Soenke Zehle on Thu, 12 Dec 2002 08:50:51 +0100 (CET)

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<nettime> Wark/Fusco/PoCo

Yo, Ken Wark, what's up with your one-up-manship? "I think I appreciate his
strengths more than you appreciate his limitations." Ok, whatever. In the
words of Monty Python (Life of Brian), we're all appreciators.

You suggest that "clearly both 'sides' need to look to what in their own
rhetorical strategies inhibit such a productive discourse". Ok, but we also
get "I'm sure in a more reflective moments you know it" -  oops!?

What I read your comment to says is: why don't you let _me_ determine what
the terms and terrain of a productive encounter on matters of
race/racism/racialization will, be since I consider your comments
insufficiently self-reflective, even (beware!) personal, emotional etc.?

(Aside from the fact that your mail contains a fair amount of 'we's' and
'don't you think's', which to me are markers of a certain paternalism, but
maybe that's just me, been looking for gender lately. It also strikes me as
funny that your own critique of dialectial/intersubjective definitions of
selfhood seems to quite a bit at odds with your own rhetorical strategy of
desiring/seeking acknowledgment and recognition...)

Consequently, you go along and offer a barrage of theoretical references,
which are actually quite intriguing and deserve further discussion.

But inadvertently or not, they also seem to prove one of Coco Fusco's
points: for you, the question of race is primarily a matter of theoretical
reflection, maybe a consequence of your other ethico-political commitments.

For me, being able to deal with the implications of whiteness as a matter
of - theoretical - choice(s) is the hallmark of privilege. And - this is how
the charge ususally goes, witness any debate on affirmative action etc. - as
soon as matters of race become an issue that directly involves oneself in
some existential (for lack of a better word) word, there is the charge of an
identity, even identitarian politics that refuses to go with the flow and
acknowledge that race is not what it used to be. Sure, the concept of race
has been in flux, its institutional articulations change as we speak, and so
does the terrain of its (theoretical) contestation. But I have my doubts
whether the day-to-day experience of racism has changed all that much, at
least telling by the jokes that circulate on academic campuses, the movies
I've seen lately, or the pronouncements of elected leaders. And what also
hasn't changed much is the complacence of much white folk.

Just a short comment, apologies for lack of elaborate footnotes to
substantiate my impression. Please note that I did try to ascend from the
personal/immanent/involved to a state of self-reflexivity.

I'm also more than willing to acknowledge that this may not be a matter of
long-distance debate. But if there is some interest in how what you describe
as the informatization of the commodity is transforming 'whiteness' and what
George Lipsitz has called 'our' collective 'possessive investment in
whiteness,' I'm there...


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