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What’s My Complicity? Talking White Fragility With Robin DiAngelo | Teaching Tolerance
"For well-intentioned white people doing anti-racist and social justice work, the first meaningful step is to recognize their fragility around racial issues—and build their emotional stamina. 'White Fragility' author Robin DiAngelo breaks it down."



"Well, when I coined that term, the fragility part was meant to capture how little it takes to upset white people racially. For a lot of white people, the mere suggestion that being white has meaning will cause great umbrage. Certainly generalizing about white people will. Right now, me saying “white people,” as if our race had meaning, and as if I could know anything about somebody just because they’re white, will cause a lot of white people to erupt in defensiveness. And I think of it as a kind of weaponized defensiveness. Weaponized tears. Weaponized hurt feelings. And in that way, I think white fragility actually functions as a kind of white racial bullying.

We white people make it so difficult for people of color to talk to us about our inevitable—but often unaware—racist patterns and assumptions that, most of the time, they don’t. People of color working and living in primarily white environments take home way more daily indignities and slights and microaggressions than they bother talking to us about because their experience consistently is that it’s not going to go well. In fact, they’re going to risk more punishment, not less. They’re going to now have to take care of the white person’s upset feelings. They’re going to be seen as a troublemaker. The white person is going to withdraw, defend, explain, insist it had to have been a misunderstanding."
race  racism  whiteness  2019  robindiangelo 
13 days ago by robertogreco
How to make art that escapes the white gaze, according to The White Pube | Dazed
"In their latest Dazed column, your art agony aunts Gabrielle de la Puente and Zarina Muhammad grapple with a difficult question

20 February 2019
Text: Gabrielle de la Puente
Text: Zarina Muhammad

In their new Dazed Voices column, art writers and curators The White Pube answer your burning questions about the industry, in a way only they can.

Anonymous: I have a very personal question that may apply to other artists out there. As a British Indian, how do you stop your work looking so western? I've been thinking about this a lot lately, and looking at my work closely. It always ends up looking European, and I don't know how to get out of that loop so my work speaks a different cultural language, or is that not an issue I should be concerned with? I would appreciate your thoughts on this.

The White Pube: This feels like a timely question, between the Drama™ with Babbu the Painter’s latest IG posts, and this growing apathy/borderline anger towards Diaspora aesthetics - i feel like there is something brewing. So I am glad you asked!

I wana start by asking, like fr fr sincerely honestly, what does European art look like? that might sound facetious but i think it’s a necessary question to ask as a follow-up. In my mind, so much of what is so deeply coded as Western/ European art was robbed! Picasso robbed from ~African Art (a robbery so vague & essentialist that it rly can’t get any more specific in terminology than that), all of them really – Matisse, Braque, even Warhol. the pioneers of early abstraction were plundering the cultural depths of the-entire-continent-of-africa, and tbh wasn’t the exaggerated colour and transcendence of perspective in Fauvism something that artists across Asia had been doing for qWhite a while? Wasn’t Surrealism a poor substitute for Magical Realism (a Latin American movement)? (no one @ me about this, these r all my art history hot-takes & i refuse 2 google 2 confirm). I j wana take some time to poke a hole in that and for you do to the same bc i don’t think it’s honest to declare that an image looking Very Western is something that actually exists. imo, sounds like yet more gatekeeping from an academy w skin in the game.

https://twitter.com/thewhitepube/status/1096179719442190337
"really stressed out about the number of white people making art about being white"

I think i know what you’re getting at though, and in my mind it’s not that you have something in mind so visibly Western, it’s that you want your work to look visibly Not-Western. And that’s where my bum starts to clench, and my palms sweat. Bc that feels like a rly difficult kind of Orientalism; representing the East through the lens of the West, or negatively defining the East by what the West is not. what kind of twisted inverted thing has happened there! how has the Coloniser got us so fucked up that we are unable to directly grasp the hands of our own aesthetic without reenacting the violence of our oppression also ??

And i think that, right there, that’s the difficulty of being an artist of colour trying to make art alongside the heavy weight of your own body & history. You lean in too far and u slip into essentialism; diaspora Art is damaging! a type of violence (as Babbu has proven) in and of itself. but you lean out, and you’ve been whitewashed. but I call BOLLOCKS, hit the bullshit button. i am sick and tired of this balancing act where quite frankly the goalposts for this spinchter of ‘acceptable aesthetic balance’ change every damn year. And I can tell you that WE are not the people defining this acceptability! it’s the MARKET! this aesthetic balance is defined by what SELLS. when i think of artists a few decades older than me, like Anish Kapoor or Mona Hatoum, who were knocking around in the 90s & 00s... like they weren’t making art about brown-ness at allllll. it was kinda passé, trite, a bit cooler to j Make like normal artists (normal being assimilated). Nothing wrong with it, it’s what sold at the time, and even if you weren’t selling, the stuff that does sell comes to define ~good taste~ anyway. Before that, round the 70s & 80s we had Rasheed Araeen, Chila Burman, artists who defined themselves as part of the Black Arts movement. They made art fiercely about identity and aesthetically reflected that.

“there are so many artists out there rn that are finding an aesthetic balance, defining and mediating a relationship between their bodies, their histories and the skins within their work. n managing to do so on their own terms” – The White Pube

Now things feel more slickly capitalistic... Babbu, Hatecopy, whose work really is tied again to selling; all the artists i wrote about in my text about the Problem with Diaspora Art... it makes me wonder, why is the sphincter of acceptability passing back towards reclamation? is it really about embracing our bindiwearing-foreheads, or is it about selling something ~exotic & ~cool to a white audience (whether they’re buying into it or not)? the market is deciding yet again. i want out of that back & forth, and tbh from your wording (from you saying you want ur work to speak a different cultural language) it sounds like you do too. i think the way to do that is not fucking concern urself with whether the work looks too Western/European. bc by doing so, all you do is create an image of what the Occident wants the Orient to be, rather than an image of what we really are in reality. take bits, make something of substance, with meaning, that you can really say with your chest. sth that comes from the very internal depths of your body. Don’t reduce ur art to the nearest binary or representational object, get rid of the representational object all together! don’t look to convey meaning through objects, look to convey through another vehicle altogether. Look to some artists that do that really well already: Imran Perretta, Rehana Zaman, Michelle Williams Gamaker, Alia Pathan, Hardeep Pandhal... n not just South Asian artists! look to the Black diaspora too: Evan Ifekoya, Arthur Jafa, tbh Grace Wales Bonner’s show at Serpentine atm, Paul Maheke, fuckin loads omg too many to name!

there are so many artists out there rn that are finding an aesthetic balance, defining and mediating a relationship between their bodies, their histories and the skins within their work. n managing to do so on their own terms. I beg u look to them. it’s a subtle balance & you must tread it yourself and figure out where the limit lies for you. Only when you put on those blinkers and dig from within will you be able to make something (aesthetically) that references what you want it to, without pandering to the white gaze. Good luck, I wish you well. <3"
gabrielledelapuente  zarinamuhammd  thewhitepube  art  whitegaze  thewest  picasso  appropriation  europe  eurocentricity  matisse  braque  andywarhol  urrelism  whiteness  orientalism  imranperretta  rehanazaman  michellewilliamsgamaker  aliapathan  hardeeppandhal  evanifekoya  arthurjafa  gracewalesbonner  paulmaheke  rasheedaraeen  chilaburman  babbuthepainter  2019 
7 weeks ago by robertogreco
How Tressie McMillan Cottom's 'Thick' Affirmed My Years-Long Refusal Of Body Positivity Language
"Beauty only works if someone is not."



"Beauty is a global economy and a vital component in industries not directly related to it. But it’s not something progressive women and men want to believe is completely constructed. It’s easy for us to acknowledge the standards of beauty that exist, say, on a Victoria’s Secret runway and the way these narrow ideals can harm women’s self-esteem. But there’s still a popular belief, guided by the principles of body positivity, that everyone is beautiful or can achieve beauty. We’re defensive about it. We all want a slice of that capital."



"McMillan Cottom challenges her readers to understand beauty as a capitalist and white supremacist structure that is, therefore, inherently inaccessible for non-white people. She points to feminist analyses of beauty standards over time, most notably Naomi Wolf’s The Beauty Myth, which women of color are excluded from simply because beauty, as a Western concept, was not designed for us. This isn’t to say that Black women and women of color can’t be beautiful to themselves or within their own communities or even span outside of them under certain conditions. Just as McMillan Cottom talks about experiencing desirability and acceptance at her historically Black college, I find comfort in similar, all-Black environments. Still, we’ve all bought into same system where beauty is a form of power and that power is oppressive."
kyndallcunningham  tressiemcmillancottom  roxanegay  beauty  race  racism  inequality  capitalism  whitesupremacy  economics  hierarchy  feminism  whiteness  desirability  power  oppression  bodies  meritocracy  2019  bodypositivity 
7 weeks ago by robertogreco
Minh-Ha T. Pham on Twitter: "Folks teaching courses on and/or writing about race + beauty, assign/read Thuy Linh N. Tu's latest essay, "White Like Koreans: The Skin of New Vietnam," a beautifully written, smart essay that looks at the significance of whit
"Folks teaching courses on and/or writing about race + beauty, assign/read Thuy Linh N. Tu's latest essay, "White Like Koreans: The Skin of New Vietnam," a beautifully written, smart essay that looks at the significance of whiteness in VN and Asia that DOESN'T CENTRALIZE the West.

Folks teaching courses on and/or writing abt ethical fashion/garment industry, check out @deniseacruz's gorgeous essay "Splitting the Seams: Transnat'l Feminism and ... Filipino Couture." What ethical production really looks like FROM THE PERSPECTIVE of global south workers.

Another one for race + beauty research that doesn't assume or use a western framework --> S. Heijin Lee's "Beauty Between Empires." Also includes a great discussion of how social media helps/hurts Korean feminism.

Another one for ethical fashion/fast fashion/garment industry researchers: Christina Moon's "Times, Tempos, and Rhythm of Fast Fashion in LA & Seoul" - an ethnographic work that dispels major misconceptions abt fast fashion much of it is made in USA + involves design work)

All of these essays are in the newly published book *Fashion and Beauty in the Time of Asia* (@NYUpress).

Also: all these women are my friends, my friends are smart, my friends are beautiful writers. Read them, cite them. (I'm not done reading the book . Will have more later.)

PS. I have a chapter in the same book. Drawing on the China Through the Looking Glass exhibition at the Met, I argue that "cultural inspiration" is more than a personal feeling; it's a cultural economic asset that provides protection, recognition, and profit -- for some."

[See also: "Fashion and Beauty in the Time of Asia, by S. Heijin Lee , Christina H. Moon and Thuy Linh Nguyen Tu
NYU Series in Social and Cultural Analysis"
https://nyupress.org/9781479892846/fashion-and-beauty-in-the-time-of-asia/ ]
race  beauty  fashion  asia  korea  vietnam  whiteness  2019  minh-hapham  sheijinlee  feminism  socialmedia  christinamoon  china  books  thuylinhnguyentu 
7 weeks ago by robertogreco
White at the Museum | April 3, 2019 Act 3 | Full Frontal on TBS | Full Frontal on TBS - YouTube
"White statues have long been a tool for white supremacists to claim historical superiority but as with all things, the white supremacists are wrong. The Lucas Brothers went to The Met to see it all in color. Produced by Tyler Hall and Halcyon Person with Ishan Thakore. Edited by Jesse Coane."

[See also:
"The Myth of Whiteness in Classical Sculpture: Greek and Roman statues were often painted, but assumptions about race and aesthetics have suppressed this truth. Now scholars are making a color correction."
https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/10/29/the-myth-of-whiteness-in-classical-sculpture

"Why We Need to Start Seeing the Classical World in Color: The equation of white marble with beauty is not an inherent truth of the universe; it’s a dangerous construct that continues to influence white supremacist ideas today."
https://hyperallergic.com/383776/why-we-need-to-start-seeing-the-classical-world-in-color/ ]
whiteness  greeks  ancientgreek  romans  ancientrome  racism  whitesupremacy  lucasbrothers  2019  samanthabee  museums  sculpture  arthistory  history  themet 
8 weeks ago by robertogreco
White parents are enabling school segregation — if it doesn't hurt their own kids
"America has largely given up trying to desegregate its schools. Politicians have capitulated to reactionary white parents and activists who have successfully fought for decades against the government's hesitant efforts to provide equal resources and opportunities for students of color. The result has been a disaster for non-white students, for public education and for the U.S. as a whole.

In the 1950s and 1960s, educational segregation, along with voting rights, was the iconic issue of the civil rights movement. Today, criminal justice and mass incarceration have largely overtaken school segregation in high-profile discussions about racism.

Obviously, not everyone has moved on: Black Lives Matter has managed to raise public awareness of systemic racism and local activists have continued to fight against segregation. For example, black Chicago students have repeatedly protested the way the city robs them of resources and closes schools in their neighborhoods. But focused, national attention, much less change, has proved elusive.

The fact that we've moved on from discussions of segregation could be seen as a victory of sorts. Brown v. Board of Education in 1954 made it unconstitutional to pass laws mandating separate education for black students and white students. Brown is broadly celebrated; everyone agrees that legal segregation was wrong. And thus, the civil rights movement won.

But did it? The truth is that segregation today is, in many cases, worse now than when the Brown v. Board of Education case was decided.

A 2017 analysis by the UCLA Civil Rights Project found that 75 percent of black students attend majority minority schools, while 38 percent go to schools that are less than 10 percent white. The numbers are even more striking for Latinx students, 80 percent of whom attend majority minority schools. Latinx and black students are also much more likely to be in school districts with high poverty rates, and to have less access to high-quality course offerings. A 2012 study found that more than half of public schools with low black and Latinx populations offered calculus, as compared to a third with high Latinx and black enrollment.

This segregation of students of color isn't an accident. For more than 50 years, white parents and white activists have fought against integrating schools, as Noliwe Rooks chronicles in her 2017 book “Cutting School: Privatization, Segregation, and the Rise of Public Education.”

