Thursday, June 18, 2015

Maya Angelou And The Catawba

Pace our recent discussions about Shakespeare as a dead, white male who could be safely ignored because of his association with racist imperialists, I had planned to blog about how we could do the same to Maya Angelou as she was the beneficiary of similar racist imperialism.

When she died, Maya was living in North Carolina and enjoyed all manner of conveniences unknown to the Native Americans whose land she had stolen, if only through a long sequence of financial transactions dating back several centuries. Rather than do the right thing and return the land to the Native Americans, she lived there, a gross insult to the noble people who would have owned the land had they not been slaughtered or evicted. For all intents and purposes, Maya's as guilty as old Will.

The exercise researching the post was revealing. The Catawba Indians occupied that part of North Carolina when the Euros arrived. Here's a little bit about the Catawba.
Catawba warriors were known as the fiercest in the land. The tribe claimed at least eleven other tribes as enemies.
Why were they fighting 11 other tribes? One presumes that the Catawba were racist imperialists as well, otherwise conflict would have been unnecessary and/or resolved by negotiations. Despite this and despite Maya using their land without paying them for it, neither they nor Maya are castigated as the villains they must surely be.

Of course they're not. Maya Angelou was born into poverty and racism. She became a successful artist despite all kinds of disadvantages. The Catawba were doing what made sense to them to survive and flourish. William Shakespeare and the English were no different. We hate Shakespeare and the English, but admire Maya and the Catawba because we're supposed to.

Our political correctness mania isn't about dead, white males, it's about us. It's a way for people to preen and pose and put on airs of pious indignation, showing off for everyone else. It's a fashion statement, not an intellectual movement.
It's not a very attractive fashion statement, either.


Trigger Warning said...

Interesting choice of persons. Maya Angelou demanded that people call her "Dr" Angelou, but she was not. Normally, we call people like that "impostors" or "crazy". In her case, we put her face on a stamp alongside a quote that was plagarized from another woman.

Nothing in Progressostan it what it seems. It is a Wonderland of Lies.

K T Cat said...

I chose Maya only because the name was familiar and she was an icon to the intelligentsia, someone they would never, ever think of dismissing like they do Shakespeare, Dickens or the rest. Given her achievements and background, I'm disinclined to find reasons to criticize her. The unaccomplished herd of PC sheep that cultivate the lies you speak of are a different matter entirely.