goto Appendx main menu A Black Manifesto :
Darell W. Fields
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I do not speak here of "turning the other cheek," but of the reformation of a formal and functional identity that resists being struck in the first place.
If the regime described here and the persons who support it are so prescribed by deep and pervasive definitions, how is one to resist it? The first step is to achieve a "consciousness" that sees the necessity for resistance; the second is to find ways in   which the "seeing" produced by such consciousness is sustained, thus preserving the Appendx 1 page break 37 | 38original act of resisting (seeing). But even more important is to relinquish the sometimes nostalgic notion of overtaking the regime against which one is attempting to resist. Such attempts are full of tragic flaws that initiate a preponderance of circumstances that subvert original intentions while leaving pervasive structural formations in place. I do not speak here of "turning the other cheek," but of the reformation of a formal and functional identity that resists being struck in the first place. Such an identity does not have to be constructed: it must be found, because in many ways it exists already—always, right here and right now. 

I spoke earlier of the construction of race terminologies that are themselves evidence that a struggle is present. To speak of domination in terms of a normative regime without speaking explicitly of the struggle and contradictions that evolve to this day from domination is to deny that such domination or problems exist. The first strategy of the regime is to deny that there is a problem or, more appropriately, to prevent a problem from being given its proper definition. Without a definition formulated from the regime's interior, there can be no acknowledgment that other problems or realities exist. 

Two strategies can be employed to gain the acknowledgment of definition from the core mind of the regime. The first is to appeal to whatever structures the regime. A problem can be recognized by the regime if it is formulated as a living contradiction to the formal structures that define the regime. Such formulated contradictions rattle the regime because, in effect, the regime truly believes the messages  it constructs and deploys. The most substantive example of such a contradiction was that of the conception of slavery embedded within the moral construct of democracy—a democracy in which every human being is free. The concept that freed the slaves was not necessarily that of "freedom," but could arguably have been the social arguments that disproved that Negroes were less than men. Once this definition was won, the regime's core mind could do nothing but comply with its own system of beliefs and procedures, bringing reality back into alignment. Of course such procedures and the reformation of definitions that make them necessary are not constructed and deployed overnight, and it may take many centuries and lives before the "concept" of freedom can be spoken without calling up its ironic subtext. However, rather than being an arbitrary result, the "calling up" could be used as a defined tactic useful in purging the regime of such paradoxes. 

The second strategy for gaining the acknowledgment of definitions from the regime is by the use of force. Again the, core mind of the regime is a great strategist Appendx 1 page break 38 | 39 and is quite cunning in its conceptualizations of reality; it uses violence against others to substantiate and legitimize these realities. Conversely, violence not authorized by the core mind is seen as illegitimate and "wrong." In any case, this violence may not threaten the regime in any physical sense but, more important, it slashes the veil of reality maintained by the regime's moral and legitimizing structures. Violence, or mere allusions to it, are evidence of a contradiction that the core mind is not able to tolerate. It must construct resolving procedures that at least appear to bring "reality" back into equilibrium. These procedures may be characterized as being violent and legitimized by claims of securing "reality"—a reality that is in fact merely the ideology of the regime. Once this exchange is understood (misunderstood) by the agents of the regime, it is possible to carry out any number of violent acts that are defined as virtuous. Violence carried out against factions defined within the regime may be legitimized by calls for "law and order," while violent acts waged on enemies outside the regime may be legitimized, for example, by "making the world safe for democracy." Regardless of the circumstance, the regime supplies and interprets the definitions. 

In terms of either of these strategies, the fact remains that definitions must be sought and achieved by way of the present power structure. If this power structure is democratic and the factions within it are all subjected to the same moral configurations, it is quite improbable that a prolonged—let alone successful—"revolution" will result. Revolution within moral legitimizing structures defined as democracy is also improbable because (1) the opposing factions cannot be defined absolutely, and (2) an ultimate source of power cannot be located. 

In either case—appealing to existing moral/ethical structures or using force—the production of acknowledgment alters in some way the opposing faction. In the first case, the molding of unidentified entities into recognizable types will produce persons who believe in the predominant moral/ethical structure that bound their predecessors in the first place, and they will find themselves, ultimately, participating willingly in such practices. In the second case, there is a risk of annihilation in going up against a complex and organized regime. Therefore, the question remains as to how one is to engage and subdue a regime whose only method of dealing with the unidentifiable is, ultimately, subjugation. The answer is that one must present deep and vast contradictions to the core mind by using existing definitions already recognized by the regime rather than producing new social constructs—which are indeed not really new. The major difference with this particular approach is that it is a functional, rather than formal, strategy that accepts the difficult complexities resulting from the so-called Appendx 1 page break 39 | 40 construction of identities. This strategy accepts first and foremost that acknowledgment by the regime is equal to concealment by the regime. Therefore, the course of action that must be pursued is based on identifying existing and concealed identities rather than constructing identities that will, in due time, be concealed. Such a strategy, while accepting certain formal tools present within the regime, must also reuse these tools in a manner that condones as well as contradicts the regime. To accept this strategy is to accept that nothing exists outside the "room" housing the regime and the agent that wishes to resist. Therefore, the unidentifiable identity is so because it is concealed rather than foreign—in fact it exists at the very center of the core mind. 

