i dream of being possible

i started researching for a longer essay about race. and honestly? i'm already exhausted. i...

i started researching for a longer essay about race. and honestly? i”m already exhausted. i don”t actually want to write this. or do research.

not if this is the sort of thing i can expect from academics:

In principle, then, race studies after the mid-20th century, and particularly in the last three and a half decades, encourage a view of race as a blank that is contingently filled under an infinitely flexible range of historical pressures and occasions.1

and? this isn”t even wrong. i read this and i thought to myself “maybe Heng just has modern critical race theory all wrong” but my research so far is confirming this.

or things like:

the ability of racial logic to stalk and merge with other hierarchical systems – such as class, gender, or sexuality – also means that race can function as class…as ‘ethnicity” and religion…or as sexuality.2

and yes. i”m seeing evidence that, according to scholars, race can mean all of these things.

what the fuck does this even mean?

what happens to our ability to resist racism if race can literally be anything?

who actually benefits from this decoupling of race and racism from white supremacy?

if racism/race can be anything, exist anywhere, and found at any time, does really mean that racism is just a feature of human society?

if anything can be race, then everything can be racism and everyone racists, who is loosing in this situation?

why does this article (in particular) solidify anti-Blackness by assuming that race, today, is mostly a ‘cultural” marker, rather than something rooted in people”s bodies?

is race and racism really as unstable as scholars apparently think it is? if so, who wins? who is loosing?

i guess the one good thing that all of this has taught me is i now know why i can”t have productive discussions about race and racism (beyond the people i usually discuss it with).

if this is what people are learning in school and this is what people think, then i don”t fucking understand what any of you are talking about. none of this makes sense to me.

and i know that this is how a surprisingly large amount of people conceptualize race. i mean. i see the pushback i get every time i write about racism. i really had no idea that my understanding of racism was so wildly divergent from the apparent mainstream.

i get it now. i”m also not sure i”ll bother finishing my research and this essay. much less openly discussing race.

i”m already exhausted by four years of trying to swim against the stream.

and maybe i ought to take this as a sign that i”m wrong. maybe if i do more research and reading i”ll understand why ppl actually think that racism can and is just about anything.

all i can think about is: who is benefiting from this? who is being hurt? how can u resist something that is ever-changing and everlasting?


    1. Heng, Geraldine. "The Invention of Race in the European Middle Ages I: Race Studies, Modernity, and the Middle Ages1.” Literature Compass 8, no. 5 (May 1, 2011): 315–31. doi:10.1111/j.1741-4113.2011.00790.x.


  1. ibid. 
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