They had the shades pulled down over the art gallery windows at Brazosport College. This meant ‘controversial’. Some could find the subject matter ‘offensive’.
I had seen the flyers for the exhibit “The Unbearable Whiteness of Being” by Joe Small on the bulletin boards. With that title and that picture and the drawn curtains- and todays climate- I expected shocking, provocative things.
What I found was a mild level of hate that could be termed contempt- pretty much appropriate for a red state Conservative community college. Ultra-violent and ultra- left wing will not fly here- yet. Along with a dose of the usual stereotypical racist generalizations about ‘privileged’ ‘whiteness’ people.
There were photos in the same vein of our shave cream boy. Also, several mirror-etching hologram-type things. Photos have always been semi-art, but computer programmed laser etchings just don’t seem like art to me, but I digress. As you walked past the blank white mirror thing, the changing light pattern first revealed some random unpleasant looking white person, then morphs into a Confederate flag. Brilliant. The message: Ideally, white people should be unobtrusive and indistinguishable, but if you do happen to catch a glimpse of one- know beyond all doubt you are seeing a vile racist. One who has incurable ‘whiteness’.
When I decided to write about Mr. Smalls’ art, a brief generalized online search of him and his exhibit did not turn up much about him personally, except I discovered he isn’t actually a Brazosport College student, but his little exhibit was making the college circuit. Interesting.
So, rather than see art from a BC art student, or other student, which is my assumption when I go to the BC art gallery, instead we are just as likely to see propaganda.
Once again, I wasn’t too inclined to investigate, but this wasn’t some local scholar expressing inane youthful folly- no, in a rich touch of irony, propaganda masquerading as art, a construct created by a construct- Joe Small- who doesn’t exist.
Homepage for “Joe Small” exhibit along with snippet from thesis 2011 The thesis summary- complete nonsense and insanity. I don’t say this because I don’t like the subject matter or am offended. There isn’t even anything coherent or logical about it to be offensive. It offends commonsense, thats all.
One or more persons, possessing the authority and trust to do so, actively played a role in ensuring the students of Brazosport College were exposed to this, ‘provocative exhibit’. That’s the point.
I know exactly where this ‘whiteness’ construct comes from, and what it really means.
There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro race before the public. Having learned that they are able to make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs-partly because they want sympathy and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances, because they do not want to lose their jobs.- Booker T. Washington, 1903.
In other words, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, Spike Lee have been around for a LONG time.
I once worked with a particularly annoying black guy. He had a very low opinion of white people, and did not have a problem letting people know he did not like white people. Whatever. It was a big place and it wasn’t hard to avoid such people. However, one day I managed to get a lecture from him on my way to the shop. His factoid on this particular day involved the fact that all white women secretly wished to be raped by a black man. When time for comment came, I told him I had heard quite a few things from him through the years, and an argument could be made that he was a racist.
He then told me that black people cannot be racists, because they are ‘oppressed people’. He truly seemed to believe this. I pointed out that me and him, white and black, had the same job title and made the same amount of money.
A generation after the Civil Rights movement, in the 1980’s, we had reached a point where racial differences were dwindling. Michael Jackson and sister Janet were the biggest. Prince was too. At the movies, two of the biggest comedy stars were Richard Pryor and Eddie Murphy. Hip hop became mainstream. Headlined by ‘Cosby’, blacks took a prominent role on television. Oprah became a day time force.
CEO’s, politicians, journalism and academia were now open to blacks. The black middle class swelled. The ‘opression’ narrative began to collapse. With the election of Barack Obama, the myth was busted.
It was now necessary to revise the narrative, to find a way to continue the notion that somehow, the evil White man was still maintaining that unfair, historically exploitive advantage over his fellow man of color. Out of the ashes of black oppression rose ‘white privilege’.
Proponents of this rhetoric- like the gender-benders- consider the conceptualization of race as a social construct to be some enlightened, higher philosophy. It is not. It is a validation of hate, and a justification for perpetual racial strife. For these abstract racists, ‘Whiteness’ is a vile condition, and there is no cure.
I had this discussion, and what is amazing is the anti-dote to white privilege is identical to black oppression.
“You have white privilege. That gives you advantage”.
“You have the same job as me and make the same money. I’m glad you were here to point it out, otherwise I might have missed it.”
I guess thats part of the privilege- we got people to point it out.
Privilege is in the eyes of the beholder.
Those who can make you believe absurdities, can make you commit atrocities- Voltaire
If we don’t defend the right to be offensive now, it will be too late when we are left begging a random judge not to lock us up for anything the government deems offensive- Simon Black