Field Negro (AKA Wayne Bennett), recently cited by the Washington Post's "The Root" Black blog as among "Thirty Black Bloggers You Should Know," is informing the Black public about "color-arousal" and "color-aroused" ideation, emotion and behavior.
On June 15, he wrote, for example:
For all of you wondering how much the wingnuts and the folks in the GOP will play on white folks "color arousal" issues this upcoming election season, please note that it has already started.He was referring to the above YouTube video, using blatant color arousing imagery, whose voice over says,
To reduce gang violence, Janice Hahn [California candidate for the US House] hired hard-core gang members with tax-payer money to be "gang intervention specialists." She even helped them get out of jail, so they could rape and kill again. Congress has enough gangsters. Janice Hahn. Bad for LA. Bad for America.Then Black men in ghetto garb sing,
Give me your cash! Bit so we can shoot up the street! Give me your cash, girl so we can buy some more wheat.The Urban Dictionary confirms my immediate suspicion that "wheat" is slang for "marijuana."
The Republican candidate says, in essence the ad is not "racist" but is admittedly color-aroused.
Meanwhile, the advertisement shows vulgar images of a white woman candidate consorting with what it presents as the prison and pre-prison population, with a white woman's barely covered ass shaking in front of a stripper's polc, while Black men put money in her skimpy tights.
Janice Hahn seems to have the support of virtually everyone who is anyone among Democrats, so the video appears to be an act of desperation. However, Congressional District 36 is only 7% Black, 14% Asian, 29% Hispanic, 49% White, so the promoters of the YouTube video are not concerned about offending Black voters.
However, the District gave 60% of its vote to Obama in 2008, so it seems just as likely that this video will offend white voters as attract them. The Republicans hope for a heavier color-aroused antagonist white turnout as a result of this dog-whistle anti-Black hatred YouTube video.
As for the video, here are the color-aroused and antagonistic stereotypes, in order of appearance:
- That Black men desperately want sex with white women and see them strictly as sex objects (the black booty tights and the stripper's pole and the money in the tights in exchange for sexual behavior;
- That white men are at risk of losing white women to Black men and therefore Black men present a profound threat, even when we are doing nothing illegal, and have no intention of doing anything illegal;
- That donations to the white woman candidate are effectively supporting the lurid and emotionally color-arousing behavior seen in the video;
- That white people's precious tax dollars are being paid to reprehensible Black men gang-bangers;
- That Black men are all gang-bangers who do not deserve any representation in Congress;
- That Black men and machine guns are synonymous and so Black men present a threat to our very lives.
- That addressing the issue of the color-aroused antagonistic prison-industrial complex is not a worthy goal for a Congressperson;
- That Black men are inherently criminal and incorrigible.
There are no bigger race baiters in the news business than the folks over at FOX. There is good money in scaring those red state folks about the black "boogeyman" around every corner. That color arousal (thanks for the word Francis) will stir their passions every time.As Field Negro says, "color arousal" is about using skin color to "stir passions". We all know that white people (and Black people) have come to experience intense emotions (fear, anger, rage, resentment, envy, jealousy) when we are presented (or confronted) with skin color-associated verbal or physical presentations and advertisements (speech), ideation (thoughts) and behavior (verbal or physical acts).
Since politicians know just how powerful these skin-color-cues (calls to thoughts, emotions and action) can be, precisely because they are so ancient and well-worn into our society, starting during slavery and continuing in the mainstream media through the present, therefore white politicians often try to use antagonistic color-arousal "cues" to their political benefit. These messages send a potent message against Black people just by reminding white people of what they already fear and believe.
These messages also endeavor to demoralize and dehumanize Black people and hurt our self-esteem and identities, trying with force of their will and societal power to turn us into the very kind of people they say they so despise.
However, some white people are tired of being manipulated in this way and so they vote for candidates like President Obama and AGAINST the white candidate precisely because the white candidate is trying to "arouse" and manipulate people using skin color-cues and stereotypes.
Is the above YouTube video "racist." Please forget about that paleolithic "racism" nonsense. Ask yourself, "Does the ad intend to arouse ideation, emotion and voting behavior based on skin color?" Obviously it does. Case closed, as my friend African American Pundit as well as Sojourners Place would say.
