But why though? Who cares if their allyship is performative.
The people who rely on that allyship.
I mean, again, this isn't about manners and courtesy. People are being killed. People are being driven to suicide. People are being denied basic things which they need to live. These are part of the experience of marginal oppression, not just racism of course but all forms of marginal oppression. These are material realities, and if we as a society don't engage with these realities then nothing will ever get better.
I mean, if you want something concrete. There's a big problem with allies in activism, in that the voices and influence of allies tends to be massively amplified over those of the people who are actually affected, and if those voices are self interested, if those voices are performative, then they're drowning out the actual signal. Heck, let me give an example..
This was part of a poster campaign produced for Pride in London. It's a well meaning campaign and I know the people behind it had good intentions because I've met most of them, but do you see the problem? This is the end point of performative allyship in activism, it is the literal marketing of gay people, of women, of other marginalised groups not as human beings in their own right but as cosmopolitan accessories. It doesn't help anyone except straight allies, it doesn't affirm anyone except straight allies, it doesn't advocate for anyone except straight allies.
If someone is keeping you around because having a gay friend makes them feel more interesting, or because being vocal about civil rights makes them feel like they're special or more woke than other white people, then that is still homophobia, it's still racism, and when the time comes, when you need those people to lift you up, when you need them to support you they'll be gone. They'll be gone because it stopped being about them, it stopped being their fun crazy adventure into being the white saviour or the straight ally, and as far as they're concerned that was all it was ever about.
Sometimes, it's just better to get past that stage before you need those people, and before they take up space which could be better filled by someone else. If that's all it takes to turn them into overt racists, then they were always overt racists.
And yeah, sometimes people burn out and just don't know when to stop. I'm not saying every outburst is some kind of elite next level activist tactics. I'm saying that even if it is just burnout and anger, it comes from an understandable place.
What I am concerned with is the very comprehensive project of establishing a total ideological hegemony based on identitarian zero-sum games by the institutions at the top of the cultural hierarchy, notably academia and the media. I believe the Germans have a word for it, "Gleichschaltung". Anyone unfamiliar with it should probably look it up.
The point of an "ideological hegemony" is that it remains hidden beneath the facade of truth or normality, to the point of requiring ideological critique (you know, that thing we do in academia) to be visible.
How are you claiming or asserting an ideological hegemony? What practice of ideological critique reveals this hegemony? What material force reproduces and sustains it? Because right now it sounds like what you mean is that political positions which you like or feel to be true are subject to political critique in academia, and that makes you uncomfortable. All positions are subject to critique in academia, at the end of my PhD my thesis will be something I have to defend. The point is to have a thesis which can survive critique.
I believe this racial mystique stuff is very much misguided and not likely to contribute to the improvement of lives, based as it is on an historical misconception of humanity as "separately created" in different areas because of superficial evolved differences, or some such notion.
What radical mystique? Also, who is talking about creation or genetics?
I mean, the ideological system of race which we use today is only a few centuries old. Ancient Greeks or Romans did not think of race the same way we do, they did not practice the same forms of racism that we do (I mean, they had their own systems of hierarchical oppression and their own taxonomic systems of classifying human beings according to personal quality, but it wasn't the same as our modern racism). Extending this back into the creation of human beings themselves is so obviously, obviously contradictory to my point that I struggle to see how you got there.
And while this doesn't invalidate legitimate concerns with the incommensurability of different cultural values that come into conflict with the increased mobility of populations, it means that there is no reason why people who are Shade 237 on the Color Chart should be posited in opposition to people who are Shade 089.
No, there is no inherent reason why that would be the case.
However, it is the case. It has been the case for hundreds of years, and it has not been a secret.
It is not incidental or accidental that during the several hundred years of slavery in the US, the vast majority of slaves possessed a particular range of skin shades. You could argue that it was initially incidental, in that the slaves were purchased from West Africa as part of a preexisting slave trade, but even if that were the case it very quickly stopped being incidental. It became part of a general view of the world which we call "racism", which built on preexisting classical ideas about climatic determinism and Christian mythology, as well as a cultural interest or obsession with heredity in parts of Europe at the time to produce a general model of humanity as divided into distinct groups called races distinguished, in part, by the colour of their skin. This became the ideological justification for a hierarchical ordering of society along racial lines, and for explicit discrimination against races judged to be inferior.
