Decolonize ALL The Things

The UNsettling reflections of a Decolonial Scientist in a Constant State of Rage

What Is & What Ought To Be

May 30, 2017
Shay-Akil

“The modern collapse of “Reason” & “History” into all things European represented a failure of reason & history that required self-deception regarding Europe’s scope. Put differently: Europe sought to become ontological; it sought to become what dialecticians call “Absolute Being”. Such Being stood in the way of the human being, of a human way of being. It thus presented itself as a theodicy. Theodicy (from theos, meaning god, & dikē, meaning justice) is the branch of inquiry that attempts to account for the compatibility of an omnipotent, omniscient, & good god with injustice & evil.” –  Lewis Gordon in What Fanon Said: A Philosophical Introduction To His Life & Thought (2015:19)

Europe seeks to make Euro-Western thought & practice ontological (all that is (descriptive) & what ought to be (prescriptive) (Gordon 2015:19).  Note that in this case, Lewis Gordon discusses how black can never be white, it can only ‘imitate’ whiteness.  Toni Morrison speaks of this, whiteness just gets to “be”, everybody else has to hyphenate. But by the same token, look at how the rule doesn’t follow in reverse: black can never be white but white always has access to black.  Note, this is in reference to appropriation & the practice of emptying a subject of its complex meaning to wear it as a costume.  This is a kind of objectification that reduces an active subject (a being capable of activity) to a passive thing (what Aime Cesaire calls “thingification”).  But black cannot be white, black can only imitate, its a version, a hyphenation, the standard for all things & their meaning is first white.  Continue Reading

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