On this edition of Parallax Views, a small but growing group of provocative scholar are leading an intellectual movement of thought known as Afro-pessimism. These scholars argue that there is not an easy way out of the hatreds and bigotries, specifically anti-blackness, which afflict our society. What does that line of thought entail? Is Afro-pessimism and idea that revels in resignation or a movement with a revolutionary fervor that demands us to think beyond our Euro-centric frame of what we mean when we use the word "human" or "humanity"? One of the leaders of this new movement, Frank Wilderson III, the acclaimed author of Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid, joins us to discuss his latest book Afropessimism, a work that is one part memoir and one part theory, in this fascinating and challenging conversation.
In this conversation we discuss:
- Frank's interest in the 70s conspiracy thriller movie Parallax View
- Defining blackness
- Humanity as defining itself by its anti-blackness; the Master/Slave dialectic
- Dedicating the book to Assata Shakur
- Afro-pessimism's relationship to the ideas of Karl Marx and Marxism
- Afro-pessimism as descriptive rather than prescriptive
- The confrontation created by Afro-pessimism and the phenomenological "end of the world"
- Frank's story of a student who was upset by Afro-pessimism
- And much, much more