Tuesday, April 19, 2016

On the logic of Whiteness

I sent this article to someone and they asked me to explain it more so I thought to post the explanation here as well.


Antidialogical is a concept being use to explain dominance and oppression. ’Dialogic learning is learning that takes place through dialogue. It is typically the result of egalitarian dialogue; in other words, the consequence of a dialogue in which different people provide arguments based on validity claims and not on power claims.’ So antidialogical can be thought of when something is asserted that is not based on valid claims aka this person receives a promotion or a position despite someone else being more qualified for the position bc they are white, able bodied & minded, cis, straight, etc.

I think a good way to think about it is when someone see someone who is, say, homeless on the street or being blown up in a war in another country, they become the other and thus have no impact on the individual doing the othering. Humans have adapted this as coping mechanism in the ever increasing capitalistic ethos which promotes a hierarchy of worth based on irrelevant characteristics such as race/skin tone. Genocide of Native Americans is another good example. In order to wipe out tribes of peoples, the english had to other the natives as savages. Then since they were no longer occupying the same status of human as the brittish, it was okay to wipe them out in order to take their resources and land. Slavery was a similar concept. During slavery, forced breeding was common. Black folks were, to the english, conceptual more like cattle then humans. This can be seen today with the Prison Industrial Complex (new slavery) aka the new jim crow.

I have been working on explaining this concept for a workshop presentation I am working on. The theory I am working from is called Fundamental attribution error. It goes something like this:
Low power does wrong-> blame it on individual character flaw
High power-> does wrong attribute to situation
Low Power does right -> situational
High Power does right -> character

We an see this in the drug war. Crack and Meth are punishable at a much higher degree then cocaine. Not bc the effects are that much different but bc the demographics are that much different. Or for instance if a white male in high school is causing trouble then it is bc "he is a teenager and acting out". If a Black male in high school is causing trouble it is bc "Black people are problematic".

White self-decriminalization is the action of this concept. It is the white people deciding what is and is not right in any given situation. Aka white people deciding to make slavery illegal as it no longer served the capitalistic model that now wanted to take advantage of the influx of Irish and other ‘white’ immigrants. Then deciding that prison slavery is justifiable to tame the still savage American born African diaspora (movement of people).

The last part is basically saying that you cannot have a conversation with a white person about this bc they have decided that what they says is always right and also bc asking a privileged person to give up their privilege bc it is the right thing to do is like rarely going to happen.

It goes on to say that white hegemony (sameness) will only be deconstructed by making visible that it is violence.

Desmond Tutu says “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse, and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”

I like to expand this. This article is talking about when the mouse asks the elephant to stop standing on their tail and the elephant replies, 'I am not standing on your tail. I cannot feel anything beneath my foot so I cannot be standing on your tail. You must be imagining that I am standing on your tail.’ If the elephant is then pressured with proof, the elephant will then say, 'well you must have put your tail in my way. You need to be better about watching where your tail goes.’ and/or something like 'You tails is too long. It should be short like my tail and then I would not have stepped on it.’