Black People : The Rap on Whites Who Try to Act Black

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by Mad Skillz, Mar 20, 2008.

  1. Mad Skillz

    Mad Skillz Well-Known Member MEMBER

    Oct 28, 2004
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    Real Estate
    So. Cal by way of L.I., New York
    By Stacey P. Patton
    Sunday, March 16, 2008; Page B02

    It was a tale of sex, violence and a young girl crossing the color line. It was raw, gripping, sad and triumphant, tracing the heroine's successful escape from an environment of abandonment, abuse, poverty and gangs. It was supposed to be true.

    Not a word of it was.

    The recent media frenzy over Margaret Seltzer's "Love and Consequences," yet another hoax memoir published by yet another respectable publishing house, has subsided, but the perplexing questions remain: Why would a writer take the huge risk of publishing an easily discredited story, and what enticed a respectable publishing house to buy and promote it?

    As a former foster child who actually lived the reality of some of the kinds of black dysfunction that Seltzer put forth as her own experience, I find the answer in a long history of white Americans' voyeuristic fascination with -- and perhaps sometimes even envy of -- black people.

    The appeal of Seltzer's work lay in the way she positioned herself between America's two races, black and white: She claimed to be a half-white, half-Native American girl growing up poor in a dysfunctional black world. In fact, she is the daughter of a white, upper-middle-class California family. And her story is only the most recent in a long line of literary narratives, entertainments and ethnologies in which white people put on blackface to act as messengers to their white brethren, telling them what life is or was like in the 'hood or on the plantation. The messages they bring back are of black dysfunction, crime and violence, but also of black sexuality, athleticism and soulful musicality. These stories may then reaffirm white audiences' perception of black dysfunction and allow them to use blacks as a negative counterpoint for their own images of normalcy and to affirm their sense of superiority.