Transcript of "Using manny otiko to introduce all four essays"
USING MANNY OTIKO TO INTRODUCE ALL FOUR ESSAYTITLESManny Otiko: “Black or African American: Which term iscorrect?” (2009)Starting with this debate shows you have a developed understanding of ethnicity and setsyou up well to discuss Af. Am ID• One of the reasons it is so difficult to name this social group is that we are still closeto the civil rights era, segregation and a time when most terms were used as a meansof causing offence or oppression.• Not all “black” Americans consider themselves African• Culturally, African Americans share more traits with America than Africa e.g.Superbowl, prom, graduation• Just because skin colour and genetic heritage• His girlfriend found the term “black” offensive. In an age where we are more raciallyaware and still feeling the effects of the civil rights movement it is difficult for non-“black” people to find a term to define this social group without feeling that they arebeing racist. ->are similar does not mean all blackAmericans are the same (branding, homogenisation through mass media reps)• Links to Good Hair “if your hair is relaxed, white people are relaxed. If your hair isnappy, they are not happy” (Paul Mooney)black people may feel that they have to change the way they speakabout themselves in order to make others feel better, mediating their ID to suitothers.• “If white people see your hair in its’ natural state they are afraid of it.” (TracieThoms)• Both these quotes suggest a culture where it is acceptable/desired to change yourselfto make yourself less threatening to others. This belief has been passed downthrough generations for so long it has become a way of life (hegemony)
Discuss both terms and the problems with labelling this social group, then choose aterm to use for the rest of the essay (Black American is a good term to use as itdoesn’t brand people as “African”)Example intro:The representation of African Americans in the mainstream media is problematic. One ofthe reasons for this is that the social group have been unable to build their ownmainstream representations: they have been viewed and manipulated through the eyes ofmedia owners (Gramsci- hegemony). The Reverend Al Sharpton says in Good Hair that blackpeople don’t even control the hair on their heads, so what hope do they have for issuesthat matter, such as education and the way black males are portrayed in the mainstreammedia?Manny Otiko in his article “Black or African American: which term is correct?” (2009)contemplates the difficulties of naming this social group in a country where most termsused have at one point or another been derogatory. He states that even though he prefersthe term “black”, his white girlfriend found the term offensive, effectively mediating theway he viewed and referred to himself. He also states that the problem with the term“African American” is that some consider themselves to be American first; culturally theytake part in more American rituals than African, so why should they be branded (Chomsky-propaganda model) according to their genetic heritage?Otiko being asked to refer to himself as “African American” to make his girlfriend feelbetter is part of a wider cultural trend in America, of a social group changing themselves tobe less threatening to others. In Chris Rock’s 2010 documentary “Good Hair” the comedianPaul Mooney states that “if your hair is relaxed, white people are relaxed. If your hair isnappy, they are not happy”. Tracie Thoms says “If white people see a black person’s hair inits’ natural state they are afraid of it”. This indicates that there has long been a habit ofchanging one’s appearance to please the dominant social group, that has been passeddown and reinforced for generations until it has become an accepted fact, even desiredbehaviour (Gramsci- hegemony).