Preface: Informing
Cultural Studies
A Politics of Betrayal?
Black identity is not simply a social and political category to be
used or abandoned according to the extent to which the rhetoric
that supports and legitimises it is persuasive or institutionally pow-
erful. Whatever the radical constructionists may say, it is lived as a
coherent (if not always stable) experiential sense of self. Though it
is often felt to be natural and spontaneous, it remains the outcome
of practical activity: language, gesture, bodily significations, de-
sires.
Paul Gilroy, The Black Atlantic
In a troubled voice, my grandmother asked me the last time I saw
her before she died, "How can you live so far away from your
people?'In her mind, "my people" were not synonymous with a
mass of black people, but with particular black folks that one is
connected to by ties of blood and fellowship, the folks with whom
we share a history, the folks who talk our talk (the patois of our
region), who know our background and our ways. Her comment
silenced me.
I felt a pain in my heart as though I had been pierced
by a sharp blade. My grandmother's words were like that; they felt
to me like little knives. My silent response was tacit agreement
that only misguided confused folks would live away from their
people, their own.
bell hooks, 'Third World Diva Girls'
Wi no infaarna, infamieshan wi no gi
If a man a moles mi an mi famili
Mi naa ron fi poliis ar sikuoriti
Mi uda chek fi mi ruud bwai kompini
[We are not informers, we don't give information
If someone is molesting me and my family
I wouldn't run to the police or the security forces
I would rather call on my rude boy posse]
Shabba Ranks, 'Rude Boy,' X-Tra Naked
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