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Perm do both - political action doesnt prohibit a structural

analysis of antiblackness. In fact, it is a necessarily


accompaniment. (youre reading your author wrong)
Wilderson, 2010.

Frank b. Wilderson III, Prof at UC Irvine, speaking on a panel on literary activism at


the National Black Writers Conference, March 26, 2010, "Panel on Literary Activism",
transcribed from the video available at http://www.cspanvideo.org/program/id/222448, begins at roughly 49:10
Typically what I mean when I ask myself whether or not people will like or accept my reading, what I'm really trying
to say to myself whether or not people will like or accept me and this is a difficult thing to overcome especially for a

we are not just black writers, we are black people and as black people
we live every day of our lives in an anti-black world. A world that defines itself in a
very fundamental ways in constant distinction from us, we live everyday of our lives
in a context of daily rejection so its understandable that we as black writers might strive
for acceptance and appreciation through our writing, as I said this gets us tangled up in the result.
black writer because

The lessons we have to learn as writers resonate with what I want to say about literature and political struggle. I am

my writing is self consciously about radical change but when


I have worked as an activist in political movements, my labor has been intentional
and goal oriented. For example, I organized, with a purpose to say free Mumia Abu Jamal, to free
all political prisoners, or to abolish the prison industrial complex here in the United States or
in South Africa, I have worked to abolish apartheid and unsuccessfully set up a socialist
state whereas I want my poetry and my fiction, my creative non fiction and my theoretical writing to
resonate with and to impact and impacted by those tangible identifiable results, I think that
something really debilitating will happen to the writing, that it the writing will be hobbled if and when I
become clear in the ways that which I want my writing to have an impact on
political struggle what I am trying to say when I say that I want to be unclear is I
don't want to clarify, I do not want to clarify the impact that my work will have or
should have on political struggle, is that the relationship of literature to
a political writer which is to say

struggle is not one of causality but one of accompaniment,

when I write I want to

hold my political beliefs and my political agenda loosely. I want to look at my political life the way I might look at a

I might be able to liberate my


imagination and go to places in the writing tha t I and other black people go to all the time the
places that are too dangerous to go to and too dangerous to speak about when one is
trying to organize people to take risk or when a political organization is presetting a
list of demands, I said at the beginning this is an anti-black world. Its anti black in places I hate like apartheid
South Africa and apartheid America and its anti-black in the places I don't hate such as Cuba, I've been
involved with some really radical political movements but none of them have called
for an end of the world but if I can get away from the result of my writing, if I can
solar eclipse which is to say look indirectly, look arie, in this way

think of my writing as something that accompanies political struggle as


opposed to something that will cause political struggl e

then maybe just maybe I will

be able to explore forbidden territory, the unspoken demands that the world come to an end, the thing that I cant
say when I am trying to organize maybe I can harness the energy of the political movement to make breakthroughs
in the imagination that the movement can't always accommodate, if its to maintain its organizational capacity.

Anti-Blackness isnt a structural antagonism or fixed


blackening is a contingent rhetorical process
Watts 2015 (Eric King, Critical Cosmopolitanism, Antagonism, and Social
Suffering, Quarterly Journal of Speech)

why and how might we interact with Afro-Pessimism? Speaking


from the point of view of a Black rhetorical scholar (and a scholar of Blackness), the
answer to why is virtually self-evident: thinking through Blackness as a condition of
possibility for rhetorical action and social justice is a life-long pursuit that, given the
tragic killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri in August 2014, feels especially
burning.25 Given the affective intensity of the charge of Black noncommunicability, a
failure to meaningfully interact would engender a different kind of violence ; in this
Given this dire diagnosis,

case a structural injunction sponsored by a lingering and recurring anxiety regarding the authority of

If I take up the orientation of critical


cosmopolitanism, I need to recognize immediately that my efforts can be dismissed
by the Afro-Pessimist as colonial; that is, as a reiteration of the sort of practices that presume that one's
Communication Studies. And so how might we interact?

epistemologies can translate other's bodies of knowledge into comprehensible and useful concepts and constructs.

