In Chicago, for instance, we’ve gotten a foretaste of the new breed of foundation-hatched black communitarian voices; one of them, a smooth Harvard lawyer with impeccable do-good credentials and vacuous-to-repressive neoliberal politics, has won a state senate seat on a base mainly in the liberal foundation and development worlds. His fundamentally bootstrap line was softened by a patina of the rhetoric of authentic community, talk about meeting in kitchens, small-scale solutions to social problems, and the predictable elevation of process over program — the point where identity politics converges with old-fashioned middle-class reform in favoring form over substance. I suspect that his ilk is the wave of the future in U.S. black politics, as in Haiti and wherever else the International Monetary Fund has sway. So far the black activist response hasn’t been up to the challenge. We have to do better.
Adolph L. Reed Jr. , January 16, 1996.
Note: 12 years after Reed Jrs. article Barack H. Obama was elected president of the United States of America.
This module will attempt to address the modern relationship between race and power through the lens of blackness. Blackness will be investigated both as a violent creation and how it has historically served to act as a psycho-political tool for redemption and transformation for those violated under the signifier ‘black’.
The module will make use of a number of audio and visual learning tools to critically engage the central topic as a group. The literature that will more or less inform the sessions and assist forming a steady line of thought is not meant to be read through in its entirety as it is neither exhaustive of the study in question nor is reading text deemed to be most essential in this programme as a whole in the first instance, although it is hoped that each session will foster an interest in the texts. Moreover, since it will be expected to read the electronic material (rather than watch or listen) it is hoped that learning can take place through other means than heavy reading of heavy texts.