On Melanin Envy: How is Remus your Uncle?

Breathlessly, lovers of Disney’s song of the south defend it and it’s source material by Joel Chandler Harris as not being racist.

But what about melanin envy? How come they so easily call a banjo playing Black man “uncle?” Did Joel Chandler Harris’ underprivileged, melanin challenged, upbringing so distort his self image that he would rather be the nephew of a crafty old African than a dirt poor buckra? Was this attachment to a fictional melanin rich Uncle named Remus further enhanced by Chandler’s never having met his own father? Did Harris, unknowingly, ping a node in the brain of millions of melanin challenged people who likewise would love to discard the burden of being melanin challenged by joining the family of melanin people?

These types of questions arise once we are able to perceive reality beyond the limited, compressed, narrow worldview of the melanin challenged paradigm. The melanin paradigm of the melanin world order is embraces the fullness of human experience from its first inklings hundreds of thousands of years ago out into infinity. It is also beyond the melanin challenged perspective.

The Melanin Paradigm
Diagram indicating the melanin paradigm as encompassing the limited, narrow, compressed view embodied by the melanin challenged paradigm.

Simply knowing what melanin is, that it is worth over $350 a gram more than gold and being able to speak intelligently about the chemical that makes Black people black puts us beyond the melanin challenged paradigm. It also brings us closer to the infinity threshold.

Was Harris incapable of limiting his humanity to the boundaries of the melanin challenged perspective? Did he always see himself as human first?

Joel Chandler Harris saw people of melanin as human because they valued his humanity. He experienced this both as a child growing up and as an adult. Harris recounted his adult human experience in one of his books. Describing the encounter waiting for the train in Norcross Georgia, he noticed groups of melanin men along the tracks. They were workers on the rail line who were simply waiting to see the train as it passes. During their wait Harris overheard them talking. More accurately they were “cutting” or joneing/jonesing on each other. At one point Harris felt comfortable enough in their midst to recount the Tar Baby story. Sure enough, his audience began sharing stories of their own. Harris knew not to produce a pencil and paper to jot down notes. To do so on would not only violate unwritten rules for the “cypher” it would immediately transform him into an outside observer rather than part of the unbroken circle.

To Harris, his first story of Uncle Remus was merely a recounting of a childhood memory to fill space in a newspaper. Did he, unknowingly, tap into the “melanin envy” of his audience? When it is considered his success as an author came during the same era of another genre of melanin envy, the so-called “coon song” the likelihood is undeniable.

By Nnamdi Azikiwe

The Mhotep Corporation uses its Keyamsha The Awakening brand to heighten perceptions and expand awareness. By producing content that engages, entertains and educates we create value for value relationships with our audience for mutual benefit. Mhotep is derived from the name of the architect and builder of the first pyramid in Kemet, so-called ancient Egypt. I formed the Mhotep Corporation in 2003 to produce and distribute 3D animation videos based on traditional African stories. Since then it has evolved to being a media production company including books. In a previous life I worked as a systems analyst developing solutions for government and multinational organizations. Born and educated in Washington, D.C. I have traveled to several places including Haiti, the Bahamas, Mexico, Canada, Nigeria (several times), Ethiopia (several times), Benin, Togo, and South Africa. I am married with three children.

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