NYU Black Renaissance Noire NYU Black Renaissance Noire Volume 16.2: Fall 2016 - Page 91

politics

White and Black Progressives Have the Luxury of Sitting Out November

By Ishmael Reed
“ DUMP TRUMP ” ( CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 ) BY THISBROKENWHEEL . HTTPS :// WWW . FLICKR . COM / PHOTOS / THISBROKENWHEEL / 25951010290 /
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The Black left and the White left have been at odds , since the founding of the American Communist Party in 1919 over whether class or race is the most restrictive factor in American life .
Black poet , Claude McKay , whose sponsor was Max Eastman , editor of The Liberator , at first chose class , but McKay was used against the race-firsters in Harlem whom he referred to as “ pseudo-intellectuals .” 1 That all changed after an incident where McKay was directed to sit in the balcony when assigned to do a review of a play . His White colleagues at The Liberator didn ’ t understand his pain . When McKay visited the Kremlin in 1922 , he was a gung-ho supporter of the Russian Revolution but later complained about White chauvinism on the American left .
This is what happens to “ Negro Whisperers ” who serve as guides to those who are too intellectually indifferent to exploring the different cultures that share the nation in which they live . They need guides like the Blacks in Tarzan movies who tell White explorers , “ This way good , B ’ wana ; that way bad .” When the guides rebel against the tourists , the guides are dropped . In a power struggle at The Liberator , McKay lost out to a class-first guy , Mike Gold . 2