9.9.09

Not so Random Bits on Race and Racism

"I am disinclined to accept the power of racial divisions as anterior to politics or see them as an inescapable, natural force that conditions consciousness and action in ways that merely political considerations simply cannot match."

"Race thinking has proliferated, but in order to maintain its grip on the world, it has had to change. The simpler hatreds forged in more innocent days now coexist with complex, proteophobic, and ambivalent patterns. This change means that blackness can sometimes connote prestige rather than the unadorned inferiority of 'bare life' on the lowest rungs of humanity's ontological ladder. Under these conditions, the boundaries between contending groups must repeatedly be made anew and may only be respected when they have been marked out in warm blood."

"It is only then, in the face of a whole, complex, planetary history of suffering, that the luxury and the risk of casual talk about humanity can be sanctioned."

-Paul Gilroy, "Postcolonial Melancholia" (2005) Columbia University Press

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