Friday, September 08, 2006


Michael Ray Charles: Denigrating Images Perfect for White Consumption?

Michael Ray Charles
46" x 51.70"
Mixed Media

from The Culture Game
Olu Oguibe

"When a wealthy white Texan collector buys one of Charles's Sambo paintings...he does not see in them a lacerating challenge to either his residual racism or that of his ancestors. What he sees, one contends, is an African American validating historical images of his own denigration and that of his race. Which is just as well, for the collector no longer has to denigrate the blacks. The blacks now have one of them to denigrate them. When young people without sound grounding in the history of race and imagery in America - which is to say, most young people in American - are exposed to Charles's paintings they are not induced to engage in a critique of racist imagery, and may only be expected at best to respond with indifference because they cannot comprehend it, or to find them intriguing, and at worst to treat with mirthful indifference."

p. 136

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