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House vs. Field Negro, Italy's Corriere della Sera

November 21st, 2008

A journalist from Corriere de la Sera called yesterday with an urgent request for an interview about the Al-Qaeda claim that Obama is a house negro. My comments hit the first page--with full spread on page 3.

Translation below the Italian.

NEW YORK — «La distinzione tra negro buono
e negro cattivo è un prodotto antiquato ed obsoleto della cultura
bianca e come tale non ci è mai appartenuto. Anche lo stereotipo
perpetrato dalla
Capanna dello zio Tom è stato creato oltre un secolo fa da una
scrittrice bianca e ricca, Harriet Beecher Stowe, che vedeva attraverso
le lenti deformate del proprio privilegio».
Parla Rebecca Walker, la 39enne scrittrice e giornalista Americana
autrice di bestseller come «Black, White and Jewish: Autobiography of a
Shifting Self» e «Baby love: choosing motherhood after a lifetime of
ambivalence».
«La distinzione tra schiavo addomesticato e schiavo della piantagione
che ride se la casa brucia non fa parte del dibattito culturale
contemporaneo americano da ormai tantissimo tempo», teorizza la Walker,
figlia unica dell'autrice di «Il colore Viola» Alice Walker, «e
comunque la sua genesi storica è da ricondurre alla nascita dello
schiavismo ». In che senso?
«Furono i proprietari di schiavi, già dal 17? secolo, a creare
l'artificiale separazione dei neri in due gruppi, in base
all'intramontabile teoria del dividi e conquista. Mettendo un gruppo
contro l'altro, erano certi che l'antagonismo impedisse loro di unirsi
e ribellarsi. Ma il motivo dello stereotipo era anche un altro».
Quale?
«Una volta stabilito il principio della superiorità razziale dei
bianchi, i proprietari di schiavi crearono un'ulteriore frattura tra
gli schiavi neri e quelli bianchi. Mi riferisco al sistema della
servitù debitoria — l'indentured system
— che caratterizzò le origini dell'emigrazione europea e si differenzia
dalla schiavitù per la natura contrattuale del rapporto di lavoro».
Schiavi bianchi contro schiavi neri insomma?
«Proprio così. E i proprietari, che usavano gli
indentured per mandare avanti le piantagioni visto che non volevano di
certo sporcarsi le mani con i neri, conquistavano la fedeltà dei primi
in virtù del privilegio della pelle che li faceva sentire superiori ai
neri».
Anche se erano altrettanto poveri.
«Il fenomeno si è tramandato ai nostri giorni e oggi il proletariato
bianco, illetterato e poverissimo, delle zone rurali si identifica e ha
votato per il miliardario John McCain preferendolo ad Obama, inferiore
in quanto nero».
Anche la spaccatura all'interno della comunità nera tra integrazionisti
e nazionalisti è una creazione dei bianchi?
«Esisteva 30, 40 anni fa, durante la lotta per i diritti civili. Ma il
fatto che il 96% della comunità afro-americana abbia votato per Obama
dimostra senza ombra di dubbio che nessuno di noi lo considera un
"negro di casa" o uno "venduto ai bianchi", che, lo ripeto, sono
comunque categorie obsolete. Lo dimostra il fatto che persino Louis
Farrakan gli ha dato l'endorsement ».
Il divario ideologico tra i seguaci di Malcolm X e Martin Luther King è
stato colmato del tutto?
«Anche quel divario è una creazione dei media bianchi. Al contrario di
quanto è stato scritto per anni, i due leader erano grandi amici e
collaboratori. Oltre a nutrire un grande rispetto reciproco, hanno
portato avanti una crociata molto simile. Dopo il suo viaggio alla
Mecca Malcolm X si avvicinò moltissimo a King e verso la fine della sua
vita i loro messaggi erano quasi identici».
Chi sono i loro eredi, oltre ad Obama?
«L'establishment bianco dei media è tornato a dividerli tra cattivi e
arrabbiati — Al Sharpton e Jesse Jackson — e buoni: cioè Barack Obama.
Ma per fortuna il Paese nella sua totalità ha rifiutato questa vile
tattica».

I wish I could translate, but in a nutshell I explained the concept of house vs field negro as a divide and conquer tactic designed to maintain the stability of the slaveocracy. I also used Obama's line about Obama, "He's been called worse on the BB court." And talked about how much closer Martin and Malcolm (house vs field in the imagination of some) were than the press presented.

And that this is old strategy with minimal relevance. Ninety-nine percent of African-Americans are behind Obama--and most Americans will see this is as an attack on America, not on Obama. I actually think it's a good uniting moment for America--good for some Americans to see that extremists do not view Obama as a friend to their cause.

cdl

Comments:

Comment #1 by Zaquir on November 22, 2008 - 10:11am

I find it a bit unnerving how Obama is being overly criticized and attacked a full 2 months before taking office. It was enough that there were segments of the American population spouting racist, disrespectful and unsubstatiated rhetoric and assaults. To see these attacks now coming from International{Polish and now Islamic} leaders shows just how little progress we have made as a people and as a society on the whole. I thank you for pointing out to the Al-Qaeda leadership that their assertions of Dr. King and Malcolm X were far off base, especially during the periods before their assassinations. While I may not agree with some of the cabinet appointees named by the Obama administration, I am patient enough to give them some time in office and see whether or not the platform of change was legitimate or just a campaign slogan. I hope that all Amercans view this attack on the President-Elect as an attack on the American conscience, but from my perch in Woodstock {NOBAMA} Georgia I am sure that will not be the case. The sooner we realize that WE are ALL in this mess together, the better, because it is going to take all of us working together to come out of it.

Comment #2 by rebecca on November 22, 2008 - 10:17am
Yes. Sending love and light to Georgia!
Comment #3 by Twanna A. Hines (www.funkybrownchick.com) on November 22, 2008 - 12:06pm

Ah, the Italians.

Great comments, Rebecca! I particularly like what you said about creating binaries / divide and conquer tactics. This often seems to hold true whether it's women, ethnic groups, sexuality or whatever.

By the way, if anyone's interested, www.freetranslation.com has an autotranslator. It's far from perfect, but it's free and it gives you the gist of the text.

Comment #4 by Esther on November 23, 2008 - 6:14am

ok I tried the translation site which makes for hilarious errors. LOL!
I just heard DL Hughley make the "house nigger" remark. Uh oh... I guess the US press is picking up on the story.
namaste
Esther

Comment #5 by ibs symptoms on May 6, 2011 - 2:32pm

I'm sending my love to Georgia. Thanks!

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