Sunday, 22 June 2008

NAOMI CAMPBELL - The Memorandum on Race

“They have lost my f****** bags, get me another flight, get the press, get me my lawyer...“

Oh yes! It sounds grim enough and no doubt was. The bawling, the shrieking, the thrashing, the high Cs and cacophonetic vernacular. A classic example of the assertion that Blacks, whenever possible, see themselves as victims, and while resenting their victim status, nevertheless tend to wallow in it. Naomi Campbell exploded with a rage that was in fact an outrageous proposition:

“It is because I am a black woman, you are all wouldn’t be doing this if I was white...I am going to f*** you!“

The prejudice of ascribing character and ability to race is so obvious it barely requires repetition. But the truth of the matter is nevertheless, that, for better or for worse, humans have long colluded in an ideal of Western beauty. Already, Helen of Troy was claimed to be the most beautiful woman of classical antiquity, and to this day we have continued to buy into a collective epitome. We‘ve been conditioned, no less, by the classical perception of beauty and reinforced it with the type of female role-model that can be seen every day on television. The television attracts mythomaniacs, people who wish to convince the world of their superiority. But almost inevitably, it gives other "inferior” people an often unattainable ideal of beauty. And while this may be a simplistic view, it is nevertheless deeply felt, and it certainly needs to be taken into account in any analysis of the antagonism which plainly exists between people of African origin and their Caucasian light-skinned counterpart.

If you can never inhabited an ideal, naturally you feel resentful of it.

Promoters of Western beauty products determine everything and it doesn't do any good for the psyche of another race to be presented with an ideal of beauty that is inherently inaccessible. It is a dilemma that proves insoluble. Stark African faces with Negroid features are instantly recognizable. Michael Jackson took the hard way out. He bleached his skin and gallantly modelled his face on that of Elizabeth Taylor. Naomi Campbell, of course, has long since been accepted as a natural beauty by a public to whose commonplace priorities and prejudices she always gave a glamorous setting.

“When two races meet,”, said Charles Darwin, “they fight each other.” And until the black man comes to terms with the fact that he’s not white, the problem of racism will continue to persist. Indeed, it must be wrong to legislate against it. Far from having been an interlude of racial reconciliation and mutual consolation, the damage done by the race relations industry to this country has been incalculable. The campaign of racial grievance was not a conciliatory one. Nor is the problem one of prejudice, it is one of inadequacy. Accusations of prejudice are the defences thrown up to protect a deeply wounded personality which has never recovered from the savaging it received in its colonial infancy.

The situation in America is even more remarkable.

As if to underline a change of status, race is no longer about skin colour. It is about the consolidation of a phenomenon: black culture, or ghetto prophets who preach a brand of thug philosophy or gangsta rap sociology. One may doubt its motives, and indeed sanity, but in the mind and psyche of the gangsta it is payback time. Appropriately, one in nine black men aged between 20 and 34 is in prison, while the average 17-year-old black student has the academic skills of a 14-year-old white pupil, compounding what appears to be a decided racial imbalance, and leaving blacks intentionally forbidding and self-consciously antagonistic.

So, can all their problems still be blamed on the familiar evils of white discrimination?

With every other major race, Chinese, Indian, Asian, the atmosphere is cordial and relaxed, but the Negro has made it plain that for him the problem is not simply one of creating prosperity. Nor will he ever bear a joke at his own expense. By all means, call me ungenerous, but any tribe of people who are unable to laugh at themselves is deprived indeed. This notwithstanding, James Watson, the discoverer of DNA lost his job as director of the Cold Spring Harbour Laboratories in America after suggesting that Africans were less intelligent than Europeans. In fact, when I was a student the climate was already intimidating. You weren’t permitted to talk about racial differences, even though the very idea of a universally conform racial intelligence is bound to be a fairy tale. Critics may complain that one is “racialising” intelligence by claiming that some groups are genetically less intelligent than others, but clearly, human intelligence cannot be bought, found or acquired. And intellectual dexterity is a development problem, as much as it is linked to social standing. Indeed, I would find it very hard to believe that the “noble savage” of undeveloped lands might be illumined by a higher philosophy or a more outstanding intelligence than those of the industrialised West, let alone the ancient cultures of the East. Their entire history is based on the quest for knowledge, whereas that of the African seems rather unfinished and very different from the rest of the world.

A subsequent analysis of Watson’s own DNA showed that he had part-African ancestry, which, if you think about it, rather explains his “inadequacy” - at least according to his own theory.


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