Policing Blackness.

At the risk of sounding like an absolutist on this “coonery” stuff — I guess I probably am — I think rikyrah’s calling out of Michael Steele (“…Is a Slave-Catching Coon“) is pretty instructive as to why we shouldn’t be hurling that bomb. I doubt any regular readers of this blog are fans of Michael Steele.* He’s corny and completely intellectually dishonest. But this business of legislating and policing blackness is cheap and dehumanizing, and we really need to cut that shit out.

I’m a progressive in large part because my experiences have shaped my views on the role of government and policing and the welfare state and inequity and human rights. But I’m also a humanist, and I  believe deeply that ensuring the full spectrum of black folks’ humanity means respecting and riding for our right to look at those same things and arrive at dramatically different conclusions.  Michael Steele and his ilk need to be allowed to be vocally conservative and avidly Republican and still have purchase on their blackness — whatever the hell that even is.

*At this point, I’d be surprised if many Republicans were.



Gene "G.D." Demby is the founder and editor of PostBourgie. In his day job, he blogs and reports on race and ethnicity for NPR's Code Switch team.
  • Ron

    I want to add more to this as a left-libertarian who hasn’t arrived at that place all that long ago, really. All I can say is, the older I got, the more frustrating listening to them completely ignore common sense and reality became too much to bear. And this was a problem in my teen years, much less as a grown adult having to listen to it.

    It’s one thing to take a principled stand on issues, but they don’t have any principles that aren’t related to bogeyman strawmen that just don’t have any rational application in the world we’re living in right now.

    But your point was dead on, which is really all I came here to say in the first place. :)

  • Bourgie, JD

    “But this business of legislating and policing blackness is cheap and dehumanizing, and we really need to cut that shit out.”

    I just had this conversation over the weekend. Totally agree. I tend to stay out of conversations when folk start hurling around terms like “coon.” Typically, this sentiment comes from the Educated Black Mob who is quick to deem behaviors as cooning when they don’t fit into its narrow concept of appropriate/progressive “Blackness”. I always want to interject with “who do you think you are? who made you the arbiter of Blackness?” Somehow, it feels ignorant, even disrepectful, when you consider the history of so-called cooning. It’s almost the Black on Black version of nigger/nigga (you know, before we “reclaimed” it).

  • so incredibly well said.