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To Reimagine Identity January 4, 2012

Posted by Summerspeaker in Anti-imperialism, Transhumanism.

‎The fight against white skin privilege also requires the rejection of the vicious identification of North Americans as “white” people, rather than as Welsh, German, Irish, etc. as their national origin. This “white race” designation is a contrived super-nationality designed to inflate the social importance of European ethnics and to enlist them in the Capitalist system of exploitation. In North America, white skin has always implied freedom and privilege: freedom to gain employment, to travel, to obtain social mobility out of one’s born class standing and a whole world of Eurocentric privileges. Therefore, before a social revolution can take place, there must be an abolition of the social category of the “white race.” … These “white” people must engage in class suicide and race treachery before they can truly be accepted as allies of Black and nationally oppressed workers; the whole idea behind the “white race” is conformity and making them accomplices to mass murder and exploitation. If white people do not want to be saddled with the historical legacy of colonialism, slavery and genocide themselves, they must rebel against it. So the “whites” must denounce the white identity and its system of privilege and they must struggle to redefine themselves and their relationship with others.

Lorenzo Kom’boa ErvinThe Progressive Plantation: Racism Inside White Radical Social Change Movements (2011).

          White-privileged folks within the transhumanist community would do well to take this argument seriously. Our at least nominal interest in making ourselves rather than blindly following established traditions lends itself the rejection of whiteness Ervin, Noel Ignatiev, and other radicals demand. In my experience, too many attempts by white-privileged people to transcend race involve a denial of racism and/or cultural appropriation. The radical position present a more fruitful way forward. Undoing whiteness requires committed political struggle against the existing oppressive order and white supremacy in all its permutations.



1. max - January 4, 2012

hey summer,
i’m down to renounce whiteness if that would be a more effective stance for breaking down racism. as a white activist though, i’ve always found that identifying as white among anti-racist communities was a way of recognizing privilege which of course is crucial to forming multi-racial, anti-racist solidarity.

i feel like if i started calling myself german and norweigan instead of white, people might interpret me as trying to deny that i benefit from a system of racial oppression and privilege. but if self-identifying as german and norweigan would be better, i’d be quick to do so.

anyway, curious to hear your thoughts on this 🙂

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