like the need of a poor Black child
to kill for the most expensive pair of gym shoes or a poor Black congregation to make sure their pastor has the latest BMW car. 

The symbolism of President Obama and his family have become the greatest manifestation of the yearning for Black Respectability amongst the Black middle and bourgeoisie class, so much that in order not to "tarnish" the image, they unlike every other interest group, have asked for nothing, nor voiced complaints when the needs of our community got overlooked or harmed by the President's policies. They even allowed the Black community to be used by President Obama as political fodder for white votes and respect that he never even got. In short we have been in an abusive relationship with the First Black President yet The Black middle and bourgeoisie class continue not to complain, yet attack Black progressives when we do.


nomad said...

You know, I almost chose Invisible Man as my screen name. My "favorite novel". Nice take on WARN. I don't know how I ended up there, cept that I was tryin to find out why black intellectuals was not up in arms about the policies of Obama. It seemed very odd to me that a black mask on the empire was all it took to neutralize the opposition.

Invisible Man said...


Indeed, what a novel! And the play at the Court Theater at University of Chicago where the Obama Presidency was incubated and hatched was an amazing attempted to grapple with such complexity. But your nom de guerre "Nomad" pretty much sums up Black intellectuals in America today as we are truly with out a "country" except for the limited protection Cornel west provides. But so many people have sold out, my source tells me that Michael Eric Dyson was all up in the Democratic Convention shuck'n, jive'n and when he wasn't stuffing his face with free food and drinks, grinning a water mellon sized grin wearing blue suede shoes( I aint lying), just so happy to be included. Sad, yo. But the f*cked up thing is, not only has nothing changed since Harold Cruse wrote that brilliant book, "The Crisis of The Negro Intellectual", but our race is regressing while the Empire crumbles, which is why Black folks lost more ground under Obama than Bush.

The saddest thing is we have allowed Obama to totally squander the national and international movement that elected him. It's like that poem where Whittier said "The saddest thing of word or pen, To know the things that might have been"

Hotep, Brotha

Invisibly yours