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"You may be black, you may be white, you may be Jew, or Gentile. It don't make a difference in our house." -- Mr Fingers, Can U Feel It?, 1986

Related: human - race music - world - racism - ethnicity - stereotype

The concept of "Britishness"

One of the figures involved in drafting that report [a British report on multiculturalism that declared the concept of "Britishness" latently racist] was Stuart Hall, pioneer of the cultural studies movement at Birmingham University in the 1970s. Paul Gilroy, one of Hall's former associates and, like him, a Black-British theorist about postcolonialism and hybridity, made his own contribution this year to the multiculture debate with Against Race: Imagining Political Culture Beyond the Color Line (also published, in the UK, as Between Camps). If the book has a crux, it's the fatal ambiguity of the word "culture" itself--which simultaneously has an organic, biological resonance (growing plants, germ cultures etc) yet also signifies the antithesis of earthy natural-ness (the civilized, the non-instinctual, the artificial, the sublimated). -- Simon Reynolds

White culture has not been studied because it is based on power

Almost every university has programs in First Nations Studies, Asian Studies and Black or African-American Studies. There are scarcely any White Studies. My ignorance is directly related to what Pajaczowska and Young call the "absent centre of White ethnicity". White culture has not been studied because it is based on power.

An identity based on power never has to develop a sense of itself as responsible, it has no sense of its limits except as those are perceived in opposition to others. The blankness of the identity of empire covers an ambivalence which is often unconscious, and which, consequently, can most readily be perceived in the representations it creates of the colonial "other" (Pajaczowska & Young, 1992, p. 202).

Daws, Martin. (2001). Wiggers and Wannabes: White Ethnicity in Contemporary Youth Culture.

The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (1993) - Paul Gilroy

  1. The Black Atlantic: Modernity and Double Consciousness (1993) - Paul Gilroy [Amazon.com]
    In "The Black Atlantic" Paul Gilroy constructs an excellent text based on the black diasporic experience. His views of black culture as being a dynamic networked construct based on the idea of the diaspora derived from Jewish culture, is an illuminating concept that contains great substance. Gilroy's underlying transnational humanism (that can be read in his latest pseudo-utopian work "Against Race") and vital rethinking about the perils of cultural nationalism and the urgent benefits of a unique hybrid culture is a thoroughly needed breath in the stasis of linear monocultural thinking. The book functions in an excellent manner in addressing the complex dynamics of slavery, colonization, and their inherent residual effects on black political culture. In addition the method in which Gilroy weaves Adorno, Hendrix, hip-hop culture, Du Bois, Wright, Hegel and a host of others in a clear and eloquent manner is cause for reading in itself. In a nutshell, this is a valuable sociological and philosophical work that creates a rupture in linear, absolutist views of history, sexuality, identity and other various elements in relation to black particularity. In this book Gilroy composes the dynamics of intercultural exchange (whether artistic, political, social, moral etc.) as well as attributing to socialized historical memory through its brilliant text. - martin de leon via amazon.com

The Birth of a Nation (1915) - D.W. Griffith

  1. The Birth of a Nation (1915) - D.W. Griffith [Amazon.com]
    A pivotal moment in film history. After The Birth of a Nation, nothing was the same: not the way audiences watched movies, not the way filmmakers created them. D.W. Griffith's jumbo-size saga of the Civil War expanded the boundaries of storytelling on the screen, conveying a richer, more complicated (and certainly longer) tale than anyone had seen in a movie before. The delicate relationships, the sad passage of time, the spectacular battle scenes all look as fresh and innovative today as they did in 1915. So do Griffith's brilliant actors, most of them--including favorite leading lady Lillian Gish--drawn from his regular stock company. What has become increasingly problematic about The Birth of a Nation is Griffith's condescending attitude toward black slaves, and the ringing excitement surrounding the founding of the Ku Klux Klan. Griffith, whose political ideas were naive at best, seemed genuinely surprised by the criticism of his masterwork, and for his next project he turned to the humanist preaching of the massive Intolerance. Despite protests, Birth sold more tickets than any other movie, a record that stood for decades, and President Woodrow Wilson famously compared it to "history written in lightning." That judgment has lasted. --Robert Horton for Amazon.com

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