Black as Evil

David Salmon dsalmon at SALMON.ORG
Sun Dec 10 20:33:54 UTC 2000

>     That is why I agree with several list-members who have already said
> before: the topic designated "Black as Evil" is harmful and dangerous. We
> should better drop it for good.
>                             Best regards
Yaroslav Vassilkov
I take exception to any suggestion that ideas such be banned because they
are "dangerous."  We are free men and women and may speak as we choose.  No
actual, genuine "danger" from these ideas has been identified.  An objection
that the subject is not appropriate to the subject of Indology might have
standing, but an objection that an idea should be banned because it is
"harmful and dangerous" has none whatever.

Nor is discussion of this idea harmful or dangerous even in concept.
Civilization advances when ideas are freely discussed.  There may be
occasions when discussion of a particular idea in a particular place and
time may be sufficiently dangerous that speech  may be banned (the classic
example is crying "Fire!" in a crowded theater), but this certainly is not
one.  The discussion has been carried on in fairly good humor, and none of
us, I trust, are racists.

The real problem I see is that the idea can only hold so much water.  The
use of color as imagery can be variable and follows no hard and fast rules.
What do you do, for example, with the fact that, in popular American
folklore, every girl's dream is for a "tall, DARK and handsome" husband or
lover?   Of course, I suppose they are IEs and not IAs.  Still, the idea has
some merit and may cast some additional light on what went on in India's
murky past.  Much more recently, the conquest of America involved a
(perhaps!) similar confrontation of white and black/brown/red races, and
some scholars have found reflections of that confrontation in American
literature.  See, for example, Leslie Fiedler's "Love and Death in the
American Novel" on the pervasive impact of American Indians on American


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