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bluish's picture

so im focusing on David Marriott's On Black Men, and it is such a difficult book to read. I don't know if this is the class/time to focus on this work specifically, but i'm trying to read things im immediately drawn to. i thought i might bring back a book of poetry, Brutal Imagination by Cornelius Eady too. I read the book over the summer and included it in the archive. it's a crushing 128 pgs. really deeply connected to the theory of Marriott. i have to get my hands on brutal imagination and look again so more to come. but in the meantime, a bit from marriott on richard wright, photography and lynching:

"The final act in a popular melodrama: the camera itself- the drive to document, to be in the show - becomes part of that drama, prolonging the agony of the mutilated blacks who must hope that death will come quickly. From the first act - the moment of accusation: rape, murder, theft - this is what the audience has been waiting for: confirmation, via a fatal iconography of the brute black male, that he really 'don't look human'" 

and then about black men being castrated and made to eat their own genitals before being hung:

"This little bit of theatre serves to reveal, and support, a race hatred predicated on an identification between blackness and sexual guilt, an identification which generates the sadistic desire to witness the spectacle - the stench - of emasculated black men slowly bleeding to death. As such, it is a [white] law which operates through visual terror. The lesson to be learned through the murderous gazes of these white men is that you might be reduced to something that 'don't look human' - a reduction which is, precisely, your annihilation and their pleasure... a black man can die and die and die again, the identification between the black man looking and the black man lynched becomes irresistible."

"For Fanon, the problem is that white phobic anxiety about black men takes the form of a fetishistic investment in their sexuality: being well-hung, the black man must be hung well... the violated body of the black man comes to be used as a defense against the anxiety or hatred that body appears to generate."


Anne Dalke's picture

aside from reporting on what Marriott (and perhaps Eady) say...
what will you say? what work can you do with these texts?
what questions can you ask of them? what questions do they raise for you?