Zero to Blaque: Preliminary Notes, Preparations, and a Groundwork for a Critique of Black Reason
Monroe, Kelvin Jonathan
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This study takes up an intentionally aggressive polemic with what we might call Black Reason. It does so on several registers. The first is that it proceeds from a speculative observation made by comedian Paul Mooney. Vis-à-vis Mooney, we take what I call the figure of Mammy as our point of entry and subsequently our point whereby a reconfiguration of criticality might occur. Thus, in taking Mooney seriously, our thesis therefore proceeds on yet another register: that of the anthropological structures of the imaginary. In other words, to grasp these preliminary procedures we must take, as given, two additional corollary propositions and points of departure: 1) that we exist in an antiblack sociohistorical reality; and 2) that this antiblack sociohistorical reality is a primary feature of Western Modernity. The questions of "why?", "to what avail?", and "what determines its persistence?" are our underscoring imperatives and motives for theoretical combat. Therefore, the species of thought which extends from, precedes, and prefigures the space of Western Modernity, that has also come to predetermine and prefigure the contours of modern subjectivity, must be understood from an entirely different vantage point, if we are to come to terms with what I call the resistance of white supremacy. I propose that the Figure of the Mammy is a centrality to the grounding feature of modern thought and subjectivity yet remain significantly under-theorized due to a prevailing "metaphysical illusion" consisting of, following Lyotard, "treating a presentation like a situation" (The Differend 61). The figure of Mammy, therefore, discloses unexplored avenues into both the poetics of possession and into grasping the extent to which the dominant group's susceptibility to instantiated, assimilatory adaptative, mnemetic regressions/progressions into the order of white supremacist imaginary otherwise threatens the possibility of phenomenological coevality. A further specification presses, finally, that even when symbolic racist thought resists adaptation--primarily through an exclusion of self-consciousness, which also simultaneously evades critical awareness of the assimilative mechanisms (white privilege, anti-racism, and all anti-discursive efflorescence)--and because racist symbols are always products of biopsychic imperatives, symbolic racist thought does not and cannot ignore the adaptative pressures constitutive of its antiblack semantic content.