Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Identity politics, in the twenty-first century, is dominated by configurations of political and economic powers. The identification of differences is often perceived as a benevolent approach to spread awareness regarding equality but this rather exclusive manner spawns a purple hair ordinance which is then recycled by the mainstream only to be fed right back to the consumers. The notion of a consumer is a universal entity however when everyone is applied under the scope despite each other’s differences, will there not be some forms of distinction? What would we make of a document that renders as juridical equivalents the denial of employment to an African-American, an obese man, and a white middle-class youth festooned with tattoos and fuchsia hair? These are common indicators employed by everyone on a daily basis, though not always stereotypical or racist, but the extent of our evaluation is a measure of our perception. Such cultural domination retains its potency only through its deeply rooted connection with our “reaction” – the substitution of reasons, norms, and ethics for deeds. As Nietzsche reiterates, “dead generations weigh like a nightmare on the brains of the living,” further signifying the remnant effects of discrimination. The melancholy of race feeds on our lost object, the loss of an unhampered ego. As the libido turns back on the ego, so do the feelings of guilt, rage, and punishment/revenge. At this moment loss becomes exclusion in the melancholic landscape. Such a return jeopardizes the intimate and wholesome development of our ego in any material sense. These are the moments when America is most shamefaced and traumatized by its betrayal of its own democratic ideology (genocide of Native Americans, slavery, segregation, discriminatory labor). All this could be accredited to the American history of exclusion, imperialism, and colonization which runs so antithetical to the American narrative of liberty and individualism. As Toni Morrison puts it “the national literary canon as a melancholic corpus” is an inevitable aftermath – texts prone to exclusion yet unable to forget – “the ghost in the machine.” In any case, political and cultural domination is reproduced at the level personal experience, so you must be able to relate, I hope.

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