Monday, 15 February 2010 02:00
May I Ask?By Park McArthur
Architecture of Desegregation (how to get a wheelchair over sand)
May I ask,
when we talk about racism and sexism and classism and colonialism what remains unsaid?
In our classroom discussions of critical race and gender theory what is forgotten?
What is rarely thought of in the first place?
A lot, right?
What do we never mention in our laundry lists of identity politicking? What ism do we rarely, if ever, think to include in the face of all that is abstractly whole and lovely and full of power?
When we talk about, say, a wealthy western educated Christian heterosexual white man, along what other privileged strata do we fail to fly him high?
To talk about his choicest mobility—his ability to access power structures and social models galore—what is ignored? What normalizes his mobility? What makes it natural?
What is it?
When we talk about body politics what are we forgetting about our bodies? What structures one's relationship to the world in addition to the color of one's skin, one's birth class, one's sex, one's gender? What affects one's gayness, blackness, Muslimness, one's femaleness, one's poorness?
What links these identities?
What does history explain as the work of the devil or an imbalance of natural forces?
Which history is metaphor and which history is strife? Who did the Greeks abandon because of imperfection and who did the Nazis also kill?
Who are our aberrations? What do they look like and when did they begin to look like us?
No friend, please don't shrink or shrug. Let's talk about this by George, by Cady, by Malcolm.
Who is America's largest minority? Whose civil rights were not legalized before 1990?
Why does the good postcolonial transnational feminist only consider her subject's race, gender, class, and sexual orientation? When was this perfect quafecta of marginalization sealed and locked? Who holds the soft, limp key?
Why do we intellectualize our bodies in classrooms along sliding scales of privilege only to release them, unprotected and raw, to the unruly elements of human judgment?
What is corporeal and what is immaterial?
When did spaces become political tools of inclusion and exclusion? What does the architecture of segregation look like?
Why are our bodies all we have? When did we become so critically unimaginative? Why do we fully remember our bodies' parts only when they have been removed? What is this presence of loss? And why do we never let each other forget it? Why do our bodies act as constant reminders to each other?
Why would anyone think how we look is who we are?
How could we be anything other than how we are made?
Why would anyone ever think how we look is who we are?
When we talk about overcoming our biology, what are we talking about?
What is it?
What are we talking about here?
Do you now know?
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