One way of killing something is to maintain a distance from the subject and deny it some essential form of sustenance; another way to accomplish the same result is to enfold and suffocate it.
Others who have attempted to construct definitions "outside" of the regime have failed because they have used formal rather than functional strategies of intervention. For example, the term "marginal" has been used to give significance to those categories of persons who are seen or see themselves as being "outside" or on the periphery of a certain body of knowledge. There are at least two problems with the use of such a term. First, the use of the term "marginal" is erroneous and arbitrary because, in reality, everyone in a modern democracy is marginal to any number of circumstances. Rather than providing specificity, the term is a gross generalization. Again, the definition presupposes that its meaningful construction can be attempted outside of the regime that is housed in the same space of the so-called  marginal subject, while not acknowledging that a socially meaningful use of the term is, in effect, the opposite of what is intended. It is in the family of terms, such as African-American, that present themselves as radical although their meaningful operation does nothing more than produce contradictions in the logic of the producers. As stated previously, contradictions must be produced and deployed in a manner that disrupts the "thinking" of the regime rather than becoming an impoverished and impotent series of word games, of which the regime is already a master. The only way to do this is cease labeling and be specific about actual, rather than constructed, experiences. 

For example, I have mentioned the abundant literature that has attempted to characterize blackness, found in any library in the United States. It seems to me that if the Black subject were truly "marginal," such literature  would not be as accessible as it obviously is. The very fact that there are such vast quantities of such literature signifies that blackness is central. Oh yes, there is debate as to whether blackness is actually the black man's or the white man's "problem," but the fact remains that the debate is "central" and inherent in the regime. Again, the regime fosters ideas that Appendx 1 page break 40 | 41 are contradictory and certainly to our advantage: on the one hand, the "findings" of knowledge are protected by what is called the "public domain," and it is this knowledge that must be kept public in order that the regime fulfills its self-image; on the other hand, this very same knowledge, if proven to be arbitrary, has the capacity of revealing anew the full glory of a controlling mechanism that conceals, with force, the defined identity. One way of killing something is to maintain a distance from the subject and deny it some essential form of sustenance; another way to accomplish the same result is to enfold and suffocate it. If the "identity" doesn't recognize the technique being used, it is impossible to resist. 

This identity that I speak of is blackness, and a prominent regime that continues such processes of concealment is architecture. If anyone doubts that blackness is concealed by architecture, this doubt can be erased with the simplest of arguments. This argument can be initiated by the little-known fact, which does not have to be proved by statistics or anything else, that architecture in terms of its history, theory, and practice is one of the last  bastions of so-called white male supremacy. It does not have to be proved because those of us who participate in this regime are aware of the constructed silence that is placed on the lips of those of us who are not white and not male.  We know it, and the regime knows it, and it is the "knowing" that binds us. 

In the venues of history, art, music, and literature there are presences acknowledged as "Black." These presences are not relegated to any type of subcategory because they have driven themselves into the consciousness of our minds—a consciousness so vivid that it even resists the term African-American. These are venues where blackness has made the sacrifices and paid its dues and, as a result, has been uncovered by the relative regimes that have attempted to conceal it. Therefore there is no sustainable argument against the social facts of Black history, Black art, Black music ("dance", rap, or jazz), and Black literature; furthermore, this legitimacy is condoned, supported, and exploited by their respective regimes. Regardless of whether or not one accepts the race terminology that distinguishes these presences from other histories, arts, musics, or literatures, one must accept that they are  "distinguished," and the fact that we know them explicitly or even vaguely attests to this fact. They are the results of a found and inherent black experience, which have manifested themselves from within these respective paradigms. The combination of such an experience bound to these disciplines results in a unique and unquestionable "other" that can neither be accepted nor denied by the core mind of the regime. 

Architectural history is White. Architectural theory is White. And architectural Appendx 1 page break 41 | 42 practice, no matter what color the "owners" and "workers," is White. Although I have insisted that I have no faith in history, theory, or practice, I can now be more specific. I have no faith in these notions because of their pronounced and pervasive "Whiteness," which denies outright any substantive black voice. This is not a voice of a spy, but any one black voice that speaks from its own experience and acknowledges that architecture seen through these eyes is quite different from the prevailing White ideology. next page

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