chapter  2
27 Pages

Industrial Modernity, Du Boisian Double Consciousness: Post-Industrialism, Postmodernity/Post-Structuralism, and Intersectionality

In direct or indirect response to the structural and racial determinism of the pathological-pathogenic, adaptive-vitality, anti-essentialist, and anti-antiessentialist positions, post-sixties and post-segregation era black scholars attempt to re-conceptualize black consciousness within the dialectic of the Enlightenment project of modern industrial and postindustrial capitalism either through the double consciousness discourse of W.E.B. Du Bois, à la Cornel West and Paul Gilroy, or the decentered subject and indeterminacy of meaning conceptualization of postmodern/post-structural theorizing, à la bell hooks and Patricia Hill Collins. Both positions are problematic for the same reason. The positions are structurally determined, and both groups assume their Cartesian epistemological/intellectual activities and deconstruction to be the ontological and epistemological basis by which the majority of blacks encounter and constitute their being and thinking within capitalist relations of the Enlightenment project and modernity. We view their assumptions to have ontological status as the Cartesian, transcendental, intellectual activity of the black bourgeois academic in their attempt to defi ne themselves and the black bourgeois world in relation to a white bourgeois modernity and a black underclass world created by that white modernity in order to defi ne and delimit modernity itself as encapsulated in the class division and dialectic of capitalist industrial and postindustrial relations of production. Be that as it may, it is our view that the intellectual deliberations of detached black thinking scholars such as West, Gilroy, hooks, and Collins, about what blackness is, how it is defi ned, what its practices are, etc., within modernity represents their ego-centered attempt to defi ne blackness within the class division of the dialectic of capitalist industrial and postindustrial relations of production, which they unconsciously internalize and reproduce in their intellectual activities and everyday practices. As such, their intellectual deliberations and activities are not how ontologically and epistemologically the majority of blacks come to constitute their way-of-being in the capitalist relations of industrial and postindustrial modernity. Ontologically and epistemologically, the majority of blacks, as a racial-caste-in-class, diff erentiated by class division and social relations of production, unconsciously assumed the same capitalist

Enlightenment and modern bourgeois discourse as their white counterparts who enslaved them as their praxis/practice amidst predominantly racialclass diff erentiation and discrimination by whites and the black bourgeoisie. As such, it is within the matrix of domination of two social class language games, a black/white bourgeoisie and black underclass, within so-called modern Enlightenment capitalist society, that black scholars such as Du Bois, Gilroy, West, hooks, and Collins would assume their Cartesian cogito as the ontological and epistemological basis upon which to intellectually defi ne black bourgeois consciousness in relation to white bourgeois consciousness and the bodies, ideas, ideals, language, and practices of a black underclass created by white and black embourgeoisement. Ostensibly, because of their theoretical Cartesian standpoints, they overlook the class basis and origins of their double consciousness discourse and postmodern/ post-structural theorizing as determined by the class division and social relations of production within which their theories and identities emerged.