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Black Ops

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Sure, I think that choosing from only optimism and pessimism it is best to be a pessimist. Optimists can occasionally be blinded by their optimism and be totally ignorant to certain things. If you ONLY focus on the positive you block out the negative and become more susceptible to getting screwed over in society. Optimism is a shaky road because it is tangled with new age crap that leads to "blinding optimism" in which people simply don't focus on bad things.

 

Pessimists can more easily accept the negative parts of life and can then get over them. This repetition of focus on the negative will allow them to better evaluate them. They will then come to the realization that suffering and bad things are inevitable and that they can overcome them. Pessimism also makes better critical thinkers because they will always be mindful of the bad and potential ways their plans can fail so they have the knowledge to prepare for more.

 

A new study came out which shows that pessimists have better health than optimists and prepare for more potential problems with their health because they know that things can always go wrong. Meaning pessimists live longer.

 

**Note** All of these paragraphs are coming from the assumption that I may only choose pessimism or optimism without any middle ground or implications.

 

sources: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/think-well/201101/why-optimism-can-be-bad-your-mental-health

http://jezebel.com/5987868/oh-cruel-world-being-a-pessimist-might-make-you-live-longer

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No one agrees with me, but Black Ops was a pretty chill game in my opinion

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I'm like 100% certain that ARGogage meant the afro-optimistic work of Fred Moten. The thing is that despite hearing about this article, I can literally not find any work of his actually titled Black Ops, except for a citation on Google Scholar. I have his book The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study that he wrote with Stefano Harney but that's it, and I've been realy interested in learning about the afro-op side of the contemporary critical race debates. Any links?

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Sure, I think that choosing from only optimism and pessimism it is best to be a pessimist. Optimists can occasionally be blinded by their optimism and be totally ignorant to certain things. If you ONLY focus on the positive you block out the negative and become more susceptible to getting screwed over in society. Optimism is a shaky road because it is tangled with new age crap that leads to "blinding optimism" in which people simply don't focus on bad things.

 

Pessimists can more easily accept the negative parts of life and can then get over them. This repetition of focus on the negative will allow them to better evaluate them. They will then come to the realization that suffering and bad things are inevitable and that they can overcome them. Pessimism also makes better critical thinkers because they will always be mindful of the bad and potential ways their plans can fail so they have the knowledge to prepare for more.

 

A new study came out which shows that pessimists have better health than optimists and prepare for more potential problems with their health because they know that things can always go wrong. Meaning pessimists live longer.

 

**Note** All of these paragraphs are coming from the assumption that I may only choose pessimism or optimism without any middle ground or implications.

 

sources: http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/think-well/201101/why-optimism-can-be-bad-your-mental-health

http://jezebel.com/5987868/oh-cruel-world-being-a-pessimist-might-make-you-live-longer

Were talkin bout race studies in here

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I think Sexton is probably right that Black Optimism and Pessimism are the same thing, or at least that they both find expression in embracing the incoherence of the black body.  Edouard Glissant takes a Deleuzian approach to racism and the middle passage, so his work would probably be relevant for this discussion

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Edouard Glissant takes a Deleuzian approach to racism and the middle passage, so his work would probably be relevant for this discussion

I can't really find this, where is it/what is it called?

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What is the value of black lived experience?

 

 

EDIT: from the the perspective of race theory

Edited by ARGogate

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testing...

 

 

The basic problem I have with pessimism is that agentive power/social life is always viewed as a fundamental tenet of antiblackness (or whiteness). If black bodies are socially dead in relation to white bodies, then what does black social life look like? What does it mean for blackness if its ontological status cannot hold meaning outside whiteness. When we talk about embracing "incoherence," does this mean blackness can never be coherent (even in relation to other blackness)?

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I think Akash raises important "solvency" questions about the "alt" on anti-blackness, but I think the question can be disposed of with impact turns to "pessimism" as a method.

 

Pessimism sees social death as total, and totally outside of Black control. While racism is both undeniable and pervasive, the totalizing part of that claim overdetermines Black identity (which is violent) and reinscribes anti-blackness by naturalizing it (which is unethical). A debate analog with which most people are familiar is the Gibson-Graham cards that answer orthodox Marx cap kritiks - their argument is that subjectivities are not pre-set, determined and divinely administered, but instead constantly being developed and cultivated through socially iterated behaviors. Gibson-Graham argue that these creates the possibility for micro-economies of anti-capitalism inside of capitalism (such as Israel's Kibbutz).

