'The Blacks: A Clown Show' (Revisited as an American Tragedy)By Clarice Feldman
In 1961 a play titled "The Blacks : A Clown Show" by the French petty criminal and homosexual prostitute Jean Genet, was the avant garde sensation of New York. At the St. Marks Playhouse it starred a cast of Black actors, then young but now well-known to us all -- people like James Earl Jones, Louis Gossett, Cecily Tyson, Godfrey Cambridge, Maya Angelou, and Roscoe Lee Brown. As I recall --though the cast most certainly changed over time -- it remained one of the longest running off-Broadway plays of that decade. In its review of the play, the NYT's Taubman put his own spin on Genet's meaning and concluded with no evidence at all:
Taubman to the contrary, Genet said "What we need is hatred. From it our ideas are born" and he went on to fiercely support the Black Panthers and Palestinians.
As it happened I was visiting a classmate who lived in the city that summer. She knew someone who was doing production work on the play, so we were lucky enough to obtain tickets to the show. The play comes back to me now as do Genet's words, because in my recollection of that production and rereading of Genet's work half a century later it occurs to me that his play is a forerunner of Critical Race Theory, a racialist concept at total odds with American principles and ideals , a concept unfortunately at the very heart of our President and his administration. At its very core CRT is hatred and from it Obama's ideas are born.
This complicated play within a play portrays blacks as savage rapists and murderers poised for and enacting homicidal revenge, ending in revolution. They win and presumably their values prevail over those of white Europeans' represented by white masked black actors playing Missionary, Judge, Queen and Valet. In my view, it demeans blacks -- as does CRT -- by assuming they cannot and need not have a humanity equal to that of the white author or the mostly white audiences before which this drama was performed.
In the course of the play the actors reenact the proclaimed murder of a (dare I say it, "typical ") white woman by having a black man dressed up as her, humiliated and then murdered himself along with the white masked actors. As her humiliation begins, the actors seek out a white man in the audience and ask him to hold her knitting "for a moment" after which he is asked to and does return it, thereby tacitly participating in and sharing the responsibility for what ensues .
When I saw the play I was outraged at making the audience member complicit in this. At an after-play dinner with one of the actors I told him I had wanted to keep the man in the audience from playing the goat in all this, embarrassing him out of playing his designated part. I asked what the actors would have done had I acted on my impulse. He said that they had often wondered if and when that happened what they would do, and he wished I had done that.
I'm not sitting in my seat at St, Marks Playhouse now, and I am telling you, stop playing along and start fighting back. Begin by acknowledging how much this pernicious race doctrine, CRT, has influenced the President and his administration and do everything you can to deny him a second term and challenge in your communities and courtrooms every vestige of this pernicious doctrine.
A. Reviewing Critical Race Theory:
In summary, Here are its basic principles:
1. "Racism is ordinary, not aberrational";
2. "Our system of white-over-color ascendancy serves important purposes, both psychic and material."
Here's as good an example of any of Obama's many statements establishing his adoption of CRT:
Virtually all of those closest to him , but especially his 20 year membership in the church of Reverend Wright reveal his comfort with these pernicious views. He stayed with Wright until it proved politically advantageous to pretend he never heard the man's sermons, sermons which claimed "America was founded on racism. America lives and breathes racism."
He supported Professor Derrick Bell, who argues that the civil rights movement made racial inequality worse in some respects.
He appointed Bell's fan Cassandra Butts as Deputy White House Counsel, where she may well have had a role in the Administration decision to drop the voting rights intimidation case against the Black Panther Party, after the case had been won by the Department of Justice. She was in the critical meetings in the White House with the significant Department lawyers related to the case's dismissal.
He appointed to the Supreme Court Elena Kagan, a lawyer with no judicial experience whatsoever who had edited the classic Bell article for the November 1985 Harvard Law Review, an article which is a repudiation of the classical liberal ideal legal order. An order which refuses to judge parties and people by race or gender or ethnicity. You might suppose that an editor does not necessarily support the work of the author of a piece, but Bell says otherwise:
He has appointed Eric Holder Attorney General, from which position he allowed the Black Panther case to be dismissed, and has interfered with legitimate voting rules -- including voter ID requirements, and made a hash of the civil rights of a majority of Americans on questions ranging from hate crimes to voting. As J. Christian Adams put it:
This week Secretary of Education Arne Duncan and Attorney General Holder continue the fraud by suggesting the statistical differences in school discipline are due to anti-black prejudice, a crusade which, if gathered through to its conclusion, will further harm black students. This nonsensical fanning of paranoia using "statistical hoaxes" and spin is designed so that black voters will see the Democrats -- and Obama in particular -- as their rescuers.
In his single signature piece of legislation, the Administration has larded up ObamaCare with a plethora of racial preferences for "underrepresented minority groups."
That badge was put there by those who believe in CRT , a Derrick Bell creation characterized this week by Thomas Sowell as follows:
If Genet's play is ever reprised, I want to sit in the audience next to Sowell, and when the actor tries to hand the props to the white man in the front row, we can coordinate grabbing them and tossing them right back on the stage.
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