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I am not your negro

God gave Noah the rainbow sign, no more water, the fire next time.

James Baldwin, The Fire Next Time, 1962, Vintage International Edition

I still act surprised when I hear people denying the existence of racism in the so called contemporary world. In fact, these are the same people that deny the existence of any discrimination against women, homossexuals and transgenders. Saying such realities (I would call facts), are creations of an implied political correctness, constitutes a very obvious and primitive defense mechanism known as denial. Denial enables the subject to ridicule the social movements that are brought up against these facts, because they are useless. If there is no such thing as racism, what’s the point of anti-racism organizations? If there is no such thing as women discrimination, what’s the point of feminism? And so on. Mocking at and devaluating such movements is a way of annihilating the voice of the people they represent by silencing them and this way keep things as they are, maintaining the status quo. Why is this so necessary for some? Why does the Other (black, woman, gay) represent such a threat? What is the place of the Other and what is the place of the subject? Does the subject feel he occupies a position of (undeserved) supremacy that can easily be undermined and therefore finds it essencial to humiliate his imaginary rival in order to thrive? Using James Baldwin’s words, why does one need a negro in the first place? One that the subject undervalues in order to feel powerful? By saying “I am not your negro” the Other refuses to identify with and act as the Negro the subject creates. The Other states his place as An Other rejecting to be a receptacle of one’s project identification and by that, only by that of assuming a different position, he can thrive.

Getty Images, 1968

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