And yet, we must begin where we are, not where we hope to be . Hence, I want
to make two modest and one not-so-modest suggestions for how Communication Studies in general and Rhetorical

first, Wilderson calls for a new language of abstraction


to elaborate Blackness's grammar of suffering.26 But in my reading, AfroPessimism is already too reliant on a language of abstraction. Lois McNay, in The Misguided
Search for the Political, recently contends that theories of political power are overwrought owing
to a social weightlessness brought about through high abstraction. She
recommends the reinvigoration of the concept of social sufferingnot as an
entrenched category of victimage but, rather, as the habitus of lived experience
that must be articulated to analyses of structural positionality. 27 Second, I agree with
McNay (who says nothing about Afro-Pessimism, by the way) that structural antagonisms are not
Studies in particular might interact:

static , but are movable and moving configurations. The Afro-Pessimist in Wilderson's
account must agree that when a non-Black person is thrust toward the horrible
condition approximating (but not identical to) the Black's structural position, that
adjustment can rightfully be called a Blackening. As a happeningand not an
event that has simply always already happened this racialized procedure
makes itself felt and knowable in the dense social fabric of the everyday. If the Black
is in a structural position that delimits the impossibility of capacity, might we enjoin
an analysis of the vocabulary of that impossibility itself? And since a Blackening
receives intelligibility from the structural position of the Black, might we gain some
productive understanding from a scrutiny of key discursive and material forms of
Blackening? Was not Michael Brown Blackened in and through (and not only
a priori to) his bodily encounter with state violence?

Given my ongoing scholarly interest in

the Zombie, I am willing to concede that an Afro-Pessimist might claim that Brown was, at the moment he was shot
to death, the dead but sentient thing, the Black struggling to articulate in a world of living subjects.28 This
concession functions as an assertion: the Zombie is not wholly outside Western intelligibility; it haunts the nether
regions between Human and Black. Its undead existence is material and social, and supplies some vital resources
for inventing a new languagea grammar of (Black) suffering. Perhaps there is no way to Africa through the
Black,29 but maybe there is a route through the Zombie. I have argued for such a project using the terminology of
reanimating Zombie voices.30

Aff is good which solve impacts


Anti-blackness is not an ontological antagonism the
relationship and social death are not set In stonethey are
contingent. If this is true then I dont link to the k
Peter Hudson 13, Political Studies Department, University of the Witwatersrand,
Johannesburg , South Africa, has been on the editorial board of the Africa
Perspective: The South African Journal of Sociology and Theoria: A Journal of Political
and Social Theory and Transformation, and is a member of the Johannesburg
Workshop in Theory and Criticism, The state and the colonial unconscious, Social
Dynamics: A journal of African studies, 2013
Thus the self-same/other distinction is necessary for the possibility of identity itself. There always has to exist an outside ,
which is also inside, to the extent it is designated as the impossibility from which the
possibility of the existence of the subject derives its rule (Badiou 2009, 220). But although the
excluded place which isnt excluded insofar as it is necessary for the very possibility
of inclusion and identity may be universal (may be considered ontological), its content (what fills
it) as well as the mode of this filling and its reproduction are contingent. In other words, the
meaning of the signifier of exclusion is not determined once and for all: the place of the
place of exclusion, of death is itself over-determined, i.e. the very framework for
deciding the other and the same, exclusion and inclusion, is nowhere engraved
in ontological stone but is political and never terminally settled. Put differently, the
curvature of intersubjective space (Critchley 2007, 61) and thus, the specific modes of the othering of
otherness are nowhere decided in advance (as a certain ontological fatalism
might have it) (see Wilderson 2008). The social does not have to be divided into
white and black , and the meaning of these signifiers is never necessary because
they are signifiers. To be sure, colonialism institutes an ontological division, in that whites exist in a
way barred to blacks who are not. But this ontological relation is really on the side of the ontic that
is, of all contingently constructed identities , rather than the ontology of the social
which refers to the ultimate unfixity, the indeterminacy or lack of the social. In this sense,
then, the white man doesnt exist, the black man doesnt exist (Fanon 1968, 165); and neither does the colonial symbolic itself, including its most intimate

division is constitutive of the social, not the colonial division.


Whiteness may well be very deeply sediment in modernity itself, but respect for the ontological
difference (see Heidegger 1962, 26; Watts 2011, 279) shows up its ontological status as ontic. It may be so deeply sedimented
that it becomes difficult even to identify the very possibility of the separation of
whiteness from the very possibility of order, but from this it does not follow that the void of
black being functions as the ultimate substance , the transcendental signified on
structuring relations

which all possible forms of sociality

are said to

rest . What gets lost here, then, is the

specificity of colonialism, of its constitutive axis, its ontological differential.

