Friday, October 16, 2009

Black Identity Dystrophic Syndrome

In my cyberspace journeys, I've encountered a palpable mass of African-American angst over 'our' state-of-affairs. Most of this angst I've experienced through politically-oriented bloggers whom I'll presume to have the best intentions at heart.

The archetype of the blogger in question appears to be terminally bourgeois: suburban, between 28-50 yrs. of age, college-educated, and economically middle-to-upper middle class (extrapolating from the % of Af-Ams with high-speed Internet access and avid consumers of webcentric content, i.e.; blogs, podcasts, streaming, etc.). I find it interesting that many of these bloggers are journalists -- or maybe better described as journalistic types -- aspiring toward celebrity punditry. Many are also partisan, if not profoundly influenced and directed by eurocentric populism. I suppose by some perverse accident of education and technology, the bloggers have come to see themselves as DuBois' Tenth with attitude. They're intent on saving Blacks from ourselves, regardless of whether we want to be saved or if the crises they see are real.

Discussions unfold within largely American neoconservative constructs; that unholy marriage of laissez-faire capitalism to Puritan imagery. The issues are framed and analyzed accordingly. Economic, cultural and political issues are usually presented in emotional stereotypes, e.g.; 'gangsta' rap's negative affectations, without much thought given to context. Individually, some of these concerns have legitimacy. Sometimes. More often then not, they're spun into a neurotic tapestry that's meant to represent Why We're in The Shape We Are.

Iraq. Education. Poverty. Art. Jesse Jackson. Michael Jackson. All subjects along with others argued in terms of what's right and proper for 'Black' people without an empirical notion of what constitutes Blackness. Or, success. It's almost as if this Afroneterati class is instinctively repulsed by the gritty details self-determination imply. So, identity for Af-Ams remains a commodity defined by the outside. 'We' don't know who 'we' are.

I've invented a name for this malady: Black Identity Dystrophic Syndrome, or BIDS. Tucker's Disease.  Buppies are the largest group so infected, followed by Uncle Toms/Aunt Jemimas and Coons. Symptoms of BIDS include retrostalgia (a yearning to revisit a time/place that's never existed), consumerism, cultural dissonance, psychological and physiological addictions, and cultish behaviors. BIDS does not pose a imminent threat to an infected party's physical health, but should be considered a factor that negatively affects stress levels. However, the prognosis for self-consciousness is good-to-excellent for patients introduced to human diversity in its many combinations.

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