Unfortunately, too many Black people use the jargon of "racism" and "racists" that let's color-aroused white antagonists off the hook. These Blacks will jump into the public forum to claim that the producers of the above video are "racists." However, to prove what someone "is," you have to demonstrate that they have engaged in the same type of behavior over a period of months or years.
No one is sure how many acts of color-aroused antagonism are required in order to declare that someone is a "racist." Likewise, no one is sure how much anti-Black stereotyping and negative images are necessary to declare and prove that a video is "racist." And, once having determined, based on more evidence that should ever be gathered in any case, that a person "is a racist," then it remains unclear what to do about it, if anything. It is obviously far easier to change people's behavior than to change what they "are." When you say someone "is a racist," you are effectively saying that they should be punished for what they are instead of for what they did.
It is far easier to ask whether this advertisement shows color-aroused ideation (Black men are the primary characters in this video) and the the voice over specifically presents assertions about gang-bangers, rape and murder while showing Black men's faces. Using skin-color to send a message is color-arousing, even if it only happens once.
As lawyers, Field and I know that when you increase the burden of proof, you reduce the likelihood of a conviction. When we have to prove that a person "is a racist" before we confront a specific act of color-aroused antagonism, we set our burden of proof far too high, and much higher than white people set the burden of proof for criminal and civil convictions in general.
For example, imagine rape statutes required proof that a man had raped several women over a period of time and therefore he is a "rapist." If he "only" demonstrably raped one woman, then we could not punish him for being "a rapist" and he would go free. By analogy, insisting that multiple and repeated acts of "racism" are necessary to prove that someone is a "racist" and deserves punishment is an absurdly high burden.
In our society, we don't decide what someone "is." We decide what someone did. If they are convicted for what they did, then they have earned the name associated with the crime they committed. For example, when a man is convicted of ONE act of rape, then he is a "convicted rapist." He is a rapist.
When we assert that someone is a "racist," we put the car before the horse. The question is, 'Did this person commit one act of color-aroused antagonism?' If they did, then they have shown that, in that instance, they were a color-aroused antagonist.
Here's another critical question about the burden of proof. If instead of proving that a person committed a rape, you had to prove that he "is a rapist," then how many rapes would he have to commit before he could be punished or at least receive state intervention? Would we have to prove that he committed six or eight rapes, before concluding that he is a rapist and should go to jail?
Well, how many instances of rape individual instances of rape must be proved to prove that an individual "is a rapist?"
White people resolve this issue by charging people with having committed, in ONE instance, an action that is illegal. If the person is convicted of ONE act of murder, then he is a murderer by definition, and for all time.
So, why should we Blacks have to prove several or hundreds of acts of color-aroused antagonistic behavior? It's because we assert that a person "is a racist" instead of asserting that they committed an ONE act of color-aroused antagonism.
Instead, we should be focusing on the question, "Did this person commit ONE physical act or speech act that was color-aroused and antagonistic? If the act of speech or behavior was color-aroused and antagonistic, then the person has engaged in one act of color-aroused antagonism, which is unacceptable.
Here's an analogy: Imagine a rape statute that says that rape is "involuntary penetration with pregnancy resulting." Most rapes could not be prosecuted under that statute. The burden of proof is too high, because it includes "with pregnancy resulting." So, why would we increase the burden of proof by inserting "with pregnancy resulting" in the criminal statute? The answer is that we never would include such a clause that heightened the burden of proof to the point where virtually no one could be convicted of rape. Rapists could wear condoms and rape women all day long.
When we try to prove that a person "is a racist," we have to prove a series of color-aroused antagonistic acts over an undefinite period of time. That burden of a series of acts is like is like the "with pregnancy resulting" burden of proof for rape. When Geraldine Ferraro says that Obama got where he is because he is Black, who has the time to look for a series of such acts in her past before confronting her about what she has said today? The burden of proof is too high.
The question should always be, has the individual committed ONE (or more) act(s) of color-aroused antagonism in this particular instance?
How many rapes do you have to commit to be a rapist? Isn't a conviction on one rape count enough? In our system it is. If you are convicted of ONE rape then you are a "convicted rapist."
This is how our system of justice works in the United States. The question in criminal courts, except in complex cases, is "did the person commit each the crime on ONE occasion? If so, the person is convicted.
Let's stop trying to figure who who "is a racist" and focus on the question, "Has Sam committed an act of color-aroused antagonism today?"