Featured Image: Randle Irwin. Photo: Randle Irwin/Facebook
By BO Staff Writer
In April 1917 Mao Zedong in “A study of physical education” pointedly indicated that, “(p)hysical education not only strengthens the body but also enhances our knowledge”. In this context he invoked the saying: “Civilize the mind and make savage the body”. Now listen very attentively to how he elaborated on the aptness of the saying and about how it must be employed:
“If the body is made savage, then the civilized mind will follow. Knowledge consists in knowing the things in the world … In this matter we must rely on our body, because direct observation depends on the ears and eyes, and reflection depends on the brain. The ears and eyes, as well as the brain, may be considered parts of the body. When the body is perfect, then knowledge is also perfect. Hence one can say that knowledge is acquired indirectly through physical education. Physical strength is required to undertake the study of the numerous modern sciences, whether in school or through independent study. He who is equal to this is the man with a strong body; he who is not equal to it is the man with a weak body. The division between the strong and the weak determines the area of responsibilities each can assume.”
Social media is currently bombarded by pictures of Randle Irwin strutting his apparently well worked body ostensibly to encourage others to hit the gym. Irvin’s boastful conduct, which sometimes borders along somewhat sexual lines in utterances like “I’m all yours ladies” etcetera, summons us to reimagine the black body from a standpoint of doing revolution by integrating physical education with political education. It must be stated that Irwin’s conduct is understandable because it is obvious that he has not yet come to black consciousness which provides the method, program and tools of analysis to facilitate the revolution and to this end shape the new revolutionary being – a being that would demonstrate an integrated mind and body as an inseparable whole in relation to the collective black.
In the present anti black context the black body is part of the public space and landscape of consumption which in relation to and together with all the other constituent parts, including land, are commodified through the process of racial capitalism. The ideology of racial capitalism, which indicates the politics in command, articulates ideas relating to inter alia identity, body image and their related potential and uses. This calls for a critical enquiry into the production of space and landscape (the black body in relation to everything else in this case) and how the different manifestations of power and value systems have become embedded therein. Doing revolution must necessarily involve a process in which the black body is engaged as a site of sharp ideological struggle. It’s spatiality must be utilized as a significant medium through which the main contradiction of racial capitalism and the secondary contradiction (in relation to the patriarchal tendencies as it manifests in black lives and bodies including language) are canvassed towards rupture with the status quo.
Now lets focus on points to elaborate and realize socialist ends from Irwin’s physically fit body image. The lesson lies in the irrefutable fact that it is only via the revolutionary integration of physical education with political education that a new being, free from the trappings of racial capitalism, can emerge as a collective. Let’s learn from Mao who taught us that any political education program that does not incorporate physical education for the masses to get them fit to engage in revolution is incomplete. There must be an alignment of the mental and physical to have optimal results. We owe it to the revolution to keep fit physically so as to serve the mind intellectually. Yes we must civililize the mind, savage the body and the task of the revolution in this context is to encourage the Irwins of black life into embracing black consciousness.