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richardmurray

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  1. now0.png

    My thoughts as I read EUgen Bacon's prose, titled, An Earnest Blackness


    I Quote Bacon in brackets


    <Decades after the ground-breaking work of speculative authors such as Toni Morrison, Samuel R. Delany, and Octavia Butler, Black speculative fiction is more visible and more thriving than ever. Through invented worlds and technologies, and incursions of the supernatural or the uncanny, more and more Black speculative fiction authors are offering stories of curiosity, diversity and hope, possibilities, probabilities, even dire warnings about our place in the universe. >


    Near a century after the work of Zora NEale Hurston, Alice Dunbar Nelson, Langston Hughes or many others,  Black fiction creators are , to paraphrase Hughes, in vogue again. It must be comprehended, the reason why Black fiction is more visible or black fiction creators are thriving more today is not because Black owned media venues are providing the avenues to such growth. It is because of white owned media venues allowing black creators the chance. Never forget, the Nat King Cole show by the standards when it ran was the most listened to program, but the show couldn't find a sponsor. That ends my point about the issue being white media outlet owners changing their views, not black creators doing anything different.
    I am happy for Toni Morrison or Octavia Butler or any black artists gaining or growing in fame before or after death. And I comprehend Bacon wants to emphasize the now very much in this prose. 
    I will question how eager he is to promote the now with alternative history. I quote him in brackets


    < And now, more than ever, people of colour are increasingly adopting Black speculative fiction — in stories of possibility — so they too can surrender to the air, and ride it. >


    More than ever? Historically he is by default false. Before the Islamic|Christian|European|White imperial movements against Black people of Africa|Asia|America Black people were emersed in Black cultures. To rephrase bluntly, before white people's imperial agendas enslaved black people's , Black people were totally emersed in Black speculative fiction through the various myths, legends, tales of the various people. 
    One of the biggest walls Black fiction creators, moreover all black artists, have to destroy is the wall of black equaling africa. I quote Bacon. 


    < Black speculative fiction, often featuring a Black protagonist, gives voice to the complex and varied experiences of African and Afro-descendant peoples. What Africa means above all is diversity, with its 54 countries, its many languages—including Swahili, Amharic, Yoruba, Oromo, Hausa, Igbo, Zulu, Shona, and over 2000 more—and its 1.126 billion people. And that’s just on the continent, before you factor in the diaspora, which—as in the African Speculative Fiction Society definition—refers to people whose ancestors migrated or were snatched from the African continent, and includes anyone of African descent in Europe, North America, South America, Asia, the Antarctica, Australia, Oceania and elsewhere. Black speculative fiction confronts the colonial gaze which tries to see only uniformity and sameness.  >


    What is black? Black is many things. Concerning race,  Black is a phenotypical label. What is a phenotypical label? it is a label referring to appearance, or how one looks. The Black  protagonists should do more than give voice to african or afro-descended black peoples. why? not all africans are black. Before european conquest not all africans were black. All black people were never african. The Carib of the caribbean, the Cree of the southeastern area of modern day U.S.A., the negrito of south east asia, the aborigine of australia, are black while none are african. His definition above neglects participation by Black people's who are not afro descended or of a diaspora from africa. And don't be cute reader, the progression of humanity before the modern phenotypes began, can not be used; by that reasoning all human beings are not african, all humans beings are ethiopian. So, please. 
    Black is greater than african. African is not only black. Said truths are the weapons to get through the wall of black equaling african, a similar wall suggest white equals european. Each artist will relate to said walls in their own work. All I can do is hope Black artists globally cognize the walls exist and use the tools to bust through them. 
    Lastly, the word is multiversity, not diversity. Diversity means a thing of two spaces, a dichotomy like white and black. But multiversity means a thing of many spaces, at least two or to infinity. his prose after the quote immediately above prove my point.


    Bacon showcases work for the next section of the prose. I fully support anyone buying the work of these various artists:in the story collection tales of Wakanda, Okungbowa whose work I wish Ousmane Sembene could make into film, 
    I must say the star trekian prime directive foreign policy of Wakanda, originally written by a white man, is one of the most dysfunctional elements in a fiction work. Why? More than Killmonger's speech of where da Wakandans at... what Black people can watch the black villages right outside their borders, somewhere around the modern day Congo forest, be taken completely by whomever. Wakandan's literally watched all their neighbors taken. More than where the Wakandans at, the question is, how the Wakandans can watch that. Is it like the purge television thing?


    The following sector deals with colonialism and its influences. He quotes Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o. I will provide a partial quote in brackets.  You have to read the article for the entire quote.


    <We spoke Gĩkũyũ in the fields. We spoke Gĩkũyũ in and outside the home. I can vividly recall those evenings of storytelling around the fireside. It was mostly the grown-ups telling the stories but everybody was interested and involved. We children would re-tell the stories the following day to other children… >


    Earlier in my prose I used the word imperial. Colonialism is about the effects of a potential or true empire has on a conquest. The word provence comes from the Roman empire; their first conquest was called the provence, and after that all they dominated had that label. So much so that the word survived after the roman empire , in my view, died with the end of the ottoman empire. 
    Why do I say this? I will quote Bacon again in brackets


    <wa Thiong’o asks crucial questions and contributes to the fight against colonialism, which robs the colonised of name, language, community and value.   Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o’s Decolonising the Mind is a firm but earnest conversation many a once-colonised people will understand. Colonialism turns diversity into division and strife (divide and rule is a colonialist dictum), and fosters violent instability. Colonialism operates both in the external world, and in the mind, stripping away language, community and culture, where culture is food, family, clothing, housing, belief, ways of doing, ways of seeing.  > 


    When you look at the French people, before the Roman conquest of Gaul they were called the gauls. It would take one of the phase shifts of the roman empire and the commonly called viking community in the Gaul to create the French.  That alone proves the first point, and that is in a european historical context. Let alone, the conglomeration of Black African governments that today are called Cote d'Ivoire or Ivory coast or similar none White or European examples. 
    But he makes a second assertion I wish Thiong'o will reply to. Do Empires turn the multiversity in their conquest into multivision or strife? That is a big question. I can safely say that empires will breed strife/segregation/negative integration into potential conquest or current conquest to maintain or have power. BUT, do empires initiate it by default as Bacon suggest Thion'o states? I am not certain. 
    Look at Yugoslavia, from the Soviet Empire. When the Soviet empire fell, Yugoslavia broke apart but the truth is, the Yugoslav people were never one people. The Soviet empire chose to call them one people. In the same way, Black or White or Native people in the USA are cheaply called American , as if all three peoples are seamlessly on the same page. Many empires like to suggest multiveristy is oneness, when in truth it isn't and the strife between people's is more inevitable than empire craft.


    Bacon ends with a very honest or truthful note. I will only amend, Birth of a Nation from Griffith is speculative fiction too. And like the Black Panther, it proves that entertaining the audience with the storytelling , is more important to the vitality of the artists as a laborer than their cultural presentation. 


    https://vector-bsfa.com/2021/06/06/an-earnest-blackness/?fbclid=IwAR1-w81USqJekEqj5sBGdLNA8u0CHyuupUUQtRJl87gH0mTSvm9DLZgwO-I
     

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