Outrage Culture at the Nexus of Blackness

I’m not exactly what you’d call pro-black.  I mean, my girlfriend is a white lady.  But I do have a connection with my blackness, or who I am as a black person, and what my history is.  And in keeping with maintaining that connection, I follow blogs/news sites like AfroPunk and Black Atheists.  My favorite thing about AfroPunk in particular is that I’m consistently exposed to the kind of black people that are not often depicted in rap videos, movies, and television shows (though, I’ll admit television has come a long way in presenting less gangster, I think vastly more realistic lives of people of color).  I mean, I’m a hardcore nerd.  I love anime, I love rock music (actually, almost every kind of music), I play chess for fun, read fantasy novels (and am currently in the process of writing one of my own, where the hero is a black guy), play video games, watch science documentaries, etc.  Hell, my gf is even planning on taking me to the Fan Expo in Dallas in April, and if I dress up, it’s probably going to be Steampunk cosplay.

I’m not exactly pro-black, but I have been subject to, and have fought against, racism and stereotypes.  My least favorite stereotype is that of the intelligent, maybe odd or queer black man being somehow “the whitest black person” a lot of white people I know have ever been exposed to, as if somehow whiteness equates to intelligence and interest in shit other than basketball and hip hop.  I identify with the struggles of a lot of black people, from being detained and/or arrested for walking while black (that’s not hyperbole, either) to being called a nigger (never to my face because I’m like 6’5”) and having any number of racially charged stereotypes leveled at me.  I agree with many of the arguments that black people’s representation in the media is a bit lackluster.  I mean, black people are still underrepresented in major media award ceremonies, still underrepresented in the news, and our stories are normally only told when one of us is unarmed and being murdered by cops or else committing some sort of crime.

There is one trend I have been noticing, lately.  Black people are becoming more and more like their SJW counterparts, giving in to what I’d call manufactured outrage.

Recently, on the AfroPunk site, I read this article about how black people are presented in Black Mirror.  The following sums up the article:

…the writers of the show don’t care about the future of Black people, having created a future world in which Black people exist in the same monolithic box to which we have already been relegated in real life today.

Black Mirror Season 4, Ep 6: Black Museum

See, I’ve watched all the seasons of Black Mirror, and I didn’t have a problem with how black people were portrayed in the series.  In fact, what I appreciated was that black people weren’t portrayed any differently than anybody else.  I mean, for God’s sake, a white politician was forced to fuck a pig in Season 3’s episode National Anthem.  Yeah, there were some elements of what the author of the article termed “black torture porn,” but that seems to insinuate the creators of the show are getting off on torturing black people.  I could buy that they are getting off on scenes of torture of all kinds of people brought on by our inevitable misuse of technology, but that would be a stretch.  Isn’t obvious to any of you watching the show that what the creators are portraying is the future we are currently facing, where technology tends to lead to unfavored outcomes because, let’s face it, we’re much too immature a species to be able to handle the rate of growth of our technological prowess?  Of course not all of the episodes have a dismal outcome.  I mean, just take a look at San Junipero from Season 4.  A black woman had a happy ending.  The black woman in the final episode of season four got her revenge on the evil white man who sought to make money off the torture of her father’s digital spirit.

Here’s my point: we’ve a lot of things to be outraged about.  The portrayals of black people in various episodes of Black Mirror isn’t one of them.  And maybe it’s the fact that I’m with a white woman and have failed to walk around in a dashiki denouncing white people as the spawn of Satan that blinds me to how Black Mirror might make some black people feel, but I think this just isn’t the battle we should be trying to wage.  From denouncing a white professor as racist because he refused to take a day off of work to distorting the context of a show most of us enjoy, these are not the fights that are going to help us.  Just like with the #MeToo movement, the potential is there for us to pick the wrong fight and invalidate our own legitimate points in the face of a white power base that still has a lot of work to do to reform its racist ways.

Maybe I’m wrong.  What are your thoughts?


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