Reflections on the proliferation of borders from a pandemic world. (written mostly in 2020, finished off in 2021)
When the flames engulfed the home of the brave,
The stampede towards the the border was in vain.
Faces palmed, faces paled
As the wall they said would make them great could not be scaled.
– ‘Victory Lap’, Propagandhi
The nation closes its borders. This is both remarkable and not. Unremarkable because the militarised border regime that has governed the political trajectory of this island nation had easily created the capacity to enforce a total shutdown. It ordinarily walks the line between living up to the racist fantasies of a paranoid population and the economic need for certain types of migration to fill gaps in the labour market. But these aren’t ordinary times and so it flexes and the racists swoon while the ‘progressive’ liberals are appeased in their sense of (bio-)security.Continue reading “The Border Crosses All”
In the midst of the COVID-related lockdown I wrote of how “time passes at the tenor of a slow murmur” to try and describe the sense of a distortion that I was feeling. It might have been apt at the time, but the weeks following have passed at a different, much quicker tempo. Now the institutions (police, prisons) and systems of oppression (white supremacy, anti-blackness, colonialism) that seemed so fundamental to daily life that they must have been born with the changing of the seasons are teetering on the precipice. The murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis police has sparked a rebellion that has spread and taken form in all corners of the globe. Suddenly, time is a blur as history crashes around us.Continue reading “Raise a glass for the iconoclasts: toppling statues, dismantling white supremacy and the colonial order.”
For people who aren’t white and living in a colonised and white supremacist society, being able to understand and process feelings of guilt, shame and trauma is an ongoing exercise that requires honest reflection and accountability. Where We Stand is a dance/ performance ‘ritual’ that facilitates this by inviting Indigenous and other people of colour into a theatre turned into a healing space filled with warm, soothing aural tones and soft places to be in. In that space, personal stories of the damage of these interlocking oppressive systems are shared amongst us. In being there, feeling the intimacy of relating such experiences, a question arises in my mind: how do these personal affects, these lifelong traumas shared between us as confessional mementos translate into forms of anti-colonial solidarity and action that might upturn the colonial, white supremacist society that we inhabit?Continue reading “Where We Stand: processing and transforming racial trauma, together.”
“We will be beggars so long as we accept as universal the political divisions that cut up the white world and through which they conceive of the social conflicts and struggles that these divisions will engender. We will be beggars so long as we remain prisoners of their philosophy, of their aesthetic and of their art. We will be beggars so long as we do not call into question their version of History. Lets accept rupture, discord, discordance. Lets ruin the landscape and announce a new era”. – Houria Bouteldja
A nice white person once asked of me “can’t you be less antagonistic when challenging racism”? It was less a question, more a direction, imbued with all the faux-innocence and partitioning of ‘civilised rationality’ as a quality specific to whiteness, and therefore necessitating white people to preach the word. The imperative that justified colonisation as the bringing of civilisation to the barbarians, is now repeated by white liberals espousing ‘rational’ and ‘civilised’ debate in the face of racism and white supremacy.Continue reading “Confrontational and profoundly uncomfortable: why anti-racism and decolonisation can be nothing less (a reading of Houria Bouteldja’s polemical essay, ‘Whites, Jews and Us’).”
Hope and dread from Christchurch to the end.
(Some thoughts and feels post-Christchurch on white supremacy, Islamophobia and eco-fascism after a few days of processing and conversations.)
There is no good to come from this. There is no good to come from this. There is no good to come from this and there will be no ‘but’ as an appendage to that assertion. It’s not like I needed to be thrown into an abyss. It’s not like it took a white supremacist terrorist murdering 49 Muslims in a mosque in Christchurch to send me towards hopelessness about racism in this country. My nihilist tendencies already had me here and from here – with no real hope in things changing – I am content to foment my own little moments of resistance to this white supremacist, colonial state. But spare me the light that shines its harsh glare onto my futile, scrambling efforts.Continue reading “The Abyss is Everywhere. There is a Light.”
A look back at 2018 and how white fragility describes a developing trajectory of white supremacy at a national level. How this shifts understandings of white fragility beyond simply being an individual weakness to reveal the interplay between interpersonal and structural racism.
2018, much like every single one of the preceding 230 years of this un-ceded land’s ongoing colonisation, managed to mark itself in the pages of racist infamy with the latest bouts of hysteria, paranoia, dog-whistling and racial-profiling. Considering the genocidal nature of that history and everything else that has passed, it might be possible to assume that there is nothing new to see, or be said, here. However, to effectively track and counter the active threat that racism presents, it is important to stay attuned to the variations in trajectory that occur in terms of discourse and action. One aspect that has become noticeable, if not to the same extent as in Europe and the USA, is that the far-right has managed to use a generalised state of hyper-racialised paranoia to find ways to enter the mainstream. While tracking this will not be the focus here, it is related to the discursive trajectory that I will be exploring in this article: how a sense of white fragility is increasingly articulated as a justification for the re-assertion of this country as a white space.Continue reading “How white fragility defined race politics in so-called Australia in 2018.”
written in September 2018
How the death of Hamze Ibrahim is connected to that Serena Williams cartoon and what it says about the disciplining of people of colour’s emotions.
On a suburban Sydney street in early September, a brown man, Hamze Ibrahim, lay dying in his home. As word spread, grieving relatives gathered outside. The paramedics arrived. Soon after the police were called. In an official statement, the Australian Paramedic Association (APA) would denounce these relatives as a “violent mob” of “angry males”. News Corp culture warrior, Andrew Bolt, would make explicit the race-baiting that was inherent in the APA’s statement, by claiming that “such mob attacks suggest an ethnic or cultural factor”. A few days later the APA would backtrack almost completely, apologising and stating that no paramedics were assaulted or hindered in attempting to assist Ibrahim.Continue reading “In Sadness, In Anger”