Day 150: Cosas veredes (the things you will see)
On August 8th, 2020, a message was approved for the list Humanist and so it was received by its subscribers. Some people immediately reacted and replied, but the moderator initially censored those answers. You can read an account here.
Later on, as the protests piled on, the list moderator, Willard McCarty, was forced to acknowledge there was a problem.
My own reply to the original post has not even been acknowledged. The phrase that prompted my response was this: "...the really objectionable part of Warsame's essay is its casual anti-white racism." A phrase that was followed by a tirade of trite White supremacist beliefs. Perhaps no one is interested, but here is my response to the original message:
Dear Willard, dear Gabriel, dear all,
I’m writing to express a couple of concerns. The first has to do with the issue of what is pertinent to discuss in this list and the second with Gabriel’s language in his original message.
Ever since the beginnings of this list, Willard has kept it alive and well by bringing up relevant conversations and ideas to be discussed by all of us. The Vox Populi thread suggests that part of the reason to suppress responses to Gabriel’s original message was to keep to the point of the list. Being one of the co-leaders of EDI workshops offered at the DH conference, I contend that topics such as racism, misogyny, ableism, and cultural background (among others) are fundamental topics in academia in general as well as in our wider societies and very particularly related to the Digital Humanities. By not discussing these issues, we let otherwise accomplished scholars, like Gabriel Egan, think that their outdated views are an acceptable part of academic discourse (they aren’t). Instead, I invite Gabriel and anyone who feels might benefit from some introspective work, to reach out to me (on or off-list) so I can provide them with appropriate bibliography that might be helpful for them to understand their privilege positionality and their responsibility as members of academic institutions.
My second point (Gabriel’s language in the original message) is that it is regrettably racist. By this, I am not saying that Gabriel is personally a racist, but that by living in a White supremacist society and being unaware of it, he has reached the sad conclusion that there is a thing he calls “anti-white” racism. Anyone who has done a minimal amount of reading on the subject of racism knows that racism exists within power structures that create systemic disadvantages for those oppressed based on their appearance. Numbers are not relevant since historically, we have seen many instances of oppressed majorities (something obvious to people who originate from colonized countries). Just to be clear: Gabriel’s assertion about “anti-white” racism is racist, but it is probably so because of ignorance rather than malice. Fortunately, ignorance can be rectified.
If this list was meant to be a place for rebellion, please be aware that some of us are ready to stand in defiance of injustice. Leicester, the city where Gabriel lives and in which he claims to belong to a white minority, is the same place in which I was physically attacked by a white person as she yelled all sorts of racial slurs. That is to say that even if Leicester is a racially diverse place, it is also one which violence against non-whites is well.
I feel saddened by the fact that I have liked Gabriel. I admire him for many professional reasons, as well as for his efficiency and dexterity cleaning mussels. I hope he realizes the harm he has caused.
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