Following Brown, many Southern school systems shut down public education for up to five years rather than integrate, Rooks writes. She also notes that public money was used to support all-white private schools all the way up to 1978. In the north, meanwhile, racist activism led to anti-busing provisions, blocking federal funds from being used to transport students for the purposes of desegregation. Local busing efforts were opposed with violence: Around 200 white people attacked school buses with black children in South Carolina, and the Ku Klux Klan bombed empty school buses in Michigan in 1971.

Desegregation can still prompt angry, violent, white backlash. Today, Rooks reports, affluent white districts will sue and prosecute poor people of color who try to access the resources in better districts. In 2014, for example, Tanya McDowell, who was homeless, was sentenced to multiple years in prison for using the address of her babysitter to send her kindergartner to school in the affluent district of Norwalk, Connecticut.

When I wrote an article earlier this year arguing that white parents need to do more to promote desegregation, my social media mentions filled up with outraged protests, many of them openly anti-Semitic. Rod Dreher at the American Conservative said that by pointing out that white parents are complicit in segregation, I had contributed to the "demonization of “whiteness.” He also suggested that if my son went to a majority minority school he would likely be bullied by black students. Dreher's concerns were echoed on the Nazi podcast “The Daily Shoah,” which also argued that when I advocate for desegregation, I am actually working to destroy white parents and white children.

The virulence of this reaction feels out of proportion. But that's only because white resistance over the last few decades has been so successful that there is little pressure now to desegregate schools. Instead, policy makers argue for "school choice." Poor students of color, the argument goes, can use vouchers from the state to attend private school, or can take courses online, or can enter a lottery to attend charter schools. Advocates like T. Willard Fair believe that many studies "point to increased success for students of color because their families were empowered to find schools that better met the needs of their children."

Data on charter schools is far from clear that they actually raise test scores, however critics are concerned that some schools may simply force out students who do poorly, raising school test averages. And in any case, the many students left behind in the public system face the same problems their predecessors did. U.S. public schools are funded by local property taxes, which means that wealthier neighborhoods have highly trained teachers with up-to-date technology and poor neighborhoods have out-of-date textbooks and crumbling buildings. High-poverty districts spend 15.6 percent less per student than low-poverty districts. Critics argue that vouchers make the situation worse by draining funds from already strapped school systems. Separate remains unequal in districts across the country.

Since most politicians no longer even pretend to tackle desegregation, white people don't need to make a violent fuss to protect the system. "There's still a lot of pushback [against desegregation], but the pushback isn't people out in the streets organizing against busing," says Amanda Lewis, author of “Race in the Schoolyard.”

"Instead we talk about opportunity hoarding. Instead of trying to block other people, I'm trying to make sure my kid gets the best. And in doing that, a lot of people participating in that kind of behavior, you produce unequal outcomes," Lewis said.

Affluent white parents can pay for test prep to get their kids into better charter schools. They can move to the suburbs to get into wealthier districts. They can advocate to get their kids into honors classes. You don't have to stand at the schoolyard door or attack buses anymore. You can just quietly use your money and education to leverage structural inequality in your favor.

This inequality gives affluent white children real advantages. But it also stunts them. My son currently goes to a majority minority public high school in Chicago. Contrary to Rod Dreher's racist fantasies, being at a school where most people aren't white hasn't put him in danger. Instead, he's had opportunities I never had in my all-white high school in northeastern Pennsylvania. He can practice his Spanish by speaking with bilingual classmates. He works with extremely talented young black and Latinx Shakespearean actors. He knows people who don't look like him. That's valuable.

White Americans have largely stopped seeing anti-racism as a major goal of educational policy. Instead, they have chosen to focus on maximizing their own choices and the success of their own children. It's natural for people to want their kids to do well. But how well are you really doing when you are collaborating in a society built on injustice and inequality? Despite the best efforts of activists and scholars, the dream of desegregation in America is dying. Our children are worse off as a result."
race  racism  schools  segregation  resegregation  inequality  education  whiteness  2019  noahberlatsky  history  desegregation  publicschools  privateschools  activism 
march 2019 by robertogreco
Ours First | Alliance for Self-Directed Education
"Have non-White families even considered this fascinating new way of educating?"



"Ours First: One

When unschooling is discussed, the practitioners presented or referenced tend to be families that are white and middle class or rich. The inevitable questions come up: Can poor or working class families afford to pull their children out of conventional schools? How can single-parent-families do this? Have non-White families even considered this fascinating new way of educating?

Then the inevitable responses: “Maybe poor families can do it, but with lots and lots of work.” Or, “Single parents will have to be quite creative in order to make this work.” Or, “Families of color don’t necessarily do this as often as White parents, but there’s a growing number that are. So that’s great!” The problem with these questions and subsequent responses is that they position Whiteness and wealth as the default standard-bearers of unschooling and other Self-Directed Education practices.

Of course, centering Whiteness and wealth is common practice in the settler-colonial, imperialist context that is the United States, which requires enslavement and genocide in order to maintain itself. However, in the name of resisting this practice, it is important for those of us interested in Self-Directed Education to take issue with the assumption that it falls under the purview of White wealth, as that assumption more accurately reflects the normalized and dominant identities of a Western-dominated global system, rather than the groups that historically practiced Self-Directed Education, whether voluntarily or involuntarily. Indeed, a consideration of historic education Indigenous practices in the lands presently called the United States – and the practices of various groups who have been legally or circumstantially excluded from schooling – should remind us that the very groups not often seen as ‘typical’ unschoolers actually have extensive histories of Self-Directed Educative practice.

When discussing Self-Directed Education here, I speak as one existing at the intersections of multiple marginalized identities, as a member of groups whose survival within this settler colony hinges upon an understanding of the individual as an inextricable part of and dependent upon both human and non-human community. Based on this positionality, then, my understanding of unschooling and other unforced education practices is not merely ‘allowing’ children to ‘do what they want’ all day. Rather terms like unschooling, natural learning, and Self-Directed Education are, to me, shorthand for the fostering of a human existence that values each individual’s exploration of how to be – while also recognizing that this being occurs within a wider human- and non-human context, a context that is affected by and can affect the individual, and upon which the individual is dependent.

Under this definition, living without school is not only about the learner. It is about all who surround the learner – both human and non-human, alive and inanimate. Such living not only requires community, but it requires the health of that community. Not only a learner’s search for purpose, but a search for that purpose in a world of other purposes just as valuable as one’s own. It requires an awed humility – a recognition of one’s greatness and smallness, and the commitment to live fully within both. It requires a trust in instinct – an acknowledgement that our heart and gut have always been right, though the dominant culture tells us we are wrong.

Marginalized groups have been learning the world for a long time, and without school. Before and throughout this colonialist era, it is the way we learned to manage our food systems and organize communities. It is the way we learned to predict weather and navigate seas. It is the way we learned transportation routes and our stories. It is the way we learned ourselves and others. It is the way we learned who the oppressors really were, despite what they told us about themselves in their schools.

It is the way we learned to survive under Western colonialism and imperialism. And it is the way we will thrive beyond it.

Ours First: Two

I am not seeking someone else’s words on this one. I do not need another perspective. I do not need advice or input from someone I do not know, whose intentions will always be hidden from me. I do not need confirmation or affirmation when I say:

this was ours first.

A simple truth that has been made obscure, beaten down into the dirt and dust and grime so much that we believe we are dirty and dusty and grimy, too. So that we think the things that come from us are not worthy. So that we cannot even conceptualize what comes from us anymore, as it is so quickly spirited away, co-opted even as it is maligned, made into vulgar mutations that we, in our lack of imagination, prefer. We no longer recognize the things that come from us.

Even though they were ours first.

Sometimes we have an inkling, though. It sneaks up on us when we are not expecting it. A sad look in a child’s eye, for example. Or the sight of that child walking into a building simultaneously so close and so far away. Perhaps it comes as a hard awareness, slamming us with a rush of schedules, exhaustion, and conflict.

We have long known that we are fitting into a way of being that is not our own. Rather than wondering whether there is an alternative, however, we know that there is a better way. Maybe some of us always knew, but struggled to admit it to ourselves because of family schooling traditions or our own relationships with schooling. Maybe we’ve recently begun listening to the voice speaking inside us. Maybe the better way makes logical or logistical sense. Whatever reason brought you here, know that:

this was ours first.

That means that you can look to yourself and your people for solutions, for ideas, and for expertise. You can trust yourselves for the answers. You have those answers within you – and have had them for a long, long time. You can look beyond what is and toward a different way of being, a way of knowledge beyond oppression, of learning and living without compulsion. Your people have been doing this work of self-trust, knowledge creation, and liberatory imagination throughout their history... and it’s why your life is possible. Such non-compulsive living and learning, then, is not a new thing – it is, in fact, part of your ancestral tradition. Your very existence is evidence of that.

Were your people able to live lives where they were completely free to trust themselves and their knowledge-making practices all the time? Probably not. This lack of complete freedom is what it means to live as a marginalized person in a colonialist context. I assert, however, that any work leading to the health and endurance of a marginalized community requires knowledge-creation and -perpetuation that runs counter to the dominant model. Despite disruptions to marginalized groups’ liberatory, non-coercive educative practices, then, these groups’ continued existence within a White, settler-colonial context requiring their subjugation or elimination is evidence of this counter-education.

It is reductive, of course, to assume that marginalized groups, when given the chance, would not enact (or have not enacted) their own types of knowledge coercion and manipulation. This undoubtedly occurs, as forcing people to do things they do not want to do is not solely a Western concept. However, in a wider social and historical context that assumes Western dominance in all areas, and in which we currently find ourselves, the pressing issue is not that a marginalized group acts in ways similar to the dominant group – such a similarity may actually be expected. Rather, the issue is that Western knowledge-creation dictates that even divergence from the dominant model and institutions be White in order to be legitimate, palatable, or non-threatening – indeed, sometimes divergence must be White in order to be recognized as existing.

Such dictates lie, of course. Your people have been doing this – existing and resisting, learning the world and their freedom – for years and years. They’ve been doing it for themselves and with each other, and without school as we know it. Despite how the narrative is compiled around you, then, and despite whoever tries to sell you whatever is already inside of you, remember:

Ours. First."
unschooling  race  racism  kellylimes-taylorhenderson  erasure  colonialism  deschooling  self-directed  self-directedlearning  alternative  marginalization  imperialism  decolonization  schooling  history  whiteness  wealth  class 
march 2019 by robertogreco
In Praise of bell hooks - The New York Times
In 1987, I was a sophomore at Yale. I’d been in the United States for 11 years, and although I was a history major, I wanted to read novels again. I signed up for “Introduction to African-American Literature,” which was taught by Gloria Watkins, an assistant professor in the English department, and she was such a wonderful teacher that I signed up for her other class, “Black Women and Their Fiction.”

Gloria — as we were allowed to address her in the classroom — had a slight figure with elegant wrists that peeked out of her tunic sweater sleeves. She was soft-spoken with a faint Southern accent, which I attributed to her birthplace, Hopkinsville, Ky. She was in her mid-30s then but looked much younger. Large, horn-rimmed glasses framed the open gaze of her genuinely curious mind. You knew her classes were special. The temperature in the room seemed to change in her presence because everything felt so intense and crackling like the way the air can feel heavy before a long-awaited rain. It wasn’t just school then. No, I think, we were falling in love with thinking and imagining again.

She didn’t assign her own writing, but of course my friends and I went to the bookstore to find it. Gloria Watkins published her first book, “Ain’t I A Woman: Black Women and Feminism,” under her pen name, bell hooks, in honor of her maternal great-grandmother, Bell Blair Hooks. Watkins wanted her pen name to be spelled in lowercase to shift the attention from her identity to her ideas.

Gloria Watkins was a 19-year-old undergraduate at Stanford University when she wrote her first draft of “Ain’t I A Woman,” and she published the book when she was 29 years old, after she received her doctorate in English from the University of California, Santa Cruz. Since then she has published three dozen books and teaches in her home state of Kentucky at Berea College, a liberal arts college that does not charge tuition to any of its students. She is the founder of the bell hooks Institute and is recognized globally as a feminist activist and cultural critic. For nearly four decades, hooks has written and published with clarity, novel insight and extraordinary precision about art, media, race, gender and class.

For this now canonical text, hooks took her title from a line in the 1863 published version of Sojourner Truth’s speech in favor of women’s suffrage, which she gave in 1851 in Akron, Ohio. As in Truth’s political activism, hooks asserts that one cannot separate race from gender, history and class when considering a person’s freedom.

Now, 38 years after its publication in 1981, “Ain’t I A Woman” remains a radical and relevant work of political theory. hooks lays the groundwork of her feminist theory by giving historical evidence of the specific sexism that black female slaves endured and how that legacy affects black womanhood today. She writes, “A devaluation of black womanhood occurred as a result of the sexual exploitation of black women during slavery that has not altered in the course of hundreds of years.” The economics of slavery, which commodified human lives and the breeding of more enslaved people, encouraged the systematic practice of rape against black women, and this system established an enduring “social hierarchy based on race and sex.”

hooks’s writing broke ground by recognizing that a woman’s race, political history, social position and economic worth to her society are just some of the factors, which comprise her value, but none of these can ever be left out in considering the totality of her life and her freedom.

For me, reading “Ain’t I A Woman,” was as if someone had opened the door, the windows, and raised the roof in my mind. I am neither white nor black, but through her theories, I was able to understand that my body contained historical multitudes and any analysis without such a measured consideration was limited and deeply flawed.

I was 19 when I took hooks’s classes, and I was just becoming a young feminist myself. I had begun my study of feminism with Mary Wollstonecraft, Charlotte Perkins Gilman, Susan B. Anthony, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Virginia Woolf, Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem, among other white women, and perhaps, because I was foreign-born — rightly or wrongly — I had not expected that people like me would be included in their vision of feminist liberation. Women and men of Asian ethnicities are so often neglected, excluded and marginalized in the Western academy, so as a college student I’d no doubt internalized my alleged insignificance. bell hooks changed my limited perception.

Her book of theory taught me to ask for more from art, literature, media, politics and history — and for me, a Korean girl who had been born in a divided nation once led by kings, colonizers, then a succession of presidents who were more or less dictators, and for millenniums, that had enforced rigid class systems with slaves and serfs until the early 20th century, and where women of all classes were deeply oppressed and brutalized, I needed to see that the movement had a space for me.