 

Even if the society is broadly capitalist, it can have anti-capitalist moments within it that affect the way you approach the alt. Do you attempt to build on those moments, or do you define them as impossible and demand something else?

The same is true of anti-blackness. While obviously insufficient to overcome the whole of anti-blackness, movements like the Black panthers and similar Black liberation movements created spaces in which Blackness as Blackness was human - and perhaps the only form of humanity. 

 

I read an interesting article that makes a relevant point (source here). The Black police officer in Colorado who infiltrated the KKK talks about meeting Stokely Carmichael, and suggests that Blackness as Blackness was cognizable:


You got your shot as an undercover because Stokely Carmichael, the Black Panther leader, was coming to town. What can you tell me about that episode?
They were concerned about his fiery and bombastic rhetoric and his ability to raise the masses through his use of words, so I was asked if I wanted to go undercover in the black night club that was hosting him. They knew that I wanted to do undercover work. That was my opportunity. I was given that special assignment, which I eagerly took.

I went undercover in the night club, with lots of apprehensions about whether I would be recognized, given the time I'd been in uniform. Naturally I had butterflies in my stomach. That's something everybody goes through when they're working a new assignment, especially when they're trying to keep their identity from being recognized. It all came very naturally to me. I found myself at various times caught up in Stokely's rhetoric—what he was saying, as a black man, made a lot of sense to me. I found myself caught up in the hype of what he was saying. At various times when everybody was responding, yelling, "Right on brother! Black power!" I found myself caught up in it too and would jump up and yell, "Black Power!" But then I'd think, You're supposed to be working this fool! You're supposed to be undercover.

But you were able to get in and out without being detected?
After Stokely finished his speech, he got a round of rousing applause, and there was a reception line there to greet him. I got in the line. It was barely seven years or so earlier that I had been watching him on TV when in high school. This was a piece of living contemporary black history, American history for me, and I wanted to meet him. So I got in the reception line and shook his hand.

I asked him, "Brother Stokely, do you honestly believe there is going to be a war between blacks and whites and they're going to kill people?" He leaned in and said, "Brother, the war is coming, and we're going to have to kill white people." Then he said, "Thank you, brother." I walked out, and that was my brief moment with a living piece of black history.

These microcosms of Blackness suggest that there is no monolithic thing "civil society", and what we call "civil society" instead refers to assemblage of microcosms of agency which sum to form the power of whiteness. An analogy is a chain - chains are strong and can be enormous, but fundamentally they're just groups of links.

The strategy for fighting anti-blackness changes if anti-blackness is monolithic, or like links. If links can be removed, substituted, and replaced then the chains of power in our society aren't fundamentally or permanently white (or any color) - they are the color we make them. While it's undeniably true that our society "makes" power white, that's sort of the point - it is what we make of it. The more we "make" it accessible to Black bodies, the more it is. An example from film studies, where most of the antiblackness scholarship debate cites is academically housed (source here). Lupita Nyong'o, a Black actress with a masters from Yale, talks about what led her to the role for which she won an Oscar (in her debut performance)

 

 â€œWhat actually did it for me was watching ‘The Color Purple’. When I saw Whoopi Goldberg and she looked like me and I thought, ‘Oh! I could do this’. – Lupita Nyong’o 

“Ma!! theres a Black Woman on TV and she ain’t no maid!!!†– Whoopi Goldberg, as a young girl upon seeing Nichelle Nichols as Lt. Uhura on ‘Star Trekâ€

The power of Blackness snowballed - the door Nichelle Nichols opened gave Whoopi Goldberg the chance to be successful and Lupita Nyong'o the chance to be wildly successful.

Pessimistic views write these successes off as fleeting, insignificant, and insubstantial. Do you think Lupita would characterize her Oscar that way? Would Whoopi say her realization that Black women could be more than maids was "insignificant"? I doubt it. There's a mistake in equating "small" with "meaningless".  

The above strongly supports a normative objection to pessimist approaches anti-Blackness on the grounds that such approaches marginalize successes and eliminate viable alternative approaches. The second prong of my argument - that pessimist views overdetermine Black agency - is an independent reason to reject pessimism. 

