Reckoning with What is Owed — and What Can Never be Repaid — for Racial Privilege

Nietzsche’s “guilt”, whiteness, and what the real cost is to live in the land of another | Oh, and the difference between freedom and liberty

[I once feared buying a house because I didn’t want to be owned. I had saved money with no purpose in mind other than the freedom to do whatever I wanted. Now I’m bound to this house, though I’m still free to lose it if I choose. But that isn’t the version of freedom that interests me at the moment. I’m more compelled by a freedom that would allow me to deserve what I have. Call it liberation, maybe. If debt can be repaid incrementally, resulting eventually in ownership, perhaps so can guilt.

What is the condition of white life? We are moral debtors who act as material creditors. Our banks make bad loans. Our police, like Nietzsche’s creditors, act out their power on black bodies. And, as I see in my own language, we confuse whiteness with ownership.]

 

(Native American) Madness and “Civilization”

“People know what they do; frequently they know why they do what they do; but what they don’t know is what what they do does.”
Michel Foucault, Madness and Civilization: A History of Insanity in the Age of Reason

HIAWATHA

[…. Given the ease with which a Native person could be judged insane, it is no surprise that demand for places to confine people began to exceed the number of beds available for these unfortunate souls. Asylums outside Indian country started taking in this overflow, but the associated medical superintendents opposed housing Indians with whites, due to their perceived inferiority, the agitation of racist white inmates and the potential for interracial sex, which violated accepted eugenics principles.

In 1901, the Bureau of Indian Affairs began construction of the Hiawatha Asylum for Insane Indians in Canton, South Dakota. By January, 1904, shortly after Hiawatha’s completion, theCherokee Advocatereported that there were just 18 inmates in the Cherokee Asylum and the building was “sadly in need of repair, especially the windows, as they are nearly pane-less.” With the imminent statehood of the Territory and the loss of tribal jurisdiction, some Cherokee inmates were eventually placed under Oklahoma state management.

Others were transferred to the new BIA government asylum in South Dakota. In 1918, the U.S. Census Bureau endorsed theStatistical Manual for the Use of Institutions for the Insane, published by the National Committee for Mental Hygiene, as a “national system of statistics of mental diseases” to help track the threat of undesirable racial strains and their mental problems. This early DSM version served eugenics, a powerful social movement aimed at eliminating inferior races through sterilization and reduced birth rates. From 1921 to 1924, a eugenics display supplied by the American Museum of Natural History stood in the Capitol Rotunda, and eugenics philosophies were instituted in social and health services across Indian country….]

Read the full article here | INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY

Also… 5 Odd Facts About the Tortured History of Virginia Indians | INDIAN COUNTRY TODAY

The American Indian Youth Suicide Epidemic | MAD IN AMERICA

 
 

What Happens When, in USA, a Civilian Kills a Cop in Self Defense in Their Own Home

Power relations and jurisprudence |

[Marvin Louis Guy, an African-American man who is now 50, was the target of a no-knock drug raid on May 9, 2014. Narcotics officers, operating on a tip from an informant who claimed that Guy was selling bags of cocaine, carried out a SWAT raid on his home in Killeen, Texas at around 5:30 AM—and Guy grabbed his gun and opened fire. Charles Dinwiddie, one of the officers, was hit and died two days later. Guy was charged with capital murder, and prosecutors are seeking the death penalty despite his assertions that he thought he was acting in self-defense. Guy’s trial is scheduled for June of this year.

