February 17, 2005

Voicing Sentiments Without Conviction:

Voicing Sentiments Without Conviction:
The Assorted Disarray of Dark Gary (So-Called Black) Thoughts

We’ve all heard the old saying, “If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's a duck.” Although the idea it tries to convey is readily understood, making logical sense of that kind of idea is much more difficult.

Certainly, there are a number of things, perhaps, that do metaphorically Walk Like A Duck and even Talk Like A Duck but happen not to be A Duck. The realm of possibility alone makes this abundantly true, so much so that this old saying has come to be modified (properly, I might add) to conclude that after all those factors of looking, walking and talking that, well it’s probably but not exactly true in all cases. But what do ducks have to do with this blog you might ask?

Well, given the increased attention on the Diversity Of Black Thought and competing Black ideological perspectives – whether fixed into old modes, adding to them or forming new ones – it only make sense to examine what the fuss is all about. Certainly, there has always been ample diversity of thought among African-Americans social and political opinion leaders. My purpose, though, is not to simply cite how that was/is the historical fact-of-the-matter. I’m going to take that as a given. A readily agreed upon assumption.

What I do want to explore is what’s behind the charge that there is resistance to diversity of thought in the Black Community, specifically as it relates to this blog.

I submit that there is an increasing tendency (apparently) for Black people to do what I call “Voicing Sentiments Without Conviction”. I know... pretty awkward phraseology but I’ve thought long and hard on this, so indulge me.

What Voicing Sentiments Without Conviction (VWSC) amounts to, to me, is a person saying things that don’t logically add up. As I see it, they don’t have a Consistent Ideology. A certain contradictory, counterintuitive or conflicting eclectic set of ideas that just don’t fit. Nobody said that human beings were always rational but I’m not at all saying that people should fit in some prescribed, preset ideological box.

To the contrary, all that I’m concerned with (and puzzled by) is the remarkable amount of logical mismatches of ideas certain people (certain Black people) have in the ideas they forward and most, like Black Conservatives, pretend to be the most sensible.

Please note: This is not a casting call for Black Conservatives. There are any number of people along the ideological spectrum who have and postulate ideas from various illogical and eclectic sets of ideas.

That would promptly have us consider the crux of all this - SENTIMENTS. Surely there can be any number of sentiments , like premises to an argument, that are, no doubt, true and relevant. But, just like in forming proper arguments, premises that are “true” or valid don’t necessarily lead to conclusions that are valid. And that would bring us to considering this thing called CONVICTION.

My Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary says, in essence, that a Conviction is a “strong belief”. A belief that’s so strong that it is “compelled to admit the truth”. And, therein, lies the problem.

I’ve long since held that the difference in most of our opinions -- and the difference we seem to have -- are no more than a matter of emphasis. That is, some of us choose to emphasize a certain aspect (e.g. personal responsibility) while others choose to emphasize another aspect (e.g. White Supremacy or racism and the structural “realities” and inequalities). Neither one of these preferences in emphasis necessarily means that the other aspect in this proverbial dichotomy are absolutely ignored. But, also, people merely acknowledging an “opposing” aspect doesn’t equate to seriously considering that within their perspectives.

The truth is, some people do completely ignore the truth. The truth is, some people exaggerate about the views of others – mischaracterizing them and misrepresenting them – to try to prop up their own views.

My point is this. There is an overriding truth that for some reason some people choose to ignore and/or minimize for the sake of emphasizing their own ideas - their own sentiments. There is, as I say, an Objective Objective when it comes to speaking about the problems in the Black Community and their potential solutions. There is, however, a point in which such exaggerated views and contempt for the views of others amount to us not having the same goal in mind.

One thing is for sure, when a lot of our thinking (to those whom this applies) is based on particular Sentiments we have that in some way prohibits us from Admitting The Truth about an aspect of our struggle and our philosophical arguments with each other then we have to admit that we are not thinking logically and, in doing so, compromising our very efforts to come to some resolution.

Let me reiterate, there is nothing essentially wrong with the various Sentiments we have. The problem comes in when we allow our emotions to cloud our judgement and when we make our judgements based on emotions – as opposed to making logically connected series of thought-actions that lead to the desired and well defined end.

I ponder that perhaps we don’t all have the same goal in mind because a lot of use have defined those goals very differently. The matter then becomes one of whether the different things we propose and/or define as our collective goal... whether all those things will actually yield the results we claim they will.

