dagNotes: on writing about whiteness
Here’s something that’s very important for bloggers to remember when they attempt to write about whiteness. It’s a problem that tumblr social justice bloggers almost always ignore. I’d say, they’re are either willfully ignorant about this basic problem or woefully naive. Whatever the reason, it’s the source of so many problems with discourse about whiteness and privilege on tumblr.
1. When we write about whiteness, we write about a way individuals, who may or may not be “white”, are composed as white subjects.
2. When we write about people of color, we write about individuals who are people of color.
Do you see the problem?
Here’s the deal. If you don’t see the problem, you’re likely participating in white supremacy, which is seeing the world, thinking about it, as a white subject (whether or not you’re white).
…I might understand this. Not sure.
So, the point is that in writing about people of color, we should be writing about a way in which individuals, who may or may not be “colored,” are composed as non-white subjects?
I’m not suggesting how you or anyone should write about people of color. I’m pointing out what happens when you or anyone writes ABOUT people of color. I’m writing about the problems with the social justice rhetoric.
Did you read my last post “dagNotes: on the failure(s) of social justice”? It’ll help you see how I am thinking about this problem in a specific context. The last paragraph should help you see what I mean:
In this manner, the social justice community as much as anyone else seems to naively embrace a kind of social determinism that they would otherwise claim to reject…and let’s tie this to my previous post. White people are never examined as socially determined white bodies but as free individuals who are passively embraced in a white supremacist culture and, thus, are unexamined. People of color are not easily interpellated into the white order, especially if they break the rules or misbehave or protest or speak to white power. In this manner, most people of color are always addressed as people with colored bodies that must be examined in order to discover what’s wrong with them, or for social justice whites, what’s wrong with us. It’s flat out racism.