Haven’t seen anyone post a link to the entire Morrison lecture that the “serious function of racism” quote is taken from and it’s worth actually reading it in context if you haven’t before, so here it is — thanks @mackenzian for hosting on your website! mackenzian.com/wp-content/upl…
In my view she’s saying that trying to change the minds of racists determined to see you as subhuman is a distraction, not that you should ignore racism.
“You don’t waste your energy fighting the fever; you must only fight the disease. And the disease is not racism. It is greed and the struggle for power.” — problematic ableist analogies aside, she’s saying that arguing over the excuses for racism will never end racism.
It’s a Marxist analysis. She’s saying racism exists as a power structure, that white supremacy is about power. And you don’t take power away from it by showing that Black people can have high IQs. No Black genius will convince white supremacy to die. It’s designed not to.
The premise of “I will convince them of my humanity” is acceptance of the debate. Acceptance of those terms of discourse.
The only debate you should engage is your internal one, to address and get rid of the beliefs you may have adopted. This will not end racism but it will allow you have to a clarity about the world.
To connect this with a struggle that’s been on my mind a lot recently: I don’t think Kanaka Maoli don’t need to explain shit to non-Kanaka people. Kanaka folks don’t need to justify their existence as a sovereign community. And trying to is a mistake, in my view.
Demanding that people explain their humanity to you before you will acknowledge their humanity is a white supremacist power move, no matter how nice your words are or how much you say you care.
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