Am I Black Am I White

Am I Black Am I White


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



He and she who appears to be black is not. He and she who appears to be white is not.

I am a revolutionary black nationalist. But I am not a racist; I am a realist:

I am looking at reality, beyond the surface appearance.



Am I Black, Am I White?

By Marvin X

The artist known as Prince asked the question of the New Age, “Am I Black, Am I White,” in his song “Purple Rain,” and in his lifestyle, asked another important question, “Am I man, am I woman?” Prince, in his search for clarity on the question of race and gender, so troubling to so many of his peers today, must be applauded for desiring to go into such troubled waters, troubling enough that W.E.B. Du Bois called the first part of the question the problem of the 20th Century. Who will admit or claim it was solved? Thus we enter the 21st century grappling with this terrible conundrum, so perplexing and vexing we are totally bewildered by surface appearance and thus blindfolded, unable to see the meta-reality of the deep structure. 

For example, when we say black-on-black homicide, it is a misnomer because we cannot call nigguhs who kill nigguhs black or African, or even Africans who kill Africans over diamonds, gold, uranium or other minerals. They are colonial and neocolonial monkeys. Nigguhs who kill nigguhs are savages, existing on the lowest level of civilization, even worst than the African killers because the nigguhs have experienced more of modernity or so-called civilization in their western captivity. In other words, we should know better. But in truth, we and our African brothers are in the same boat of ignorance, hate and greed. We have been so victimized by the West that we are for the most part indistinguishable from the Western man and woman. He and she who appears to be black is not. He and she who appears to be white is not. I am a revolutionary black nationalist. But I am not a racist; I am a realist: I am looking at reality, beyond the surface appearance. My friend called me on his birthday and told me a white woman wanted to treat him to lunch, but he was hesitant. I know the white woman, so I told him she was not white, but had a black soul and he should keep the lunch date. I said what would you prefer: to have lunch with a so-called black woman with blond hair, fake blue eyes, red lipstick — looking like a monkey’s asshole? In other words, why have lunch with a dirty-faced white woman, at least go for the real deal Holyfield. This white woman in question came to an event in Philly full of black recovering addicts. She sat down in the midst of them for two hours watching my video docudrama ONE DAY IN THE LIFE. A so-called black woman in the audience ran out into the lobby, claiming she was uncomfortable in the presence of so many dope fiends. She sought comfort in the arms of the white woman host who calmed her down with words and hot chocolate. The ultimate problem is consciousness not color. What does color have to do with it? And to move into the second part of our question: what does sex have to do with it, what does sex have to do with anything in the world of consciousness? We love James Baldwin and Langston Hughes because they were two bad writing motherfuckers, and their writing has nothing to do with their sexuality–who gives a damn about their sexuality? Were they obsessed with their sexuality? When an actor auditions for my theatre, I don’t give a damn what he is sexually, but he better be able to play the part or to hell with him or her. One of my daughters calls her hip hop generation the pseudo-conscious. And why not include my generation from the 60s as well. We had false notions about race, not to mention sex. We called for black power, then went home to beat our wives — an exhibition of white power. We excluded whites from our movement who were no doubt sincere in their revolutionary consciousness, but included rotten, no good, snitching ass, FBI/CIA nigguhs because they had black skins. How ignut was/is this? Elijah Muhammad loved women and gave women power because of their consciousness, because they, unlike the men, didn’t want to be the messenger, but only wanted to help the messenger. When Elijah Muhammad wanted a job done, he didn’t care if a so-called white devil performed the job, just get the job done. My mother was the same, in her real estate business, she was not going to wait all day for a black plumber when the white plumber had proven himself reliable. Dr. Ben says we must be more patient with our people because of the mental damage, but I am not going to put my clothes in a Muslim cleaners if I have to return five times because they are closed during business hours. That ain’t Muslim, that ain’t Black, that’s nigguhs disguised as black Muslims. 

My mother never said she was a black business woman, she said simply, “I’m a business woman.” So cast away illusions: stop faking and stop accepting fakery. Blackness is a state of consciousness, as is whiteness. The problem with whiteness is that it is pathological and indistinguishable from the addiction Western addiction called white supremacy. For the most part, blackness is simply an attempt to exist, to love, to be at peace in the world. In this sense, a lot of white people should be called “black,” and many blacks should be called “white.”

Check Marvin’s writings  also in his book of essays, IN THE CRAZY HOUSE CALLED AMERICA, Black Bird Press, 2002, $20.00, Or send $25.00 (includes postage and handling) to Black Bird Press, 3116 38th Ave., Suite 304, Oakland, CA. 94619.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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Negro Digest / Black World

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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updated 12 July 2008



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