'The Blacks: A Clown Show' (Revisited as an American Tragedy)

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:

"'Whatever is gentle and kind and good and tender will be black.' So M. Genet has a Negro declare as if in a vision, but surely he looks for the day when these things will be all colors and no color." 

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."


[quote] When taken together, these principles have serious ramifications. First, they suggest that legal rules that stand for equal treatment under law - i.e. the 14th Amendment - can remedy "only the most blatant forms of discrimination." The system is too corrupted, too based on the notion of white supremacy, for equal protection of the laws to ever be a reality. The system must be made unequal in order to compensate for the innate racism of the white majority.


Second, these principles suggest that even measures taken to alleviate unequal protection under the law - for example, the Supreme Court decision in Brown v. Board of Education - were actually taken for nefarious purposes, to serve white interests. This is exactly what Derrick Bell believed: he said that Brown had only been decided in order to prevent the Soviet Union from using American racial inequality as a public relations baton to wield against the white-majority United States.[snip] minorities have a special status in society, and something unique to bring to the table. As Delgado and Stefancic write, "Minority status, in other words, brings with a presumed competence to speak about race and racism." 

So here's what we're left with, in simple terms. Racism cannot be ended within the current system; the current system is actually both a byproduct of and a continuing excuse for racism. Minority opinions on the system are more relevant than white opinions, since whites have long enjoyed control of the system, and have an interest in maintaining it.[/quote] 

  • B. Obama's Words and Deeds Establish that CRT Informs His View of this Country and Constitution

Here's as good an example of any of Obama's many statements establishing his adoption of CRT:


If you look at the victories and failures of the civil rights movement and its litigation strategy in the court. I think where it succeeded was to invest formal rights in previously dispossessed people, so that now I would have the right to vote. I would now be able to sit at the lunch counter and order as long as I could pay for it I'd be o.k. But, the Supreme Court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth, and of more basic issues such as political and economic justice in society. To that extent, as radical as I think people try to characterize the Warren Court, it wasn't that radical. It didn't break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the Constitution, at least as its been interpreted and Warren Court interpreted in the same way, that generally the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can't do to you. Says what the Federal government can't do to you, but doesn't say what the Federal government or State government must do on your behalf, and that hasn't shifted and one of the, I think, tragedies of the civil rights movement was, um, because the civil rights movement became so court focused I think there was a tendency to lose track of the political and community organizing and activities on the ground that are able to put together the actual coalition of powers through which you bring about redistributive change. In some ways we still suffer from that.


  • C. Obama's Associations, Appointments ,Legal Actions and Legislation Confirm He Endorses 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:


"There was real dedication and support by Elena."


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: 

"If we've learned anything in the last week, we learned there are some very strange social and legal circles from the far fringes, and unfortunately, the far fringes are now in power."

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."  

Apart from the legality of such preferences under the U.S. Constitution and the 1964 Civil Rights Act, and the unfairness to those who are not "individuals who are from underrepresented minority groups", the Democrats' policy will foster the racial preference climate that continues to stigmatize and demean those individuals who receive the preferences. For example, if you know nothing else about two university students, except that one was probably admitted under a program where intellectual standards were reduced and the student received a preference for being the child of an alumnus, and the other was admitted under more rigorous intellectual standards without receiving any nonmerit-based preference, what are you going to think about these two students? Is the answer any different when the preference is based on race rather than an alumni relationship?


A nonmerit-based preference program based on an individual's physical appearance or surname is no less a "badge of inferiority" than the one condemned in Brown v. Board of Education. Thanks to the Democrats' racial preference program, all of the "individuals who are from underrepresented minority groups" at these medical schools and other entities, including those who deserved admission without the racial preference, will wear that badge.

That badge was put there by those who believe in CRT , a Derrick Bell creation characterized this week by Thomas Sowell as follows:



Bell's options were to be a nobody, living in the shadow of more accomplished legal scholars - or to go off on some wild tangent of his own and appeal to a radical racial constituency on campus and beyond.

His writings showed clearly that the latter was the path he chose. His previous writings had been those of a sensible man saying sensible things about civil rights issues that he understood from his years of experience as an attorney. But now he wrote all sorts of incoherent speculations and pronouncements, the main drift of which was that white people were the cause of black people's problems.

Bell even said that he took it as his mission to say things to annoy white people. Perhaps he thought that was better than being insignificant in his academic setting. But it was in fact far worse, because the real damage was to impressionable young blacks who took him seriously, including one who went on to become president of the United States.

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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