RAISE RACE RAYS RAZE by LeRoi Jones

RAISE RACE RAYS RAZE

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The apostle of Blackness trumpets the gospel to the brothers and sisters: ""health and vision in America is the black man,"" dig it? The black man is the worshipper of the life process; the wisdom of Africa flows in his veins, the strength of the primitive is in his loins -- ""the worst parts of this essay are caused by me 'thinking'"" -- a white man's occupation, dig it? These are random essays, 1965-1970, a miscellany of magazine pieces; incantations in the worship of blackness; a summons to black artists to serve the revolution, organize black consciousness, lead the liberation of the communities. To hell with whitey's culture from Shakespeare (his rhythms were 'stale' and 'punkish') to space capsules -- ""the technology of the West is just that, the technology of the West""-- consider instead ""the black purposes of space travel"" (?) Jones does not want his revolution (which will be made by rising consciousness and the Poetry of the Living, not dollars and guns) contaminated by white devils, Marx and Lenin. He'll take Du Bois, Fanon or even Mao (who split from the Russians because they're Europeans, dig it?); misguided brothers like Eldridge Cleaver and the Panthers are ""extreme examples of Pimp Art gone mad."" Jones wills it all black, nothing derivative, nothing integrated, nothing tainted by the soulless decadence of Merica. (""Merica is to die, soon. All good men want it to fall."") Newark -- there are several pieces on the ""bankrupt ugly colony"" he calls home -- is really an embryonic city-state, like Gary, Washington, Oakland and Harlem, Bedford-Stuyvesant and Detroit, ""our kingdoms"" awaiting prophets, organizers, hustlers, institutions, black-oriented laws, medicine, education, clothing, etc. But (be assured, Whitey) none of this doctrine is racist. Racism is, un-black, ""one aspect of Euro-American culture."" Repetitive and rhetorical, harsh and snarling polemics; a literary embodiment of Jones's motto ""always attack"" and never leave your daishiki home.

Pub Date: June 15th, 1971
Publisher: Random House