Sunday, September 12, 2010

a damn fine comment from Saladin Ahmed at Racialicious

Here.

4 comments:

  1. Hi Will

    Thanks for the signal boosts here and elsewhere. I think, though, you should have a clearer picture of who it is you're quoting:

    I am, after all, that which you've malgined often on this site -- an unrepentant (gasp!) Race Maximalist.

    Simply put, I think it's practically impossible to overestimate the importance of white supremacy in American, and, for that matter, global culture and politics. The fact that you expend so much energy here in trying to catch people in the act of doing so is frankly a little weird and politically problematic to me.

    The one thing that I suppose might make my views more palatable to you than those of some other writers/bloggers of color you've had...interactions with is that I'm *also* a class maximalist: I think it's practically impossible to overestimate the importance of capitalism in American, and, for that matter, global culture and politics. The fact that some folks (such as a certain rich white antiracist so clueless about his own privilege that his last name reads like an ironic antonym) expend energy trying to catch people in the act of overestimating this is also a little weird and politically problematic to me.

    White supremacy and capitalism developed in symbiosis, and trying to 'rank' them seems preposterous to me. Debating whether class or race is 'more important' makes about as much sense to me as debating whether Truth or Beauty matters more. One can predict from the outset that the conversation will become mired in abstractions and hypotheticals, and that eevryone involved will be defining and understanding terms differently. I'd rather talk about specific political and cultural issues, personally.

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  2. Saladin, based on your last paragraph, we don't disagree. Our genre's many disciples of Tim Wise (who gather around Wiscon) have only begun to acknowledge class as a valid concern in the last year or two.

    Being a race maximalist and a class warrior isn't a contradiction, or at least, it wasn't until a few decades ago. I'm writing up a post now about a black red, Hubert Harrison, who was described as “the most class conscious of the race radicals and the most race conscious of the class radicals.”

    I'm cool with disagreement about whether it makes more strategic sense to address class primarily or race and class as concepts that feed upon each other. I simply object to folks who say that bringing class into the discussion of race makes you a racist. To state the obvious, I think it's essential.

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  3. P.S. "Race maximalist" was a joke, inspired by Wise calling me a "class reductionist" for bringing up class. I thought it was funny, but it's awfully obscure, so I'll quit using it now.

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