I haven’t posted anything in two weeks. I have been away. I spent the first few days in New York attending this conference. My brain is still fried from it and I have not recovered. I will write about it, but where do I begin?
Every time I have tried to talk about it, I start from the beginning. What is pinkwashing? What is homonationalism? Here are some handy definitions. Once you read these, maybe I can begin. So for now, I will talk about other things, like how I missed Chantal Akerman's reading at The Kitchen for Jasbir Puar’s keynote. This tears me up, but no regrets. I care about both these things too much. If you care about both these things, too, we should hang out.
Most of the conference will eventually be uploaded for streaming. The impossible conference of impossible communities will be available. I don’t even know how to start unpacking the ideas I heard, especially here in Vancouver. I’ve been continually annoyed by the language here, on all fronts. The latest example is the consolidation of “Chinese” to mean a unified people and a language, both of which don’t exist. The group of people living in Chinatown have nothing in common with the group of real estate investors, yet by press and by well-intentioned do-gooders, they are conflated as a single group that needs protection from racist policies. But have they ever thought that maybe they don’t need your help? Or more clearly, that they are not the ones who are going to need help? Decolonizing our language is the first step to traveling across disruptions.
The first panel I attended was on “rescue narratives” which made me think about how we need to rethink who “we” are saving “them” from. Homogenous thinking of identity groups has been detrimental to actual sovereignty, and until dominant and sub-dominant groups can get over themselves, the production of oppressed identities will only continue to be manufactured within a privatized and specialized understanding of social space and class agency.