Critical Whiteness Theory

Broomberg & Chanarin, Shirley 1, from the series How to Photograph the Details of a Dark Horse in Low Light, 2012

Broomberg & Chanarin, Shirley 1, from the series How to Photograph the Details of a Dark Horse in Low Light, 2012

… hmmm… the above photograph was the lead in to this article about a new book, The Image of Whiteness… the title and lead in image are a bit of misdirection… intentional, maybe clever, but misdirection none-the-less… the book is broadly about how photography and photographers support white hegemony through image making… as the article describes it, it has little to do with the other type of gaze, the (mostly white) male gaze… and yet, we have a lead in image that is reminiscent of pinup girl images of the 40’s and 50’s… i think the subject is interesting… though i am personally more interested in the subject of women in photography (the more conscious reason for pursuing the article further)… in front of the camera, behind the camera, as curators, as critics… and… in general, i admit to being suckered in every time by an image of an attractive-to-me young woman… as i have said, many times, almost all of us are hardwired to have a sexual response to the encounter of possible sexual partners… whether we are enlightened human beings or not depends on how gracefully we can move beyond that first primal instinct to a fuller appreciation of all the dimensions of the human being in front of us…

First Thoughts

… in bed at 9:30, up at 3:00 AM… at least i slept through…

… the day after dad’s passing… the melancholy is subsiding… lots of thoughts about seeing Mom and my brother and sister… wondering if the expected improvement in family dynamics will materialize… worried about my sister annoying me, which she has the capacity to do… i will find out come Monday…

… Fiona being very fussy about her food… only way to get her to eat much is to sprinkle it with freeze dried organ dust… she seems not to like the kibble and it hasn’t helped much to home make wet food… she might need more exercise to pique her appetite…

… the heat has finally broken… i may actually get the stairs in place if not completely finished…

… a major hurricane heading straight for Louisiana… will hit tomorrow the x year anniversary of Katrina…

HCR meter mixed… about the contest of individualism and collectivism in the U.S… not at all clear which will come out on top…

… a day or two ago, i read an interesting article on slime mold… i appear not to have published it… now i have… the idea that the view of races as being inferior/superior is a social construct and that it has been constructed in service of white supremacy… the idea that humanity sits on top of an intelligence pyramid has also been constructed in service of white supremacy… it makes sense to me…

Various Articles

… i read a bit of the news, since i haven’t been watching any… mostly about Afghanistan, a fiasco that couldn’t be avoided, a fiasco that could have been handled better…

… onto a really interesting article about slime mold in which i encounter this paragraph:

Throughout their lives, myxomycetes only ever exist as a single cell, inside which the cytoplasm always flows—out to its extremities, back to the center. When it encounters something it likes, such as oatmeal, the cytoplasm pulsates more quickly. If it finds something it dislikes, like salt, quinine, bright light, cold, or caffeine, it pulsates more slowly and moves its cytoplasm away (though it can choose to overcome these preferences if it means survival). In one remarkable study published in Science, Japanese researchers created a model of the Tokyo metropolitan area using oat flakes to represent population centers, and found that Physarum polycephalum configured itself into a near replica of the famously intuitive Tokyo rail system. In another experiment, scientists blasted a specimen with cold air at regular intervals, and found that it learned to expect the blast, and would retract in anticipation. It can solve mazes in pursuit of a single oat flake, and later, can recall the path it took to reach it. More remarkable still, a slime mold can grow indefinitely in its plasmodial stage. As long as it has an adequate food supply and is comfortable in its environment, it doesn’t age and it doesn’t die.1

… and this…

Taxonomy has evolved in the centuries since Haeckel and Linnaeus, but much of their thinking still remains. Even if science no longer views humans as divided into different and unequal species, we continue to refer to “race” as if it were a natural, biological category rather than a social one created in service of white supremacy. The myth that humans are superior to all other species—that we are complex and intelligent in a way that matters, while the intelligence and complexity of other species does not—also exists in service to white supremacy, conferring on far too many people an imagined right of total dominion over one another and the natural world.2

07 On Protest and Mourning

… again, following up on note 05 from today, i find my way to the digital exhibition On Protest and Mourning at the Caribbean Cultural Center & African Diaspora Institute (CCCADI) website… i read curator Grace Aneiza Ali’s statement…

Protest is a form of mourning; and mourning is a form of protest. Throughout these images we see a consistent narrative, a shared language, a call to action: we must resist slipping into numbness, we must always cry out against a state’s militarized violence, against the emotional and mental brutalities it wields. And, as a matter of survival, we must always cry out for the Black lives loved and lost.1

… Black Lives Matter…

… relative to the exhibit at The New Museum, i think, CCCADI is better positioned to curate a visual art representation of the oppression, grief and protest of black and brown people…

… i am ambivalent about doing this in the cultural institutions of white patriarchy… i think it is important to have a conversation, a conscience… to admit the wrong of systematic oppression… but i can’t let go of the idea that oppressive cultural and political structures have a huge capacity for self critique without changing… the object of the self critique being to say, we see, we understand… maybe some do, but overall, there is little change as a result…

04 The Complicity of Booksellers in the Rise of White Supremacy and 45

… what we choose to publish and promote in bookstores has consequences argues Josh Cook in an excerpt from his new book, The Least We Can Do

… should there really be free speech?, shouldn’t the dissemination of some ideas be suppressed?, it’s a slippery slope and, in any case, largely out of the hands of booksellers; because of social media; because of anyone’s ability to set up a website attract followers and disseminate dangerous ideas…

… some amount of censorship is needed, but who decides?…