In fostering a feminist movement, which can include and empower women from all different races and classes, hooks calls for an honest reckoning of its history. She indicts the origins of the white feminist movement for its racist and classist treatment of African-American women and repudiates its goals of imitating the power structure of white patriarchy. That said, she does not support a separate black women’s movement, and in fact, sees that as counterproductive to the greater power a well-organized collective women’s movement can have. hooks wrote in “Ain’t I A Woman”: “Without a doubt, the false sense of power black women are encouraged to feel allows us to think that we are not in need of social movements like a women’s movement that would liberate us from sexist oppression. The sad irony is of course that black women are often most victimized by the very sexism we refuse to collectively identify as an oppressive force.”

I am 50 years old now, and I worry when I hear that feminism is anything a woman chooses, because I don’t think that’s true. If a woman chooses to hurt another person or herself in the guise of feminism, surely that cannot eradicate sexism. bell hooks asserts that freedom “as positive social equality that grants all humans the opportunity to shape their destinies in the most healthy and communally productive way can only be a complete reality when our world is no longer racist and sexist.” This is very true, I think, and I wonder if today we are considering what is “most healthy and communally productive” for all of us, not just for some of us.

In college, I did not imagine that I could be a fiction writer. The wish to make art seemed like some incredibly expensive store I could never enter. Nevertheless, no matter what I would do with my life after graduation, “Ain’t I A Woman” allowed me to recognize the dignity and power of living privately and publicly as an immigrant feminist of color. At the time, I did not yet know of Kimberle Crenshaw’s brilliant term “intersectionality,” or Claudia Rankine’s vital concept “racial imaginary” — complementary and significant theories for understanding present day lives, but as a young woman, through hooks’s work, I was just beginning to see that everyone needs theory, and we need it like water.

bell hooks: A Starter Kit
‘Feminist Theory: From Margin to Center’ (1984) Considered a follow-up to “Ain’t I A Woman.” A smart analysis of the future of the women’s movement.

‘Talking Back: Thinking, Thinking Black’ (1989) Anthology of essays about feminism and finding her material and voice as a writer, including “to Gloria, who is she: on using a pseudonym” and “Ain’t I A Woman: looking back.”

‘Black Looks: Race and Representation’ (1992) Anthology of essays, including the knockout, “Eating the Other,” and film-studies canon essay, “The Oppositional Gaze.”

‘Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom’ (1994) An exciting and liberating work of practical pedagogy for teachers and students.

‘Outlaw Culture’ (1994) Anthology of cultural criticism, including film, music and books. A terrific essay on rap music, “Gangsta Culture — Sexism and Misogyny,” which my friend Dionne Bennett, another former student of bell hooks and an anthropologist at City Tech, teaches because “There is no better essay on this topic,” says Dionne.

‘We Real Cool: Black Men and Masculinity’ (2004) Anthology of insightful cultural criticism of how white culture marginalizes and represses black men."
bellhooks  2019  minjinlee  feminism  race  racism  sexism  writing  teaching  howweteach  patriarchy  freedom  history  art  literature  media  politics  class  whitesupremacy  whiteness  whitefeminism  oppression 
march 2019 by robertogreco
Bay Area Disrupted: Fred Turner on Vimeo
"Interview with Fred Turner in his office at Stanford University.

http://bayareadisrupted.com/

https://fredturner.stanford.edu

Graphics: Magda Tu
Editing: Michael Krömer
Concept: Andreas Bick"
fredturner  counterculture  california  opensource  bayarea  google  softare  web  internet  history  sanfrancisco  anarchism  siliconvalley  creativity  freedom  individualism  libertarianism  2014  social  sociability  governance  myth  government  infrastructure  research  online  burningman  culture  style  ideology  philosophy  apolitical  individuality  apple  facebook  startups  precarity  informal  bureaucracy  prejudice  1960s  1970s  bias  racism  classism  exclusion  inclusivity  inclusion  communes  hippies  charism  cultofpersonality  whiteness  youth  ageism  inequality  poverty  technology  sharingeconomy  gigeconomy  capitalism  economics  neoliberalism  henryford  ford  empowerment  virtue  us  labor  ork  disruption  responsibility  citizenship  purpose  extraction  egalitarianism  society  edtech  military  1940s  1950s  collaboration  sharedconsciousness  lsd  music  computers  computing  utopia  tools  techculture  location  stanford  sociology  manufacturing  values  socialchange  communalism  technosolutionism  business  entrepreneurship  open  liberalism  commons  peerproduction  product 
december 2018 by robertogreco
Why “I’m not racist” is only half the story | Robin DiAngelo - YouTube
"All systems of oppression are highly adaptive, and they can adapt to challenges and incorporate them. They can allow for exceptions. And I think the most powerful adaptation of the system of racism to the challenges of the civil rights movement was to reduce a racist to a very simple formula. A racist is an individual—always an individual, not a system—who consciously does not like people based on race—must be conscious—and who intentionally seeks to be mean to them. Individual, conscious, intent. And if that is MY definition of a racist, then your suggestion that anything I’ve said or done is racist or has a racist impact, I’m going to hear that as: you just said I was a bad person. You just put me over there in that category. And most of my bias anyway is unconscious. So I’m not intending, I’m not aware. So now I’m going to need to defend my moral character, and I will, and we’ve all seen it. It seems to be virtually impossible based on that definition for the average white person to look deeply at their socialization, to look at the inevitability of internalizing racist biases, developing racist patterns, and having investments in the system of racism—which is pretty comfortable for us and serves us really well. I think that definition of a racist, that either/or, what I call the good/bad binary is the root of virtually all white defensiveness on this topic because it makes it virtually impossible to talk to the average white person about the inevitable absorption of a racist world-view that we get by being literally swimming in racist water.

White fragility is meant to capture the defensiveness that so many white people display when our world views, our identities or our racial positions are challenged. And it’s a very familiar dynamic. I think there’s a reason that term resonated for so many people. I mean even if you yourself are to explain white fragility it’s fairly recognizable that in general white people are really defensive when the topic is racism and when they are challenged racially or cross racially.

So the fragility part is meant to capture how easy it is to trigger that defensiveness. For many white people the mere suggestion that being white has meaning will set us off. Another thing that will set us off is generalizing about white people. Right now I’m generalizing about white people, and that questions a very precious ideology, which is: most white people are raised to see ourselves as individuals. We don’t like being generalized about. And yet social life is patterned and observable and predictable in describable ways. And while we are, of course, all unique individuals, we are also members of social groups. And that membership is profound. That membership matters.

We can literally predict whether my mother and I were going to survive my birth and how long I’m going to live based on my race. We need to be willing to grapple with the collective experiences we have as a result of being members of a particular group that has profound meaning for our lives. We live in a society that is deeply separate and unequal by race. I think we all know that. How we would explain why that is might vary, but that it’s separate and unequal is very, very clear.

While we who are white tend to be fragile in that it doesn’t take much to upset us around race, the impact of our response is not fragile at all. It’s a kind of weaponized defensiveness, weaponized hurt feelings. And it functions really, really effectively to repel the challenge. As a white person I move through the world racially comfortable virtually 24/7. It is exceptional for me to be outside of my racial comfort zone, and most of my life I’ve been warned not to go outside my racial comfort zone.

And so on the rare occasion when I am uncomfortable racially it’s a kind of throwing off of my racial equilibrium, and I need to get back into that. And so I will do whatever it takes to repel the challenge and get back into it. And in that way I think white fragility functions as a kind of white racial bullying, to be frank. We make it so miserable for people of color to talk to us about our inevitable and often unaware racist patterns that we cannot help develop from being socialized into a culture in which racism is the bedrock and the foundation. We make it so miserable for them to talk to us about it that most of the time they don’t, right? We just have to understand that most people of color that are working or living in primarily white environments take home way more daily slights and hurts and insults than they bother talking to us about."
racism  oppression  robindiangelo  whitesupremacy  civilrights  race  2018  intent  consciousness  unconscious  morality  whiteness  socialization  society  bias  ideology  fragility  defensiveness  comfort  comfortzone 
november 2018 by robertogreco
The Psycho-Geography of Gentrification in L.A. – más allá de la política
"Gentrification as the intensification of the psycho-geography of the real subsumption of everything to Capital. No place for cultural remanants outside its logic. The banalisation of all spaces, streamlining consumption. You don't live here, you just buy here. [https://twitter.com/edcns_ineditos/status/988603623276871682 ]

But what does this mean?

Much has been written about gentrification, but simply put it is the name for the rise of property values (and then ipso facto rent prices), resulting in displacement and often cultural erasure of those who were displaced. As Stuart Hall said, “race is the modality in which class is lived” and so by this logic gentrification is also deeply racialized. But what is the cause of this rise is more contentious. Some point to art galleries/spaces; others to international & national real estate speculation looking for new markets to profit off of; some see it is as a natural process of re-vitalization of areas once thought of as blight (if life under Capital could be seen as natural); some see the incursion of the (white) hipster as the cause. Suffice to say the cause is complex and may include all of these.

Now what is psycho-geography? In 1955, Guy Debord [a French anti-state communist who wrote much about art & cinema & The Spectacle] defined it as “the study of the precise laws and specific effects of the geographical environment, consciously organized or not, on the emotions and behavior of individuals.” Of course, as gentrification attests, the physical environment we encounter does not effect all of us in the same way. Later in 1961, he clarified things a bit by saying, “sectors of a city…are decipherable, but the personal meaning they have for us is incommunicable.” We may all be able to see how hostile architecture (as seen below) works to discourage loitering and/or camping by the homeless, though others may not understand why the appearance of a juice bar (also seen below) may be just as offensive to some of us (especially since a Mexican juice & snack shop is right up the street selling the same thing at cheaper prices).

[images]

So psycho-geography could be a way to think about how certain spaces in a city could be seen as either welcoming, hostile or open-ended. Most spaces are very controlled in Los Angeles, though their control is highly racialized. For instance, public drinking is illegal in Los Angeles but curiously at art gallery openings, where a largely white audience take their Tecates or cheap red wine onto the sidewalks or street, there seems to be little enforcement of this law. The video below, take from a 2010 documentary on Skid Row, sheds some light on this racialization:

[video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MB_P3eljq1Y ]

Part of the power of whiteness is that those emboldened by it feel they can and should be able to go anywhere and be safe. Freedom of movement and safety are two things we all desire, but because whiteness is something which demands defense under the White-Supremacist society we live in — that enforcement comes along with an armed gang with a monopoly on violence: The Police. There are countless of stories of white people calling the police on Black or brown people where there was indeed no threat and the Black or brown person ends up being brutalized or killed by the police. One of the clear fears of Black and brown proletarians who live in a neighborhood being gentrified is that with new white neighbors with money, so will come a police force who either would ignore their neighborhood in the past or would already terrorize their neighborhood. What were normal house parties would now attract aggressive police attention (house parties which occur because often bars/clubs prove too expensive for proletarians).
But what does “the real subsumption of everything to Capital” mean? This is a topic which has been explained much better in Ultra-Left communist texts than could be explained here, but briefly as Endnotes note in their second volume: “formal subsumption affects only the immediate labour-process, while real subsumption extends beyond the sphere of production to society as a whole.” Or as Théorie communiste put it, it is “capital becoming capitalist society.”

So, at one point in time Capital only absolutely controlled proletarians when at work, but over time Capital has been able to control proletarians non-labor time as well (“free time)”. Gentrification could very well be seen as the intensification of this control within (typically) the realm of the city. One of the tell-tale signs of gentrification is how what were once old mom-and-pop shops which likely fulfilled a need within a specific ethnic neighborhood (fresh tortillas and tamales!), transition to boutique or high-end shops which fulfill needs much more based on commodity-fetishism: the purchase of things (or services) not so much based on need but based on what they say about the purchaser:

[images]

I buy a coffee at Café de Leche because it says that I have refined taste in coffee and also that I have the disposable income to spend much more for something as banal as coffee, rather than picking up a cup from a Cambodian-owned donut shop for much less. I buy crystals supposedly-imbued with healing or other properties because I see they are part of a trend I've come across on Instagram (and I will post them on Instagram) vs. buying candles in a local botánica from a culture I don't know enough about to spin for social capital.

Interestingly enough many times defenders of gentrification advocates say that the changes brought by gentrification amount to bringing much needed services and/or access to certain commodities to poorer neighborhoods; or some even claim they are bringing culture & difference. The first claim assumes that residents wished they could pay more for the things already for sale in their neighborhoods. This second claim is rather ludicrous as anyone who has visited more than a few gentrified neighborhoods will attest to their sameness: juice shop, high-end café, yoga studio, crystal shop, wine shop, etc. What gentrification is bringing is the blight of middle-class/bourgeois whiteness. A blight which sees itself as the default and cannot imagine that those outside of it could not want what they want.

El Sereno starts to look like Highland Park which looks more and more like Echo Park which inevitably becomes annexed by Silver Lake.

More and more what could have been a street where people hung out on and could buy cheap snacks to pass the time becomes a place where one cannot visit without spending less than $20 (currently LA’s minimum wage can be as low as $10.50/hr). The last remnants of what some would call community disappears. A recent LA Times article on the creeping gentrification faced in Lincoln Heights notes how some people stay in this L.A Eastside neighborhood not just because it is still relatively cheap, but because they have found a place they cherish and call home. For the petit-bourgeois/bourgeois who see themselves as cosmopolitan and shuttle from living in one city to another and then on to another city based on whim or fancy, Lincoln Heights has no historical or personal meaning. Their newly-flipped rental (or mortgage) is just a nice place (with maybe a nice view).

• "Oh you can see Downtown L.A. from here."
• "It's so conveniently close to everything."
• "It feels like a real L.A. neighborhood -- not like Echo Park does now."
• "It's really an up-and-coming neighborhood!"
• "If only it had a Trader Joe's!"

Gentrification is the further realization of the power of Capital over the lives of proletarians. And this realization says one thing loudly & clearly: you don’t matter and your connection to a place does not matter. Perhaps the coming years will continue to show a Los Angeles which says:

FUCK YOU, WE DON'T WANT TO LIVE WITHIN THE LOGIC OF WHAT CAPITAL THINKS MATTERS. WE WANT TO LIVE OUTSIDE OF ITS LOGIC AND WILL DESTROY CAPITAL IF NECESSARY.