No drugs were found during a search of Guy’s home, only a glass pipe and a grinder—which indicates that Guy was, at worst, a recreational drug user and not a drug dealer. Journalist Radley Balko, author of the 2013 book Rise of the Warrior Cop: The Militarization of America’s Police Forces, has commented on the case in the Washington Post, saying: “The fact that the police didn’t find any drugs in the house suggests that Marvin Louis Guy didn’t know he was shooting at cops. Drug dealer or no, unless he had a death wish, it’s unlikely that a guy would knowingly fire at police officers when he had nothing in the house that was particularly incriminating.”]  Read the full article | ALTERNET

Hipsters and Vacant Gestures | Lumbersexuals and White, Heteromasculine Pageantry*

Lumbersexual masculinity is certainly an illustration that certain groups of young, straight, class-privileged, white men are playing with gender. In the process, however, systems of power and inequality are probably better understood as obscured than challenged. Like the phrase “no homo,” hybrid configurations of masculinity afford young straight men new kinds of flexibility in identities and practice, but don’t challenge relations of power and inequality in any meaningful way.

Read the full article | The Society Pages

Also: The Lumbersexuals are Here to Chop Down Metrosexuals | The Bold Italic

METRO

Social Media is Not Self-Expression | Neither Abandoning it Will Enhance our Sense of Freedom or Selfhood

Self-expression is the internalization of social authority, not the externalization of a “true identity”

[“The internet isn’t an individual pursuit, it’s something we do with each other. The internet is where people are.” That’s part of why simply abandoning it won’t enhance our sense of freedom or selfhood. But because we “do” the internet with each other as capitalist subjects, we use it to intensify the social relations familiar from capitalism, with all the asymmetries and exploitation that comes with it. We “do” it as isolated nodes, letting social-media services further suppress our sense of collectivity and possibility. The work of being online doesn’t simply fatten profits for Facebook; it also reproduces the condition that make Facebook necessary. As Lazzarato puts it, immaterial “labour produces not only commodities, but first and foremost the capital relationship.”

Exodus won’t yield freedom. The problem is not that the online self is “inauthentic” and the offline self is real; it’s that the self derived from the data processing of our digital traces doesn’t correspond with our active efforts to shape an offline/online hybrid identity for our genuine social ties. What seems necessary instead is a way to augment our sense of “transindividuality,” in which social being doesn’t come at the expense of individuality. This might be a way out of the trap of capitalist subjectivity, and the compulsive need to keep serially producing in a condition of anxiety to seem to manifest and discover the self as some transcendent thing at once unfettered by and validated through social mediation. Instead of using social media to master the social component of our own identity, we must use them to better balance the multitudes within.] Read the full article: Social Media is Not Self-Expression | THE NEW INQUIRY

Rome, Italy 2010

Rome, Italy 2010 @Styliani Giannitsi Ph o t o g r a p h y

Langston Hughes on What Life Was Really Like for a Poor Black Man in 1940s’ Harlem

Read the full article | NEW REPUBLIC

“f you are white and are reading this vignette, don’t take it for granted that all Harlem is a slum. It isn’t. There are big apartment houses up on the hill, Sugar Hill, and up by City Collegenice high-rent houses with elevators and doormen, where Canada Lee lives, and W.C. Handy, and the George S. Schuylers, and the Walter Whites, where colored families send their babies to private kindergartens and their youngsters to Ethical Culture School. And, please, white people, don’t think that all Negroes are the same. They aren’t.”

“Home. A dozen names on the bell. Roomers all over the house. No place for a kid to bring his friends. Only the pool halls open, the candy stores that bootleg liquor, the barbecue stands where you can listen to the juke-box even if you’re broke and don’t want to buy anything, and the long Harlem streets outside dimmed out because Hitler might send his planes overhead some dark night….”

After a white police officer shot and wounded a black soldier in Harlem in the summer of 1943, portions of the New York City neighborhood erupted in riots. Six people died and hundreds were arrested in a forty-eight-hour period. The events of those two days were of momentous influence to three of the leading African-American voices of the time: James Baldwin, who wrote about the riots in his Notes of a Native Son; Ralph Ellision, who used the events as inspiration for portions of Invisible Man; and Langston Hughes, who penned this essay for The New Republic.

To mark its 100th anniversary, The New Republic is republishing a collection of its most memorable articles. This week’s theme: Twentieth-Century American Life. This piece originally appeared at The New Republic on March 27, 1944.

LANGSTON