Arun Gupta (
Sat, 4 Feb 1995 22:31:41 GMT

In article <>,
-Stewart,G.M. <> wrote:
>This reminds me of something. I happen to be a Spike Lee fan,
>and was discussing Malcolm X with a buddy who also studies
>film making. I was discussing the scene where Malcolm is
>shown the definitions of "white" and "black". Now, "black"
>people are not, generally, black. But it was my impression

Neither are "white" people white. In Attenborough's "Cry Freedom",
Steve Biko answers that very question with the reply that whites
are mostly shades of pink. Why do they want to be called white ?

>that the term "black" was, regardless of origin, taken and
>preferred by blacks since, oh, around the sixties or so.
>If that is indeed the case, why would a muslim, as in that
>scene, still think that this was "white propaganda" or some-
>such, as depicted in the film? Or do you think that the
>issue was with the dictionary definition? And are we to
>assume that the defintion was thought to have been modified
>to imply a negative aspect of being black? It would seem
>that references to the color black and its being associated
>with night and evil, etc., are much older than slavery.

That is a good question. Bernard Lewis in a book on Arabic
attitudes to race and slavery points out that in the oldest
Hebrew Song of Solomon (I think) a sentence reads "I'm black
and beautiful". For the last couple of millenia it has been
rendered "I'm black but beautiful".

-arun gupta
>Just thinking out loud.