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June 13, 2015

Norman Mailer: The White Negro (Fall 1957)

So, when it comes, miscegenation will be a terror, comparable perhaps to the derangement of the American Communists when the icons to Stalin came tumbling down.
The average American Communist held to the myth of Stalin for reasons which had little to do with the political evidence and everything to do with their psychic necessities. In this sense it is equally a psychic necessity for the liberal to believe that the Negro and even the reactionary Southern White eventually and fundamentally people like himself, capable of becoming good liberals too if only they can be reached by good liberal reason. What the liberal cannot bear to admit is the hatred beneath the skin of a society so unjust that the amount of collective violence buried in the people is perhaps incapable of being contained, and therefore if one wants a better world one does well to hold one’s breath, for a worse world is bound to come first, and the dilemma may well be this: given such hatred, it must either vent itself nihilistically or become turned into the cold murderous liquidations of the totalitarian state. | Dissent Magazine

Posted by gerardvanderleun at June 13, 2015 10:54 AM. This is an entry on the sideblog of American Digest: Check it out.

Your Say

As Big Maybelle or Jerry Lee Lewis would say, there's a Whole Lotta Hatin' Goin' On.

Posted by: BillH [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 13, 2015 1:25 PM

Mailer doesn't look any smarter in retrospect. More style than brains, more borrowed ideas than originality, but he could write. It just isn't worth reading.

Posted by: chuck [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 13, 2015 8:14 PM

Mailer was one of those authors that could say less with more words than any other writer.

Posted by: chasmatic [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 13, 2015 11:06 PM

After reading the entire essay, I am amazed at how trivial and juvenile it is. It is hard to believe that people took this drivel seriously.

Posted by: Punditarian [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 15, 2015 2:11 PM

With all the fuss about Rachel D, and the resurfacing of Norman Mailer's essay, I am surprised that nobody seems to remember Johnny Otis. The son of Greek immigrants, he grew up in the black neighborhood where his father had a store, and he decided to live his life in the black community as a black man. He seems to have been accepted as such. He discovered Big Mama Thornton, Jackie Wilson, and Etta James. His son, Shuggie Otis, is also a musician.

Posted by: Punditarian [TypeKey Profile Page] at June 16, 2015 7:45 PM

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