Can Postmodern Blackness Exist Without an Understanding of History As abstract as the topic may be, it is of high importance to understand postmodern blackness and what it means to society. It includes the views and experiences of blacks after the Civil Rights movement. Holding high importance in present day society, it is much ignored and it needs to be better understood. A first step into understanding postmodern blackness is to give recognition to our history. Many critics claim that today's generation does not credit its history and is in fact outright disrespectful and rebellious. This assumption does provide an easy scapegoat but this is truly not the matter. Changes in time yields changes in values. Bell Hooks announces some explication of the postmodern state in her essay, Postmodern Blackness: In the wake of the black power movement, after so rebels were slaughtered and lost, many of these voices were silenced by a repressive state; others became inarticulate. It has become necessary to find new avenues to transmit the messages of black liberation struggle, new ways to talk about racism and other politics of domination. (2479) Presented here, is a discussion of some aspects that entail a black postmodern society in the 2002 Box Office hit comedy, Barbershop. The discussions that the characters have range from familial values to Civil Rights struggles and how the new generation interprets blackness.
Postmodern blackness opens new avenues
Postmodernism does introduce new ways to look at blackness. Expansion of the black culture has forced other cultural groups to give it a new respect that has been much overdue. Hooks eloquently says that "the critique of essentialism provoked by postmodernist theory "is useful for African-Americans concerned with reformulation outmoded notions of identity (2482). It is the strong identity of the black culture that has corrected ineptitudes placed on it by society. Strong leaders who brought blacks through the hardships of the civil rights movement helped paint a positive self-portrait. This internal racial uplift has never ceased to grow or gain outside attention. Class mobility has altered blackness to affirm multiple black identities. Because no two black people have the same success in life, there will be class differences present. With class mobility, those differences are identified as class division. The main character in Barbershop, Calvin, decides that he wants a better lifestyle. He remains determined although disappointed in the past that one of his money making ideas will eventually pay off. He hopes to build a new studio that will make him very profitable and reward his new family with a home "like Oprah's . He at first sees his inheritance of his deceased father's barbershop a burden and waste of time. The struggling business undoubtedly won't give him the class mobility that he seeks so he decides to sell his shop to the loan shark, Lester, for money to build his new studio.
Underscoring the importance of family traditions
When Calvin told Eddie that he had sold the barbershop, he realized how much the shop meant to people. His selfish decision puts his employees out of work and his customers out of a barbershop. Eddie is the eldest barber in the shop who has the strongest opinions and no customers. He's worked there since Calvin's father owned it. Calvin doesn't realize that his family's tradition not only affects him but everyone else. Disappointed in Calvin's decision to end his family's tradition of passing the barbershop down to each child, Eddie expresses the importance of tradition to Calvin: Eddie This barbershop is something worth saving. It's where the black man means something. The barbershop is our own country club. Calvin My father died broke and
frustrated. . .
Eddie Your daddy wasn't rich, but he invested in people and gave them an opportunity to make something of themselves.
Breaking away from traditions
The new generation is...
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