Wednesday, June 6, 2007

UBM – The Early Days

Children often ask me, “Mr. Mills, when did you adopt the Internet persona of Undercover Black Man?”

And after they un-ass a little pocket change, I generally tell ’em a bullshit story involving the CIA or the Republic of New Afrika. Thus imparting a valuable life lesson: Never trust nobody.

Now, I feel like revealing the truth.

I’d acquired the habit of reading American Renaissance, a white nationalist website that offers daily links to legitimate news articles on race, ethnicity, political correctness, etc.

AmRen also has very active discussion boards, which I especially enjoyed. The white readers of American Renaissance reminded me of black folks; race is damn-near all they want to talk about. They’re obsessed with it.

I felt motivated, after Hurricane Katrina, to de-lurk and join their online discussions. Pseudonymously (like many other AmRen commenters).

I called myself “Undercover Negro,” but AmRen’s content filter bounced my first comment back at me. I tried again as “Undercover Black Man,” and the comment was accepted.

(You see, the website – in keeping with the courtly manners of its founder, Jared Taylor – maintains a language standard. To wit: No racial slurs. Apparently “Negro” can carry a derogatory taint.)

Anyway, I hung out on the AmRen boards for months. To give you a sense of the kind of back-and-forths I got mixed up in, here’s an edited exchange from August 2005. (The full thread is archived here.)

I have not corrected any typos or misspellings. But I have broken up some large paragraphs to make it easier to read.
RISORGIMENTO II: … As for this “Black music thang”, I hate to point out the NOT so obvious. That the liberal propaganda machine in the media and at liberal education centers, fall all over themselves to give Blacks far more credit then is historically accurate, just to build up their self-esteem.

Every year during the racist “Black” history month, we are overwhelmed with an never ending and ever growing list of “new” revelations of history and inventions that boggle the mind. In short, Whites didn’t “invent” anything they didn’t “steal” from the original inventors, who were Black. …

The White trumpeter Bix Beiderbecke, revolutionized and rejuvenated jazz during it’s early years. Early Black jazz bands would travel from all parts of the country just to listen to him play, to study and copy his style. Where they influenced? Of course they were!

But we are being sold a bill of goods in which the Bix Beiderbeckes, the Jerry Leibers and Mike Stollers, the Carol Kings and Gerry Goffins, and the Linda Creeds are written out of the history books to create yet another false Black racialistic view of reality.

And how did White technical inventions (soon to be announced as “Black” technical inventions, stolen by Whites) in the music industry influence Black music? From radio, television, record players, LP’s, cassettes, CD’s, movies, to Electric guitars, amps, keyboards, pianos, organs, valve trumpets,. ect, ect.,…

UNDERCOVER BLACK MAN: Beiderbecke rose to prominence as the star soloist in the Wolverine Orchestra. The Wolverines got their name because they played Jelly Roll Morton’s “Wolverine Blues” so often. Jelly Roll Morton was black. Therefore, without black music, where would Bix Beiderbecke be?

Risorgimento II also asked: “And how did White technical inventions (soon to be announced as ‘Black’ technical inventions, stolen by Whites) in the music industry influence Black music? …”

It might interest you to learn that the banjo originated in Africa, and was transplanted to America by slaves. Even the word “banjo” is likely of African origin.

Not that that’s any big deal. But it is ironic, given that the banjo today is so readily associated with white (dare I say “hillbilly”?) music. Also, the xylophone (and thus its New World descendants like the marimba and the vibraphone) is believed to have originated in Africa. I will grant you that the Africans didn’t invent electricity.

Risorgimento also proclaimed: “We are being sold a bill of goods in which the Bix Beiderbeckes, the Jerry Leibers and Mike Stollers, the Carol Kings and Gerry Goffins, and the Linda Creeds are written out of the history books to create yet another false Black racialistic view of reality.”

Dude… Leiber and Stoller, written out of the history books?? “Smokey Joe’s Café” — a revue based on their R&B hits — ran on Broadway for five years! Carole King was just on “60 Minutes,” reminiscing about her early R&B songwriting days. And every fan of Philly Soul that I know — and that’s plenty — was heartbroken when Linda Creed died of cancer 20 years ago. Black folks aren’t the ones who will forget her. …

RISORGIMENTO II: … No Black Jazz bands, no jazz song called the ‘Wolverine Blues’, nor Jazz itself, would have existed without the influence of White men’s genius and inventions. …

IF [the banjo]’s origins are (Black) African, we can be sure it wasn’t “brought over”, as slavers would not have let their slaves boarding ships go home to fetch their Banjos. But rather a crude instrument made here in America by slaves to recreate crude musical instruments familiar to their African roots….

The modern Banjo as is popular today due to modern technical innovations created by Whites…. The White introduction of tuners, steel strings in the 1850’s, the addition of frets in 1878, to “Earl Scruggs who worked out a highly syncopated three fingered style using the thumb, index, and middle fingers. Within a short period this style took off and ever since has led the banjo revival.”