Later in the article about the KKK, Ron Stallworth (the undercover cop) suggests that it was possible for him to exercise power and agency as a Black body, even in a racist society:

 


Did you ever fear for your own safety?
The only time I was apprehensive about this falling apart was on January 10, 1979, when David Duke—the grand wizard—came into town. I describe it in my book as the "camera showdown." I had been talking to Duke on the phone periodically, and I had been talking to a gentleman by the name of Fred Wilkens—he was the Colorado grand dragon, the state leader. Duke came into town for a recruiting trip, and was going to be addressing print and television media. During the course of the morning of his arrival, my chief of police contacted me and told me he wanted me to be David Duke's bodyguard during his stay in town. We had been getting death threats.

Was your commander trying to get under Duke's skin, so to speak, by assigning you to guard him, or what?
No, I was the only one available in the intelligence division. I argued with the chief over the fact that I had this investigation going on and putting me in close contact with David Duke and these people could jeopardize the entire thing because they might recognize my voice. He said he was willing to take that chance and didn't want anything happening to Duke while he was in his city.

So I saluted and went to the steakhouse where Duke was having a luncheon. Fred Wilkins and David Duke were there, and then there was a gentleman by the name of Charles or Chuck Howarth—he was head of the ultra-right-wing group Posse Comitatus. They were big pains in our collective police butts in Colorado. It was the forerunner of what later became the militia movement in America. I introduced myself to David Duke, told him I was a detective assigned to be his bodyguard because of threats made against him. I said that I did not believe in his political philosophy or ideology but I was a professional and would do anything within my means to make sure he got out safe from my city. He thanked me very cordially, very graciously—he shook my hand, even gave me the Klan handshake. He didn't know that I knew it but he gave me the Klan handshake. He was pleased, as was the local organizer. And then I asked him for a picture. I said, "Mr. Duke, nobody will ever believe me if I told them I was your bodyguard, would you mind taking a picture with me?" He said, "No, not at all." I gave the camera to Chuck, the white Ron Stallworth, and stood between David Duke and the grand dragon. I put my arm on both their shoulders, and the grand dragon thought it was funny, but David Duke was offended—he pushed my arm away. He said, "I'm sorry, I can't be seen in a photo with you like that." I said to Chuck, "When you hear me say three, snap the photo."

I said one, two, and on the count of three put my hand back on David Duke's shoulder and Chuck snapped the photo. And at that moment David Duke ran away from me and tried to grab the camera from Chuck's hand. I was half a step quicker than Duke, and when he reached over to grab the camera from my hand, I looked at him and said, "If you touch me, I'll arrest you for assault on a police officer. Don't do it." Duke stopped dead in his tracks and we had a staredown. All of his entourage stopped smiling and they stared at me. It seemed like forever but was probably only three to five seconds that were staring at each other, but at that precise moment the grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan knew the meaning of a black man having control over him because I owned him—I was his nightmare: I was a nigger with a badge, and I controlled his destiny and he knew it.

It's important to note that Stallworth's claim to agency does not deny racism. It's possible to acknowledge macro-racism (as Stallworth does) without simultaneously eliminating Black micropolitical agency - in this case, the ability to hurt one of the most powerful racists in the country, David Duke. Had Stallworth taken the pessimist view, he would never thrown his arm around Duke in surprise, nor ever resisted when Duke tried to take the camera. But because Stallworth did not take the pessimist view, saw an opportunity to exercise his agency and did so to his (and others') material benefit.

 

tl;dr pessimism bad 

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Snarf, while i largely agree with you, I think the problem with the more oprimistic narrative is that too many people take the micro-examples you highlight and say "good thing we don't have racism any more" and pat themselves on the back for being such tolerant chums.  I think everyone here agrees that racism and anti-blackness are huge issues but many people see "there's a black movie star" or "a black cop made fun of a KKK leader" and think that means we live in a 100% tolerant society.  Micro is significant but shouldn't cloud out the importance of the macro (I don't think you do that but i've seen it happen).

 

Conversely, i find it fascinating (and disturbing) that our society freaks out over microsms of racism (donald sterling, Cliven Bundy) but largely ignores or shrugs off larger structural issues (prisons, wage gaps, schooling, War on Drugs).  There was a fantastic article i read  (which i sadly can't find) that discussed how overblown some basketball coach being racist is in the face of actually disadvantages to minorities.

 

tl;dr Material factors and macro-structures are still important.  Or maybe I've just been reading too much orthodox marxism

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I don't think (and correct me if I'm wrong) that the "you historicize racism" arguement works very well because pessimists say that kind of thinking is inherently part of civil society.

