// Week 6 //

Monday 9/28

Response to Against Innocence by Jackie Wang : Framing this issue through the lens of innocence feels as poignant today as I am sue it did when this piece was published in 2014. It is obvious or easily visible in the hoops that some white folks seem to jump through in justifying the death of yet another person of color. Innocence is something that must be proven in order to justify life if you are BIPOC, but is assumed if you are white. Even worse is that “innocence, however, is just code for nonthreatening to white civil society.” Which upon reading this text seems to just be constructed by those who wish to maintain power. If those in power can make any oppositional violence seem immoral, then it becomes easier to rationalize counter-violence. This can be seen today surrounding the recent (and continued) protests in which news coverage is focused on showing the violence found at/within protests as a way of making these individuals look/seem morally reprehensible, therefore justifying any violence — or even calling for violence — against these mostly non-violent protests. It is a delegitimization of a movement through a framing of non-innocence/guilt based on morality put in place by the system in power. It is also interesting that Wang brings up the “cleansed” white space (a space devoid of black bodies that have been instead cast off to prisons and urban ghettoes).

Again in regards to recent protests it seems that the “violence” of protests is multiplied because it is happening in white spaces. Folks who are opposed to the protests seem to go directly to the destruction of white/corporate/state property (without considering why) which has been met on the other side with translation from liberals. In talking about the 2011 UK riots that took place after the Mark Duggan, Wang notes that “Well-meaning leftists who felt obligated to affirm the riots often did so by imposing a narrative of political consciousness and coherence onto the amorphous eruption, sometimes recasting the participants as “the proletariat” or dissatisfied consumers whose acts of theft and looting shed light on capitalist ideology.” This is something that was rampant on Instagram at the time of the protests and many (myself included) slipped into this role of rationalizing looting through my own political lens (as opposed to the lens of the lived black experience). This is not to say that I am for/or against looting. I am for a movement and need a way to frame the ragged edges to myself (and my conservative relatives). I think the sentiment I was hoping and trying to capture is best framed through Wang’s analysis of Maria Lewis’ words “a) affirming the actions immediately, b) refusing to purify the movement by integrating rather than excluding the “violent” elements, c) legitimizing the anger and desires of the protestors, d) shifting the attention to the structural nature of the problem rather than getting hung up on making moral judgments about individual actors. In other words, by rejecting a politics of innocence that reproduces the “good,” compliant citizen.” Ultimately this text reinforces what understanding I had around innocence, while bringing to light additional, powerful examples of how it and morality are used within the system to legitimize some and delegitimize others.

Tuesday 9/28

// Class Notes Dump //
// Reading Discussion //
Neutrality is the voice of white science
Is the government actually neutral?
What-aboutism and post-rationalizing violence against black folks
Have to live through situations in order to understand
  • Can you “live” through experiences via text
How does anything justify murder? Nothing should justify murder.
Calling out killer cops by name versus focusing on the victims of police brutality?
“The liberal is afraid to alienate anyone, and therefore he is incapable of presenting any clear alternative.”
  • get comfortable with not being allowed in spaces even if you aren’t part of the issue
  • not everyone is allowed in every space
  • it’s not about you
White space/white imagination
Welfare Queen — Linda Taylor >>> https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/05/the-queen-linda-taylor-welfare-reagan-podcast.html
Cleaning up after looting/riots is as much of an act of violence as the looting itself
  • sweeping under the rug
Think before you act in order to avoid complications of white savior
Just be there and be involved without leading
“What can I do?”
  • Direct aid (time and money)
  • Brave Space
  • liberation tied to the liberation of others
  • always question self
  • you can still have preconceived notions that you should/need to be aware of
  • lean into authenticity
  • you can gauge authenticity with your gut