activism as career
June 10, 2012
I think part of why I find the whole white career activist thing suspect (re: this post) is not only the ways that it really seems to invoke notions of the white saviour complex but really how it so often reasserts the white leadership model or white forms of organizing.
Because, while is true that status relationships exist in many groups, to become leaders/activists of certain groups such that you are basically being paid to exist, how status is conferred and who decides who gets it often seems to simply exist, uncritically, in larger power structures.
And it isn’t just about whose voices are heard, who is able to speak, who has access to resource, and all other very important points when considering who is getting paid to exit and represent and who is being represented.
But it is also about what whiteness considers ‘leadership’ qualities. About what it finds desirable in those who lead. And about how these qualities often (accidentally, I’m sure) tend to be things that whiteness loves and loves to educate white people with. It is always about nominating/electing/allowing that fiercely individualistic people have greater status and value. It is about rewarding people who perform in certain ways. It is in all these narratives about charismatic leaders that erase the communities that supported them.
And nothing I’m saying here is remotely new. But ‘leadership’ is also often about uniqueness and novelty. About decontextualizing shit. about who is able to commodify and package thoughs/ideas/people is marketable ways.
ugh. and I’m pretty sure that all the non-new things I’m saying and my muddled thoughts are unneeded. Whatever.