Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The New Black- Same As It Ever Was

Over at Brotherdoc, there is an interesting blog entry about a Washington Post article entitled, “Their Deepest, Darkest Discovery.” According to this newspaper article, scientists have created a material that is blacker than anything that is in existence.

What is funny about this Washington Post report is the language used. Much of the article sounds like double entendre for America’s racist relationship to blackness:

“99.955% black” (The one-drop rule gone wrong.)
“A Roach Motel” (Ick!)
“Voraciously sucking up all surrounding” (They are moving in.)
“It can give those who gaze on it a dizzying sensation” (Protect your women!)
“Invisible” (This speaks for itself.)

If you think Brotherdoc and I are reading too much into the Post article, consider how Robert Moore (1992) in his essay “Racist Stereotyping in the English Language” explains how we might interpret “black” words:

“Some may blackly accuse me of trying to blacken the English language, to give it a black eye by writing such black words. They may denigrate me by accusing me of being blackhearted, of having a black outlook on life, of being a blackguard—which would certainly be a black mark against me. Some may black-brow me and hope that a black cat crosses in front of me because of this black deed. I may become a black sheep, who will be black-balled by being placed on a blacklist in an attempt to blackmail me to retract my words.”

According to Moore, if you give us a pass on our interpretation, well, you aren’t being niggardly, rather… that’s very white of you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

OK Brotherdoc's comments on the same subject were pretty funny. How about new careers for you two, "Husband and wife team up as social commentaters." Think about it.