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Is this the "black ops" article referenced? lucian.uchicago.edu/blogs/politicalfeeling/files/2007/12/moten-black-optimism.doc

 

Also, I'm sorry, but I honestly don't know what the difference between afro optimism/pessimism is (sorry, ARGogate). From what I gather from this thread and the scant amount of research I did, pessimism sees "society" (at least Western society) as fundamentally flawed and built upon exploitation of the "black body", which is a category that can never be changed. As a result, pessimism says we need to "burn down" the state/society/culture and start anew. Optimism, from what I gather, also says that society exploits the black body, but this is not a necessary characteristic of society and can be changed from within, without having to burn down everything.

 

If that's the case (and someone correct me if it isn't), then on first glance, I would have to side with optimism. If we can say that society has lessened oppression against the black body over time, then there seems to be some truth that it's not fundamentally broken, and I think that history shows that this has happened. However, even if this is accepted, it's possible for there to be some amount of anti-blackness that can never be eliminated in this society unless we totally start over. That, however, is not something that is unequivocally agreed upon, and that raises the question of whether it is okay to start over everything in order to lessen what could possibly be a small amount of oppression necessary to the current system and sacrifice what people currently have (I'll clarify here that I don't mean that right now there's only a small amount of oppression; I'm saying it's possible that most of that could be eliminated to reveal that there's a small amount that can never be eliminated unless we start over). The comparison that I have in mind is when slavery had already been established in the US; a lot of people recognized that it was wrong, but some thought that abolition would make things worse because the slaves were already in this condition of servitude. As a result, some people justified continuation of slavery by saying that it should never have happened, but now that we have it, we should continue it because it's best for everyone.

 

And that leads me to my question: what does destruction of current society even mean? Does it mean literal burning, with fire, of the evil institutions that perpetuate this oppression? Does it mean that we would have to have a war akin to the civil war (I know it wasn't just about slavery, but the point stands). Or does it mean that we destroy society as defined as the parts of culture that are inherently oppressive but leave the rest intact? What is this society which we target in the first place?

 

Again, I may be way off kilter with what any of this means. There may be volumes of work that answer my question, but I haven't seen it.

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Nobody's an expert, I started this thread in an effort to get the cx community (including myself) thinking about the actual tenets of antiblackness beyond "burn the world."

 

As far as I can tell, optimism and pessimism differ in their approach to defining blackness. Pessimists argue that black bodies are always already socially dead. Optimists argue for blackness as an alternative route to agentive power that recognizes black agency while attempting to avoid a definition of blackness that cannot escape whiteness (see above posts).

 

When race theorists argue for the destruction of society, I'm like 99% sure they want to overturn this idea of a "civil society" that has been defined as antiblack. Even the name implies a fundamental behavior - civility - which is characteristic of whiteness.

 

EDIT: didn't really answer the question, my bad. Civil society is comprised of the institutions which exist between the state and private but interact/intermesh with both. I think. Someone want to back/bash me?

 

EDIT v2: lovin yo blog

 

EDIT v3: I uploaded an article on n***a afekt that's potentially also relevant. The thread was locked if I remember.

Edited by ARGogate
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Snarf, while i largely agree with you, I think the problem with the more oprimistic narrative is that too many people take the micro-examples you highlight and say "good thing we don't have racism any more" and pat themselves on the back for being such tolerant chums.  I think everyone here agrees that racism and anti-blackness are huge issues but many people see "there's a black movie star" or "a black cop made fun of a KKK leader" and think that means we live in a 100% tolerant society.  Micro is significant but shouldn't cloud out the importance of the macro (I don't think you do that but i've seen it happen).

 

Conversely, i find it fascinating (and disturbing) that our society freaks out over microsms of racism (donald sterling, Cliven Bundy) but largely ignores or shrugs off larger structural issues (prisons, wage gaps, schooling, War on Drugs).  There was a fantastic article i read  (which i sadly can't find) that discussed how overblown some basketball coach being racist is in the face of actually disadvantages to minorities.

 

tl;dr Material factors and macro-structures are still important.  Or maybe I've just been reading too much orthodox marxism

I think both problems you outline are actually interrelated; that people tend to limit racism to explicit, intentional racism (like Donald Sterling) without looking at disparate impacts on nonwhite bodies (like prisons). When white allies eliminate obvious racism, they feel good - but don't necessarily stop. I'll post a Judith Butler card when I'm not at my computer that talks about confronting systemic injustice on its own terms - in policy terms, showing that black people are disproportionately prosecuted and disproportionately sentenced statistically speaks the language of the system enough to cause change.

