the only vine that matters
> he’s so perfect
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072813 • came across a mixtape while cleaning my room the other night that someone made for me junior year of high school. ugh. hopeless bittersweet nostalgia. someone please kill me lol 😲
Rather than celebrate Blackness as a cultural identity, Afro-Pessimism theorizes it as a position of accumulation and fungibility (Saidiya Hartman); that is, as condition—or relation—of ontological death. One of the guiding questions of Dr. Wilderson’s engagement with Afro-Pessimism asks, How are the political stakes of analysis and aesthetics raised and altered if we theorize the structural relation between Blacks and Humanity as an antagonism (an irreconcilable encounter) as opposed to a (reconcilable) conflict?
The following question was asked on a graduate student exam for a Critical Theory Seminar, entitled “Sentient Objects and the Crisis of Critical Theory,” that [Frank B. Wilderson] taught Fall Quarter 2006.
Question: Why are the theorists under consideration [in this seminar] called “Afro-Pessimists,” and what characteristics do they have in common?
“Afro-Pessimists are framed as such…because they theorize an antagonism, rather than a conflict—i.e. they perform a kind of ‘work of understanding’ rather than that of liberation, refusing to posit seemingly untenable solutions to the problems they raise.””
Been thinking about this A LOT(via banji-realness)
Every nation has a creation myth, or origin myth, which is the story people are taught of how the nation came into being. Ours says the United States began with Columbus’s so-called “discovery” of America, continued with settlement by brave Pilgrims, won its independence from England with the American Revolution, and then expanded westward until it became the enormous, rich country you see today.
That is the origin myth. It omits three key facts about the birth and growth of the United States as a nation. Those facts demonstrate that White Supremacy is fundamental to the existence of this country.
A. The United States is a nation state created by military conquest in several stages. The first stage was the European seizure of the lands inhabited by indigenous peoples, which they called Turtle Island. Before the European invasion, there were between nine and eighteen million indigenous people in North America. By the end of the Indian Wars, there were about 250,000 in what is now called the United States, and about 123,000 in what is now Canada (source of these population figures from the book _The State of Native America_ ed. by M. Annette Jaimes, South End Press, 1992). That process must be called genocide, and it created the land base of this country. The elimination of indigenous peoples and seizure of their land was the first condition for its existence.
B. The United States could not have developed economically as a nation without enslaved African labor. When agriculture and industry began to grow in the colonial period, a tremendous labor shortage existed. Not enough white workers came from Europe and the European invaders could not put indigenous peoples to work in sufficient numbers. It was enslaved Africans who provided the labor force that made the growth of the United States possible.
That growth peaked from about 1800 to 1860, the period called the Market Revolution. During this period, the United States changed from being an agricultural/commercial economy to an industrial corporate economy. The development of banks, expansion of the credit system, protective tariffs, and new transportation systems all helped make this possible. But the key to the Market Revolution was the export of cotton, and this was made possible by slave labor.
C. The third major piece in the true story of the formation of the United States as a nation was the take-over of half of Mexico by war — today’s Southwest. This enabled the U.S. to expand to the Pacific, and thus open up huge trade with Asia — markets for export, goods to import and sell in the U.S. It also opened to the U.S. vast mineral wealth in Arizona, agricultural wealth in California, and vast new sources of cheap labor to build railroads and develop the economy.
The United States had already taken over the part of Mexico we call Texas in 1836, then made it a state in 1845. The following year, it invaded Mexico and seized its territory under the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. A few years later, in 1853, the U.S. acquired a final chunk of Arizona from Mexico by threatening to renew the war. This completed the territorial boundaries of what is now the United States.
Those were the three foundation stones of the United States as a nation. One more key step was taken in 1898, with the takeover of the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Guam and Cuba by means of the Spanish-American War. Since then, all but Cuba have remained U.S. colonies or neo-colonies, providing new sources of wealth and military power for the United States. The 1898 take-over completed the phase of direct conquest and colonization, which had begun with the murderous theft of Native American lands five centuries before.
Many people in the United States hate to recognize these truths. They prefer the established origin myth. They could be called the Premise Keepers.”