lundi 28 septembre 2020

"Be in but not of the university..."

It was entirely foreseeable that mainstream media was going to riff on sensationalist violence (frustrated white males with persecution fantasies and emboldened alt right groups in the UCP's Alberta clashing with anti-racists and land defenders) and mine personal stories of trauma in their reporting - individualized storytelling and the drawing of false equivalencies under the umbrella of abstract liberalism do not, after all, undermine the racial status quo and its power differentials and the role of mainstream media in sustaining these. It was also entirely foreseeable that the Twitterati of the university wasn't going to pass on a chance to leverage student activism for personal publicity stunts and ego strokes whilst they kept their WokeAF™ asses comfortably off campus on a Saturday afternoon.

So, for those who need to hear or rehear it, I've made available audio from a speech I was invited to deliver at yesterday's (September 26th, 2020) anti-racist student protest held at Mount Royal University's East Gate. I argue that it will not be enough to simply add more dark faces, more safe spaces, more training and a more comprehensive curriculum to an institution designed to manage and perpetuate the "existing unjust and unacceptable allocations of dignity, wealth and power" (G. Lipsitz) and that Black students shouldn't relinquish their agency and grant legitimacy to neoliberal places of higher harming by pleading for inclusion and recognition within an institution incapable of loving them. Instead, I ask them to consider Fred Moten and Stefano Harney's advocacy for refuge in and sabotage from the undercommons: "It cannot be denied that the university is a place of refuge, and it cannot be accepted that the university is a place of enlightenment. In the face of these conditions one can only sneak into the university and steal what one can."


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