Cuz we know when we drive or walk around a gentrifying Los Angeles we know that what we see is akin to a fuck you to the revolt of 1992. Capital is taking the city back and it’s time we remind Capital of what we can and will do."
losangeles  gentrification  psychogeography  2018  guydebord  whiteness  capitalism 
april 2018 by robertogreco
Holding Patterns: On Academic Knowledge and Labor – Eugenia Zuroski – Medium
"One of white liberalism’s most cherished fantasies is the cultural capital of “color.” Only from a platform of quotidian white privilege could someone earnestly imagine racial difference as a kind of “value added.” I think white people really think this way.

It’s not just wrong; it’s a way of disavowing racial difference as a site of critical knowledge. This neoliberal fallacy is hardwired into the structure of institutional “diversity” schemes: it’s what allows their architects to celebrate the presence of nonwhite people until the moment those people share what they understand about how the institution operates.

In academia, many early career BIPOC scholars have been advised, according to the logic of diversity, that their nonwhiteness will open doors to interviews, fellowships, job offers. I understand that mentors are struggling to guide students through brutal competitions for opportunity, support, and stable employment. And there’s this myth in academia that while permanent, fairly compensated jobs in general are disappearing, BIPOC scholars are somehow in “high demand.” (They are not.) But telling nonwhite graduates that their race is the key to professional success contradicts what they know from years of experience: that structural disenfranchisement is not a form of power.

A tenet for better mentoring: Against the white mythology of racial cachet, we must justly represent the particularly full expertise these scholars have gathered by pursuing their work without the privilege of whiteness.

A tenet for revaluing the bonds of collegiality: If we want to build solidarity within hostile institutional conditions, we must do better at respecting all knowledge formed at particular distances from power, especially when it addresses us directly.

Dear colleague: here are some things I’ve learned from my position as a mixed-race she/her Asian American scholar who appears, in the eyes of the institution, promisingly racially ambiguous — a poster child, you might say, for corporate diversity schemes to bring a few of us in and keep us busy."
eugeniazuroski  academia  highered  highereducation  diversity  knowledge  labor  race  racism  difference  2018  institutions  whiteness  nonwhiteness  opportunity  bias  disenfranchisement  power  colonialism  mentoring  collegiality  solidarity  privilege  expertise  imperialism  patriarchy  transphobia  homophobia  alienation  class  ableism  sexism  rinaldowalcott  evetuck  decolonization 
april 2018 by robertogreco
CCA Wattis Institute for Contemporary Arts: March 10, 2017
"The writer and theorist Fred Moten once wrote that "to be invisible is to be seen, instantly and fascinatingly recognized as the unrecognizable."

David Hammons is also interested in the nature of invisibility—what it’s made of, how it behaves, what it does to the world, what forms it takes. He keeps the invisible invisible, or, at least, the visible unrecognizable.

There are many (many!) invisible people in the world, but perhaps the most well-known might be Ralph Ellison's Invisible Man (1952). This is the subject of Fred Moten's lecture.

This is the ninth event in our year-long season about and around the work of David Hammons."

[video: https://vimeo.com/214239080 ]
fredmoten  davidhammons  invisibility  ralphellison  2017  wattisinstitute  race  visibility  racism  webdubois  frantzfanon  whiteness  blackness  jazz  milesdavis  louisarmstrong  icebergslim  music  aljarreau  jacoblawrence  wallacestevens  adreinhardt  art  erasure  aesthetics  artworld 
january 2018 by robertogreco
Stefano Harney (part 2) | Full Stop
"I also think there is a story of something more radical than the student movement — wildcat strikers, black liberation armies, etc., that is not so much surpassed by economic changes but politically, violently destroyed. And with it the possibility of more political democracy in general in society comes to a halt, at least temporarily."



"there is something kind of cool about the way we are writing to each other from under this work regime of bulk teaching, as my friend Marina Vishmidt called it. We’re writing to each other from our conditions, conditions that we make harder by being kind to the students and to each other. So that’s what we got to do, even if it makes us uncouth.

It’s also good timing that you wrote to me about this comment I made to you in an earlier conversation because I just finished a terrific book called Dixie Be Damned by Neal Shirley and Saralee Stafford. They write about insurrections in the South from the dismal swamp in the 18th century to a 1975 uprising in a North Carolina women’s prison. It’s stirring stuff and then in a really sound, clear-hearted concluding chapter they surprised me. They said our enemies have been saved not by fascism but by democracy. It should not have surprised me, given that we were just speaking about Du Bois and democratic despotism, but it did. They are right. And I think it is in this sense that a better university would be worse for us, has been worse for us, in a paradoxical way."



"In any case, whiteness is either absence or violence, and in either case, not much to offer as an ally. But on the other hand white people have a big role to play in the revolutionary violence Shirley and Stafford speak of because the act of abolition of white communities is a monumental task."



"But we have to be careful here. Blackness is neither the opposite nor the total reversal or abolition of whiteness. Blackness exists in/as the general antagonism. It’s always anti-colonial, always fugitive."



"What I realize now is that leisure evokes free time that we have in opposition to work, no matter how much that leisure has now been commodified itself. But this opposition between free time and work is alien to the black radical tradition, something Angela Davis, Barbara Smith and many others have taught us for a long time now. The black body, especially the black female body, under racial capitalism, should either be working or must be interrogated for why it is not working. Free time doesn’t come into it, but that is not the only reason. Free time itself has to be ‘reworked’ within an abolitionist history. Freedom is neither possible nor — more controversially perhaps — desirable. Fred and I talk about the opposite of slavery being something like service, not freedom, learning from Saidiya Hartman. And Denise instructs us to think of time outside its deployment in enlightenment European philosophy, instead through her concept of difference without separability. So a free time that is neither about freedom nor sequential time."



"Otium starts as a term in Greek that is in opposition to war. It is the time of rest, of peace, or pursuits antithetical to war, a way of being without war. Then with the Romans it starts to stand for time that is in opposition to public service, a way of being without the civic. The first sense gives us a time of preservation, of militant rest, in opposition to the ongoing war of settler colonialism. And then the second sense gives us a time without public service. Think of what we learn from Frank Wilderson about the impossibility of black civic life and we see the other side to this is some kind of anti-colonial otium, an otium of black operations. Otium is fugitive from the good cop- bad cop of politics and war."



"There’s something else about this otium and maybe the closest I can come to it right now is through a phrase Che Gossett uses, ‘an ontological cruising.’ I came across this phrase in an amazing piece Che wrote for the Verso blog and it stayed with me. Here’s the whole sentence: ‘As queer and/or trans people of color, already dispossessed, we yearn to be with one another; our search and seeking is a be-longing, an ontological cruising.’ Otium is this, not leisure, not free time, but this be-longing away from war, away from the public and the civic, and not an opposition to work but an alternative to it."



[Michael Schapira] "This is a long way of saying I’m not sure. I’ve suggested laying yourself bare in a different way than the laborer or developing a different relationship to death as two ways to get back leisure. I suppose this is like the existentialist’s guide to teaching. But I do think you are right in what you said earlier, that getting sucked into policy is a bit of a trap despite the pressing policy issues like debt, unionization, job security, etc. It pushes the personal off the table in favor or professional concerns."



"And you are right that it is increasingly all students who stand before capital as supplicants, without mediation, and it is increasingly all of us. Under these circumstances it might be important to distinguish between this exposure to capital and the persistence, perhaps especially in business education, of what Foucault called a total education, something Fred and I have been speaking about.

As you may recall he was talking about how the prisons instructed prisoners in every aspect of prison routine, to use your mentor’s apt distinction from study. Foucault says this total instruction attacked what it saw as the perversion of prisoners. And the first step in this attack, this instruction, was the individuation of bodies and minds. That’s the first and most brutal reform, individuation. Perversion on the other hand therefore could be thought of here as the refusal to be individuated. It is another word for the entanglement of beings, the encircling, winding, curling flesh, blurred and indistinct parts, different but inseparable, as Denise Ferreira da Silva would put it. Total education is an organized attack on our perversions, our versions, our differentiated inseparability. The brutal individuation of the prisoner, his or her straightening, the construction of fortifications around each of these bodies not just around all of them, the training in the distinction of individualized bodies and minds. This is the instantiation of reform of total education. Literally a re-forming of these perverse unformed, under-formed, deformed beings into proper forms. That is why reform is the true punishment, the truly vicious side of the prison and of reforming, conforming societies like ours. We do the same in education.

In education the very first lesson is individuation in time and space. What are the first two lessons kids are taught? First, you can’t touch each other. Second, you are required to stay. You cannot leave when you want to — to go to the bathroom or eat or because you are bored. You leave when they say. Fred and I have also been writing about the relationship between wandering and gathering, and refuge and receiving. And it all starts here. Kids are taught they cannot wander, and they are taught they cannot gather. By gather I mean as with the prisoners they cannot retain what society calls perversion, indistinct, experimental and blurring forms of senses and porous bodies being together. Collective self-unorganisation, wandering, seeking refuge and receiving is replaced by order, and the classroom as the only place they can be, or the playground and lunchroom at regulated times. Denied their own forms of both gathering and wandering, they are educated.

This instruction in individuation of the body and mind that precedes and accompanies instruction in the interactions, routines and spatial propriety of the student or the prisoner might be opposed to something else. This something else would be another kind of education, or study — the kind that prisoners persistently find a way to convene, as we know from the black radical tradition in prison, famously for instance with Malcolm X and George Jackson. Moreover there is plenty of evidence that this kind of study has never gone away. For instance, I am reading an amazing doctoral dissertation by Angelica Camacho from UC Riverside who is writing about the families supporting the recent prisoner strikes at Pelican Bay, and the forms of study that emerged inside and outside with those strikes. We might call this a form of study that takes place despite instruction, despite the brutal individuation of solitary confinement, despite the sadistic separation of families — we might call this a partial education. As opposed to a total education, a partial education is, as its roots suggest, partisan. It is an education where as Mao said the one becomes two, or perhaps as Fred and I would say the one becomes both less and more than one. Totality itself is exposed as partisan in the process.

But a partial education is also partial in another sense — in the sense of being incomplete, and indeed being based on incompleteness, vulnerability, needing other people. Cedric Robinson speaks of a principle of incompleteness in communities in Africa, and elsewhere, in his great book Terms of Order. I also remember this amazing moment where Albert Woodford is asked why he continued to think of himself as a Panther through all the years of confinement in Angola Prison even as the Panthers seemed to fade into history and commodification. He said he needed them. This most extraordinary figure who might otherwise be narrated as a lone, brave unbreakable singular man of principle, talks about himself very differently, as needing others, as being incomplete."



"How can we join with the only force of resistance to all this delusional individuated sovereignty? That is, how can we join with the students?"



"And here an important point should be made about a partial education. Their total education always becomes more and … [more]
stefanoharney  fredmoten  michaelschapira  jessemontgomery  2017  education  highereducation  highered  individuation  neoliberalism  capitalism  markets  labor  work  leisure  individualism  study  studies  solidarity  society  liberation  resistance  refusal  democracy  nealshirley  saraleestafford  chrisnefield  marcbousquet  revolution  whiteness  blackness  escape  fugitivity  opposition  saidiyahartman  angeladvis  barbarasmith  deniseferreiradasilva  chegossett  otium  frankwilderson  settlercolonialism  decolonization  colonialism  colonization  socerignty  howeteach  teaching  learning  cedricrobinson  hortensespillers  love  annettehenry  fordism 
december 2017 by robertogreco
Stefano Harney (part 1) | Full Stop
"He is perhaps best known for The Undercommons, an absolutely essential work on the contemporary university (and much, much more) co-written with Fred Moten. But an Internet search will show interests pushing in all kinds of exciting directions — from study to infrastructure, from cultures of finance to leisure, from public administration to the metroversity."



"There is as little point in demanding something of this president as of the last. Not only because we will not get it, but because it is probably not what we want. We get sucked into policy. But the university, the NEA and the NEH, these institutions are just the enervating compromise, the residue of a past battle. Preserving them has the perverse effect of weakening us. These are just settlements we have to reject in our ongoing war against democratic despotism, which is of course the ongoing war against us.

W.E.B. Du Bois wrote about democratic despotism in ‘The African Roots of War,’ published in 1915. The current US regime could be said to be the realization of this trajectory of democratic despotism. Du Bois was very specific about democratic despotism. He observed capitalists in the United States and Europe offering a compact with their white working classes, offering a share, however meager, in the nation’s wealth. This share would be extracted from black and brown peoples living in the nation, but excluded from this pact, and through imperialism, shares would be extracted from what Du Bois called the black, brown, and yellow peoples throughout the globe. Democratic despotism was a cross-class alliance based on the color line. Through this agreement, governments could function as ‘democracies.’ Indeed participation in a white democracy was part of what being offered as part of the stabilization package. The modern university is a phenomenon of this agreement sealed along the color line. Thus I would say the undercommons remains the moving violation of that agreement.

I have a friend called Jonathan Pincus. He’s a very smart Marxist development economist, and recently he turned his attention to the development and future of universities around the world. He points out that the deal between the capitalist classes and the nation-state is fraying. One effect of this is that the capitalist classes do not want to pay for universities that serve a national purpose anymore, whether that purpose is producing research, training labour, or preserving national culture and identity. They only want to pay for universities to educate their children — that is, teach them the etiquette of the capitalist classes — and their children go to Princeton or Oxford, or wherever. But their children certainly do not go to Rutgers-Newark nor UC-Riverside, never mind state colleges, small private colleges, and numerous other regional universities. As Jonathan notes universities like Princeton already cater to a global, not national, capitalist class. They are flourishing. The question this raises for me is not whether the vast number of colleges and universities outside the attention of the global capitalist classes will continue to be funded. They won’t, except where vestiges of the white middle class can effectively threaten legislatures to give their kids and not Latino, Black, Asian, and Indigenous kids, the remaining bits of this system. But what can we do, together with the rest of these kids, with these abandoned factories of knowledge? That’s what interests me. How can we occupy them once they are discarded?"



" Fred and I work under the influence of Denise Ferreira Da Silva here, as elsewhere. She speaks about difference without separability and about entanglement in a way that becomes most available through this nautical event, through blackness. She adds that without separability, our ideas and practices of determinacy and sequentiality, which I’ve reduced to time and space here, also get called into question. Her work is rich and deep and I am still finding my way through this entangled world with her help. Shipping and the Shipped, the show at the Bergen triennial, owes much to her thought."