A crucial feature of the

the
symbolic and the imaginary give way because non-identity (the real of the social) is
immediately inscribed in the lived experience (vcu) of the colonised subject. The colonised
is traversing the fantasy (Zizek 2006a, 4060) all the time; the void of the verb to be is the very content of his interpellation. The colonised
is, in other words, the subject of anxiety for whom the symbolic and the imaginary never
work, who is left stranded by his very interpellation.4 Fixed into non-fixity, he is eternally suspended
between element and moment5 he is where the colonial symbolic falters in the
production of meaning and is thus the point of entry of the real into the texture
itself of colonialism. Be this as it may, whiteness and blackness are (sustained by)
colonial symbolic is that the real is not screened off by the imaginary in the way it is under capitalism. At the place of the colonised,

determinate and contingent practices of signification; the structuring relation of


colonialism thus itself comprises a knot of significations which, no matter how tight, can
always be undone. Anti-colonial i.e., anti-white modes of struggle are not (just) psychic 6
but

involve the reactivation (or de-sedimentation)7 of colonial objectivity itself. No matter how

sedimented (or global), colonial objectivity is not ontologically immune to antagonism. Differentiality, as Zizek insists (see Zizek 2012, chapter 11, 771
n48), immanently entails antagonism in that differentiality both makes possible the existence of any identity whatsoever and at the same time because
it is the presence of one object in another undermines any identity ever being (fully) itself. Each element in a differential relation is the condition of
possibility and the condition of impossibility of each other. It is this dimension of antagonism that the Master Signifier covers over transforming its outside

symbolisation produces an ineradicable


excess over itself, something it cant totalise or make sense of, where its production of meaning
falters. This is its internal limit point, its real:9 an errant object that has no place of its own, isnt
recognised in the categories of the system but is produced by it its part of no
part or object small a.10 Correlative to this object a is the subject stricto sensu i.e., as the empty subject of the signifier
without an identity that pins it down.11 That is the subject of antagonism in confrontation with the
real of the social, as distinct from subject position based on a determinate
identity.
(Other) into an element of itself, reducing it to a condition of its possibility.8 All

Social death is not permanent their accounts of the absolute


decimation of the black psyche are inaccurate it is possible to
reshape the past by political action in the present
Scott 2010 Associate Professor of African American Studies & African Diaspora
Studies at UC Berkeley (Darieck, Extravagant Abjection: Blackness, Power, and
Sexuality in the African American Literary Imagination, 51-52)
Declarations of the absolute decimation of the preexisting psyche of the colonized
in the event of conquest thus can be read as versions of the past historically

inaccurate versions, to be sure, invocations of Vergess "original innocencethat


stand in rhetorically for the blank slate of the future. The future's slate is not really
blank, of course, but it can be written; the words already on it are not vouchsafed
by anything transhistoric like God or nature. If Fanons rhetoric proposes at times a
truly blank slate, then his considered examinations of the process of cultural and
subjective transformation (or, more modestly, reformation) suggest rather that he
employs the absolute of total cultural loss and the like only to mark a place for
the successful achievement of a future utopia ; neither the absolute past as
defeat nor the absolute future as liberation and victory are the areas of anything
other than directional emphasisit is instead the fact that there can be movement
toward one or another that is truly to be grasped and that demonstrates for us what
the power of sociogeny is. The interarticulation of temporal frames that underwrites
Fanon's approach to the problem of history is nicely demonstrated in a curious form
of logical proof he offers for the transformative psychological effects of colonialism:
when arguing that the European's arrival in Madagascar utterly eviscerated the preMalagasy earlier psychic whole, Fanon says, If. . .Martians undertook to colonize
the earth mennot to initiate them into Martian culture but to colonize themwe
should be doubtful of the persistence of any earth personality. This bit of
speculative futurism, the conation of historical Europeans with space-trekking
Martians, partaking as it does of anxieties and fantasies running rife in the 1950s
because of the competition between the United States and the Soviet Union to put
men into space, represents the way that Fanon sees the past (European arrival on
the shores of what they will call Madagascar) as a mirror of the future. We might say
that Fanon gestures both backward and forward when he tries to wrestle with

historybackward to the loss that occasioned the originary act of self-fashioning or


cultural reinscription (and this for him has to do with the notion that the precolonial
world is utterly obliterated) and forward toward the new productivity that has its
foundation in the example of the old rupture. Thus, when Fanon asks, Have I no
other purpose on earth, then, but to avenge the Negro of the seventeenth century?
and when he remonstrates with the historicist reader, Moral anguish in the face of
the massiveness of the Past? I am a Negro, and tons of chains, storms of blows,
rivers of expectoration ow down my shoulders. . . . But I do not have the right to
allow myself to bog down. . . . I do not have the right to allow myself to be
mired in what the past has determined, we need not read these statements
as mere rallying cries to turn ones back on history in order to meet a present
emergency, or as an entirely wishful leaping over the persistent effects of the 17th
centuryeffects which, after all, Fanon elucidates as the psychopathologizing
properties of blackness itself. We can rather see such rhetoric as suggesting that
the determinative powers of the past do not lie solely in the dominion of past
events; for Fanon, the present is like the past in its capacity to determine the future.
In this sense, there is not only one past, forever lost to us but nevertheless
enslaving present and future, but also the past being made (and ever
receding) in the now , which, as future anterior, has the capacity retroactively to
refigure even the more remote, traumatic past that we have no access to. Fanons
rhetoric identifies a leap in the construction of the human world in the past and uses
this as a basis for proposing another such leap in the present, oriented toward a
more humanist future.

