Black Political Theory Essays

Submitted By awalker1234
Words: 1657
Pages: 7

In analyzing legal inferiority and its impact on society one would conclude that it is a system designed to create submissive individuals. It is believed that it is natural for some individuals to be inferior to others. Eric Hobsbawn knew conventions or routines were invented to reintroduce the superior and inferior feeling amongst people. He wrote Introduction: Inventing Traditions, to point out the so-called present traditions were selected, written, modified, ritualized, and institutionalized. Hobsbawn notes, “invented tradition is a set of practices, normally governed by overtly or tacitly accepted rules and of a ritual or symbolic nature, which seek to inculcate certain values and norms of behavior by repetition, which automatically implies continuity with the past.”1 According to Hobsbawn these invented traditions which reintroduce superiority and inferiority are justified by seemingly moral repetition. There is no connection between man’s sate of equality and legal inferiority because legal inferiority discards the law of nature and state of equality, being without subjection or subordination unless the lord declares dominion. According to Locke, every man has a right to the state of perfect freedom to order their actions without depending upon the will of another so the condition for blacks was not in accordance with the nature of man because man does not have to fight or vote their way for equality.2 Although political rights are subjected to the nature of man they are open to human arts and conventions. These human arts and conventions are invented traditions which use history and repetition to legitimize the action of certain racial groups. The repetition of invented traditions causes blacks to internalize feelings of inferiority. Invented traditions are formed to structure and develop new conventions as Hobsbawn explains: [Invented Traditions] are designed to facilitate readily definable practical operations, and are readily modified on abandoned to meet changing practical needs, always allowing for the inertia which any practice acquires with time and the emotional resistance to any innovation by people who have become attached to it. The repetition of invented traditions that Hobsbawn presents gets in the way of the capacity of blacks to deal with uncertain issues or habits. In Dubois’s “Striving of the Negro People,” he addresses the issue of always being reminded that blacks are the problem.3 This repetition of being reminded of their race leaves blacks to begin questioning themselves and their role in society, it creates their shield of inferiority. The constant reminder of being inferior limits blacks ability to even aim for success past white Americans. It creates a double-consciousness as Dubois discusses, blacks must look at themselves through the eyes of another in attempt to mimic or gain acceptance while also merging into a better and truer Negro.4 This is difficult for blacks in America because their recognized as some type of “co-worker”. Black success in America is praised because it is portrayed to be rare for example when discussing doctors or lawyers there is an emphasis on a black doctor or a black lawyer, as if it’s not meant for them. While it is tradition for one to develop the idea of lawyers and doctors as whites, there is no emphasis on white lawyer or white doctor because it is trained for one to automatically think white. In Thandeka’s book, Learning to be White, she introduces the idea of whiteness and how it threatens other races. This whiteness Thandeka talks about is protected and in order for whites to feel accepted in their community they must do what whites have been doing for years in rejecting minorities especially blacks to legitimize their superiority. 5 This superiority of whites continues to make lower classes feel unimportant in order to protect their whiteness, while causing blacks to feel inferior to the system they are placed in. These traditions whites and