George Yancy on racism … And sexism

George Yancy has written a letter to White People. In it he models a possibly white awareness of inner racism on his awareness of his own sexism. It is a must read.

I think this is my favorite paragraph:

What I’m asking is that you first accept the racism within yourself, accept all of the truth about what it means for you to be white in a society that was created for you. I’m asking for you to trace the binds that tie you to forms of domination that you would rather not see. When you walk into the world, you can walk with assurance; you have already signed a contract, so to speak, that guarantees you a certain form of social safety.

It also makes interesting reading along side of Chemaly’s piece on HRC and bathrooms. There is clearly a lot of institutional racism. But bathroom facilities in many contexts are based on male means of urination. Is there anything exactly comparble with race? What do you think?

#RhodesMustFall Oxford Website

The social movement #RhodesMustFall has a new website for its work at Oxford, here. They also a page on facebook, here. The movement’s main website is here.

From the Oxford website’s “About Us / Out Aim” page:

Rhodes Must Fall in Oxford (RMFO) is a movement determined to decolonise the institutional structures and physical space in Oxford and beyond. We seek to challenge the structures of knowledge production that continue to mould a colonial mindset that dominates our present.

Our movement addresses Oxford’s colonial legacy on three levels:

1) Tackling the plague of colonial iconography (in the form of statues, plaques and paintings) that seeks to whitewash and distort history.

2) Reforming the Euro-centric curriculum to remedy the highly selective narrative of traditional academia – which frames the West as sole producers of universal knowledge – by integrating subjugated and local epistemologies. This will create a more intellectually rigorous, complete academy.

3) Addressing the underrepresentation and lack of welfare provision for Black and minority ethnic (BME) amongst Oxford’s academic staff and students.

RMFO is about more than a statue. In fact our first action as a movement was getting the Oxford Union to admit it is institutionally racist after their ‘Colonial Comeback’ cocktail. We are determined to tackle Oxford University’s problem with race – and its perpetuation of the legacies of empire in all their insidious forms – from a multitude of angles.

However, we believe that statues and symbols matter; they are a means through which communities express their values. The normalised glorification of a man who for so many is a symbol of their historical oppression is a tacit admission that – as it stands – Oxford does not consider their history to be important. This is incompatible with a community that posits itself as progressive, enlightened and intellectually honest.

*edited details for accuracy

Congratulations, Daniel!

Congratulations to Feminist Philosophers blogger Daniel Silvermint on being awarded 2nd place (the Strange Quark prize) in 3 Quarks Daily’s Philosophy Prize 2015 for his June post “On How We Talk About Passing.”

Here’s what 3QD’s John Collins had to say about the post:

Silvermint’s piece, occasioned by last summer’s Rachel Dolezal incident, avoids the thorny issue of why, exactly, self-identification might be taken to be authoritative in the case of gender though not race, and asks us instead to hesitate and reconsider what we are doing when we rush to police the trespass of socially constructed categories that are tracked by highly unreliable markers. There is a valuable discussion here of the varieties of passing, though I found myself unsure as to whether to accept Silvermint’s suggestion that we apply the concept even to cases where there is neither misidentification nor intent. Can, for example, a white cisgender man, who, through privilege has had the luxury of never giving these matters a moment’s thought, really be said to be “passing” as white and male? Silvermint comments that “a trans woman that passes isn’t a man pretending to be a woman – she is a woman”. I agree wholeheartedly with the main point there, but I’d be inclined to add that her being a woman means that she isn’t simply passing as a woman either. (Whether a trans person might be said to—or want to?—pass as cisgender is another matter.)

Read about the other winners here.