 

tl;dr alt solves macro and micro hopefully

 

 

 

will do when home.

 

Is this the "black ops" article referenced? lucian.uchicago.edu/blogs/politicalfeeling/files/2007/12/moten-black-optimism.doc

 

Also, I'm sorry, but I honestly don't know what the difference between afro optimism/pessimism is (sorry, ARGogate). From what I gather from this thread and the scant amount of research I did, pessimism sees "society" (at least Western society) as fundamentally flawed and built upon exploitation of the "black body", which is a category that can never be changed. As a result, pessimism says we need to "burn down" the state/society/culture and start anew. Optimism, from what I gather, also says that society exploits the black body, but this is not a necessary characteristic of society and can be changed from within, without having to burn down everything.

 

If that's the case (and someone correct me if it isn't), then on first glance, I would have to side with optimism. If we can say that society has lessened oppression against the black body over time, then there seems to be some truth that it's not fundamentally broken, and I think that history shows that this has happened. However, even if this is accepted, it's possible for there to be some amount of anti-blackness that can never be eliminated in this society unless we totally start over. That, however, is not something that is unequivocally agreed upon, and that raises the question of whether it is okay to start over everything in order to lessen what could possibly be a small amount of oppression necessary to the current system and sacrifice what people currently have (I'll clarify here that I don't mean that right now there's only a small amount of oppression; I'm saying it's possible that most of that could be eliminated to reveal that there's a small amount that can never be eliminated unless we start over). The comparison that I have in mind is when slavery had already been established in the US; a lot of people recognized that it was wrong, but some thought that abolition would make things worse because the slaves were already in this condition of servitude. As a result, some people justified continuation of slavery by saying that it should never have happened, but now that we have it, we should continue it because it's best for everyone.

 

And that leads me to my question: what does destruction of current society even mean? Does it mean literal burning, with fire, of the evil institutions that perpetuate this oppression? Does it mean that we would have to have a war akin to the civil war (I know it wasn't just about slavery, but the point stands). Or does it mean that we destroy society as defined as the parts of culture that are inherently oppressive but leave the rest intact? What is this society which we target in the first place?

 

Again, I may be way off kilter with what any of this means. There may be volumes of work that answer my question, but I haven't seen it.

I think both optimism and pessimism see the black body as socially dead - now. They differ both on whether or not the black body can come back to social life (for lack of a better term) and whether or not it would be desirable even if possible.  

 

The "burn down civil society" alt is almost always misstated. In my reading of Wilderson, it's not so much literal burning as an "unflinching paradigmatic analysis" - or a willingness to unflinchingly analyze and deconstruct the racism inherent in civil society's inevitable paradigm. Wilderson thinks we need a paradigm shift to solve, while optimists think that the dichotomy between good paradigm/bad paradigm is a false one, because social change is continuous rather than discrete. A friend of mine who reads Wilderson at UF argues that the "unflinching paradigmic analysis" is really a form of black catharsis, where Black bodies have the unfettered opportunity to express their anguish and rage at the suffering imposed on them by civil society.

 

There are various readings of the "civil society" alt - its best to read the lit and form your own interp.

 

Nobody's an expert, I started this thread in an effort to get the cx community (including myself) thinking about the actual tenets of antiblackness beyond "burn the world."

 

As far as I can tell, optimism and pessimism differ in their approach to defining blackness. Pessimists argue that black bodies are always already socially dead. Optimists argue for blackness as an alternative route to agentive power that recognizes black agency while attempting to avoid a definition of blackness that cannot escape whiteness (see above posts).

 

When race theorists argue for the destruction of society, I'm like 99% sure they want to overturn this idea of a "civil society" that has been defined as antiblack. Even the name implies a fundamental behavior - civility - which is characteristic of whiteness.

 

EDIT: didn't really answer the question, my bad. Civil society is comprised of the institutions which exist between the state and private but interact/intermesh with both. I think. Someone want to back/bash me?

 

EDIT v2: lovin yo blog

 

EDIT v3: I uploaded an article on n***a afekt that's potentially also relevant. The thread was locked if I remember.

 

[will respond to this - work start time now]

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