Friday, December 15, 2006

Was 2006 The Retreat to Race? Give the Gift of Thoughtful Attention This Holiday Season

Race, racializing, and racism are big news this year.

(I could cry at how cavalier everyone seems about the resonance of the Rosie O'Donuthead incident with every other recent “cele-bratty” racial tirade.)

The larger context, for a moment, is that currently we USAmericans are embattled on every front. During times of war, historically speaking, white America closes ranks. Internment, torture, mistrust and fear. None of these things are new, but shouldn’t we take this opportunity to do something different? To look at our society and how growing US isolationism is not only fomenting hatred of our country by the rest of the world, but also revealing our unreconstructed deployments of difference here in the “land of the free”?

As cynical as many of us are about our transnational role as a model for an actually, existing multi-cultural democracy these incidents speak volumes to the rest of the world: That is, peace and productive inter-ethnic exchange are impossible, just look at the U.S.

Just look at “US” for a moment, and think about whether this is a laughing matter, or a really significant indicator of how much work we still have to do to educate ourselves. The one good thing about this incident is that it raises anti-Asian sentiment to the level of conscious discourse at this important moment. Red alert! We should really look at how the war on terror has "somehow" been translated into a war on difference, and a license to hate.

As I read way too many commentaries on blogs to get a sense of how people feel about this level of direct dialogue on race, I have to put a strategically optimistic spin on it, perhaps racist people will get so sick of hearing about racism that they’ll stop it!

Probably not. But we can hope that all this talk about race will generate a more nuanced critique and more unified mobilization. (Also, since when aren't anti-racists the same people who oppose sexism, homophobia, agism, abilism, etc.?)

Drink a loving cup to issue in all the positive social change we will enact in 2007!

P.S. I agree with anyone who is experiencing media meltdown from too many conversations among people that seem to begging for a critical thinking intervention, so I just signed up to be an e-activist on media policy.
Dunno what will come of it, but the site is very informative!

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