The Post Modern Kitchenette
Well we have officially entered the age of the Post Modern Kitchenette. For Black people migrating to the North from the South during the Great Black Migration the kitchenette came to symbolize the transition from living under the threat of lynching by peckerwoods with guns to living under the threat of murder by the police in the confinement of a single room apartment. While those poor Black folks from Mississippi, Alabama, Georgia, and Arkansas, in fact all of the Deep South, took the risk to strike out for the “Promised Land” for a chance at freedom, what the vast majority of them found was the cramped space of the kitchenette.
The kitchenette was most often a single room apartment, similar to what we might call a studio apartment today, however the kitchenette usually only had a hot plate and maybe a food cooler, thus the kitchenette and not kitchen. For the courageous Black folks that had the skill to escape to the North (I say escape because whites would arrest and lynch Blacks attempting to leave the sharecropping plantations) found themselves living sometimes 9 or 10 people to a kitchenette. The kitchenette was little more than a prison cell that people were overcharged for. Black folks in the North didn’t have white people lynching them in the public square, instead they faced a racist apparatus of Civil Society in everything from the hiring boss on the loading dock or business agent at the local union hall to the policeman on his beat. The current economic crisis is making the return to life in the kitchenette inevitable for Black folks.
We may have thought those days had passed, or at least some of us may have, but the economic downturn will do what the White Supremacist of the World have been longing for. And that is to put Niggers in their place. The poverty and oppression associated with kitchenette made it possible to contain Black folks without having to put them all behind prison wall, not that they wouldn’t, but the kitchenette made containment more cost effective.
Some of us have never believed we had made it to anything like freedom. Those of us who worked on construction sites, loading docks, or anywhere that is not part of the official state, knew that in the mind of working class peckerwoods little had changed since the sharecropping era. No matter how much skill and no matter what the law says the rules of the American game are set by the peckerwood. Now once again the peckerwood is on the rise through what Obama is calling a compromise deal on the Debt Ceiling. With this deal we will see not only the continued closing of economic opportunity for Black working class, which is the vast majority of Black folks, but a coming crisis that we never thought possible after the election of a Black President.
The kitchenette is coming for those it hasn’t captured yet. The new economic reality has made it possible to see that type of confinement reemerge. The economy that leaves at least 20% of Black folks unemployed will have most of us living in what can only be called kitchenette conditions. If we are not behind the prison wall then we are captured or waiting to be captured and brought back to a Nigger’s place in the Obama era of US politics. Hard times have been with Black folks ever since we got here, but, in an era when we have lost the collective sense of our struggle we are about to descend to a whole new level of hell.
Let’s remember that we do not have any sort of coherent radical Black movement. We may be working to get one, we may be getting the word out about our oppression and the ways this has come about, but we do not have a movement and we Black folks are not on the move. What we have is East v West funk, North v South funk, and Black people prepared to murder another Black person for the pettiest reason, so some of us, perhaps most of us, have no sense of the hell that is coming when these Tea Party peckerwoods get done beating the anemic white Left and Obama down. It’s time to plan; it’s time to understand that what is at stake is more than has ever been before. The policy that Obama signed into law will leave us in a condition akin to what France did in the Congo or South Africa after Apartheid, we will be blamed for our on destruction and there will be no civilians.