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@mangoman You brought up a point here that sparked some ideas in my head. I think that the brotherhood is helping IM to find his identity, but but IM isnt changing his identity to fit the Brotherhoods ideals. He is seeing what about the brotherhood that he likes and dislikes about their philosophies on sense of self and he is throwing away the elements of identity that he doesn't like from them and for the ones he does like, he is putting them into practice.
@mangoman This is an interesting interpretation... Rather than comparing his identity to the one given to him, I think that IM is actually breaking away from this idea of requiring an identity that is set in stone. I think that IM is finally starting to see that the brotherhood is not at all what it seems at first glace, and I think he will eventually leave the brotherhood, and that is probably what will lead him to his 1,000 and something light bulbs. I believe that by the end of the book, IM will actually prefer having a flexible identity, rather than trying to place himself in a box, but that's just speculation.
@snowyyeti I think this is an interesting idea, that IM is piecing his identity together from his influences, but I think that is part of IMs problems. Throughout this book IM has been changing himself to try an reflect what other people want to see. I think that IM is in a lot of the bad situations he is in because he hasn't been trying to form his own opinions and identity, and he is just trying to be a people-pleaser for a large portion of the book.
The Brotherhood is a concept that really gets on my nerves sometimes. One specific time would be after they assigned IM to work on Women's rights and it all went down hill. When IM came back they basically found a way to blame him for everything, even calling him racist in a certain argument. I sat there just wondering how IM could have caused all this chaos when he was not even there. Being these riots are about the shooting the topic is clear and the issue revolves around targeted race brutality. The brotherhood with their "scientific" way of thought completely refuses to face that race is the issue and proceeds to call IM racist for bringing that topic up. They say they don't see color and that is the issue with the brotherhood, they don't really care about equality they don't see color or the past history and that's exactly why they are a corrupt organization.
I found an in class (6th) hour discussion comment to be very interesting. The brotherhood being inherently a group using tactics that are in of themselves blatantly racist was suggested. I believe that this is the case. The brotherhood seems to sign IM on through convincing him and using him as though he is just an unintelligent pawn to a certain degree. It is an organization that is run by white communists using IM as a piece to work their goals. Their goals seem to just be keeping the organization alive rather than actually working towards equality. To me, it seems that they are only caring about what IM and other people of color are able to do for them, and not actually about them as people. What are your thoughts on this?
@conster I totally agree with you. They are using IM like a pawn in order to further develop themselves as an organization. We can see this pattern today with gangs and cartels. When they recruit their members young and naive. In order to brainwash them and make them have the same ideas and goals in mind in order for the leader's goal to work. It's like the brotherhood is more interested in just being alive that they disregard their members. It gets to a point where they are no longer individuals they are just amounts of people
@conster, I was just thinking about this as I read. I believe it is the end of chapter 23 when IM says that the reason the Brotherhood doesn't "see color" is because they do not see even see people as people! As the novel progresses it is easy to get angry at the brotherhood! They clearly have a set agenda, and they may act like they are so open to all races, but really they are the opposite! The cyclops is perfect for Brother Jack because he is so blind and narrowminded. Brother Jack and the rest of the authorities are so disconnected from the people, they don't seem to care about anyone!
One more small note I'd like to add about Brother Jack, is when he used his wife as a defense. He told IM that he was one with the people because he in fact was married to a black woman. Something about that really annoyed me. It's like, "See? I am such a good person for marrying someone of a different race." I don't know, it really annoyed me (IM had similar feelings as well). Did anyone else notice this as well?
@leinweber Reading your post made me think about psychological literary theory as well. I am not sure how I didnt think about this when I was writing my post last week, but, as you said, IM is using his influences to create his own identity. I definitely think that the fact that IM is growing into his own skin is huge, but it is even bigger (in the eyes of psychological literary theory) that he is doing so through what he is learning from other people. Maybe this isnt so much psychology but sociology, but when I think sociology I think the brotherhood fits better into this category and not psychology because sociology is more group think. Do you guys think that there is a sociological literary theory?
@snowyyeti I was thinking a similar thing about how IM is changing for the brotherhood/how they're helping him find his identity which isn't really even his at this point. It's kind of upsetting but at the same time, the brotherhood did also make him change. In the chapter where he gave his first speech for/with the brotherhood he kind of winged it, which pissed them off because they didn't say what they intended him to.
I found the brotherhood as quite a spectacle in the book. Their beliefs and ideals seemed a nice Idea at first but starting to get a little fishy when IM was confronted about the literal chains that his friend gave him. And what the brother hood was doing is that they were denying the troubled past of the negros in their brotherhood. Deterring it as just another normal experiences. This was clearly very unwise because it further proved that it doesn't care about its members.
The only reason that IM stayed so long in the brotherhood was not because of the pay, it was because they were better at hiding their racism. They were not as blatantly racist as other people that IM encountered in the book. They also dared call IM a racist in the scene when Brother Jack's eye fell out. They justified that by saying that the brotherhood does not see color but people, when in reality this was not true at all. This really rubs me the wrong way because of the hypocrisy by a group that was claiming to do everything for the good of the people.
@msar I disagree with you on this. I don't think the reason IM left the brotherhood was because they were racist, I think IM left the brotherhood because the brotherhood had moved on from trying to help the people of Harlem. I think IM didn't leave earlier because IM was trying to find a direction for his life, and the brotherhood provided that for a long time. Once IM started really thinking for himself he realized that the brotherhood had discarded the people they were previously trying to help, and IM wanted to continue helping people which he could not do under the strict demands for obedience that the brotherhood had.
@gil I definitely agree with your frustration with brother Jack. It is very similar to our current political climate, and even similar to my own family. I feel that it is a common argument for racist people to say that "I can't possibly be racist because I have black friends or a black SO," which just isn't the case. I think this moment is where I really solidified my opinion on brother Jack (not that I thought he was a good person in the first place...).
@snowyyeti Yes I think that's a better way to put it. He just wants to fit into a group. I think what he wants the most at this part of the book is to fit in and be part of something. Would you agree? does this sounds better?
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