Turn: The neg understands race relations in terms of the blackwhite binary that papers over anti-Latino racism.
Linda Martn Alcoff, 3-02-2010, Professor of Philosophy at Hunter College and the
CUNY Graduate Center, Latinos Beyond the Binary,
http://www.alcoff.com/content/beyondbinary.html
The idea
that a black/white racial binary can account for all forms of racism in the United States
is an example of such a pernicious simplification, as well as the idea that Latinos, or whites, have
Contradictory binaries ourish in climates where simplifications are preferred over complex analysis.

homogeneous political effects on our shared public culture. In this paper I want to redress such simplifications by

The
first concept is anti-Latino racism, as a specific form of racism distinct in some
developing three concepts that are especially relevant for understanding the conditions of Latinos in the U.S.

regards to antiblack racism and thus lost in racial discourses that remain
exclusively focused on the black-white binary. The second concept is ethnorace, a
hybridized identity category that bridges racial and ethnic categories and enhances
our ability to conceptualize the treatment of most if not all Latinos in the U.S.. And the third
concept involves an expansion of identity categories--ethnic and racial and ethno-racialthat I argue
will help us to understand the economic and political realities and transformations in
the current era. Each concept offers an alternative to binaries either through a larger set of conceptual
resources or through transcending given binaries in a bridge concept. But the overall point is that, as we address
each of these issues,

the binary of threat and promise should counsel against unified

political projections, as if we could empower only one set of forces in this tug of war.
We need, rather, to chart the likely contradictory effects of every step that is taken.

This turns the K; the black-white binary fractures coalitions,


isolates blacks and causes nihilism; effective resistance to
white supremacy must include recognition of multi-colored
racism and relinquishment of the binary.
Elizabeth Martinez, 6-09-2004, writer, activist, educator, teaches Ethnic Studies
and Womens Studies in the California state university system, currently works with
Latin@ and multinational youth groups, published five books on social movements
and writer for Z Magazine, Rethinking Schools and other publications on Latin@
issues, Seeing More than Black & White,
http://www.indigenouspeople.net/blackwht.htm
Kissinger said years ago "nothing important ever happens in the south," he
articulated a contemptuous indifference toward Latin America, its people and their
culture which has long dominated U.S. institutions and attitudes. Mexico may be great for a
vacation and some people like burritos but the usual image of Latin America combines
incompetence with absurdity in loud colors. My parents, both Spanish teachers, endured decades of
being told kids were better off learning French. U.S. political culture is not only Anglo-dominated
but also embraces an exceptionally stubborn national self-centeredness, with no
global vision other than relations of domination. The U.S. refuses to see itself as one nation sitting
When

on a continent with 20 others all speaking languages other than English and having the right not to be dominated.
Such arrogant indifference extends to Latinos within the U.S. The mass media complain, "people can't relate to

arrogant indifference has played an important role in


invisibilizing La Raza (except where we become a serious nuisance or a handy scapegoat). It is one
reason the U.S. harbors an exclusively white-on-Black concept of racism. It is one
barrier to new thinking about racism which is crucial today. There are others. Good-bye White Majority In a
society as thoroughly and violently racialized as the U nited S tates, white-Black
Hispanics" - or Asians, they say. Such

relations have defined racism for centuries . Today the composition and culture of
the U.S. are changing rapidly. We need to consider seriously whether we can
afford to maintain an exclusively white/Black model of racism when the
population will be

32 percent Latino, Asian/Pacific American and Native American - in short,

neither

Black nor white - by the year 2050. We are challenged to recognize that multi-colored
racism is mushrooming , and then strategize how to resist it. We are challenged to move
beyond a dualism comprised of two white supremacist inventions: Blackness
and Whiteness. At stake in those challenges is building a united anti-racist force
strong enough to resist contemporary racist strategies of divide-and- conquer.
Strong enough, in the long run, to help defeat racism itself. Doesn't an exclusively Black/white
model of racism discourage the perception of common interests among
people of color and thus impede a solidarity that can challenge white supremacy?
Doesn't it encourage

the

isolation

of African Americans

from potential allies? Doesn't it

advise all people of color to spend too much energy understanding our lives in

relation to Whiteness , and thus freeze us in a defensive , often selfdestructive mode?