Then and Now
Speaking of WW2 black Alabama soldiers dancing with white Parisian girls, my wife and I were at the local market for a favorite meal : omelete de pollo fajita — when a mixed-race couple sat down at the table next to us. I welcomed them in English. She, a lovely black woman of perhaps 25, and he, a curly-haired lean guy (similar age), even skinnier and pinker than this gringo with a decade-old Mexican tan, me. They responded in good English, but with a slight accent; so I asked them where they were from : “France” came the response. We had a brief pleasant exchange where I extolled our particular dish, and which I showed them when it arrived. I gave them a card to my blog, asking how long in town? : one week. Apparently successful young professionals. Could she be a grand-daughter of some of that dancing? Dunno. Don’t care. Not my biz.
On “community”: I agree with the author’s evolving sense of this concept. The Greek word, often translated from *ekklesia* to *church* in the book of Acts, originally meant “to this purpose” (ad hoc). For example: “your committee/community is appointed to improve the drainage ditch on the southern entrance to town, in order to satisfy your annual tax debt.” (The committee would then dissolve upon fulfillment of the task.)
A friend recently pointed out (prior to Mr Cobb’s post) that French poodles come in several colors, from black to white, including brown and beige (but excluding pink, which is dyed) — yet they are genetically of the same family.
I see that Ayaan Hirsi Ali has renounced Islam, and extolled Judeo-Christianity for its beneficial effects on community. She terms herself a lapsed atheist.
Splendid essay, as always, and very deep. Much to digest and chew on. On the spectrum of black culture and consciousness (and putting aside my own retirement from Blackness for a moment), maybe the endgame of Blackness will not be a macro moment in time and place. Perhaps, the endgame will happen over three or so generations, family by family, as more and more descendants intermarry so that being part Black is comparable to being Part Irish or Part Jewish. I am thinking of the descendants of Rev. Lemuel Haynes (1753 - 1833). Rev. Haynes left an enduring mark on Black American History. Today, his white descendants are proud of their American ancestor. When did the endgame of Blackness occur in the Haynes family? The descendants recognize and acknowledge they are apart from Black Heritage (Or are they?). When did the endgame of Irishness occur in the Kennedy family? Just some thoughts from a fellow traveler.
You speak of the Black Endgame as economic. What about the engine of black memory, the historic black church? There is a lot of pain and anger wondering how other Christians could look on and sometimes actively participate in their pain. I would postulate that the black endgame will ‘cross the finish line’ when white supremacy ends (over-used word I know).The white/black is mostly symbolic of a power dynamic that has been abused as I understand it, not primarily a racial dynamic.
I would appreciate your thoughts, knowing you have been down so many of these paths.
Really interesting article. I always enjoy hearing your perspective.