As biased as I am in my perspective (and I always claim my bias), I submit that views of many of the dissenters here don’t even add up to what they claim by their own definition. And, as it is, a lot of us avoid defining what we perceive to be a worthy collective goal (e.g. “freedom”) because that would mean that we would have to logically plot out how that goal can be achieved, particularly in the way we say it can.

I also submit that White Supremacy is a powerful mitigating factor that causes so many of us to circumscribe our views around it; thus, compromising the integrity of our views and making some more apt to both grossly over-exaggerate the “legitimacy” of their own views or Sentiments and patently hyperbolize about the illegitimacy of the views of others.

In all truth, I find so many of the views that are associated with Black Conservatives or those who claim to be non-partisan and non-traditional in their views as ones that Voice Sentiments Without Conviction.

For the record, I have hardly been that concerned or obsessed with Black Conservatives. In fact, I once questioned Faheem about that very thing. I have, however, come to realize that Black Conservatives and their divergent views are more symbolic of a larger phenomenon that has been around since the beginning of Black philosophical /ideological differences (i.e. since damn near the beginning of our time here in America).

You can see it more and more as Black people associate their beliefs with various philosophies and systems of belief. The bottom line is this:
The positions of any person weighing in on the issues that face African-Americans must simply add up. If not, those people are simply Voicing Sentiments Without Conviction, expressing logic that just doesn’t follow.



At 5:37 PM, Blogger Faheem said...


Expecting Black folk who are on the opposing side of what Black men and women want and need to have logical ideas that add up is expecting too much. Their dissent is based on their agreement with those who do not have the interest of our community in mind. We all know that trying to get Black folk to agree on everything is irrational but our disagreements should not be rooted in opposing the ideals that are held by the majority of our people, The Negro-Con pride himself on being in opposition to the Black community and love to use his or her Black skin as a validation of the ideas of white folk not being racist. Unfortunately the only thing they do is give strength to the widely held beliefs by white folk that support the idea that Black irresponsibility is what causes and sustains our problem and we know that thing is their belief in white supremacy and Black inferiority.

At 6:44 PM, Blogger NmagiNATE said...

Expecting Black folk who are on the opposing side of what Black men and women want and need to have logical ideas that add up is expecting too much.Maybe it is a lot to ask. But for those who are not B-CON's or claim to somehow be different my point still stands. Stuff has to add up.

You are aware of any number of Black folks who hold the idea that "We are our own worst enemy", and "We need to stop blaming White folks", etc., etc., etc. They are ostensibly "liberal" in every other regard.

As for B-CON's...
My point is, if nothing else, to Serve Notice. It's a challenge to them (the one's that come here) to demonstrate how what they propose makes the most sense. For it to make any sense, of course, it must have a firm logical basis.

So, perhaps you're right... It is way too much to ask/expect, apparently.

At 3:32 AM, Blogger Constructive Feedback said...

The truth is, some people do completely ignore the truth. The truth is, some people exaggerate about the views of others – mischaracterizing them and misrepresenting them – to try to prop up their own views.[/quote]

How interesting.
One of the people who VIOLATE this creed the most by making overgeneralizations is now making this claim.

How about adding to this that the TRUTH of a free person's actions should be evidence in their ability to lift themselves from their beholden condition over time.

The stagnation of their vital statistics should be evidence of the need to tweak some of what they believe as they are more committed to TRUTH as represented in their GOAL than they are to A PARTICULAR IDEOLOGY.

In doing so they are less interested in BEING "MAINSTREAM" than they are BEING EFFECTIVE.

Measured EFFECTIVENESS is evidence of TRUTH.

At 11:12 AM, Blogger NmagiNATE said...

Renaldo? What the HELL are you talking about?

How about adding to this that the TRUTH of a free person's actions should be evidence...

Where did you get this idea that my commentary spoke to the "individual"?

The stagnation of their vital statistics should be evidence of the need to tweak some of what they believe as they are more committed to TRUTH...

Oops! You're not talking about individuals, huh? INTERESTING...

In doing so they are less interested in BEING "MAINSTREAM" than they are BEING EFFECTIVE. Silly... Black Nationalism has never been "mainstream". And we had this EFFECTIVENESS talk when it came to the ideological background of the faculty, staff, administrators and founders of the school your kids go to. Instead of giving credit where credit is due you had to come up with some face saving rationale about "they're not you typical Liberals..."

