Category Archives: Nappy Edges: Defending the Black Aesthetic


The King statue in Washington DC doesn’t look like Dr. King. The King statue doesn’t look like anyone in particular, truth be told.

I noticed this right off when I went to DC a few years ago, right after the unveiling.

I walked down to the Lincoln memorial and took a look at the Ole Abe. He looked just like every photograph of the 16th president that I had ever seen.

White guy looks like himself, black guy looks like … who knows.

Well that’s what happens when the people are “colorblind.” If you can’t see a person’s color, you can’t see the person. And if you can’t see the person, you can’t sculpt him. This of course implies that the artist responsible for seeing Lincoln did see his color. When speaking of color blindness, you rarely if ever hear about ignoring white people’s color. White people do have a color, you know. But that color isn’t a problem, therefore you are allowed, even encouraged to see it. Other colors are a problem, so you should try not to see them. This of course leaves you seeing only whiteness and whiteness becomes the norm.

Once whiteness is the norm, you don’t have to mention it again. This gives whiteness the appearance of colorblindness, but in reality it is all you see, and it becomes more than a color but a moral stance, all goodness and light. But it is still whiteness, whiteness with good PR. Non-whiteness and all within it are less than white.

This incredible whiteness of being becomes to the citizenry the same as water is to a fish. Fish don’t think about water or even notice it until it is gone. The water is the norm, always has been and always will be. This may be fine if you are a fish living in that water, but what if you are mouse? A mouse cannot live in the water like a fish. And a mouse is constantly aware of the water and the adjustments the mouse must make when in the water in order not to drown. A mouse can never live completely in the water, he must always keep his head out of the water, he is aware that there is this thing called air that he needs and that water keeps away when his head goes under. Demanding colorblindness of people of color is like the fish demanding the mouse to submerge his head and breathe like a fish. The demand will not make the mouse a fish. It will not make the mouse not need air. This demand will always shorten the mouse’s life. And as the mouse dies, it ceases even to look like a mouse and becomes simply a lump of wet fur, its features distorted by its death. And the sad thing for the fish is, they won’t even notice the difference and most likely will blame the mouse for not being a better a fish. For the remaining mice, some will refuse to breathe like a fish and seek a way to swim to dry land, but some will not and those too will blame themselves for not being fish.

This explains why the King Statue doesn’t look like King. It was sculpted by an artist who, whether he knew it or not, wanted to sculpt a fish when his subject was a man.