"And so, to shift registers slightly from our thing to theirs, if you think about recent political battles coming out of the United States and its imperial decline, they could all be seen as logistical. So, I agree with you Michael that logistics can be a capacious category for understanding what they are doing, as well as what we are trying to do. The Black Snake winding through Dakota lands, the wall along the current border with Mexico, the ban directed at the seven Islamic countries the US has strategised to destroy and dominate, these are all about the movement of energy, goods, and labour, about ensuring control of the flows. So too the South China Sea ‘stand-off’ is a reaction to China’s ‘belt and road’ strategy — the Silk Road Belt and the Maritime Silk Road — China’s plan for connectivity, shipping, logistics across vast territory. The Maritime Silk Road is to run from Papua New Guinea to East Africa and the Silk Road Belt from the ports of Southern Italy and Greece through Turkey to Siberia. China is building this infrastructure as we write, all along these routes, in massive undertakings. Infrastructure is however only one aspect of logistics, or one dimension might be a better way to put it.

Another dimension of logistics is its unconscious. The dream of logistics, and you can find this in the academic journals, is the elimination of human time, the elimination of the slowness and error of human decision-making, actions, and indeed mere bodily presence. Now you might think this means replacing truck drivers with self-driving trucks running automated routes where algorithms recalculate constantly and link to fuel prices and inventory signals, all without people having to intervene, and you would be right. But interestingly the jobs that have already been replaced by the most important machine in logistics — the algorithm — are management jobs."



"Finally, one might object that logistics does not have much to say about something like police brutality, or as my friend Dylan Rodriguez would correct me, police, since police brutality is, as he says, redundant. But what Fred and I tried to suggest in our piece ‘Leave Our Mikes Alone’ is that the demand for access — intensified by logistical capitalism — also identifies the inaccessible as sabotage. Anyone who does not immediately open oneself fully to the police upon demand for access is a saboteur. But anti-black racism means it is impossible for black people to comply with this order for access since black people are by definition opaque to the police and to white supremacist society. Access kills, but not indiscriminately."



"I think students who study business are in a sense very logistical. Whereas a student studying music or history must say how can I fit what I like to do into this economy, a business student says how can I fit the economy into me. The business student is immediately ready for interoperability, for being accessed, plugged in, traversed by flows, modulated, wherever necessary. These students are unmediated by an interest, such as anthropology, that has to be converted into the economic in an extra step of logistical effort. Now, the curious other side to this is that the business student is also often ‘the last Fordist.’ Even when Fordism ‘never was’ for that particular student or her family. By this I mean because it is impossible to be interested, really, in Human Organisation and Development (the way it is inevitably taught as an extension of logistical capitalism), students place their interests elsewhere, in a non-work sphere. Now this is not true for those upper middle class business students who are convinced business can deliver meaning for them (including through green business, social entrepreneurship and all the rest of the more sophisticated delusions). But amongst the average student taking business courses, I have found little illusion about why they are doing it, or what it is going to be like, even if they have hopes. I say all this to say the student taking philosophy in your class is probably there to take philosophy, as if in an old-fashioned division between work and leisure. I am personally happy to make my classes into places of leisure under these circumstances (or any). The real question I want to ask with you both is this: outside of the places Jonathan is talking about — the global universities responding to a global capitalist class — students are struggling. They are over-worked, over-taught, piled with requirements and internships, plagued by debt and psychological distress, and they are often the new welfare state for grandparents, kids, and disabled relatives. In other words, leisure is being made impossible for them and I think this means it is hard to ask them to take our classes with a kind of leisure. How can we organize with the students for leisure as a first step toward study?"



"But I wanted to ask an unrelated, slightly inarticulate question. I mentioned at one point in our initial email conversation that I’m genuinely curious about the co-author phenomenon (Adorno & Horkheimer, Mouffe & Laclau, Hardt & Negri, etc.). I’m still curious about this, like the phenomenology of it versus any crude craft or process question, but I’m not quite sure how to ask it.

Actually, Michael, I also like to ask the question of how people write together. I always ask it when I find people writing together. In our case, we hung out together for fifteen years before we wrote anything down! But for us the transition to writing things down had two impulses. On the one hand, we were trying to understand our workplace, and we wrote a couple of early pieces about conditions of academic labour, one called the Academic Speed-Up, and another called Doing Academic Work. There was not much to them, but they did make us realize we could not consume … [more]
stefanoharney  fredmoten  2017  education  highered  undercommons  highereducation  colleges  universities  labor  work  capitalism  webdubois  jonathanpincus  denisederreiradasilva  frankwilderson  omise'eketinsley  nourbesephillip  christinasharpe  refusal  resistance  blackness  whiteness  michaelbron  bodies  neoliberalism  study  jessemontgomery  michalschapira  ayreenanastas  renegabri  valntinadesideri  stevphenshukaitis  norasternfeld  edouardglissant  consent  blackstudies  academia  body 
december 2017 by robertogreco
What is it like to be white?
"Here’s Fran Lebowitz talking about race in the US in a 1997 Vanity Fair interview:
The way to approach it, I think, is not to ask, “What would it be like to be black?” but to seriously consider what it is like to be white. That’s something white people almost never think about. And what it is like to be white is not to say, “We have to level the playing field,” but to acknowledge that not only do white people own the playing field but they have so designated this plot of land as a playing field to begin with. White people are the playing field. The advantage of being white is so extreme, so overwhelming, so immense, that to use the word “advantage” at all is misleading since it implies a kind of parity that simply does not exist.

It is now common — and I use the word “common” in its every sense — to see interviews with up-and-coming young movie stars whose parents or even grandparents were themselves movie stars. And when the interviewer asks, “Did you find it an advantage to be the child of a major motion-picture star?” the answer is invariably “Well, it gets you in the door, but after that you’ve got to perform, you’re on your own.” This is ludicrous. Getting in the door is pretty much the entire game, especially in movie acting, which is, after all, hardly a profession notable for its rigor. That’s how advantageous it is to be white. It’s as though all white people were the children of movie stars. Everyone gets in the door and then all you have to do is perform at this relatively minimal level.

Additionally, children of movie stars, like white people, have at — or actually in — their fingertips an advantage that is genetic. Because they are literally the progeny of movie stars they look specifically like the movie stars who have preceded them, their parents; they don’t have to convince us that they can be movie stars. We take them instantly at face value. Full face value. They look like their parents, whom we already know to be movie stars. White people look like their parents, whom we already know to be in charge. This is what white people look like — other white people. The owners. The people in charge. That’s the advantage of being white. And that’s the game. So by the time the white person sees the black person standing next to him at what he thinks is the starting line, the black person should be exhausted from his long and arduous trek to the beginning.

[Full article at: "Fran Lebowitz on Race and Racism"
https://www.vanityfair.com/culture/2016/01/fran-lebowitz-on-race-and-racism ]
race  culture  equity  whiteness  1997  franlebowitz  racism  privilege  us  society  via:lukeneff 
august 2017 by robertogreco
Scene on Radio – A Podcast from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University
"Scene on Radio is a podcast that asks, How’s it going out there? And leaves the studio to find out, capturing the sounds of life happening and telling stories that explore human experience and American society.

Produced and hosted by John Biewen, Scene on Radio comes from the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke University (CDS). It features a mix of Biewen’s work for CDS, new and old, and some of the best audio works produced by students in the Center’s undergraduate, graduate, and continuing education courses."

[via: "Episode 33: Made in America (Seeing White, Part 3)"
http://podcast.cdsporch.org/episode-33-made-in-america-seeing-white-part-3/

"Chattel slavery in the United States, with its distinctive – and strikingly cruel – laws and structures, took shape over many decades in colonial America. The innovations that built American slavery are inseparable from the construction of Whiteness as we know it today. By John Biewen, with guest Chenjerai Kumanyika."

via: "Also, the Duke University podcast series Seeing White is incredible. I learned so much from the handful of episodes I've listened to so far."
https://tinyletter.com/jomc/letters/lovely-as-a-slender-little-poisonous-mushroom ]

[See also:
"Episode 31: Turning the Lens (Seeing White, Part 1)"
http://podcast.cdsporch.org/episode-31-turning-the-lens-seeing-white-part-1/

"Events of the past few years have turned a challenging spotlight on White people, and Whiteness, in the United States. An introduction to our series exploring what it means to be White. By John Biewen, with special guest Chenjerai Kumanyika."]



"Episode 32: How Race Was Made (Seeing White, Part 2)"
http://podcast.cdsporch.org/episode-32-how-race-was-made-seeing-white-part-2/

"For much of human history, people viewed themselves as members of tribes or nations but had no notion of “race.” Today, science deems race biologically meaningless. Who invented race as we know it, and why? By John Biewen, with guest Chenjerai Kumanyika."

[many more parts in the series]
srg  documentary  podcasts  whiteness  race  us  racism  history  2017  johnbiewen 
august 2017 by robertogreco
Verso Books - David Roediger's Class, Race, and Marxism...
"David Roediger's Class, Race, and Marxism

David Roediger in conversation with Jordan T. Camp, Christina Heatherton, and Donna Murch

Since the rise of the Black Lives Matter movement, and the political fault-lines opened up by the 2016 US elections, the question of the relationship between race, class, and politics in modern societies has dominated the media landscape.

In Class, Race, and Marxism, Roediger argues that racial division is not only part of the history of capitalism but is fundamental to the nature of work and capitalism itself. Class, Race, and Marxism is an essential guide to current discussions about race and class that provides useful histories for forging solidarity."
davidroediger  jordancamp  christinaheatherton  donnamurch  blacklivesmatter  race  class  marxism  labor  work  us  history  whiteness  neoliberalism  versobooks  capitalism  politics  society  solidarity  2017  webdubois 
july 2017 by robertogreco
My Emerging Future: The Stories I Live as First Nations Abroad - Long View on Education
"It was in university when I read Thomas King that I first heard the phrase “passing for white”, and everything clicked. And in the very next instant I recoiled: was I stealing whiteness and wrapping myself in it?

In my life, I have only experienced white privilege: I look white, my name sounds like it could be German. My grandpa looked ‘visually Indian’ and I can’t imagine the discrimination that he faced throughout his life. But the privilege of passing for white is complex because it also means that many First Nations people are invisible. Were Thomas King giving a lecture on Shakespeare, you might not even know he is an Indian. Thus, the desire that I have often felt to be more “visually Indian”. I often feel too pale, and when my skin quickly turns golden brown in the sun, I feel somewhat more at home in my body.

But of course that desire to be visible is one that I, and King, can afford. King says, “Middle-class Indians, such as myself, can, after all, afford the burden of looking Indian. There’s little danger that we’ll be stuffed into the trunk of a police cruiser and dropped off out the outskirts of Saskatoon.”

King talks about his own desire to have been more “visually Indian”, and with his mix of comedy and pain, he tells a story of how his prom date turned him down because her dad didn’t want her dating Mexicans.

I’m not culturally connected to the Six Nations community, and now that I have made Brussels my home, it’s unlikely that I will develop those connections. For a long time I felt at fault for that lack of connection. But being disconnected isn’t my fault, or my parents’ fault – it’s the intentional erasure carried out by settler colonialism, which is supposed to turn Indians into white people. Or kill them. In Canada, it’s doing both.

Every year, I play Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s talk about the dangers of a single story for my class. We have so many single stories that reduce people to stereotypes and strip away their humanity: about what girls can’t do and how women should look; about the criminality or entertainment value of Black people; about the danger immigrants and refugees pose to society; about the uselessness of people with disabilities or mental illness, and burden of the elderly.

I ask my kids, are all single stories dangerous? What about the story that all Canadians are nice?

You can see where I’m going, but my students fall for it.

When I accompanied students on a field trip to Normandy, we had some time on Juno beach. Both my grandfathers arrived in Europe shortly after d-Day. The one story of my maternal (white) grandfather is a relatively straightforward war story to tell, as far as those stories go. The other, about my grandpa Doxtdator, is more difficult to relate because at the same time as soldiers ‘fought for our freedom’, the Canadian government stole land known as Ipperwash from the Chippewa people in 1942 and turned it into a military training camp. In fact, both of my grandfathers trained at Ipperwash, stolen land that wouldn’t be fully returned until 2016, over twenty years after Dudley George was killed by the Ontario Provincial Police during a protest in 1995. During an inquiry into the shooting of George, OPP officers are on tape saying that they have “tried to pacify and pander to these people far too long”, and Mike Harris, the Premier of Ontario reportedly said, “I want the fucking Indians out of the park.”

When my grandpa Doxtdator returned from the war, he also returned to the ongoing ‘residential school‘ system, that removed Native children from their families, stripped them from their culture, experimented on them, and ultimately resulted in the deaths of 6,000 children. This system only officially came to an end in 1996.

When my grandpa Doxtdator returned from the war, he also returned with one less eye.

As an English teacher, I take representation seriously. As a student that never saw a living Indian in my school curriculum, I take representation personally. And that’s not to ignore other problems in the education system, such as the access to quality schools for First Nations children, but all systemic issues are connected, and all are related to representation and voice, too. Who is listened to? Who gets to tell the stories about Native people?

Speaking of stories, when’s the last time you heard a story about Indians with a happy ending?

In the book version of the lectures, King provides an Afterward that is a private story that he does not tell orally. I’ll let you read it for yourself someday. But to spoil the moral, King bravely turns the lens on his own shortcomings and how he feels sorry for a world he has, in some small part, helped to create:
“A world in which I allow my intelligence and goodwill to be constantly subverted in pursuit of my comfort and pleasure… I find it easier to tell myself the story of my failure as a friend, as a human being, than to have to live the story of making a sustained effort to help.”

I’m not going to have that ‘authentically’ Indian story to live, and I have stopped wanting it or thinking of the problem in those ways. And I too have needed to tell stories about how I should have been a better person at different points in my life. My hope is that as a teacher, I make a sustained effort to give my students representations of their lives – and the lives of others – that are constructed by the people who have some stock in them. While I have not resigned myself to never recovering a cultural connection with the Six Nations, I have also done the best with my own emerging future as a teacher who doesn’t want to see the identities of children erased before they even have a chance."

