Thursday, January 17, 2008

What's In a Name?

"What's in a name? That which we call by any other word would smell as sweet." This phrase from Juliet encapsulates the belief that words are merely audiovisual expressions which can be separated from history and unable to capture the essence of something. Shakespeare, the greatest wordsmith in the English language, knew the truth was quite different.

With his usual verve and audacity, Denmark Vesey recently argued in the affirmative for the Juliet line. But this essay by Hugh Raffles examines the historical record and arrives at a different conclusion. A pervasive narrative of Jews as subhuman was a prerequisite for their targeted extermination.

Elite blacks who choose to reject black identity politics fail to acknowledge that this is a privilege which rests against the backdrop of an undistinguished mass of colored folks who will never get the opportunity to make a similar deliberation. Like their Junker counterparts, these secure blacks who choose rugged individualism don't believe their fate to be conjoined with their less fortunate brethren.

No comments: