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Islamophobia link

The affirmative is the perfect example of #AllLivesMatter – their focus on contingent violence of Muslim oppression puts anti-blackness as an afterthought – their erasure of this ontological condition is inexcusable – the combination of struggles through the perm is genocide


Qalander 15, Mast Qalander is a Pakistani Muslim who advocates anti-racist, anti-colonial feminism. She has published multiple books and essays/articles on the matters of social justice. “WHY I’M NOT DOWN WITH #MUSLIMLIVESMATTER,” https://muslimreverie.wordpress.com/tag/anti-black-racism-in-the-muslim-community/ NN

I don’t have a twitter account, but I’m well aware of how hashtags can be used as tools to express solidarity, speak out, and mobilize against injustice. Almost immediately after the Chapel Hill murders, I noticed a lot of Muslims on Facebook using the hashtag #MuslimLivesMatter. It was heartbreaking to hear the news and I understood the grief Muslims were expressing online. However, I cringed when I saw the hashtag because I recalled all of the critiques of #AllLivesMatter, which was used online and in activist rallies/spaces as a response to #BlackLivesMatter. Though #MuslimLivesMatter is not exactly the same as #AllLivesMatter, it still co-opts the movement against police brutality and racism that systematically targets, terrorizes, and devalues black people.∂ It became more unsettling when I watched South Asian, Arab, white, and other non-black Muslims posting up both #MuslimLivesMatter and #AllLivesMatter. While there are many people who mean well when they post these hashtags, I still see a disturbing amount of people getting very defensive (and even make racist remarks) when they are informed about how these hashtags co-opt and appropriate #BlackLivesMatter (and this is yet another example of how we cannot make it about people’s “intentions”). When they persist in posting these hashtags, it seems like they are doing it out of defiance against #BlackLivesMatter, as if the latter is “ethnocentric” and supposedly doesn’t value the lives of non-black people. The persistence and refusal to listen also reflects the anti-blackness that exists in our communities.∂ I know this is an issue that needs to be addressed sensitively. We know the lives of brown Muslims are not valued in this society and I know there are lot of Muslims who are shaken up or feel triggered after the brutal murders of Deah Barakat, Yusor Abu-Salha, and Razan Abu-Salha. Hashtags may seem trivial to some, but they become more than hashtags when we see them used to organize protests and movements. #BlackLivesMatter was created by three self-identified Black queer women, Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi. As Garza writes:∂ Black Lives Matter is an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise. It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression […]∂ When we deploy “All Lives Matter” as to correct an intervention specifically created to address anti-blackness,, we lose the ways in which the state apparatus has built a program of genocide and repression mostly on the backs of Black people—beginning with the theft of millions of people for free labor—and then adapted it to control, murder, and profit off of other communities of color and immigrant communities. We perpetuate a level of White supremacist domination by reproducing a tired trope that we are all the same, rather than acknowledging that non-Black oppressed people in this country are both impacted by racism and domination, and simultaneously, BENEFIT from anti-black racism.∂ When you drop “Black” from the equation of whose lives matter, and then fail to acknowledge it came from somewhere, you further a legacy of erasing Black lives and Black contributions from our movement legacy. And consider whether or not when dropping the Black you are, intentionally or unintentionally, erasing Black folks from the conversation or homogenizing very different experiences. The legacy and prevalence of anti-Black racism and hetero-patriarchy is a lynch pin holding together this unsustainable economy. And that’s not an accidental analogy.∂ There are excellent critiques that I will quote and share below about #MuslimLivesMatter (because I believe they do a better job at explaining the problems of this hashtag), but I’ll just share a few thoughts here. Yes, the lives of Muslims are not valued in white supremacist capitalist heteropatriarchy. We know how the media and Hollywood has demonized Muslims and Islam for a very long time. We know that Islamophobia isn’t something that “only started after 9/11,” but existed well before that. We know how the massacres against Palestinians, Iraqis, Afghans, and Pakistanis show us how brown people are not seen as human beings, especially if they are Muslim. At the same time, we also cannot deny that when we talk about Islamophobia, it is often centered on the experiences of Arab and South Asian men. African/black Muslim men and women are frequently left out of the narrative, marginalized in mosques, otherized, and vilified by Arab, South Asian, white, and other non-black Muslims.∂ Anti-black racism is global. We cannot be preaching Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) or the Qur’an’s teachings about diversity and how no one is superior to another person on the basis of race if we are not practicing it in the community. Yeah, we’ll hear Arab, South Asian, and white imams quote Malcolm X whenever it is convenient or boast about Muhammad Ali, but then they’ll marginalize black Muslims or make racist remarks about the black people (Muslim and non-Muslim) in their neighborhood. There is also a colorblind narrative that accompanies the sermons about Malcolm X. I remember a white imam in one of my local mosques giving a speech about how Malcolm used to be a “racist black supremacist” until he went for Hajj and started to accept all Muslims (he liked to emphasize on how Malcolm started to accept white people). The conclusion the imam drew from this was that Islam advocates colorblindness or that “race doesn’t exist in Islam.” This narrative not only ignores Malcolm’s post-Hajj speeches against white supremacy, imperialism, and the western power structure, but also erases his blackness (side note: I’ll be writing a post one of these days on how religious and community leaders, especially those in the west, use Islam to silence anti-racism).∂ We’ll hear non-black Muslims speak highly of Hazrat Bilal (peace be upon him), the Abyssinian companion of the Prophet, and how he was chosen specifically by the Prophet to be Islam’s first muezzin. We’ll hear them talk about how beautiful his voice must have been and how he was one of the most trusted companions of the Prophet. We’ll also hear talk about how Islam doesn’t tolerate racism and point to Hazrat Bilal as proof. Yet, when it comes to the way we treat black people or talk about black people, whether Muslim or not, there is no denying that anti-black racism exists and needs to be actively addressed and challenged. We’ll still hear Arab, South Asian, white, and other non-black Muslims use the n-word (and even argue that they can “reclaim” the term) and use derogatory, anti-black words in Arabic, Urdu/Hindi, and other languages.∂ When two Somali Muslims, Mustafa Mattan and Abdisamad Sheikh-Hussein, were recently murdered (Mattan was murdered a day before the Chapel Hill murders), we didn’t see the same outrage from Muslims in North America nor did we see the start of “Muslim Lives Matter.” It was necessary and important that Muslims spoke out against the murders of Deah, Yusor, and Razan, so I am by no means saying that anything was wrong with this. The only thing that is wrong is how non-black Muslims tend to devalue the lives of black Muslims and non-Muslims. Abdisamad Sheikh-Hussein was 15 years-old and deliberately hit by an SUV that had a message reading “Islam is worse than Ebola” on the rear-view mirror. The Islamophobia and anti-Muslim violence was frighteningly explicit in this case, but why wasn’t there a national outcry about his murder from Muslim communities and national organizations? As Khaled A. Beydoun and Margari Hill recently wrote in their article, “The Colour of Muslim Mourning”:∂ The curious case of Mustafa Mattan is as much a story of intra-racial division and anti-black racism within the Muslim population as it is a narrative about the neglected death of a young man seeking a better life far from home… The outpouring of support and eulogies that followed their deaths revealed that Deah, Yusor and Razan were, in life and in death, archetypes of young, Muslim Americans. Lives neglected by the media, but ones that mattered greatly for Muslims inside and outside of the US. […] Despite a few vocal critics, Mattan’s erasure in the discussion of Islamophobia in North America is evident. The exclusion of Mattan and Sheikh-Hussein perpetuates a harmful hierarchy that privileges Arab narratives and excludes black/African Muslims. This racial stratification relegating black Muslim lives is evident as much in death as it is in life.∂ In order to understand the critiques of #MuslimLivesMatter, we need to acknowledge that anti-black racism exists in our communities. We also need to understand that these critiques are more than just about hashtags. Because #BlackLivesMatter is not “just a hashtag,” it represents a movement. We can create our own hashtag and call for justice and solidarity for all Muslims without co-opting, appropriating, and/or stepping upon the rights of other communities. #JusticeForMuslims and #OurThreeWinners (the latter was started by the victims’ family) should be used instead. Below is an excerpt from Anas White’s excellent article, A Black Muslim Response To #MuslimLivesMatter:∂ #BlackLivesMatter began as a statement to an establishment – an overall system if you will, declaring the seeming unrecognized value of black lives. It continues to hold that same meaning, even as it moves to become an expression of the movement itself. A movement against deep rooted systemic racism, high rates of police brutality, extra-judicial executions, media smearing and vitriol, and the failure of the justice system to actually hold anyone accountable for dead black men, except dead black men. It is important to remember, that #BlackLivesMatter was not born of an occurrence, but of an atmosphere wrought with repeat occurrence. […] A 12 year old black boy was shot and killed for playing with a BB gun, his sister then handcuffed to watch him bleed. A black father was killed in a Walmart, holding a toy gun sold at that very Walmart, in a state where it is legal to carry guns. A black father was shot in the back, while handcuffed. A black father was essentially choked to death in high definition. A black protest was met with a para-military, and national guard troops. A black woman was shot seeking help. A black man was literally lynched. Where were you then? My respect to every single one of you that ever attended a protest, and to every Imam that ever gave mention, but I mean this on a deeper level. Where was the Muslim community in response to these egregious civil rights violations? Where is the Muslim community in solidarity with a movement against these civil, and even human rights issues?∂ And an excerpt from Sabah’s article, “Stop Using #MuslimLivesMatter”:∂ #BlackLivesMatter represents an entire movement and its history. It’s not “just” a hashtag, it’s a powerful outcry born from a racial injustice felt by a people. It cannot, and should not, be molded to fit another people’s struggle. And solidarity, while important (and in fact, essential), never involves co-opting another movement. […] There is obviously nothing inherently wrong with saying that “Muslim lives matter,” but contextually, it’s being used parallel to #BlackLivesMatter — it’s meant to evoke the same concepts, using the same kind of language. This appropriation of a movement is counterproductive and frankly unfair to both the Black and Muslim communities. We should not be blending together two complex, multifaceted issues for the sake of convenience. It’s a reductive move that simplifies both struggles, and it only contributes to erasing the very real, very dangerous implications that Islamophobia specifically holds for Muslims.

Lol Sachin, your aff’s racist – A focus on Islamophobia without recognition of anti-black violence within Arab communities reproduces white supremacy – a focus on how blackness exists as an antagonism is the key starting point to eliminating Islamophobia


Chamseddine 14, Roqayah Chamseddine is a staff writer for Alakhbar, an online journal that writes on violence and inequality among Muslim communities, “Beyond "conversations:" confronting anti-Blackness among Arab-Americans,” http://english.al-akhbar.com/node/20159, NN

When discussing anti-Black racism amongst Arab-Americans one often finds themselves immersed in reductionism, apologetics and ponderous efforts to incapacitate any discourse at all related to the subject. For some, the very idea that anti-Black racism exists not only abroad but within Arab-American communities brings with it a wave of humiliation which rapidly creeps over them, while for others this subject induces a mixture of outright denial peppered with unashamed bouts of acrimony. This issue is one that demands a much more dynamic and vigorous response, and it is about time we do more than ‘have a conversation’ about a worrisome subject that continues to generate immense trauma for its victims.As explained in Dancing on Live Embers: Challenging Racism in Organizations, by Tina Lopez and Barb Thomas, institutional racism stems from a network of structures, practices and policies which construct advantages for white people and oppression, disadvantage and discrimination for racialized people, this includes specific practices and laws which enforce segregation in housing, employment and education and the policies and procedures work to marginalize and exclude people of color.Structural racism is the intersection of many folds of institutional power so as to normalize and legitimize racism. It allows individuals to practice racism unchecked. Arab-Americans, in relation to African-Americans, have the advantage of benefiting from white supremacy and from this network of structures regardless of whether or not they are aware of this system and of its devastating consequences.“Capitalism is utterly incomprehensible without connecting it to the rise of race, racism, racial violence, white supremacy, and racial colonialism." - Professor Reiland Rabaka Our communities must recognize that the active convergence of racism, colonialism and capitalism is necessary to interpret the historical context of societal inequality because, in the words of Reiland Rabaka, Professor of African, African American, and Caribbean Studies in the Department of Ethnic Studies at the University of Colorado, from his work on Black radical politics, “Capitalism is utterly incomprehensible without connecting it to the rise of race, racism, racial violence, white supremacy, and racial colonialism" (Du Bois’s Dialectics: Black Radical Politics and the Reconstruction of Critical Social Theory).Psychiatrist, and political radical Frantz Fanon, whose philosophies continue to impact anti-racist and leftist movements, born in 1925 on what was then a French colony on the Caribbean island of Martinique, discusses these crossings in chapter 5 of Black Skin, White Masks (1952) in which he writes of what he calls the “lived experience of the black”; the discovery of his blackness and the ever-present whiteness around him. In the aforementioned chapter, Fanon continues to grapple with not only his identity as a black man but the confluence of class, capitalism and colonialism and their effects on the colonized - from the racialized political-economic nature of imperialism, including its push for civilizing regions of the world and the creation of “the other,” to branches of capitalism which deny the very humanity of said “other.” “The Negro problem does not resolve itself into the problem of Negroes living among white men but rather of Negroes exploited, enslaved, despised by a colonialist, capitalist society that is only accidentally white,” writes Fanon in chapter 6 of Black Skin, White Masks (The Negro and The Psychopathology); expounding upon the manner in which racism has been institutionalized so as to not only continue but rationalize the subjugation of one group by another. Fanon’s fiery response to racism and colonialism came by way of his masterpiece The Wretched of The Earth (1961) - where we find colonialism there is capitalism, and where there is capitalism there is racism and where these pieces intersect is where we discover the native robbed of his economic, political and human rights.With this in mind, the observation of anti-Black racism amongst Arab-Americans should be viewed through a lense that reaches far beyond the lowest tier, that of social interactions; the language employed, including the use of dehumanizing terms like “abed” (singular) and “abeed” (plural), this reprehensible branding of Black persons as slaves, signifies an alarming reinforcement of racist frameworks - before we challenge these frameworks we must first admit that we are complicit in the demoralization and subjugation of Black persons and communities, and that the extensive exploitation of these communities is oftentimes denied or outright justified.Dawud Walid, the Executive Director of the Michigan chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MI), has been one of many African-Americans bringing attention to pervasive anti-Blackness both online and on the ground, demanding that the use of the word “abeed” end and challenging Arab-Americans to do more than endlessly call for dialogue. “This issue has been dealt with too passively for many years,” writes Walid. He goes on to note that Arab-Americans should take “a more aggressive stands against anti-Black racism.”∂ The romanticism surrounding oppressed peoples is pervasive, especially amongst those involved in anti-racist work who, while claiming to be allies, engage in increasingly dominant savior-esque fetishism. What comes after recognizing the existence of racist structures and the identification of our own complicity is a long but necessary course of action that entails working against these structures and the tokenization that sometimes follows social justice organizations and activities. The romanticism surrounding oppressed peoples is pervasive, especially amongst those involved in anti-racist work who, while claiming to be allies, engage in increasingly dominant savior-esque fetishism and thereby turn powerful opportunities to learn from and engage with marginalized communities into narcissistic therapy sessions where their voices overwhelm and muffle the narratives of these groups; those who tokenize these communities oftentimes come across as well-intentioned but their actions are no less destructive. We are not giving a voice to the voiceless, as the tired adage goes, because their voices surround us - in the words of Lilla Watson, Australian aboriginal artist, activist and educator: “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting our time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

Terrorism link

The image of the terrorist portrays racial prejudice which ensures escalatory violence


Miah 6, Malik Miah is a staff writer for The Prospect, “Racist Undercurrents in the "War on Terror,” https://solidarity-us.org/node/166, NN

History teaches us that racism has a way of rising up and being used by the rulers to push back, divide and advance anti-democratic objectives, even after wars and other adventures are stopped. Unfortunately, many liberals and left activists don’t pay enough attention to this aspect of the Bush-Cheney attempt to rewrite the Constitution and impose U.S. will on the peoples of the Middle East and world.∂ The use of fear and warmongering has convinced most Americans, including African Americans, that the ends justify the means. The link between racism and the war on terrorism is therefore generally downplayed or ignored.∂ When Dick Cheney says the divide between Republicans and Democrats is between the “cut and run” Democrats and the Bush Administration, he always adds that the critics of their policies (that includes torture, imprisonment for life and racial proofing) don’t want to “win the war on terrorism.” Bush said critics of his policy are “enablers of terrorists.”∂ Racial profiling is tacitly considered an acceptable part of conducting war. The mainstream media, with few exceptions, most notably the editors of The New York Times, give Bush, Cheney and their operatives a free pass on these issues. While some debate is taking place on the use of torture and loss of habeas corpus, little is said about racial profiling. Even civil rights leaders are mostly quiet. Why? Because no one wants to be labeled as soft on fighting terrorism.∂ If you look like an Iranian, an Afghani, a South Asian (mainly a Pakistani) or worse an Arab, it is now okay to racial profile to “protect the country.”∂ Logic of Racial Profiling∂ In my book, racism is racism no matter how it is justified. It is a disgrace that the topic is so underground and viewed as “that’s the way it is.”∂ The logic of racial profiling, however, is much more serious than simply a few setbacks in our civil liberties. It opens the door to broader justifications to impose more onerous blows to affirmative action programs, school desegregation, and fair housing and employment rights for minorities.∂ The fact that little is written about the issue by the mainstream media shows how racism in the war on terrorism is considered acceptable. I tried to pull up articles on the internet to see how many times racial profiling, or racism and terrorism, have been written about. Amazingly, outside the left press, few critical articles or columns have appeared. The majority of pieces in fact have been in defense of racial profiling as a necessary step in today’s world.∂ The depth of the problem is seen in an article written in 2005 by an African American Washington Post deputy editorial page editor in an op-ed piece entitled, “You can’t fight terrorism with racism.” (July 30, 2005). Regarding three op-ed pieces that had appeared in the Post and The New York Times, Colbert King wrote:∂ “A New York Times op-ed piece by Paul Sperry, a Hoover Institution media fellow [‘It’s the Age of Terror: What Would You Do?’] and a Post column by Charles Krauthammer [‘Give Grandma a Pass; Politically Correct Screening Won’t catch Jihadists’] endorsed the practice of using ethnicity, national origin and religion as primary factors in deciding when police should regard as possible terrorists—in other words, racial profiling.∂ “A second Times column, on Thursday, by Haim Watzman [‘When You have to Shoot First’] argued that the London police officer who chased own and put seven bullets into the head of a Brazilian electrician without asking him any questions or giving him any warning ‘did the right thing.’”∂ Krauthammer, King noted, was quick to make clear that he wasn’t talking about “classes of people who are obviously not suspects.” Who are these classes of people? You can guess.∂ What is striking is that everything Colbert King wrote in 2005 remains true today. I know first hand, as an airline employee, that most passengers accept the argument that it is better to err on the side of racial profiling than to face unknown terror. If anything, most Americans, including Blacks, make a distinction between their opposition to the war in Iraq and their support to using racial profiling if necessary.

Ruse of Analogy link

The affirmative represents the ruse of analogy – the comparison of other identity groups to the ontological condition of blackness is not only incorrect but also parasitic – other identity groups maintain their history and their past – blackness is the door to no return – focus on junior partners re-create anti-black violence


Wilderson 10, Frank B Wilderson is a professor at UC Irvine, “Red, White, and Black: Cinema and Structure of US Antagonisms,” NN

Thirty to forty years before the current milieu of multiculturalism, immigrants rights activism, White women’s liberation, and sweat shop struggles, Frantz Fanon found himself writing in a post-WWII era fixated on the Jewish holocaust as the affective destination that made legible the ensemble of questions that animated the political common sense of oppression. The holocaust provided a “natural” metaphor through which ontologists in Fanon’s time, such as Sartre, worked out a grammar through which the question, what does it mean to suffer, can be asked. The Jewish Holocaust as “natural” metaphor continues to anchor many of today’s meta-commentaries. Giorgio Agamben’s meditations on the Muselmann, for example, allow him to claim Auschwitz as:∂ [S]omething so unprecedented that one tries to make it comprehensible by bringing it back to categories that are both extreme and absolutely familiar: life and death, dignity and indignity. Among these categories, the rue cipher of Auschwitz-the Muselmann, the ‘core of the camp,’ he whom ‘no one wants to see,’ and who is inscribed in every testimony as lacuna— wavers without finding a definite position. (Remnants of Auschwitz 81)∂ Agamben is not wrong, so much as he is late. Auschwitz is not “so unprecedented” to one whose frame of reference is the Middle Passage, followed by Native American genocide. In this way, Auschwitz would rank third or fourth in a normative, as opposed to∂ “unprecedented,” pattern. Agamben goes on to sketch out the ensemble of questions that Churchill and Spillers have asked, but he does so by deploying the Jewish Muselmann as the template of such questions, instead of the Red “Savage,” or the Black Slave:∂ In one case, [the Muselmann] appears as the non-living, as the being whose life is not truly life; in the other, as he whose death cannot be called death, but only the production of a corpse—as the inscription of life in a dead area and, in death, of a living area. In both cases, what is called into question is the very humanity of man, since man observes the fragmentation of his privileged tie to what constitutes him as human, that is, the sacredness of death and life. The Muselmann is the non-human who obstinately appears as human; he is the human that cannot be told apart from the inhuman. (82)∂ In the historiography of intellectual thought, Agamben’s widely cited template of the Muselmann is an elaboration of Sartre’s work. As philosophers, they work both to fortify and extend the interlocutory life of widely accepted political common sense which positions the German/Jewish relation as the sin-qua-non of a structural antagonism, thus allowing political philosophy to attribute ontological—and not just social—significance to the Jewish Holocaust.∂ Fanon has no truck with all of this. He dismisses the presumed antagonism between Germans and Jews by calling the Holocaust “little family quarrels” (115), recasting with this single stroke the German/Jew encounter as a conflict rather than an antagonism. Fanon returns the Jew to his/her rightful position—a position within civil society animated by an ensemble of Human discontents. The Muselmann, then, can beseen as a provisional moment within existential Whiteness, when Jews were subjected to Blackness and Redness—and the explanatory power of the Muselmann can find its way back to sociology, history, or political science where it more rightfully belongs. This is one of several moments in Black Skin, White Masks when Fanon splits the hair between social oppression and structural suffering, making it possible to theorize the impossibility of a Black ontology (thus allowing us to meditate on how the Black suffers) without being chained to the philosophical and rhetorical demands of analogy, demands which the evidentiary register of social oppression (i.e., how many Jews died in the ovens, how many Blacks were lost in the Middle Passage) normally imposes upon such meditations. The ruse of analogy erroneously locates the Black in the world—a place where s/he has not been since the dawning of Blackness. This attempt to position the Black in the world by way of analogy is not only a mystification, and often erasure, of Blackness’s grammar of suffering (accumulation and fungibility or the status of being non-Human) but simultaneously also a provision for civil society, promising an enabling modality for Human ethical dilemmas. It is a mystification and an erasure because, whereas Masters may share the same fantasies as Slaves, and Slaves can speak as though they have the same interests as Masters, their respective grammars of suffering are irreconcilable.

Constitution link

Constitutionalism represents white over black slavery – legal equality and equal rights ignore that the courthouses themselves were built by black labor


Farley 5, Anthony P. Farley is an Associate Professor at Boston College Law School. J.D., Harvard Law School, “Perfecting Slavery” NN

In 1995, Missouri v. Jenkins ended the saga.79 With Missouri v. Jenkins we find “the tradition of all the dead generations weighs like a nightmare on the brains of the living.”80 Missouri v. Jenkins returns us to white-over-black, a place we never left; it is a perfect map of the undiscovered country. As Dylan puts it, “[t]hat long black cloud is coming down.”81 The slave argues for equal rights. The slave gives his product to the law. The slave fashions a prayer for relief from white-over-black and gives it to the law. Robert Morris was the second black lawyer in the United States. He was admitted to the practice of law in Suffolk County, Massachusetts in 1847. The following year he was enlisted by Benjamin Roberts and five-year old Sarah Roberts in her effort to attain an education free of the colorline.82 The Boston School Committee separated school children into black and white and assigned each to separate schools. Morris argued that separation destroys equality and lost at trial. Morris then enlisted white abolitionist Charles Sumner to argue the case on appeal to the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. The two filed their appeal together. Sumner used Morris’s argument and lost. The slave’s product, equal rights, was filled with white-over-black and then returned as “separate but equal.”83 Separate or together, equal or unequal, all of it is white-over-black in a system that is white-over-black. The empty vessels of law are filled with the lived relations that we attempt to disavow. The empty vessels of law are filled with white-over-black. The label on the vessel may say whatever it says but its sum and substance will be white-over-black as surely as the Triangle Trade that gave the whites of New England the leisure for all their town meetings followed the molasses-to-rum-toslaves formula. In Plessy, the majority and the dissent agreed about white-over-black. Justice Harlan, dissenting, argued that the white race would forever remain “the dominant race in this country . . . if it . . . holds fast to principles of constitutional liberty.” Harlan’s dissent became Brown I and II. Fifty years after Brown, we see that the white race is “the dominant race in this country . . . in prestige, in achievements, in education, in wealth and in power.” Fifty years after Brown, there is no reason to doubt the truth of Justice Harlan’s statement that “the great heritage” and the “principles of constitutional liberty” would allow the “the white race” to “continue to be” “the dominant race in this country” “for all time.”84 Equality of right, the thought-product of the slave, like any commodity, gives us an uncanny reflection of the lived relations that we disavow. Equality of right could not be thought except from the position of the slave, the one who suffers. The slave would not suffer if it were not the slave. The slave attempts to escape through fantasies of right and equality and dreams a system of equal rights into being. The slave does the dreamwork needed to make life look like death and death look like life. The slave dreams of all the equations that are needed to balance the system’s every crisis. The slave builds the law rooms of the many mansions of the house of law. The slave, in other words, is itself the author of Justice Harlan’s “great heritage” and “principles of constitutional liberty.”85 The slave forges its own chains through its juridical strivings. The slave builds the home for the future good will of the master.86 That is what its dream of equality of right amounts to, a home for the future good will of the master. If the master of the future might be good then the crisis of servile insurrection can be deferred again and again and again. But the master cannot be anything other than the master, just as the slave cannot be anything but the slave. There is a colorline or there is not. Without the dreamwork of the slave, the many crises of the system of white-over-black blossom in revolution. The flames are wooed from their buds and continue to unfold until the entire plantation system is gone. The servile insurrection continues until it brings down the system of marks, the system of property, and the system of law. Slaves are trained to not think this way. Slaves are trained to be objects. Slavery is death.

Death link

The affirmative’s fear of death is equivalent to the fear of blackness – black bodies are always already dead and the incapacity of blackness to operate within the codes of civil society means white futurity will always remain as the dominant system – it’s time to join the dead


Haritaworn et al. 14, Haritaworn is an assistant professor of sociology, “Queer Necropolitics,” http://www.deanspade.net/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/Necropolitics-Collection-Article-Final.pdf, NN

Saidiya Hartman has argued that the transatlantic slave trade constructed a∂ notion of blackness that is fundamentally fungible and criminal, making blackness∂ permanently available for the 'full enjoyment' of white people and making; black∂ people always already guilty in the eyes of the law, incapable of being violated∂ (Hartman 1997). The civil and social death of black people forms the basis on∂ which white life and citizenship become knowable, their compass and their∂ shadow. Whiteness must be constantly yoked to the future and victirnhood while∂ blackness must be yoked to death and pathology. The story of endangered white∂ futurity and dangerous black negativity - the sexual politics that motors antiblackness∂ ·-· can be found on every channel. Lauren Berlant has explored how the∂ celebrated figure of the feminized white child at risk of racialized violence in the∂ post-Reagan years has been mobilized to justify claims to state protection and∂ citizenship (Berlant 1997). Joy James has written about how the widely accepted∂ justification for lynching as the sexual threat posed by black men to white women∂ and their progeny (as well as the erasure of sexual violence against black women)∂ has been recalibrated in the contemporary demonization and 'high-tech lynching'∂ of black men in high-profile legal cases in which white women have been raped∂ O ames 1996). These are just a few of limitless versions of this same narrative. Cue the gay remix! Gay and lesbian claims to imperilled domesticity, privacy,∂ and kinship (popular in earlier homophile organizing but renewed with a fervour∂ since the 1990s) illustrate the capaciousness of white supremacy to mutate these∂ key 'founding' figures- now it is the wounded white gay citizen who requires state∂ inclusion and protection to ensure his successful reproduction. These claims,∂ remember, come amidst and in the wake of ongoing efforts from the right wing∂ to cathect gayness tq pathology, murder and non-reproductivity (Bersani 1987:∂ 197--222; Delany 1994; Sontag 1989)- qualities usually reserved for blacknessvvith∂ the emergence ofHIV I AIDS. A few illustrations of the powerful mobilization∂ of white futurity within contemporary gay and lesbian politics are useful. First, we∂ point to the widely popular 'It Gets Better' project, started by author Dan∂ Savage and his husband Teny Miller in response to a series of publicized suicides∂ of queer youth, encouraging teens that life does indeed improve. Thousands of∂ people responded to their initial video by making their own videos sharing this∂ message of future improvement, and eventually over 22,000 videos were collected∂ on the 'It Gets Better' website, including ones created by gay and lesbian∂ police officers and the president of the US himself(Savage 2013). A book of essays∂ from the project was released in 2011. In the original video, Savage and his∂ husband, two white non-trans gay men, describe their high school years where∂ they faced bullying for being gay. They then describe how their lives got better∂ after high school because their natal families came to accept and include them,∂ they met each other and adopted a child. Savage shares a memmy of walking∂ around Paris with their child and Miller talks about their love of and accomplishments∂ at snowboarding as a family. The two earnestly address an audience of 12-l 7-ycar-old viewers, urging them that their lives will get better after high school.∂ Speaking about bullies and bigots, Savage states 'Once I got out of high school,∂ they couldn't touch me anymore.'∂ The project illustrates how a form of gayness implicitly linked to whiteness∂ and upward mobility stakes its claim to the future. After all, for whom will it get∂ better? And what kind of better does it get? When we consider this directive that∂ life gets better against the backdrop of the systemic imprisonment, police murder∂ and state abandonment of black people at every age, we can sec how it is white∂ suffering that this campaig11 aims to make legible as worthy of protection. Black∂ suffering, as Jared Sexton has articulated in his analysis of Hurricane Katrina∂ (Sexton 2006), is unspectacular, banal, self-induced, a cause for, if anything,∂ shame or fascination, not redress. Savage's assertion that his departure from∂ high school protected him from the reach of homophobic ·violence is certainly∂ indicative of a white-owning class trajectory of matriculation. What guarantees can∂ be given to those who will remain in the grasp of foster care systems, homeless∂ shelters, psychiatric facilities, jails, prisons, and immigration detention centres,∂ regardless of their age? Savage's story generalizes a particular narrative in∂ which white queers can 'escape' homophobia by moving to gay enclaves in urban∂ areas, a trajectory out of reach for so many queer and trans people who will∂ remain targets of policing and immigration enforcement, even and perhaps∂ especially in white gay neighbourhoods where they are read as dangerom outsiders∂ (Hanhardt 2008).∂ The fantasy oflife 'getting better' imagines 'violence' as individual acts that 'bad'∂ people do to 'good' people who need protection and retribution from state∂ protectors (law enforcement, policymakers, administrators), rather than situating∂ bodily terror as an everyday aspect of a larger regime of structural racialized and∂ gendered violence congealed within practices of criminalization, immigration∂ ~nforcement, poverty,'and medicalization targeted at black people at the population∂ level - from before birth until after death -- and most frequently exercised by∂ government employees. It is not a leap to see, then, how tills cultural politics of∂ naturalizing the premature death of black people produces a benevolent thrall for∂ white gays and lesbians to adopt black children. White gay and lesbian politics must∂ remain silent on anti-black racism, must position itself as anything but black, to∂ keep its place in line for the future.

Postmodernism link

The affirmative represents the view from nowhere – white, postmodern philosophy seeks universalist answers to problems that affect different bodies in different ways – the personal cannot be divorced from the theory and their attempt to distance themselves from their subject position is a tactic of white privilege


Yancy 5, George Yancy is a Professor of Philosophy, works primarily in the areas of critical philosophy of race, critical whiteness studies, and philosophy of the Black experience. “Whiteness and the Return of the Black Body,” http://www.westga.edu/~mmcfar/George%20Yancy.htm, NN

I write out of a personal existential context. This context is a profound source of knowledge connected to my "raced" body. Hence, I write from a place of lived embodied experience, a site of exposure. In philosophy, the only thing that we are taught to "expose" is a weak argument, a fallacy, or someone's "inferior" reasoning power. The embodied self is bracketed and deemed irrelevant to theory, superfluous and cumbersome in one's search for truth. It is best, or so we are told, to reason from nowhere. Hence, the white philosopher/author presumes to speak for all of "us" without the slightest mention of his or her "raced" identity. Self-consciously writing as a white male philosopher, Crispin Sartwell observes:∂ Left to my own devices, I disappear as an author. That is the "whiteness" of my authorship. This whiteness of authorship is, for us, a form of authority; to speak (apparently) from nowhere, for everyone, is empowering, though one wields power here only by becoming lost to oneself. But such an authorship and authority is also pleasurable: it yields the pleasure of self-forgetting or [End Page 215] apparent transcendence of the mundane and the particular, and the pleasure of power expressed in the "comprehension" of a range of materials.∂ (1998, 6)∂ To theorize the Black body one must "turn to the [Black] body as the radix for interpreting racial experience" (Johnson [1993, 600]).1 It is important to note that this particular strategy also functions as a lens through which to theorize and critique whiteness; for the Black body's "racial" experience is fundamentally linked to the oppressive modalities of the "raced" white body. However, there is no denying that my own "racial" experiences or the social performances of whiteness can become objects of critical reflection. In this paper, my objective is to describe and theorize situations where the Black body's subjectivity, its lived reality, is reduced to instantiations of the white imaginary, resulting in what I refer to as "the phenomenological return of the Black body."2 These instantiations are embedded within and evolve out of the complex social and historical interstices of whites' efforts at self-construction through complex acts of erasure vis-à-vis Black people. These acts of self-construction, however, are myths/ideological constructions predicated upon maintaining white power. As James Snead has noted, "Mythification is the replacement of history with a surrogate ideology of [white] elevation or [Black] demotion along a scale of human value" (Snead 1994, 4).∂ How I understand and theorize the body relates to the fact that the body—in this case, the Black body—is capable of undergoing a sociohistorical process of "phenomenological return" vis-à-vis white embodiment. The body's meaning—whether phenotypically white or black—its ontology, its modalities of aesthetic performance, its comportment, its "raciated" reproduction, is in constant contestation. The hermeneutics of the body, how it is understood, how it is "seen," its "truth," is partly the result of a profound historical, ideological construction. "The body" is positioned by historical practices and discourses. The body is codified as this or that in terms of meanings that are sanctioned, scripted, and constituted through processes of negotiation that are embedded within and serve various ideological interests that are grounded within further power-laden social processes. The historical plasticity of the body, the fact that it is a site of contested meanings, speaks to the historicity of its "being" as lived and meant within the interstices of social semiotics. Hence: a) the body is less of a thing/being than a shifting/changing historical meaning that is subject to cultural configuration/reconfiguration. The point here is to interrogate the "Black body" as a "fixed and material truth" that preexists "its relations with the world and with others"3 ; b) the body's meaning is fundamentally symbolic (McDowell 2001, 301), and its meaning is congealed through symbolic repetition and iteration that emits certain signs and presupposes certain norms; and, c) the body is a battlefield, one that is fought over again and again across particular historical moments and within particular social spaces. "In other words, the concept of the body provides only the illusion of self-evidence, facticity, 'thereness' for something [End Page 216] fundamentally ephemeral, imaginary, something made in the image of particular social groups" (301). On this score, it is not only the "Black body" that defies the ontic fixity projected upon it through the white gaze, and, hence, through the episteme of whiteness, but the white body is also fundamentally symbolic, requiring demystification of its status as norm, the paragon of beauty, order, innocence, purity, restraint, and nobility. In other words, given the three suppositions above, both the "Black body" and the "white body" lend themselves to processes of interpretive fracture and to strategies of interrogating and removing the veneer of their alleged objectivity.∂ To have one's dark body invaded by the white gaze and then to have that body returned as distorted is a powerful experience of violation. The experience presupposes an anti-Black lived context, a context within which whiteness gets reproduced and the white body as norm is reinscribed.The late writer, actor, and activist Ossie Davis recalls that at the age of six or seven two white police officers told him to get into their car. They took him down to the precinct. They kept him there for an hour, laughing at him and eventually pouring cane syrup over his head. This only created the opportunity for more laughter, as they looked upon the "silly" little Black boy. If he was able to articulate his feelings at that moment, think of how the young Davis was returned to himself: "I am an object of white laughter, a buffoon." The young Davis no doubt appeared to the white police officers in ways that they had approved. They set the stage, created a site of Black buffoonery, and enjoyed their sadistic pleasure without blinking an eye. Sartwell notes that "the [white] oppressor seeks to constrain the oppressed [Blacks] to certain approved modes of visibility (those set out in the template of stereotype) and then gazes obsessively on the spectacle he has created" (1998, 11). Davis notes that he "went along with the game of black emasculation, it seemed to come naturally" (Marable 2000, 9). After that, "the ritual was complete" (9). He was then sent home with some peanut brittle to eat. Davis knew at that early age, even without the words to articulate what he felt, that he had been violated. He refers to the entire ritual as the process of "niggerization." He notes:∂ The culture had already told me what this was and what my reaction to this should be: not to be surprised; to expect it; to accommodate it; to live with it. I didn't know how deeply I was scarred or affected by that, but it was a part of who I was.∂ (9)∂ Davis, in other words, was made to feel that he had to accept who he was, that "niggerized" little Black boy, an insignificant plaything within a system of ontological racial differences. This, however, is the trick of white ideology; it is to give the appearance of fixity, where the "look of the white subject interpellates the black subject as inferior, which, in turn, bars the black subject from seeing him/herself without the internalization of the white gaze" (Weheliye 2005, 42). On this score, it is white bodies that are deemed agential. They configure "passive" [End Page 217] Black bodies according to their will. But it is no mystery; for "the Negro is interpreted in the terms of the white man. White-man psychology is applied and it is no wonder that the result often shows the Negro in a ludicrous light" (Braithwaite 1992, 36). While walking across the street, I have endured the sounds of car doors locking as whites secure themselves from the "outside world," a trope rendering my Black body ostracized, different, unbelonging. This outside world constitutes a space, a field, where certain Black bodies are relegated. They are rejected, because they are deemed suspicious, vile infestations of the (white) social body. The locks on the doors resound: Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. Click. ClickClickClickClickClickClickClick! Of course, the clicking sounds are always already accompanied by nervous gestures, and eyes that want to look, but are hesitant to do so. The cumulative impact of the sounds is deafening, maddening in their distorted repetition. The clicks begin to function as coded sounds, reminding me that I am dangerous; the sounds create boundaries, separating the white civilized from the dark savage, even as I comport myself to the contrary. The clicking sounds mark me, they inscribe me, they materialize my presence in ways that belie my intentions. Unable to stop the clicking, unable to establish a form of recognition that creates a space of trust and liminality, there are times when one wants to become their fantasy, to become their Black monster, their bogeyman, to pull open the car door: "Surprise. You've just been carjacked by a ghost, a fantasy of your own creation. Now, get the fuck out of the car." I have endured white women clutching their purses or walking across the street as they catch a glimpse of my approaching Black body. It is during such moments that my body is given back to me in a ludicrous light, where I live the meaning of my body as confiscated. Davis too had the meaning of his young Black body stolen. The surpluses being gained by the whites in each case are not economic. Rather, it is through existential exploitation that the surpluses extracted can be said to be ontological—"semblances of determined presence, of full positivity, to provide a sense of secure being" (Henry 1997, 33).∂ When I was about seventeen or eighteen, my white math teacher initiated such an invasion, pulling it off with complete calm and presumably self-transparency. Given the historical construction of whiteness as the norm, his own "raced" subject position was rendered invisible. After all, he lived in the real world, the world of the serious man, where values are believed anterior to their existential founding. As I recall, we were discussing my plans for the future. I told him that I wanted to be a pilot. I was earnest about this choice, spending a great deal of time reading about the requirements involved in becoming a pilot, how one would have to accumulate a certain number of flying hours. I also read about the dynamics of lift and drag that affect a plane in flight. After no doubt taking note of my firm commitment, he looked at me and implied that I should be realistic (a code word for realize that I am Black) about my goals. He said that I should become a carpenter or a bricklayer. I was exposing myself, telling a trusted teacher what I wanted to be, and he returned me to myself as something [End Page 218] that I did not recognize. I had no intentions of being a carpenter or a bricklayer (or a janitor or elevator operator for that matter).

State link

State Involvement and federal equality perpetuates white supremacy, shifts attention away from gratuitous violence


Martinot and Sexton 3, Director, critical race theorist at San Francisco State University and African American Studies School of Humanities UCI, “The Avant-Garde of White Supremacy”, Social Identities, Volume 9, Number 2, 2003 Accessed 6-20-15, NN


The foundations of US white supremacy are far from stable. Owing to the instability of white supremacy, the social structures of whiteness must ever be re-secured in an obsessive fashion. The process of re-inventing whiteness and white supremacy has always involved the state, and the state has always involved the utmost paranoia. Vast political cataclysms such as the civil rights movements that sought to shatter this invention have confronted the state as harbingers of sanity. Yet the state’s absorption and co-optation of that opposition for the reconstruction of the white social order has been reoccurring before our very eyes. White supremacy is not reconstructed simply for its own sake, but for the sake of the social paranoia, the ethic of impunity, and the violent spectacles of racialisation that it calls the ‘maintenance of order’, all of which constitute its essential dimensions. The cold, gray institutions of this society — courts, schools, prisons, police, army, law, religion, the two-party system — become the arenas of this brutality, its excess and spectacle, which they then normalise throughout the social field. It is not simply by understanding the forms of state violence that the structures of hyper-injustice and their excess of hegemony will be addressed. If they foster policing as their paradigm — including imprisonment, police occupations, commodified governmental operations, a renewed Jim Crow, and a re-criminalisation of race as their version of social order — then to merely catalogue these institutional forms marks the moment at which understanding stops. To pretend to understand at that point would be to affirm what denies understanding. Instead, we have to understand the state and its order as a mode of anti-production that seeks precisely to cancel understanding through its own common sense. For common sense, the opposite of injustice is justice;however, the opposite of hyper-injustice is not justice. The existence of hyperinjustice implies that neither a consciousness of injustice nor the possibility of justice any longer applies. Justice as such is incommensurable with and wholly exterior to the relation between ordinary social existence and the ethic of impunity including the modes of gratuitous violence that it fosters. The pervasiveness of state-sanctioned terror, police brutality, mass incarceration, and the endless ambushes of white populism is where we must begin our theorising. Though state practices create and reproduce the subjects,discourses, and places that are inseparable from them, we can no longer presuppose the subjects and subject positions nor the ideologies and empiricisms of political and class forces. Rather, the analysis of a contingent yet comprehensive state terror becomes primary. This is not to debate the traditional concerns of radical leftist politics that presuppose (and close off) the question of structure, its tenacity, its systematic and inexplicable gratuitousness. The problem here is how to dwell on the structures of pervasiveness, terror, and gratuitousness themselves rather than simply the state as an apparatus. It is to ask how the state exists as a formation or confluence of processes with de-centred agency, how the subjects of state authority — its agents, citizens, and captives — are produced in the crucible of its ritualistic violence

Tokoloshe link

Hey Tokoloshe, I see you!


Wilderson 8, Frank B. Wilderson is a professor of sociology and film study at US Irvine, “Incognegro: A Memoir of Exile and Apartheid” NN (I had to cut this from the physical book, so if there’s a missing letter or misspelled words, I sincerely apologize)

This, of course, is not entirely true, for Stimela’s people all knew how the tokoloshes of laissez-faire – the faces in the files that Trevor spread on the bed – were hard at work. They’d been working invisibly since the day Nelson Mandela was released from prison. Eleven months later, in April 1993, when Chris Hani was assassinated, the tokoloshes of laissez-faire would emerge from their hovels in the knotty snarl of tree rots and say, “Now, yes, now, is the time of the trolls.” Leading ethnographers of trolls, specializing in tokologeology, have concluded that there are an estimated six hundred fifty-eight tokoloshes residing under rocks, in tree trunks, and beneath the beds of unsuspecting victims throughout South Africa. The tokoloshe is a small creature that stands above knee high to an adult. Some have very long hair, like monkeys; others have thick leathery skin, like trolls. “Their eyes are narrow and black and they have small ears.” According to a renowned tokologeologist. Their long pensis look like tails and can be slung over their shoulders when running or walking briskly. Tokoloshes make themselves invisible and go into houses to harm people in their sleep or put poison in their food. “Many people put their beds on bricks so that the tokoloshe can’t catch them in their sleep. It might be a good idea when you check into your hotel to ask if they can give you four bricks … just to be safe.” If you sneak up on a tokoloshe, “He will put a magic stone into his mouth and disappear. He is also very scared of dogs, mousetraps and chameleons.” Normally, if you are haunted by a tokoloshe, your sangoma can cast a spell for you, “And if the tokoloshe walks into it he will become paralyzed and visible. But if you shout ‘Hey, tokoloshe, I see you!’ then the spell will be broken and he will disappear.” But the laissez-faire tokoloshes, the one in our files, were no ordinary tokoloshes. They were not knee high trolls with leathery faces who snorted and grunted as they rose up from beneath the earth to make mischief. They did not materialize under some unlucky person’s bed and nibble on his toes in the middle of the night. They did not make dishes fly about the room and crash against the walls. They did not open doors when you closed them or close them when you opened them. They had no muti that made you itch or pull your hair out. We could have handled that. We wouldn’t have needed a safe house in Hillbrow to snort through their policy papers, their academic work, or the notes we had stolen from their dust bins – since most tokoloshes don’t write. We wouldn’t have needed a safe house in Hillbrow to study their movements and mount their photographs on the wall, since most tokoloshes can’t be seen. We wouldn’t have needed to bug their offices, bribe their secretaries to eavesdrop on their meetings, or send operatives to monitor their classes-since most tokoloshes are seldom heard and cannot be recorded. The tokoloshes of laissez-faire were not tiny black creatures with gravel in their vocal chord, but grown men and women of average height –though some seemed tall and imposing like Charles van Onselen, the president of the academic senate, or Robert Charlton, the vice-chancellor of the university. Others seemed downright short, bespeckled, and sad, like Etiienne Mureinink with his sharp, pointed, downward nose, a small and timid creature, what’s known in Afrikaans as a bang worse (scared kitten); Mureinik, the lonely law professor who just wanted the Africans to love him. Some were women. Like Dean Elizabeth Rankin and professor June Sinclair, a law professor of some renown who held a Wits cabinet post one step down the food chain from Robert Charlton. I am not at all convinced that any of them had long tokoloshe penises-certainly not long enough to sling over their shoulders when they ran or walked briskly; though I must confess that in the five years in which I lived there, I did not actually see them running or walking briskly. June Sinclair didn’t curry favor with Mandela’s people. Unlike Mureinik, she craved no feckless fawning from young Africans. No, there were not run of the mill tokoloshes. They lived in the suburbs, not in trees or under rocks. They dined at the Parktonian Hotel and not on the toes of children, for such delicacies as tiny tot’s toes were not on the menu at the Parktonian Hotel. They vacationed in Europe. They dressed for success. And they were English not Afrikaners. The tokoloshes of laissez-faire were well-talcumed and well-deodorized little tokoloshes. You could not smell them coming. But oh, the stench when they’d gone. Like traditional tokoloshes, they made weird noises when they spoke (they called this gargling “editorials,” “policy papers,” “scholarly articles,” and “memorandums of understanding, compromise, and reconciliation”). And like other tokoloshes they wreaked havoc from the inside out and they vanished into thin air when you raised a broom to sweep them away or a fist to strike them down. They made poor targets, for they always said they wanted what you wanted, or what you would know you wanted if only you could want what they wanted, for example. They were all for Black participation within the existing paradigm-which seemed so reasonable that the paradigm itself could not be put on the table for critique and dismantling. And unlike normal tokoloshes who screamed and yelled and ran away in the night, the tokoloshes of laissez-faire were always willing to listen. They could listen for hours. They could listen for days. They could spend a lifetime listening. They liked to organize “listening sessions,” like university transformation forums that would “”listen” for the next ten years and never transform the university-never devolve power to the masses. Their favorite word was “stakeholder.” Everyone was a “stakeholder” which meant nothing was ever at stake. Their second favorite word was “process.” The process of negotiations had to be free of “intimidation” (their third favorite word), free from mass action, and from civil disobedience. The word they hated was “power.” Talking about power was like saying, “Hey tokoloshe, I see you!” It could make them disappear. “We should just shoot one of them.” I can remember that being said in the Hillbrow house. Was it Jabu? Was it Precious Jabulani or Trevor, as we pored over the writings of the tokoloshes, or was it me, who said it? At one time or another we all had said it. Some nights we said it together. Assassinate Robert Charlton as he leaves the Great Hall. Kill June Sinclair in her office. Audit one of Mureinik’s classes and do the deed as he lectures on how to calibrate the rule of law with the discontent of the disenfranchised. Blow van Onselen away on the floor of the faculty senate. Make a spectacle of it. At the very least it would be good for student morale. We were joking…perhaps. Of course, we couldn’t kill Eddy Webster, he still had friends in COSATU from his days as a labor union advisor. He was still a friend of the Negro. We certainly had the capacity to kill them. Stimela kept an arms cache at another safe house on the other side of Hillbrow; per Chris Hani’s wishes, not all of the weapons in the dead letter boxes scattered across the country had been handed over to the commission set up by de Klerk and Mandela. We had the will to kill them. Oupa would have hit anyone Stimela ordered him to hit; Precious and Jabu had proven themselves in retaliation against the police in the townships; as had Trevor. Jabu was trained in propaganda and psychological warfare-which is not to say he had no training in operations; he did. I only knew how he moved about the demonstrations, the rallies, the caucuses, and meeting; in the wee hours I knew only how we moved among the newspaper, the file clippings, the stolen memos, the photographs, some surreptitiously obtained, some cut from newsletters, yearbooks, and the evening gazette; and I only knew how we moved between a box of push pins and two computers. Peculiar proxies for live ammunition. “Yes,” someone else would say, as though testing the line between a joke and a plan, “Why don’t we just shoot one of them.” We’d all be bleary-eyed by then. It might be one in the morning. The night’s writing would be stale and redundant-how the hell would we get a pamphlet out by dawn? Or our analysis was on tilt and we’d be irritable and argumentative, instead of sharp and erudite. So we’d clear the bulletin board of our charts, our clippings, and our scraps of analysis. We’d take the photographs of the tokoloshes from their files and pin them to the bulletin board. June Sinclari leaving a restaurant. Etinenne Mureinik shopping at the Rosebank Mall. A portrait of Charlton from the Johannesburg Star; Ron Carter, before he came to South Africa as an honorary White man, when he was at Boston University where he worked as the hatchet man for its neo-con president. Nico Cloete, whose work we interpreted as being tantamount tto the evisceration of radicalism in the Charterist movement. Eddy Webster, striking poses like bargains with the workers he had turned his back on. Charles van Onselen, his head held high, his jaw thrust out like Mussolini, with neither irony nor shame. We’d pint hem side-by-side, like figures facing a firing squad. We’d asked them if they had any last words. For the first time ever, none of these tokoloshes spoke. We’d implore them: “Honor us with something pithy about peace and reconciliation or the rule of law before you die.” Then precious and Jabue would draw bull’s-eyes on them and I’d retrieve darts from the small rooms that was a bedroom long ago when someone lived there and it was furnished and in fee to domestic, as opposed to clandestine, needs and desires. “Ready1” said Precious, as I handed her the darts. She took ten paces back, “Aim!” Jabu, Trevor, and I stood beside her with darts of our own. “Fire!” One by one the tokoloshes slumped and fell. Shooting them in real life might have been worse than letting them run amuck. Invariably, their deaths would spark rancor and indignation in the media; tears of sympathy from the Whites, long meandering speeches from the Black bourgeoisie followed by the criminalization of armed struggle and mass action in the press, the huge and cry for peace and reconciliation (a.k.a. anger management for Blacks). Yes, the tokoloshe dies but his laissez-faire lives on.
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