Testimonial Injustice

Rule #1

Difficult? That I am! It engenders the majority of my conversations (exchanges.) Someone is offended, upset or challenged, and so, rather than entertain the idea that they have the issue, these distressed people attempt to undermine me. For the longest time, I tried to make sense of my experience of conflict, and struggled. At first, I took the easy road and conceptualised it as “racism”, and yet, there were some major failings with this theory, and I would like to explain them, beginning with blackness. Of course, to begin with, people tend to claim that they are not receiving correct treatment because they are black, but I thought this statement was dubious, and so, suspicious of its authenticity, I questioned it. I realised that it did not add up. Nothing happens because “you are black”, I said; things happen because you are “not white.” It’s not that it’s personal; it’s that your issues arise because it is not personal. Since you are not white, I said, (speaking as/in the voice of the racist) claiming that ill-treatment occurs because one is black is pretentious flattery which verges on conceited, self-deception. In the mind of the racist, I realised, there is one peoples: the whites. Anyone else is not up for consideration.

Rule #2

I have to unravel the meaning of “racism”, and so, I drew upon all I knew, I remembered some words uttered by Joseph Campbell who traced religious thought to royalist thinking (i.e. the “natural” aristocracy being those chosen people, who were saved, and who were to save.) With that, synthesising the ideas of the Munroe-doctrine/blood & “purity”, nation/country isolation (elitism), intellectual superiority (supremacy), and manifest destiny, I made the connection to racial supremacy, and yet, some pieces didn’t fit. Surely whiteness represented oppression, and I was ill-treated because I was not white, but this was inadequate, as not every white person is white, or was white to begin with, and so, I was presented with more difficulties in the form of the Irish and the “lunatics.” According to racist thought, anyone who is not in the elite group is an inferior, and subject to a blend of veiled contempt and paternal condescension. They are treated as irresponsible children, who are of unsound mind; who are unrestrained and reckless; who require guardians are sources of supervision; who require advocacy and representation to mediate for them etc. In the case of the Irish, they were simply stereotyped as less than human, i.e. “unruly”, and on that basis, they were targeted for victimisation, and yet, this itself revealed that race was not about colour, but ideas and especially, testimony.

Rule #3

In the examples above, if one takes the primary/defining principles, and codifies them, a core group of personalities will emerge, which might read as follows: “geriatrics” are irresponsible; “criminals” are unruly; “lunatics” are “reckless” and children are “unrestrained.” The problem is, even then, these “identities” and their traits are interchangeable, which suggests that they are not identities, but dispositions. Simply speaking, they are all derivatives of an authentic identity which is adulthood. All of these are dependent states of arrested development; they are not autonomous; they are not “fit” (prepared) for self-determination (mastery), which itself, justifies interference in their “capacity” (competency), but so what? I was still left with questions. If it weren’t to do with colour, but much rather, “non-colour” (“transparency”?), I took another approach. If I weren’t being mistreated on the basis of colour, what was it? Surely it was something about me, or relating to me i.e. an important or defining characteristic, and so, I extended the search, and reviewed my total being, in terms of identity. Whereas I thought people were disgusted that I would challenge their caricature, and therefore brand me as an uppity nigger, it was never about “race” in terms of colour, but in terms of [inherent] language (etymology) and [explicit] communication (epistemology.) Race is about Empire; ranking people, and excluding them based on a central but arbitrary orthodoxy which is artificially maintained by ideological force and conceptual deception. It is dishonour on the basis of identity.

About omalone1

I live I die I write
This entry was posted in Competent Commentaries, Oppression Studies and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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