Community Culture Clinic

The Return of the Lone Ranger: Who is that Masked Man Anyway? Part 2

Last week we looked at Lone Ranger Identity and Bass Reeves, African American US Marshal that inspired the Lone Ranger Series. Today we conclude by attempting to explain the life o lone rangers in our society.

Is there a place for the hopeless sinner, who has hurt all mankind just to save his own soul. One love…

Bob Marley

Where is that space where we get to speak proactively about our lives? The time is ripe to redress the issues that have keep lone rangers silent behind the mask to “cross the borders” to humanity.

Crichlow 217

Many lone rangers (female and male) exist in our society. ‘Lone rangers’ occur in the arts, sports arena, in business and in many other fields. Retreating to the shadows after performing heroic feats, most ‘pass’ as unassuming. “Masking” and “silence” are tools for camouflage, contradiction and resistance to challenge a classist, closeted, heterosexist and homophobic, recolonizing space.

Lone rangers keep various aspects of their lives hidden, even from colleagues, family, friends and loved ones. They seem subversive since they evade societal compliance with policies that reinforce “non-white(s) … subordinate and impotent positions” (Nurse 11). They also appear dangerous when they hide medical or mental challenges and concerns.

Holding space for a lone ranger to remove her/his mask or moving beyond the silence exposes contexts and histories of our underprivileged and our unsung heroes. For instance, sentiments about black Caribbean Masculinity were reflected in a fundraiser held by CARIFESTA XIV-bound Black Ogun Theatre at the Cove, St. Laurence Gap on August 3rd, 2019. Here, in the choreo-poem Gods of War and Steel, Matthew Murrell delves into many issues that influence how masculinity is produced and presented in Barbados. Murrell’s work brings the millennial challenge between effeminism and violence into focus, adding his voice to the scholarship on Caribbean masculinity.

Serge Phillips, Tabari St. Ville and Noel Williams of Black Ogun

Customs and expectations that reflect elitist traditions carry closeted and homophobic attitudes that limit men to produce identity “through the denial of their human rights and dignity” (Crichlow 214).

In the post-production question & answer session, male actors Serge Philips, Tabari St. Ville and Noel Williams offered perspectives living in the 21st century to support engendered spaces as alternatives. “An engendered space is negotiated …the process of including a formerly excluded, taboo, marginalized or policed concern. (Crichlow 215) Policies of inclusion expose systems set up to protect colonial hegemony. They subvert unworkable norms to better celebrate humanity. Enacting such policies would disrupt tensions and preoccupations that reinforce colonial myths and rhetoric.

A Caribbean region free from colonial domination and control, follows Cornel West’s “conceiving new forms of community” and Stuart Hall’s “new kind of politics” (Crichlow 216). This “battle for space” would shift perceptions about our intelligences, sensitivities, understandings, respectfulness and productivity (Nettleford). Such resources would enrich everyday lives to where all contributions are valued and respected. In this environment, a lone ranger could choose not to wear the ‘mask’ or embrace the silence and receive full guidance and respect. Our society can hold space for women/men who need help to seek out support.

Dr. John Hunte PHD Cultural Studies UWI Cave Hill

Culture Clinic is a weekly column crafted by Dr. John Hunte.

Works Cited

Burton Art Black Gun, Silver Star: The Life and Legend of Frontier Marshal Bass Reeves (Race and Ethnicity in the American West) Nebraska Bison 2008

hooks bell We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity New York Routlege 2004

Crichlow, Wesley “History, (re)memory, testimony and biomythography : charting a buller man’s Trinidadian past” in Rhoda E. Rheddock (ed) Interrogating Caribbean Masculinities: Theoretical and Empirical Analyses Kingston, Jamaica UWIPress 2004

Lewis, Linden “Caribbean Masculinity at the Fin de Siecle” in Rhoda E. Rheddock (ed) Interrogating Caribbean Masculinities: Theoretical and Empirical Analyses Kingston, Jamaica UWIPress 2004

Marley, Bob “One Love” from EXODUS 1977 SONG

Murrell, Matthew Black OgunTheatre: Gods of War and Steel and Steel August 3, 2019 THEATRE

Nettleford, Rex “The Battle for “ in Inward Stretch Outward Reach: A Voice from the Caribbean Kingston, Jamaica: MacMillan Caribbean 1993

Nurse, Keith “Masculinities in Transition: Gender and the Global Problematique” in Rhoda E. Rheddock (ed) Interrogating Caribbean Masculinities: Theoretical and Empirical Analyses Kingston, Jamaica UWIPress 2004

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