The Banjo you see today is a far cry from the three stringed “banjo” that may have been used in (Black) Africa.

That all being said, and knowing it’s not the popularity of the “Banjo” among today’s Blacks that make it a “big deal”, because it not exactly popular among most Blacks. But more the need to have something that has Black racial origins that you can claim as all your very own in a world that is so completely dominated by White creativity and innovation.

I sympathize. The tremendous inventive and creative genius of Whites in High Technology, Industry, Exploration, Arts, Sciences, Medicine and Music, just to name a few, is so overwhelming, it’s beyond calculation, and requires the construction of great libraries just to begin to comprehend the almost endless contributions.

So if you want to claim the “Banjo” as black African, please take it, it’s yours! …

UNDERCOVER BLACK MAN: … Gee, when you put it like that… I do indeed wish that I, too, could derive a sense of personal worth from the accomplishments of Thomas Edison and Henry Ford. Alas, I must content myself with sitting here and strumming my banjo. …

I know it’s not much compared to the polio vaccine or the steam engine, but the banjo is a highly significant instrument in the development of American popular and folk musics. I’ve even seen it said that black banjo styles led in part to the development of ragtime, which then led to jazz.

In any event, the banjo serves as a vivid, indisputable example of how Africans contributed to the American culture. …

According to bluegrassbanjo.org (not exactly a hotbed of Black Power rhetoric): “The banjo, as we can begin to recognize it, was made by African slaves based on instruments that were indigenous to their parts of Africa.” The site even quotes Thomas Jefferson, who wrote in 1781: “The instrument proper to them (i.e., the slaves) is the Banjar, which they brought hither from Africa.”

So Risorgimento II, when you tell me, “If you want to claim the ‘Banjo’ as black African, please take it, it’s yours!”… see how ignorant that sounds in light of easily established facts?

But that’s just the beginning. In the mid-1800s, blackface minstrel shows — burlesques of “Plantation N*gro” song-and-dance styles, performed by whites — became “the most popular form of public amusement in the United States,” according to the Library of Congress. And the banjo, of course, was a key musical element of minstrel shows. …

I consider this the earliest example of white fascination with (and imitation of) black art and black style. The selfsame phenomenon can be seen with hip-hop today, just as with disco music 30 years ago, Delta blues 40 years ago, bebop 50 years ago, and ragtime 100 years ago.

The flamboyant expressiveness of black folks leads to all these musical innovations, and then whites are so enchanted by it, so intrigued by it, that they absorb it into their own way of life. …

SBUFFALONATIVE: While Antonio Stadivari was making violins that are today the most prized of all musical instruments, the natives of Africa were plucking the strings of a gourd on a stick.

I won’t even mention the other instruments that make up an orchestra or the mind of the men like Mozart and Beethoven who could conceive of, held in their minds, set down their ideas on paper for posterity to be performed in the concert halls of the world.

Compare that with “improvisation” or “the master drummer of Africa” and people jumping barefoot around a fire.

Sorry dude, but there is no comparison.

UNDERCOVER BLACK MAN: Which only begs the question: Why would most WHITE people rather listen to music created by descendants of those barefooted African natives than to the music of Beethoven and Mozart?

[TO BE CONTINUED]

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

Damn, UBM, my hat's off to you. That last salvo must've stung like a bitch!

-Nikki

LeaNder said...

Interesting that Mozart is first on his mind? I mean if you consider that Mozart partly collected his tunes in the streets.

I guess my "line" would be headed by Bach, but that is strictly an aesthetic decision, I guess.

I went through comparable experiences after 911 netwise.

Dougfp said...

The novel, the poem, classical music were all created by Europeans. Only two art forms originated in America...jazz and blues. Both created by blacks.

On the subject of jazz, some critic once said if you eliminated all the white musicians who ever played jazz, the history of the music would be exactly the same. Which is not to say there weren't and aren't great white jazz musicians...Bill Evans, Art Pepper, Stan Getz, etc, but they did not affect the development of the music in any significant way. With the possible exception of Evans.

As for Bix, his family basically disowned him because he chose to play "Negro music". He subsequently died quite young of alcoholism. So even Bix's parents, in their own racist way, attributed jazz to blacks.

Undercover Black Man said...

Doug, aren't you leaving out "The King of Jazz," Paul Whiteman? :^)

I wish I had known that about Bix's parents when I was mixing it up with Risorgimento.

Dougfp said...

Yes, the irony was not lost on black musicians that the so-called "King of Jazz" was a White-man.

bumpster said...

Nice work UBM. I shall continue to watch and listen. Please continue.

Deanna said...

My hat's off to you. I don't think I could have spent any time reading and arguing with those people. I was disgusted just by reading your short excerpt.

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