The Constructivist questions the benefit of color-blindness, and proposes thus –

I want to question the assumption that to “stop” doing any of these things is a simple and easy process. I want to question the assumption so endemic to “color-blind” thinking on race that the best way to fight racism is to attack the notion of race by showing it to be a cognitive error.

Be sure to read all of his insightful reflection (and mind the helpful bibliography at the bottom). The above sentence made me think, spontaneously and from there: not so spontaneously and more directedly, on the logical relation, as it is presented and written out in Lovecraft’s prose (fiction), of race as a biological fact and race as a construct.

There is a very definite sense in which race is available and necessary as the former – these cognizant, rational, hyper-intelligent, space-travelling aliens in his works cry out “Other! Other! Other!” with every tentacle of their polymorphous (and only very occasionally: anthropomorphic) physical bodies. Critically then, Lovecraft’s characters still cannot quite bring themselves to bring up a dichotomy of human vs. alien in their confrontations with Cthulhu & Co. – more specifically, they habitually, instinctively?, narrow it down to white human vs. alien. I must have made that point before, remember making something like it when I discussed The Call of Cthulhu (a call that, notably, goes out not only to the great white male narratorship and characterstock) and its violent police raid on the feasting, “bastardized” worshippers of grand Cthulhu – and will make it at greater length, & discuss it as a central conflict.

Not quite coincidentally, I will teach a class on the Harlem Renaissance in the upcoming (and still very far removed) winter semester, and having George Hutchinson’s (I’m sure) excellent (but still unread, by me) study on The Harlem Renaissance in Black and White standing on the shelf and all waiting to finally be read – I wonder, if I might not sneak Lovecraft in there as a WASP exponent and counteragent…sort of as a running gag: the seminar has not yet been devised that I cannot integrate Lovecraft into.

The table of contents I spun up in the previous post is, now that I look at it, extraordinarily biased toward a frontier approach, almost toppled over by the “weight of the frontier” (googled for, that phrase chokes up six results, and only two of these seem in any way pertinent on literary-cultural-matters: treading the near-neological, as a scholar of ultra-encyclopedic Lovecraft probably shouldn’t) – I feel this is one approach I can take to the concept of Gothic Apocalypse I would like to write up for Lovecraft in my work. In that first chapter I would like to generally weigh and measure gothic, frontier, and apocalypse against each other, to see how their respective rhetorics go together for me. I could also point to an anthology from the mid-90s that got me thinking on the gothic frontier – Frontier Gothic, edited at the time by David Mogen, Scott P. Sanders, and Joanne B. Karpinski.

So. Melville is waiting. The confidence man is waiting.


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