See, one reason I roll my eyes when you tell me about ideological hegemony is that ideology, actual ideology, possesses material force, indeed the material force is how ideology reproduces itself. Ideology is not the fact that we politically disagree, it's the reasons why, it's the underlying view of how reality works, and that view can serve a prescriptive or self-fulfilling function while purporting to be merely descriptive. Race was never a real, inherent property of people, but belief in race created a society in which race was real, in which race determined where you could live, what you could do, who you could associate with. The realness of race, the material way in which whole societies have been ordered along racial lines, will not disappear because you close your eyes to it.
Furthermore, the idea that people are willing to take on the rage of the bereaved just because they are so "genuine" strikes me as dangerously naive and lacking in insight into human motivations.
I think if we needed evidence that race was real, we need look so further than the fact you just effectively denied the possibility that a white person could be sincerely angry about the mistreatment of black people while also resisting the temptation to make that anger all about themselves.
I mean, that's a bit facetious. I get it. You find it confusing that anyone, regardless of racial background, would be angry about other people's kids being murdered because you think this indicates that they the magically can't distinguish between themselves and other people, that they've been brainwashed into some kind of evil groupthink identity by the cultural marxist cuckluminati rather than the far more obvious explanation that they see the connection between the ideological justification for the more routine, everyday forms of oppression and discrimination which they suffer and the ideological justification which results in kids being shot, because both ultimately stem from the perpetuation of that aforementioned ideology of race and its role as a method of social organisation.
But be that as it may, consider that the very distinction of justice is that it is carried out by those not directly involved, otherwise what we're talking about is vengeance.
So, who, at this point, on this planet, is not "directly involved" either in the ideology of racism, or in its material consequences.
Because I'm not sitting and waiting for life to be discovered on Mars.
I'm reminded of something I read somewhere, about how the beginning of Western Civilization is marked in the Iliad by the rejection of the Furies who stand for vengeance implicit in the recognition of the human loss of the enemy.
What is "Western Civilization" in this case?
Our institutions are teaching "People of Color" (a truly insidious term, suggesting an essential difference) to reject the sources of power that they ought to have equal access to ("decolonization of science!") as a vicious mental snare against their authentic existence, while broadcasting to "People of No Color" about their "obsolescence" as some kind of deserved penalty.
Firstly, the term people of colour is used because it literally challenges the idea of an essential difference. All people have coloured skin, that is the point. However, certain forms of colouration have become ideologically marked through the practice of racism, they have come to mean something about the person who possesses that colouration. Again, an actual material arrangement of people was built on this system and still survives largely intact.
Secondly, if you genuinely believe that the knowledge economy is racially or politically neutral (or that it was before the scary ideological hegemony came along) then you have quite fundamentally missed something and/or have virtually no grasp of the most basic, undergraduate level history of ideology. And no, as someone whose institution has been pretty close to the forefront on this issue, academic decolonization is not about rejecting science as in a generalized rejection of useful knowledge, it's about rejecting the idea that science is politically neutral and that it's purely a weird coincidental accident that it's historically been the almost sole preserve of white men. It's about building a scientific curriculum which is sufficiently critical to account for the fact that emergence of modern science was accompanied by a massive intensification and rationalisation of prevailing theories of race, one in which many of most important figures in our history of the philosophy of science were very intimately involved.
In other words, academic decolonisation is ultimately about ideology critique.. but I get the sense that you don't like critique very much.
I mean, I kinda am. Just not sure about you others. Maybe indulging in a heroic fantasy of "liberation" is just so much more compelling than boring old Liberalism. I get it, but I like to get my thrills in works of fiction. Less likely to end in bloodshed.
I think that's an important qualifier. Less likely to end in bloodshed for you.
I wouldn't tarnish liberalism with your cowardice. Liberalism beheaded kings, dethroned tyrants and profaned churches. If your liberalism leads you to prefer order to justice, then you've betrayed it just as surely as you've betrayed the people you're willing to sacrifice for it.