Friday, July 20, 2012

Black History Month and Commerce

I wrote this months ago–it's most complicated. Most persons are not going to be interested in this. It is so complicated. The subjects are so complicated -- not to mention "taboo/sensitive." I had put it aside. But I came back. I always do. Here it is, then, it's culture studies.
     I entered the book store zone. And, the first thing that I saw on entering the Book sTore ZOne was the Black BOOK Store Zone: a display of Afro-powered black books. The meaning of this display of books? That “February be Black History month”, so every item on that display is black. Items suitable for the display table have a direct connection to “black.” This is clear.
     Everything black is represented; it goes from the criminal, i.e. the man who has a “hellhound on my trail,” to a Southern Cooking book, that one's by the Neelys. (Now Paula Deen wrote the intro to it, but I guess that doesn’t count. The book is still black.)

    Overall, it’s a very white society; (Isn’t it?) Then the fantasy of shopping or the fantasy called "having a lot of fun reading books" must be a fantasy that we are having in a white society – a white fantasy.  What does it mean to announce a policy of equality, towards blacks, in a White Fantasia?

     It is  an “interior” kind of equality.

     Now, “equality” was announced some 45 years ago when we were all “converted” by M.L.K. jr., and the display itself re-“announces” the policy already initiated 45 years ago.
     Does this acceptance of black books (or we could say their prominent display) mean that there is equality; or, that the bookstore is promoting equality?

     If it is a intent to promote equality in an interior fashion, then for the store's display department to create a museum-like piece displaying a profound equality, of African, black Americans and white Americans means that one has created an interior world. Do the act (or the store, or the manager, or the display's creative artist, or the act or policy itself) want to act “as if” there is equality, i.e. as an interior fantasy, or do these persons actually want to promote something in real life? It is a tricky question, since the store display is, after all, a real thing, in a store, that reflects certain cultural and commercial facts. What is the significance of the word “promote,” or "announce"? Are they promoting an exterior idea, a fact, a material reality, or an interior idea? Do they want to promote it in an interior fashion or in the world, meaning the real world? What is the meaning of promoting an interior “reality,” a fantasy?

     I’ll tell you what it means. It means subjectivity. 

     No one can judge another’s interior dimension. 

     The equality is mostly interior.

1 comment:

  1. Questions here are: what does it mean to "announce"? What does it mean to "display"?
    Q: what were the Founders "declare" -ing? Were they announcing human rights and Liberty or were they declaring independence from Britain? The Declaration seems to have been a political act, directed at Britain, and an act of rhetoric, aimed at their fellow colonists --- soon to no longer be colonists at all...