Erasure, entitlement and mimicry in pop liberal anti-racism

Three articles that should be on everyone’s reading list on the dynamics of entitlement and erasure within purportedly anti-racist milieu: 

Wenny, “To Hell With Progressive Intentions
Sanmati Verma, “Why Were Most Of The Anti-Reclaim Protesters White?”
Ardhra, “GetUp and the Amazing Disappearing of Women of Colour

An extended footnote. Ironically, some of the arguments in those pieces have been reiterated elsewhere recently, paraphrased without citation. Thinking about what it is that makes that double move of mimicry and erasure possible, I’m struck by the one thing that distinguishes these pieces from their paraphrased version: the assertion of a distinction between personal-intimate and ‘structural’ forms of racism/sexism. None of the above articles assert that distinction. Why would they? Their authors gain nothing by espousing the pop liberalism which entitles speaking from a position of false universality (the meaning of ‘structure’ in faux-scholarly circles as far as I can tell), nor are they invested in the liberal concept of freely-floating individuals and ‘ideas’ in which there is no material stake and there is nothing put at stake in making these arguments. Besides, I have never come across a plausible argument for making a theoretical or analytical distinction between ‘structural’ and intimate-personal dynamics. It simply doesn’t hold up to scrutiny, but undoubtedly has a purpose since it invokes a universal perspective so to obscure the absence of such. It’s the functional gesture that makes mimicry-erasure possible. It asserts an authorial claim in the voice of a false universality at the same time as it deflects from the divergent material conditions from which all individuals make arguments, are authors in a non-universal, non-transcendental and anti-liberalist sense. Is there a limit to this mimicry, erasure and sense of entitlement? Where does it end? But really my question is mostly about when is that limit going to be respected (since if anything the mimicry and sense of entitlement seems to have picked up pace), or will have to be pointed out? Who gets blamed for being destructive of the trust that makes alliances in diverse groups workable? Who does it fall upon to do all of that work, and then some?

One thought on “Erasure, entitlement and mimicry in pop liberal anti-racism

  1. Pingback: This is what race does | Alana lentin.net

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