The TRUTH is there is No Measure of EFFECTIVENESS by which to gauge the "condition lifting" EFFECTIVENESS of B-CON's, for one. And, besides that, you "lifting over time" BS is a One Eye Open, One Eye Closed subjective and selective Question Of Emphasis on your part.

And, you really make your position weak here because I'm about more than "tweaking" things. But, I guess that's why you share the some of the same fundamental principles with your oft despised "traditional Civil Rights" brethren.

WTF is that?

Alright, where is the comparative EFFECTIVENESS of B-CON's to the "Liberals" who compose the faculty and found schools like the one your kids go to, Renaldo?

Where are the EFFECTIVE schools founded by B-CON's? Where are the Black schools created by B'CON's?

What contribution percentage have B-CON's made towards such schools?

Show me where is their MEASURED EFFECTIVENESS is at with regard to schools and the overall upliftment?

How does it rank comparatively?

Show us your evidence...

At 1:46 PM, Blogger Constructive Feedback said...

EFFECTIVENESS is the measurement of how close results obtained from real world effort come to matching what the goal was.

Thus YOU MUST HAVE A GOAL that you are shooting for BEFORE you start out.

When I make the claim that many of the METHODOLOGY that those of you who are Black Liberal Progressive Fundementalists have are INEFFECTIVE this is NOT TO SAY that your GOALS are any different than mine (which is how you attempt to attack me) it is to say that the COURSE OF ACTION (methodology) that you pursue and then attempt to ENFORCE fake unity around is the problem.

You talk about "sentiments without conviction". I make the claim that the Black community needs a more structured process to fully vet what ever item is claimed to be in the "Black Interest" and see if it stand the measure of EFFECTIVENESS.

As an example I have debate you several times about how School Busing was "en vogue" during the early 70's. If you were opposed to it and White you were a racist. If you were Black and opposed you were affraid to go against da man. Now 30 years later we find that such a policy left schools in Black neighborhoods abandoned as we hoped that through the ossmossis of sitting next to a White kid our children too would learn.

Where was the structure to debate this issue without being attacked as an "Uncle Tom" or as "working against the interests of Black people" in this case EDUCATION while seeing the unintended consequence of not taking care of your own school as the major down side.

We are too inclinded to allow the sentiments of those who have the bully pulpit (and this is a litteral term) dominate the political slate in our community without any form of adopt of who gets to go on stage and "speak for us". Jesse Jackson, like Fidel Castro has outlasted at least 6 US elected presidents and he is working on his 7th.

If you are so confident in your CONVICTIONS why is it necessary to use the tactics of character assassination by association that is used so frequently by the Black Liberal Progressive Fundementalist who claim to OWN BLACKNESS? Why are you so threated by such a small group of colored folks as evidenced by the many stories that appear on this board when the Black Conservative has no power and no elected positions within the Black Community?

At 2:23 PM, Blogger NmagiNATE said...


Why have you wasted a whole post that in no way addressed what I said?

And, by my commentary, it is not the Character of Black person X, Y, or Z that is "attacked" it is obviously their logic. Something on which you are failing, right now. Offering it that is.

You talk about EFFECTIVENESS but when it comes time to prove who and what has been effective... you get all off the topic.

C'mon, Renaldo...

You got come better than that.

Tell us about the history of Black Nationalist, Pan-African, African-centered thinking when it came to School Busing.

You keep talking about shit that doesn't apply here, Renaldo.

C'mon... talk about the EFFECTIVENESS of B-Con's To Date...

Where were they in the 60's & 70's?
Where were they in the 80's?

Where is the B'Con track record?

Upon what proven track record of EFFECTIVENESS do they (whether represent you or not)... upon what evidence of EFFECTIVENESS of Lifting Black People's condition are we to see them or you as a model of EFFECTIVENESS?

Stop talking around the subject Renaldo. I'm talking straight to your points. I could give a fuck about your rants about Black Liberals & Progressives...

ALL of the BS you mention do not and have not reflected the views, ideologically or historically of the brothers here.

You, you are Speaking Without Reference.

Trying so hard to defend Black CONservativism as if it is suppose to get a rep just on GP.

Why are you so scared by having everything you stand for exposed?
You open your mouth, talk about something like EFFECTIVENESS and have NOTHING to prove how B-CON's are any more effective than their Joined At The Principle Hip "Traditional" Civil Rights brothers.


No rep on GP, Renaldo.
Quit shrinking... You brought it up. Show how B-Con's have shown a measure EFFECTIVENESS (lifting Black PEOPLE's condition effectiveness) worth talking about.


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