[audio on YouTube: "The Truth About Stories - Thomas King - Lecture 1"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wzXQoZ6pE-M ]
benjamondoxtdator  2017  representation  whiteness  identity  indigenous  thomasking  edwardsherrifcurtis  nativeamericans  sixnations  race  racism  culture  whiteprivilege  visibility  invisibility 
may 2017 by robertogreco
What is “White”?
[video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVCgtfAl7tE ]

"In an increasingly diverse country, White Americans are an emerging racial minority. #EmergingUS traveled to one of the Whitest states, Iowa, to ask Iowans what it means to be White in a changing America.
Hosted by Jose Antonio Vargas, the founder of #EmergingUS and the producer/director of the MTV special White People, this video is a first in a series that explores White identity in the #EmergingUS."

[See also: "CENSUS: The White Box
“White” is the only racial category left from the original 1790 U.S. Census."
https://emergingus.com/census-the-white-box-f7a7a83bfc51#.6dzs8vm4f
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EQUTXD0U0j4 ]
whiteness  emergingus  race  census  us  josevargas  ethnicity  majority  minority  identity  racism 
november 2016 by robertogreco
What is “White”?
[direct link to video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WVCgtfAl7tE ]

"In an increasingly diverse country, White Americans are an emerging racial minority. #EmergingUS traveled to one of the Whitest states, Iowa, to ask Iowans what it means to be White in a changing America."
race  white  whiteness  joseantoniovargas  2016  iowa  us  census 
november 2016 by robertogreco
Download PDFs & Order Booklets of To Change Everything / CrimethInc. Ex-Workers' Collective
"The open secret is that we do all have complete self-determination: not because it’s given to us, but because
not even the most totalitarian dictatorship could take it away. Yet as soon as we begin to act for ourselves, we come into conflict with the very institutions that are supposed to secure our freedom.

Managers and tax collectors love to talk about personal responsibility. But if we took complete responsibility for all our actions, would we be following their instructions in the first place?

More harm has been done throughout history by obedience than by malice. The arsenals of all the world’s militaries are the physical manifestation of our willingness to defer to others. If you want to be sure you never contribute to war, genocide, or oppression, the first step is to stop following orders.

That goes for your values, too. Countless rulers and rulebooks demand your unquestioning submission. But even if you want to cede responsibility for your decisions to some god or dogma, how do you decide which one it will be? Like it or not, you are the one who has to choose between them. Usually, people simply make this choice according to what is most familiar or convenient.

We are inescapably responsible for our beliefs and decisions. Answering to ourselves rather than to commanders or commandments, we might still come into conflict with each other, but at least we would do so on our own terms, not needlessly heaping up tragedy in service of others’ agendas.

The workers who perform the labor have power; the bosses who tell them what to do have authority. The tenants who maintain the building have power; the landlord whose name is on the deed has authority. A river has power; a permit to build a dam grants authority.

There’s nothing oppressive about power per se. Many kinds of power can be liberating: the power to care for those you love, to defend yourself and resolve disputes, to perform acupuncture and steer a sailboat and swing on a trapeze. There are ways to develop your capabilities that increase others’ freedom as well. Every person who acts to achieve her full potential offers a gift to all.

Authority over others, on the other hand, usurps their power. And what you take from them, others will take from you. Authority is always derived from above:

The soldier obeys the general, who answers to the president,
who derives his authority from the Constitution—

The priest answers to the bishop, the bishop to the pope, the
pope to scripture, which derives its authority from God—

The employee answers to the owner, who serves the customer,
whose authority is derived from the dollar—

The police officer executes the warrant signed by the magistrate,
who derives authority from the law—

Manhood, whiteness, property—at the tops of all these pyramids, we don’t even find despots, just social constructs: ghosts hypnotizing humanity.

In this society, power and authority are so interlinked that we can barely distinguish them: we can only obtain power in return for obedience. And yet without freedom, power is worthless.

In contrast to authority, trust centers power in the hands of those who confer it, not those who receive it. A person who has earned trust doesn’t need authority. If someone doesn’t deserve trust, he certainly shouldn’t be invested with authority! And yet whom do we trust less than politicians and CEOs?

Without imposed power imbalances, people have an incentive to work out conflicts to their mutual satisfaction—to earn each other’s trust. Hierarchy removes this incentive, enabling those who hold authority to suppress conflicts.

At its best, friendship is a bond between equals who support and challenge each other while respecting each other’s autonomy. That’s a pretty good standard by which to evaluate all our relationships. Without the constraints that are imposed upon us today—citizenship and illegality, property and debt, corporate and military chains of command—we could reconstruct our relations on the basis of free association and mutual aid."
power  authority  anarchism  anarchy  society  mutualaid  hierarchy  imbalance  horizontality  crimethinc  humanism  manhood  whiteness  obedience  freedom  authoritarianism  relationships  trust  domination  self-determination  individualism  collectivism  community  revolt  revolution  liberty  liberation  borders  leaders  leadership  profit  property  ownership 
august 2016 by robertogreco
coelasquid: castleships: Okay I’m only gonna...
[original post by @castleships]

"Okay I’m only gonna say this once and preface this with the fact that I am Eyak and I probably do not want to hear your opinion on the Pharah skins Raindancer/Thunderbird. This is a really soul baring post so I’m not so sure about people reblogging it, if you do just try to be respective and remember this isn’t a go-ahead to go and appropriate all native cultures.

They’re pretty damn clearly based on Pacific Northwest tribal cultures. The ones I can pick out being Eyak/Tlingit/Haida/Tsimshian, but we often get grouped together so that doesn’t surprise me. There are many more, but I don’t claim familiarity with all tribes and I can’t say if their art styles and myths were used.

For your comparison a little sample of the tribe’s artistic styles just to get the point across:

[two images, one of traditional art, the other of the Overwatch characters ]

And I really have to get something off my chest people. I don’t have a problem with these skins, in fact I adore them. Please just chill with me for a second while I explain.

The biggest issue I see here is people (who usually arn’t ndn, let alone from pac nw tribes) yelling about cultural appropriation. Which good! I’m glad people are on guard for it! But it’s entirely possible that Pharah’s father was Eyak/Tlingit/Haida/Tsimshian or from another closely related Pacific Northwest tribe, so we can’t really call that yet. It wouldn’t surprise me if he was.

Most importantly, speaking as an Eyak. Which is all I can do despite Tlingit/Haida/Tsimshian being so closely related, our tribe’s relationship with cultural appropriation is uh, not exactly the norm.

The last Eyak fluent speaker died in 2008, her name was Chief Marie Smith Jones and she was also the last full-blooded Eyak on Earth. The very last. Please appropriate Eyak culture. It’s the only way it’s going to survive. There’s less than 500 of us remaining, and we’re scattered more and more every year. Families I grew up with in Alaska converted to Catholicism. The military took my family across the globe and left us an entire continent away. The language I learned at the dinner table in 1998 now almost exclusively exists on those cassette tapes my white father recorded that night and in reconstructive attempts from a French academic that studied our language from halfway across the globe.

It sucks shit guys, it really does.

When I first saw the Thunderbird skin I cried, I cried for an hour. Because Overwatch is huge. It will live on for years if not decades. And there’s Pharah with her hair in braids I haven’t seen my mother wear in over a decade. Wearing the colors that remind me of a home I no longer have. Embodying a mythic figure that I trusted to protect me during Y2K and sought out constellations in the sky for.

So before you spew vitriol about how racist it is that they did that. Just kind of chill out and think about different perspectives for a moment. If you really want to help us? Consider taking a poke about http://www.eyakpeople.com/ and taking a look at our language revitalization project! It’s pretty fun and you could even learn a language out of it.

AwA’ahdah (Thank You)"

[the extension by @coelasquid via reblog]

"I just wanted to reblog this because it’s something I think about a lot in terms of how viewing cultural appropriation in a very black and white binary has the end result of making white supremacy stronger than ever. By treating different arts and cultures like that plastic-wrapped grandma furniture no one’s allowed to sit on because it needs to remain perfectly preserved, white culture and art becomes the only one people feel as though they can safely engage in. I absolutely know this is done from the very conscientious place of trying to prevent the dominant culture from taking things they like and running off with them like Jack Skellington, but when it’s taken in extremely pass/fail terms it makes it very difficult for people to celebrate their OWN cultures.

Of course the best answer is “let people tell their own stories and make their own art” but I have been told by several people from a number of different backgrounds that this hostility toward anything resembling cultural exchange by audiences assuming everyone behind the scenes is white makes them afraid to engage in their OWN culture in any public way for fear of being told they’re getting it wrong. I see this happen fairly regularly in a number of creative fields, television, fashion, art, even cosplay. The number of times I see cosplayers accused of “lying about their race” when they try to dress up like a character who IS supposed to be the same background as them every con season is staggering.

This is very anecdotal but just to look at it from another perspective, I personally am not native but I’m from a very Cree community. A significant number of my friends growing up were native and Métis, our school offered Cree as a second language, we had a Cree choir, Native studies was a mandatory class to get a diploma from our school division. As far back as 5th grade, traditional craftwork was a part of social studies when we were learning about different native nations across Canada. This included beadwork, like looms and embroidery on moccasins. I’m sure the intent was probably to make historically accurate designs, but being 11 year olds we all realized pretty quick it was like pixel art and we could write words and make little pictures, and everyone was working on their beading looms making patterns they designed themselves for months after the unit that required it ended. This was a group of kids, native and non-native alike, engaging in something they were taught in an educational context long after they were required to because they found a way to enjoy it in a contemporary manner that made it fun for them. That kind of thing was encouraged from us a lot, I remember a juried art show for our school division actively encouraging all of the students to focus more on native art and techniques if they planned on entering.

I remember experiencing a bit of a culture shock when I moved out of Northern Canada for the first time and experienced a white friend criticizing a Haida-inspired piece we saw in the hall at our art school for not being “accurate enough”. I was extremely confused because as, a 17 year old raised in Northern Canada my entire life, I’d never experienced that kind of criticism of engaging with native art in a modern, contemporary way before. I just kept thinking “You have no idea who made this! How do you expect modern Native people to enjoy making their own art if you’re going to criticize it for not being held up to a textbook standard?”

Obviously now that I’m more worldly and educated in what society is like outside of Northern Canada I understand the nuance of the situation and the different perspectives that people have informed by their own experiences, but It’s also important to remember that if you turn white culture into the only one people feel allowed to engage with in a fun contemporary manner, it will always remain dominant. This is of course not to say “cultural appropriation is made up, do whatever you want” or anything like that, just that it’s a very multi-dimensional issue to consider."
appropriation  culture  tumblr  overwatch  videogames  games  gaming  nativeamericans  pacificnorthwestnatives  via:vruba  eyak  tlingit  haida  tsimshian  complexity  whiteness  whitesupremacy 
july 2016 by robertogreco
E.D. Hirsch Jr.'s 'Cultural Literacy' in the 21st Century - The Atlantic
"much of this angst can be interpreted as part of a noisy but inexorable endgame: the end of white supremacy. From this vantage point, Americanness and whiteness are fitfully, achingly, but finally becoming delinked—and like it or not, over the course of this generation, Americans are all going to have to learn a new way to be American.

Imagine that this is true; that this decades-long war is about to give way to something else. The question then arises: What? What is the story of “us” when “us” is no longer by default “white”? The answer, of course, will depend on how aware Americans are of what they are, of what their culture already (and always) has been. And that awareness demands a new kind of mirror.

It helps first to consider some recent history. In 1987, a well-regarded professor of English at the University of Virginia named E.D. Hirsch Jr. published a slim volume called Cultural Literacy. Most of the book was an argument—textured and subtle, not overtly polemical—about why nations need a common cultural vocabulary and why public schools should teach it and, indeed, think of their very reason for being as the teaching of that vocabulary.

At the end of the book Hirsch and two colleagues tacked on an appendix: an unannotated list of about 5,000 names, phrases, dates, and concepts that, in their view, “every American needs to know.” The rest (to use a phrase that probably should’ve been on the list) was history.

The appendix became a sensation and propelled the book to the top of the best-seller list. Hirsch became that rare phenomenon: a celebrity intellectual. His list was debated in every serious publication and elite circles. But he also was profiled in People magazine and cited by pundits who would never read the book.

Hirsch’s list had arrived at a ripe moment of national anxiety, when critics like Allan Bloom and Arthur Schlesinger Jr. were bemoaning the “closing of the American mind” and “the disuniting of America”; when multicultural curricula had arrived in schools, prompting challenges to the Western canon and leading Saul Bellow to ask mockingly who the Tolstoy of the Zulus was, or the Proust of the Papuans; a time when Bill Bennett first rang alarms about the “dumbing-down of America.”

The culture wars were on. Into them ambled Hirsch, with his high credentials, tweedy profile, reasoned arguments, and addictively debatable list. The thing about the list, though, was that it was—by design—heavy on the deeds and words of the “dead white males” who had formed the foundations of American culture but who had by then begun to fall out of academic fashion. (From a page drawn at random: Cotton Mather, Andrew Mellon, Herman Melville).

Conservatives thus embraced Hirsch eagerly and breathlessly. He was a stout defender of the patrimony. Liberals eagerly and breathlessly attacked him with equal vigor. He was retrograde, Eurocentric, racist, sexist. His list was a last gasp (or was it a fierce counterattack?) by a fading (or was it resurgent?) white establishment.

Lost in all the crossfire, however, were two facts: First, Hirsch, a lifelong Democrat who considered himself progressive, believed his enterprise to be in service of social justice and equality. Cultural illiteracy, he argued, is most common among the poor and power-illiterate, and compounds both their poverty and powerlessness. Second: He was right.

A generation of hindsight now enables Americans to see that it is indeed necessary for a nation as far-flung and entropic as the United States, one where rising economic inequality begets worsening civic inequality, to cultivate continuously a shared cultural core. A vocabulary. A set of shared referents and symbols.

Yet that generational distance now also requires Americans to see that any such core has to be radically reimagined if it’s to be worthy of America’s actual and accelerating diversity. If it isn’t drastically more inclusive and empowering, what takes the place of whiteness may not in fact be progress. It may be drift and slow disunion. So, first of all, Americans do need a list. But second, it should not be Hirsch’s list. And third, it should not made the way he made his. In the balance of this essay, I want to unpack and explain each of those three statements."



