Sunday, 20 March 2005

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Hate the Sinner? The Sin? The Dated Rhetoric of Empowerment? I agree with the content of what follows. I agree with its intent. I agree with the programs it entails. But this writer believes that the masses will rally around a leader who howls from his finger-tips that "ordinary people ... use race in [their] minds ... so that they have overlooked the true subjectivity and positionality of the very people they purport to liberate!" (I've added an exclamation point because the sentence alone fails to communicate the prose's hoarse, shrill screech.) Here's the whole awful howl: Some Race Crits asked if their legal scholarship was too ethereal. They ve asked if they needed practical writings, ones purposefully directed toward the poor, the disempowered, and underrepresented. This shift in writing style, purpose, and focus confessed, at the very least, that Race Crits recognized that they were not effective. They were not plugging the leaky damn. Practical, activist, and engaged legal scholarship was perhaps the missing tool. Well, its [sic] not the tool. The real tool is the question that Race Crits fear to ask, and this question requires them to destroy race as a mindset, regardless of who wields it. Did they only intend to interrogate race so that they could wrest it from white clutches? If so, they should have achieved that end by exposing the degree to which white privilege invisibly operated in all of our lives. It s not enough. They still search for the silver bullet by which to kill the mangy werewolf called white racism. Perhaps Race Crits have not forged the silver bullet because they have not been prepared to destroy race altogether. Race is a concept that resides in our minds. We build our identity around this limited, liberal concept of the self. Our minds are not neutral places, but dynamic environs where we co-create ourselves, realities, and experiences. By not critically redressing how we, ordinary people, use race in our minds, Race Crits have engaged in a lesser degree of abstract analysis, so that they have overlooked the true subjectivity and positionality of the very people they purport to liberate. If so, why have Race Crits been unwilling to interrogate the subjectively positioned minds of ordinary people? They willingly probe white race consciousness. Ordinary people like minorities have consciousness too, and if so, is it raced? If a white race consciousness spoils and corrupts white citizens so that they consciously or otherwise engage in racist practices, then ordinary people like minorities differ little from white citizens, thus using their very powerful minds in self-annihilating ways so that they co-create realities and experiences that destroy, if not consistently delay, their best laid plans for self-actualization and self-empowerment. That this earnest and eminently sensible call to undermine the scientific nonsense that is "race" will go unheeded saddens me. That it will go unheeded because this writer, and others like him, know that this perspiring prose--with its sophomoric neologisms and painful academic cliches--increases his likelihood of someday landing tenure, well, let me finish that sentence...

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