In The Fire Next Time, Baldwin asserts that the “white world” has formulated a mythology revolving America. Yet this mythology is one whose falseness the Black man is aware of although his countrymen (white world) has yet to come to that realization. For his (white) identity is embedded in that mythology and consequently so are their notions of blackness and to reveal it as such, to admit the mythology is just that, that it is a lie, a falsehood, to renege on what they have defined as blackness would be to give way to the factors with which they conceptualize whiteness. To expose it all as a lie would be to destroy the very foundations of the white identity. It would be an erasure of America and consequently of whiteness. Yet Baldwin seems to suggest that only this would allow for Blacks to emerge from the state of invisibility that they have been condemned to and therefore provide for a mutual state of freedom. Yet the erasure of this mythology is therefore highly problematic for whites for once they are devoid of this binary and the mythology of what America is, with this mirror that reflects only the self and no other what would be seen? I think both Baldwins and Noble’s works speak to issues of representation and the manner in which mythologies are created to serve one group. The systems that create them then gain and maintain power by marginalizing others and Noble demonstrates the manner in which our current society contributes to that. Noble’s research on Google demonstrated how it facilitates and allows its biased searches to be thought of as neutral and how this perpetuates negative representations and essentially the silencing of Black women.
America much like the internet or Google, has made commodities out of the black body so much so that their defining features and characteristics revolve around notions that uphold and perpetuate those falsified and negative definitions of blackness. The supposed neutrality of technology can also be thought of as part of the mythology that surrounds the internet. It was hailed as a space of neutrality that would facilitate a new age of acceptance and understanding yet as Noble has demonstrated it is anything but that. In so the interests of large corporations, such as the Porn industry, are reflected in searches that involve Black women. This conversion of Black women into girls who have been coded as a sexual objects is mistakenly believed to be a result that reflects the unbiased response of an algorithm;the truth is that financial gain on behalf of the Porn industry is truly what is generating said results. These results and the misconception or the mythology of the commercial search engines- Google, then work to misrepresent Black women, objectifying them and I would venture to say perpetuating notions that predate the institution of slavery. What came to my mind when Professor Noble spoke was the manner in which sexuality became an easy way in which to dehumanize, oppress and essentially work towards conceptualizing as an “other”, different racial/ethnic groups. The stereotypical depiction of the Black woman as a Jezebel for example, reduced them to a body and largely rendered them invisible. I would venture to say that the biases of Google similarly aid in marginalizing Black women. Here we can see how our post civil rights society, who sometimes boasts of progress by claiming colorblindness, continues to propel negative definitions of blackness. In so both Nobel and Baldwin call for an acknowledgement from these systems and an erasure of the mythology that aids in perpetuating said notions.
LC Terms: History of the Americas, United States local history, Historiography, Afro Americans , Status and development since emancipation, Political history, Slavery in the United States, Twentieth Century
B) My suggested terms: Counter History, White definitions of Blackness, Racism, Oppressive systems of Power.
Terms that I believe match those in my suggested list: Psychoanalysis and racism, white supremacy movements—United States, Technology and women, Race