"Not long after his original book came out, Hirsch published the first of several editions of a Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. Here the list could be supplemented with explanations and pictures. What’s striking about the most recent edition, from 2002, is how multicultural it is compared to the first appendix. Where the 1987 list mentioned China but never Chinese Americans, the 2002 dictionary describes the Chinese Exclusion Act.

Still, it’s notable that the 2002 dictionary was the last edition published. We’ve moved on. The tempo of meme creation and destruction has become too fast for one person, one book, to follow.

That’s because the Internet has transformed who makes culture and how. As barriers to culture creation have fallen, orders of magnitude more citizens—amateurs—are able to shape the culture in which we must all be literate. Cat videos and Star Trek fan fiction may not hold up long beside Toni Morrison. But the entry of new creators leads to new claims of right: The right to be recognized. The right to be counted. The right to make the means of recognition and accounting.

And as the pool of potential culture-makers has widened, the modes of culture creation have similarly shifted away from hierarchies and institutions to webs and networks. Wikipedia is the prime embodiment of this reality, both in how the online encyclopedia is crowd-created and how every crowd-created entry contains links to other entries. (It also demonstrates that democratization can yield something much richer than a lowest-common denominator result.)

What does this mean for this omni-American cultural literacy project? For one thing, the list for these times can’t be the work of one person or even one small team. It has to be everyone’s work. It has to be an online, crowd-sourced, organic document that never stops changing, whose entries are added or pruned, elevated or demoted, according to the wisdom of the network.

Everyone should make his or her own list online. We can aggregate all the lists. And from that vast welter of preferences will emerge, without any single person calling it so, a prioritized list of “what every American needs to know.”

It also means that every entry on this dynamic list can be a node to another list. So an entry on “robber barons” (present in the 1987 list) should open up to “malefactors of great wealth” (TR’s line, not on the 1987 list) and “economic royalists” (FDR’s, not there either) and “the 1 percent.” There should be an entry on “Southern heritage” that links sideways to other euphemisms for white supremacy. Or an entry on “women’s suffrage” that links to other suffrage movements.

This will be a list of nodes and nested networks. It will be a fractal of associations, which reflects far more than a linear list how our brains work and how we learn and create. Hirsch himself nodded to this reality in Cultural Literacy when he described the process he and his colleagues used for collecting items for their list, though he raised it by way of pointing out the danger of infinite regress. “Where should such associations stop?” he asked. “How many are generally known by literate people?”

His conclusion, appropriate to his times, was that you had to draw boundaries somewhere with the help of experts. My take, appropriate to our times, is that Americans can draw not boundaries so much as circles and linkages, concept sets and pathways among them.

Because 5,000 or even 500 items is too daunting a place to start, I ask here only for your top ten. What are ten things every American—newcomer or native born, affluent or indigent—should know? What ten things do you feel are both required knowledge and illuminating gateways to those unenlightened about American life?"
ericliu  us  history  culture  race  racism  whitesupremacy  whiteness  edhirsch  socialjustice  equality  culturalliteracy  via:davidclifford 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Eddie Huang on the Oppressive Whiteness of the Food World
"Last summer I had the distinct privilege of being thrown in Sicilian jail for an altercation I had, over a plate of arancini, with a few guys from Forza Nuova, a far-right-wing political group belonging to the European National Front. I was filming my Viceland TV show Huang’s World, and the meal was meant to be a debate: We were eating arancini in an effort to show the guys from Forzo Nuova that, whether they wanted to admit it or not, the things they saw as purely "Sicilian" — like arancini, sesame seeds, or pistachio gelato — were actually North African in origin. Anyone who’s ever seen True Romance or Othello undoubtedly knows this history and recognizes that Sicilian food, culture, and identity are the product of mass migrations and diversity. But Forza Nuova didn’t want to hear it, and as the guys started to spew their anti-gay, anti-Semitic, anti-immigration rhetoric, a Sicilian passerby with a woman and a child overheard the conversation. He shouted out, “You people of Forza Nuova, who do you represent?!? Less than zero!” One of the interviewees responded by trying to fight the passerby, and ultimately he and his friends called some friendly plainclothes cops, who showed up and tried to take our footage. When we wouldn’t give it up, we were thrown in jail until the United States embassy got us out.

As crazy as this sounds, it actually all makes sense to me that a guy like that would end up in a position like he did. First of all, food is an industry people recognize as democratic and forgiving. Restaurants and bars are places where you can work with a criminal history, without a high-school diploma, even without email or a bank account for some of my guys. It’s kind of a utopia that way — an environment that can be a model for how to deal with global issues at a small scale, and where you can taste, feel, and digest perspectives on a plate that may be indigestible in other forms. They are places where a Taiwanese-Chinese-American raised on Dipset can sit with Forza Nuova and argue over arancini. They are places where former skinheads seek refuge via tapas. And I think it should remain that way.

I figured that would be the last time I’d mix food and far-right extremism — it’s a pairing that doesn’t exactly roll off the tongue like lettuce, tomato, and onions. But last Thursday, on a public message board, it was revealed that Nick Solares, the restaurant editor at Eater, had been a member of a right-wing skinhead Oi! band called Youth Defense League. If you don’t know, Oi! bands are a subgenre of the hard-core punk scene that veers way off at times into fascism and white nationalism. Video of Nick Solares acting as the front man of YDL in the ‘80s was circulated to various media outlets and Eater staff. Eater did not send an official response and claims it did not know of this past.

None of the information being brought to light is clandestine. And it’s pretty fucking awful. A simple Google search yields a Youth Defense League Wikipedia page that quickly lays out, “The group has been accused of racism and possible neo-Nazi sympathies. The band’s usage of nationalistic slogans and struggle for the downtrodden white, working-class man has garnered much support from fascist groups worldwide … ” There is a very telling WNYU radio interview with Youth Defense League detailing skinhead unity, nationalism, and the formation of Youth Defense League, and here are lyrics to the Youth Defense League song "Voice of Brooklyn":

Fought for this nation, is this what they get back?
Risked their lives for Brooklyn
Now Brooklyn belongs to crack dealers
‘Bout time the Brooklyn skinheads
Took their Brooklyn back!

As an individual, I think that’s fair enough. I believe in second chances for people who are well-intentioned. But in his apology Solares also said something curious: “I could not work for a company like Vox Media” — which owns Eater — “which strives for a culture of diversity and inclusion, or write about the joyous world of food in New York, if my views were not diametrically opposed to those I held back then.”

That made me think a little harder. Because Eater isn’t a restaurant like the ones I love. Eater is an industry gossip site that feeds insiders snackable, by-the-minute macaron gossip that gives you a sugar rush and crashes your browser with ads. And Eater isn’t forgiving (it doesn’t do it anymore, but it used to doom struggling restaurants by putting them on “Deathwatch”). They have Ryan Sutton, who does an exemplary job with his reviews, but overall the site lacks depth and breadth and, above all, diversity: A look at the photos of dining rooms on Eater’s 38 Essential New York Restaurants shows a collection of curated restaurants promoting the same aesthetic monoculture. Eater is not all-powerful by any means, but the Solares story raises the question: Who is forming the identity of this industry? The people living in this city? The people cooking the food? The people serving us? Or the former skinhead assigning restaurant reviews?

Eater’s response has been curious, too. The site hasn’t responded publicly. Instead, editors invited the Eater staff to speak personally if they had questions. Robert Sietsema responded internally by saying, “I love and support Nick … we all have skeletons in our closet.” In a conversation with colleagues about why Solares might have been motivated to withhold this information from Eater and Vox Media, the site’s executive editor Helen Rosner speculated that even people with personal histories significantly less grave and condemnable than Solares’ might not want to be forthcoming with their employers, offering as an example her own fear of people discovering that she had been caught shoplifting at the age of 25.* There seems to be an unwillingness to examine potential bias or a willful misunderstanding of bias in his position and how it works.

But what makes it all worse is that one of the things Eater has done is help push a kind of restaurant consensus around that monoculture, which goes a little like this: notable chef, must speak English, must be media-savvy, must have design-driven dining room, must kowtow to the scene, must have small plates, must push diverse histories through French ricers, must have toast points, must love dogs. Eater’s not alone in doing this — plenty of others do, too (including Grub Street). But the result is a formula that has basically condo-ized New York’s food culture with some ultimately pretty conservative, even intolerant, values. Which means maybe it shouldn’t be a surprise that there’s a penitent skinhead near the top of Eater’s food chain. But it is a reason to try and shake things up. Food is so essential to our lives and social ecosystem that this news should be a signal not just to question the people in these positions of power but to question the positions themselves.

Yet and still, I wish Nick Solares the best and believe he is actually trying to change — because working for Eater is the least punk-rock thing he could possibly do."
culture  food  whiteness  eddiehuang  2016  sicily  appropriation  italy  media  eater  nicksolares  elitism  nyc  voxmedia  foodculture  ryansutton  forzanuova 
june 2016 by robertogreco
bell hooks: Buddhism, the Beats and Loving Blackness - The New York Times
"G.Y.: Absolutely. You’ve talked about how theory can function as a place of healing. Can you say more about that?

b.h.: I always start with children. Most children are amazing critical thinkers before we silence them. I think that theory is essentially a way to make sense of the world; as a gifted child growing up in a dysfunctional family where giftedness was not appreciated, what held me above water was the idea of thinking through, “Why are Mom and Dad the way they are?” And those are questions that are at the heart of critical thinking. And that’s why I think critical thinking and theory can be such a source of healing. It moves us forward. And, of course, I don’t know about other thinkers and writers, but I have the good fortune every day of my life to have somebody contacting me, either on the streets or by mail, telling me about how my work has changed their life, how it has enabled them to go forward. And what greater gift to be had as a thinker-theorist, than that?"



"G.Y.: Is there a connection between teaching as a space of healing and your understanding of love?

b.h.: Well, I believe whole-heartedly that the only way out of domination is love, and the only way into really being able to connect with others, and to know how to be, is to be participating in every aspect of your life as a sacrament of love, and that includes teaching. I don’t do a lot of teaching these days. I am semi-retired. Because, like any act of love, it takes a lot of your energy."



"G.Y.: You’ve conceptualized love as the opposite of estrangement. Can you say something about that?

b.h.: When we engage love as action, you can’t act without connecting. I often think of that phrase, only connect. In terms of white supremacy right now for instance, the police stopped me a few weeks ago here in Berea, because I was doing something wrong. I initially felt fear, and I was thinking about the fact that in all of my 60-some years of my life in this country, I have never felt afraid of policemen before, but I feel afraid now. He was just total sweetness. And yet I thought, what a horrible change in our society that that level of estrangement has taken place that was not there before.

I know that the essential experience of black men and women has always been different, but from the time I was a girl to now, I never thought the police were my enemy. Yet, what black woman witnessing the incredible abuse of Sandra Bland can’t shake in her boots if she’s being stopped by the police? When I was watching that video, I was amazed the police didn’t shoot her on the spot! White supremacist white people are crazy.

I used to talk about patriarchy as a mental illness of disordered desire, but white supremacy is equally a serious and profound mental illness, and it leads people to do completely and utterly insane things. I think one of the things that is going on in our society is the normalization of mental illness, and the normalization of white supremacy, and the evocation and the spreading of this is part of that mental illness. So remember that we are a culture in crisis. Our crisis is as much a spiritual crisis as it is a political crisis, and that’s why Martin Luther King, Jr. was so profoundly prescient in describing how the work of love would be necessary to have a transformative impact.

G.Y.: And of course, that doesn’t mean that you don’t find an important place in your work for rage, as in your book “Killing Rage”?

b.h.: Oh, absolutely. The first time that I got to be with Thich Nhat Hanh, I had just been longing to meet him. I was like, I’m going to meet this incredibly holy man. On the day that I was going to him, every step of the way I felt that I was encountering some kind of racism or sexism. When I got to him, the first thing out of my mouth was, “I am so angry!” And he, of course, Mr. Calm himself, Mr. Peace, said, “Well, you know, hold on to your anger, and use it as compost for your garden.” And I thought, “Yes, yes, I can do that!” I tell that story to people all the time. I was telling him about the struggles I was having with my male partner at the time and he said, “It is O.K. to say I want to kill you, but then you need to step back from that, and remember what brought you to this person in the first place.” And I think that if we think of anger as compost, we think of it as energy that can be recycled in the direction of our good. It is an empowering force. If we don’t think about it that way, it becomes a debilitating and destructive force.

G.Y.: Since you mentioned Sandra Bland, and there are so many other cases that we can mention, how can we use the trauma that black people are experiencing, or reconfigure that trauma into compost? How can black people do that? What does that look like therapeutically, or collectively?

b.h.: We have to be willing to be truthful. And to be truthful, we have to say, the problem that black people face, the trauma of white supremacy in our lives, is not limited to police brutality. That’s just one aspect. I often say that the issue for young black males is the street. If you only have the streets, you encounter violence on all sides: black on black violence, the violence of addiction, and the violence of police brutality. So the question is why at this stage of our history, with so many wealthy black people, and so many gifted black people, how do we provide a place other than the streets for black males? And it is so gendered, because the street, in an imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy, is male, especially when it is dark. There is so much feeling of being lost that it is beyond the trauma of racism. It is the trauma of imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy, because poverty has become infinitely more violent than it ever was when I was a girl. You lived next door to very poor black people, but who had very joyful lives. That’s not the poverty of today.

G.Y.: How is the poverty of today different?

b.h.: Let’s face it, one of the things white people gave us when they gave us integration was full access to the tormenting reality of desire, and the expectation of constant consumption. So part of the difference of poverty today is this sort of world of fantasy — fantasizing that you’ll win the lottery, fantasizing that money will come. I always cling to Lorraine Hansberry’s mama saying in “A in Raisin in the Sun,” “Since when did money become life?” I think that with the poverty of my growing up that I lived with and among, we were always made to feel like money is not what life is all about. That’s the total difference for everyone living right now, because most people in our culture believe money is everything. That is the big tie, the connecting tie to black, white, Hispanic, native people, Asian people — the greed and the materialism that we all invest in and share.

