Subsidized Seperatism Response

Subsidized Seperatism Response - Excerpted from Robert...

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The foundation of this long tirade is Wilson's insistence on black culture, particularly black theatre, not only as an unparallelled achievement but also a singular and discrete experience of life. It is an experience that cannot be fully absorbed or understood by white people, much less criticized by them: "We cannot allow others to have authority over our cultural and spiritual products," he says. "We need to develop guidelines for the protection of our cultural property, our contributions and the influence they accrue." Whites and blacks can occupy the same country, but they cannot occupy the same ground. "Where is the common ground in the horrifics of lynching? Where is the common ground in the policeman's bullet? Where is the common ground in the hull or the deck of a slave ship . . . ?" He describes "black conduct and manners as part of a system that is fueled by its own philosophy, mythology. history, creative motif, social organization and ethos." He deplores the presence of a black actor in a non-black play, standing on the stage "as part of a social milieu that has denied him his gods, his humanity, his mores, his ideas of himself and the world he lives in. . . ." Indeed, he considers the very idea of an all- black production of Death of a Salesman to be "an assault on our presence . . . an insult to our intelligence." This is the language of self-segregation. At times, it is true, Wilson is willing to concede that blacks and whites breathe the same air and partake of certain "commonalities" of culture. Among these "commonalities" he mentions food, though even that admission is weirdly exclusionary. Black people have had to be satisfied with the leavings of the pig. Yet, blacks and whites "share a common experience with the pig as opposed to say Muslims and Jews, who do not share that experience." (Black Muslims? Reform Jews?) It is also true that, in the rolling cadences that bring his speech to its climax, Wilson concedes the American theatre's power to "inform about the human condition, its power to heal, its power to hold the mirror as were up to nature, its power to uncover the truths we wrestle from uncertain and sometimes unyielding realities." Even this boiler-plate rhetoric, however, for all its afterthought references to the unifying nature of the theatre, fails to compensate for the divisive nature of his remarks. Perhaps some future student of syntax will analyze how Wilson's vacillating use of the word "we" in the same paragraph (first inclusive: "We have to do it together," then exclusive: "We are brave and we are boisterous") betrays his ambivalent sense of American identity. This ambivalence makes for some confusing assertions. "We are black
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Subsidized Seperatism Response - Excerpted from Robert...

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