oboulonarrative

oboulonarrative - Tal 1 Oded Tal Prof. Astrid Wimmer WRT...

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Tal 1 Oded Tal Prof. Astrid Wimmer WRT 102 Life on eBay Selling a product on ebay can be difficult, especially if nobody wants to buy your product. This was not the case for Keith Obadike, who sold his “blackness” on the auction site, or for John Freyer, who practically put his entire life collection up for bid. Obadike posts a symbolic possession, contrasting Freyer’s more materialistic auctions, yet each seller has a certain point to get across and a mission to accomplish. Whether that goal is achieved or not, we learn through their controversial auction, or eventful journey. We see that in Obadike’s posting of his Blackness that he is merely trying to create awareness and express his dislike for the way his blackness is used, and not put a price tag on a trait of his that has much controversy. With ebay being a very popular website, it is sure that many web surfers would come across this posting. Whether the viewers choose to take the bid seriously or not, that is up to them. However, Obadike uses the auctioning website not to literally sell his Blackness, but to express the meaning of this trait politically. The fact that he is giving an actual certificate of authenticity would only fulfill the requirements of the auction, because in reality, the certificate does not have any value. It seems as if the item up for bid is more for influential purposes, and to inform others of the way the black person is viewed. Obadike uses the most stereotypical and known characteristics of a black person to express the difficulty in being black. Even though he lists the benefits of blackness, they do not have much positivity to them. For example, “This Blackness may be used for instilling fear.” However immoral he is in saying it, most people could not
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Tal 2 disagree with this statement. The warnings he provides, such as “The Seller does not recommend that this Blackness be used while seeking employment” are common disadvantages known to blacks. By giving these warnings and disadvantages, he is demoting the sale of his item, which supports the idea that he is not specifically trying to make money off it, but to instead create awareness on the issue. The price that the item is selling for shows that the attempt was successful, and that many viewers very much did take the posting seriously. After further analysis, we can see that Obadike’s text sums up an issue that is still at large today. The issue of racial profiling has always troubled people, specifically blacks. By “selling” his Blackness on ebay, Obadike is almost creating a joke out of something that cannot be physically given away. However, this oddity also has many serious issues lying underneath its surface.
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This note was uploaded on 04/06/2008 for the course WRT 102 taught by Professor Frost during the Fall '08 term at SUNY Stony Brook.

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oboulonarrative - Tal 1 Oded Tal Prof. Astrid Wimmer WRT...

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