Just Another Jim Brown

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The author of the article I’m not Black I’m Kanye -Ta-Nehisi Coates uses the phrase ‘just another Jim Brown’ in the twenty-eighth paragraph in an attempt to categorize Kanye west in a particular group of black people who are not satisfied by their race and wish they were white. Other celebrities with a similar character mentioned include James Brown, O.J Simpson and Michael Jackson. The author, however, rests his blame on Michael for putting other people of his kind other the path of destruction. 

I am slightly confused by the mentioning of several names in a single paragraph, and I end up failing to comprehend their importance in this text. The naming of the phrase ‘Jim Brown’ leaves me with several questions as the why us such an expression as if we were in a conversation and we were talking about a friend who we use as a reference of character.  I wonder why the author (Coates) had to use a name for an illustration, and it only complicates the subject for me since I am already struggling with finding out about what Kanye West has been doing to warrant him such accusations and also his level of fame for him to be called a god. The second section I find somewhat confusing is when Kanye West is put in the context of Trumpism - being a person who approves of Donald Trump’s Ideology especially on controversial issues. Amongst the Trumpism characters are the thing she has said or the policies he has enacted based on his fears of a people of hate towards the groups. In his context, He is compared to very controversial issues revolving around Donald Trump. I am left hanging since I don’t see the connection between him thinking highly of trump and him being associated with his Trump misgivings. It would be like accusing Republicans of the crimes the Republican presidents did. However, I keep thinking that I am the one disintegrating the author and thus perhaps I need to read it over again since it will be difficult continuing with the text while still unable to understand the correlation.

Reading strategies

I have a history of reading through several literary works, and thus I am aware of the need to be underlining any sections that need clarification and jotting a few questions just next to them with the aim of seeking clarification. The questions which are situated at the margins of the text are meant to guide me through the research phase which I will undertake after finishing my first reading. These notes also include words and phrases I do not know and need looking up from the dictionary and even ideas the author has mentioned that I am not familiar with. Thus the plans I had to research on include the ‘Planks of Trumpism’ (paragraph seven) and the black celebrities that have been said along Michael Jackson with the need to clarify on the use of the phrase Jim Brown. Upon doing the research, I wrote notes on these subjects in contexts to their behavior towards white people on a piece of paper together with the new vocabulary. In my notes, I found out that James Brown was a Jazz singer and a trendy one and was very much loved by the black community but they later turned against him when he endorsed Republican presidents namely Nixon and in nineteen seventy-two and Ronal Reagan. And this is the moment when his music career started plummeting. However, when it came to connecting them to Jim Brown, I could not manage since he was just a man who was surrounded by controversies but nothing is being said about his political views as I had already assumed that He too might have been a supporter of a Republican president like West and James Brown. Thus my strategy failed me at this point as I could not relate this paragraph with the rest of the article.

On Plank Trumpism, I did gather a lot using this strategy as I came to realize that Kanye has the same kind of thinking like president trump. They both argue without considering facts, and it all comes from what they feel. They are thus regarded as ignorant as seen when Kanye West describes Chicago different from how other black people describe it - ‘the murder capital of America.  From this, I create the connection why he is considered as an ignorant fellow who has removed himself from the societal problems and is always talking without a basis or somewhat out of his drive to associate himself with the white people just like Michael Jackson.

Evaluation of strategy

To become a novice reader then flexibility is required when it comes to an understanding a text. The approach I chose this time did work for me in reducing the difficulty I encountered while reading this article as it was at first not easy to understand as it was dealing with issues that I have not been exposed to at first hand. But from underlining the essential parts, making notes, researching then going back to read the text, I understood most parts easily. I now prefer reading with a pencil in my hand and also with the will to learn something twice with the aim of understanding it and drawing my conclusions while having the complete knowledge of the text with me.

Work Cited

Coates, Ta-Nehisi. We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy. One World/Ballantine, 2017.

August 21, 2023

Art Culture Literature

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