G.Y.: When you make that claim, I can see some readers saying that bell is pathologizing black spaces.

b.h.: As I said, we have normalized mental illness in this society. So it’s not the pathologizing of black spaces; it’s saying that the majority of cultural spaces in our society are infused with pathology. That’s why it’s so hard to get out of it, because it has become the culture that is being fed to us every day. None of us can escape it unless we do so by conscious living and conscious loving, and that’s become harder for everybody. I don’t have a problem stating the fact that trauma creates wounds, and most of our wounds are not healed as African-Americans. We’re not really different in that way from all the others who are wounded. Let’s face it — wounded white people frequently can cover up their wounds, because they have greater access to material power.

I find it fascinating that every day you go to the supermarket, and you look at the people, and you look at us, and you look at all of this media that is parading the sorrows and the mental illnesses of the white rich in our society. And it’s like everybody just skips over that. Nobody would raise the question, “why don’t we pathologize the rich?” We actually believe that they suffer mental illness, and that they deserve healing. The issue for us as black people is that very few people feel that we deserve healing. Which is why we have very few systems that promote healing in our lives. The primary system that ever promoted healing in black people is the church, and we see what is going on in most churches today. They’ve become an extension of that material greed.

G.Y.: As you shared being stopped by police, I thought of your book “Black Looks: Race and Representation,” where you describe whiteness as a site of terror. Has that changed for you?

b.h.: I don’t think that has changed for most black people. That particular essay, “Representations of Whiteness in the Black Imagination,” talks about whiteness, the black imagination, and how many of us live in fear of whiteness. And I emphasize the story about the policeman because for many of us that fear of whiteness has intensified. I think that white people, for the most part, never think about black people wanting to be in black only spaces, because we do not feel safe.

In my last book, “Writing Beyond Race: Living Theory and Practice,” I really wanted to raise and problematize the question: Where do we feel safe as black people? I definitely return to the home as a place of spiritual possibility, home as a holy place.

I bought my current house from a conservative white male capitalist who lives across the street from me, and I’m so happy in my little home. I tell people, when I open the doors of my house it’s like these arms come out, and they’re just embracing me. I think that is part of our radical resistance to the culture of domination. I know that I’m not who he imagined in this little house. He imagined a nice white family with two kids, and I think on some level it was very hard for … [more]
bellhooks  2015  georgeyancy  buddhism  christianity  spirituality  religion  race  class  patriarchy  racism  classism  mentalillness  money  greed  mentalhealth  society  capitalism  consumerism  materialism  domination  power  gender  feminism  idenity  listening  love  humor  martinlutherkingjr  cornelwest  allies  influence  homes  intellectualism  theory  practice  criticalthinking  pedagogy  writing  children  unschooling  deschooling  teaching  howweteach  oedagogy  solitude  workinginpublic  publicintellectuals  narcissism  healing  malcolmx  blackness  whitesupremacy  abandonment  betrayal  anger  masculinity  markmcleodbethune  resistance  safety  whiteness  terror  wealth  imperialism  inequality  pathology  poverty  truth  truthfulness  sandrabland  thichnhathanh  activism  estrangement  everyday  humanism  humanization  humility  grace  change  changemaking  transformation  canon  empowerment  composting  desire  lotteries  lorrainehansberry  araisininthesun  culture  trauma  sorrow  leadership  psychology  self-determination  slow  small  beatpoets  jackkerouac  garysnyder  beatpoetry  ethics 
december 2015 by robertogreco
Why is my curriculum white? - YouTube
"In the NUS Black Students Campaign National Students Survey, it was found that, '42 per cent did not believe their curriculum reflected issues of diversity, equality and discrimination.'

In addition, it found that, '34 per cent stated they felt unable to bring their perspective as a Black [BME] student to lectures and tutor meetings. A running theme through both the survey and focus group data was a frustration that courses were designed and taught by non-Black teachers, and often did not take into account diverse backgrounds and views'.

As a result, the NUS proposed a set of recommendations, including the notion that, 'institutions must strive to minimise Euro-centric bias in curriculum design, content and delivery and to establish mechanisms to ensure this happens. Universities Scotland has published an excellent example of why and how this can be done in their race equality toolkit, Embedding Race Equality into the Curriculum'.

http://uclu.org/whats-on/general/why-is-my-curriculum-white "

[via: https://twitter.com/TOMolefe/status/538683797433516032

See also: http://www.thoughtleader.co.za/songezomabece/2014/11/11/the-untold-history-lesson/ ]
curriculum  colonialism  history  2014  diversity  whiteness  whitecurriculum  eurocentrism  race  inequality  equality  bias  discrimination  highereducation  education  highered  schooling  economics  imperialism  capitalism  dehumanization  literature  multiculturalism  gender  canon  oppression 
december 2014 by robertogreco
The White Problem — The Message — Medium
"Contained in the struggle between black liberation and white supremacy is almost every issue that concerns us currently —

Surveillance, government control, privacy, security, maintenance of infrastructure — even pollution, environmentalism, and what has become climate change, they’re all there. Add to that tolerance of religion and non-religion, access to healthcare, dominion over one’s own body, the right of self-defense, the right of free expression, the desire for justice and equality. Each one of these issues is there in black liberation, and often explored at length long before this current generation was born.

This is no accident, no coincidence, because the making of black and white was the making of the world we know now."



"I don’t think I was born white. I think white children are manufactured. There is a social process wherein neutral children get assimilated into the white race. I imagine there is something similar that happens to black children, but as I didn’t experience it, I don’t know much about it. This process is not contingent on the pallor of a child’s skin, there are plenty of pale people of color, and swarthy white people. White beauty norms has never been the extent of whiteness. The making of white children has to do with how adults behave towards you, and others around you, on the street, at the playground, and the books you read and the ads you see. The white race is reconstructed, millions and millions of times, in each person’s life, growing up in America. And a defining part of that construction is inevitably a denial that it is happening at all.

When I was a child growing up near the beach in LA I was surrounded by people obsessed with getting a good tan. My first assumption, encountering the fact that black people didn’t talk to the pale people I knew, was that being so much better at tanning, they outclassed paler people in this desirable quality so much that they wouldn’t bother talking to us.

Like many childlike assumptions about the world it is adorably wrong, but it is a more logical interpretation of the facts than the insane truth as I eventually learned it. What is perhaps most interesting is the number of people who have argued with me that I didn’t think that as a child — that I never could have not known about black people and white people.

“It’s not possible,” I’ve been told, “because studies have shown children recognize the racial features of human faces!” These kinds of arguments have been made at me more times than I can count by fellow whites. What often happens next, if I ask what those features are, doesn’t belong in a civil conversation. But what astounds me most isn’t white perceptions of black people, it is that people are arguing *with me* about what *I thought* as a child. They are not even arguing that I’m lying now, they are arguing that my recollection of myself is false. This is an incredible claim to make about someone you just met. It is just these sorts of claims, almost more syntactically bizarre than outright wrong, that white racial identity is based on. My childhood naivity offered me no escape — the world around eventually taught me I was white, and all that means.

This communication about race to children fated to be white is consistently bizarre. Contemporary whiteness in schools and neighborhoods is a collection of incompatible messages. Don’t be prejudiced against black people, we are told, who are poor and criminal. Here is a month we will study black people, and write an essay. We cannot openly criticize black people, that would be racist, but we will violently protect you from them, even in your own schools. This is black music — jazz, maybe even some Motown — and we study and respect it (now that its popularity has passed). This is rap, and we ban it for being violent and about gangs. We will ban red and blue from our school for the safety of our children, but really, we’re banning it from the black and latino children, which is how we protect all of the children.

Slowly white children develop ideas about people of color, and in particular black people, that can accomodate this crazytown of incompatible ideas from adults and authority. Black children — and to a lesser degree latino children — must be protected from themselves for the good of all, as if they contained bombs. Good black and latino people are in books, and usually dead. Good people of color are almost always in the past. Bad black and latino people are right now, and could be around any corner. A good child (of any color) doesn’t act like them. This haphazard taxonomy of race isn’t about color, except white and black. To call people yellow or red would be offensive. So it is about color, sometimes. Don’t get that wrong, and don’t ask questions, it’s rude.

All of this is crazy, and it makes the children trying to assimilate it crazy too. The white race is reinvented again for every person born through a practice that is gaslighting children into a state of constant cognitive dissonance.

Many people understand that this is not ok when it’s done to children who will end up in a category of color. But it’s also not ok when the child will end up in the category of white, because it’s just not ok to ever gaslight children.

It is within this damaged mental framework, this position of self as not the other people you’ve been taught to fearfully respect, fear, and eventually retreat from thinking about altogether, where white people have to start thinking about race.

As for me, I suspect I will struggle with the damaged thinking given to white children until I die."



"People often struggle to talk about the problems the abuser has. Why cruelty is the bully’s problem as well as the bullied — why the chain of violence sucks — even if you’re at the top of it. The problem with unwinding white privilege is the same as all unwindings of power — if someone’s got it good, why should they give it up? This is hardly restricted to white folk. Through human geography and time there are so few examples of the rich and powerful distributing their riches and laying down their power that they often stand as foundational stories for religions when they happen.

A lot of people everywhere like the ideas of equality and justice, and most are even willing to give up some of their wealth to these ideas, but being willing to give up one’s wealth entirely and shift to a lower socio-economic class existence is seen in most societies as a sign of insanity. And so it is with white power — the very quiet truth white power speaks to the world — “You’d do the same if you were where we are now.” Indeed, history is with this part of the white narrative. There is no race, no nationality, no ethnic group I can find anywhere in history that gave up wealth and power over others without struggle just because it was the right thing to do, even though most societies have had a philosophical or religious element that extolled doing just that as the core of rightness.

Even more, I’ve come to believe that at some very deep level, many white people resist racial equality because, knowing what white folk have done to other races in America and beyond, they don’t want to risk it being done to them and theirs. The more people are informed about atrocities that whites have perpetrated against blacks and Native Americans in particular, the more eager they are to make sure no one is in a position to take vengeance. There is a thread of real fear amongst whites, from the jokes of Lenny Bruce to the policies and papers of J. Edgar Hoover, even from the them-vs-us rhetoric of explicit white supremacy, that points to a fear of what white comeuppance would look like. Louis CK again:
We’re not just gonna fall from number 1 to 2. They’re going to hold us down and fuck us in the ass forever and we totally deserve it.

Deciding to fight white racism is terrifying for whites.

But there is something wonderful to be had for all people, even white people, in the two+ centuries of careful, studied, and magnificently conceived work of black liberationists. It’s there in what Hubert Harrison was saying: real democracy, real rights, tested against the touchstone of the black experience. There is something powerful in the reconciliation, and in the hard work of accepting and speaking truth. Maybe something that can help all humanity, here where we live on the brink of biological collapse.

But to get to that place, first we have to understand how white people got where we are now."
quinnnorton  2014  race  education  children  us  society  whiteness  racism 
october 2014 by robertogreco
college is the impulse that makes us hate homeless people | PORPENTINE
"The idea that college makes your thoughts more valid is repulsive."

"My thoughts are beautiful. They are not to be condescended to or exoticized."

"I did not participate in college. I left after self reflection lead me to the unshakeable conclusion that I could not participate nor survive in this system. College is the act of seeking to be White, and that is a path you cannot compromise on, because it asks for everything. It is like anorexia, like the societal standard of beauty, it is a limitless hunger. I would have lost everything good in me.

College is the indefinite suppression of your humanity."

"If you ever think, if you’re ever so kind as to think, I like Porpentine’s writing, I like her game design, what she says, or something else she does–realize that nothing you admire in me came from college. With trivial exceptions, I have learned nothing about any subject whatsoever in any school in my life. I am entirely self-taught."
racism  classism  bias  suppression  knowledge  capitalism  outsiders  society  power  gender  race  class  deschooling  don'tgobacktoschool  unschooling  learning  education  making  2012  porpentine  whiteness  highereducation  outsider  shrequest1 
december 2012 by robertogreco
The Tree of Life : Mirror: Motion Picture Commentary
"…As extremely white and male as The Tree of Life is, it is also very much a slap in the face of White American Masculinity.

And since White Maledom is what we measure the worth of everything against, since it is our deeply ingrained default point of view, it is easy to dismiss that which strays as being pretentious…

But like all his characters, Malick is a white man trying to escape the confines of white maledom because for all the earth-controlling privileges it awards, to be white and male is not only to be in a prison, but to be the prison itself. This could be eye-rolling inducing; the last person we need to have sympathy for is a White American Man, but through his films, particularly through The Tree of Life’s form, Malick encourages us to rebel against the confines of this deadly default. He knows what many have yet to realize: whiteness and maleness destroy us all."

[Read all of it.]
kartinarichardson  thetreeoflife  terrencemalick  masculinity  maleness  whiteness  whitemales  femininity  gender  review  childhood  2011  cv  howwethink  jamesbaldwin  earnestness  us  americana  americans  whitemaledom  humans  life  human  structure  hierarchy  paternalism  decolonization  unschooling  deschooling  society  manhood 
july 2011 by robertogreco
SpeEdChange: Pygmalion
"There has always been a tension in the US between expressed ideal of multi-ethnic, multi-cultural society - you know…and the reality on the political ground, which is that "our leadership" would find things "much easier" if we were all "white, protestant, straight, northern Europeans."

Actually not.

They don't want that. If everyone were "the same" the "leadership class" would not know at-a-glance who belonged and who did not. So, what they want is for everyone "else" to waste enormous effort trying to be like them, while they race comfortably ahead…

You know, there's a reason great universities crave diversity in their student bodies (exclude Harvard, Princeton, & Penn from that group because…social class finishing schools): It is because, education, like societies, work best - makes the greatest strides - when there is neither "Common Core Knowledge" nor "Common Culture."…

We don't need E.D. Hirsch, Jr, Bill Gates, and Arne Duncan making Eliza Doolittle's out of us."
commoncore  irasocol  pygmalion  2011  diversity  edhirsch  kipp  colonialism  deschooling  unschooling  schooliness  properness  identity  whiteness  history  literature  universities  colleges  learning  education  instruction  decolonization  billgates  arneduncan  elizadoolittle  georgebernardshaw  class  wealth  power  control  cities  homogeneity  language  speech  fordenglishschool 
july 2011 by robertogreco

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