”Allow grief to take you into a political terrain that no one can satisfy”
Today’s episode will speak to Dr. Selamawit Terrefe and Dr. Frank Wilderson III focusing on the political discourse and theoretical project of Afropessimism. This conversation was recorded a day after the guests conducted a workshop introducing the key elements of the theory’s formulation as well as its implication for black-led movement organisations, and took on questions and comments from the black participants present on the day. Following from that, the position of blackness within the symbolic order, and in turn, the differently gendered positions within the intramural, constituted some of the most stressed talking points as were Afropessimism’s implications and relevance for black people across the globe, particularly those whose liberation discourse is tied to the claim to land.
Even as this podcast’s emphasis has been on the decolonial theorization of the coloniality of power, its ontological as well as epistemological predominance through and via the prime organizing principle of “race” on subjects not racialized as white throughout modernity, the last three episodes of Vitamin D have signalled a sharp turn towards blackness as a singular position in the modern world. This is not to say that blackness has no relationship to the “colonial matrix” but that it sits rather uneasily within its “version of events” and its rendering of global structure(s) of power. Colonial power is diffused globally in such a way, we are told, that the slave, the native and the worker share a common space-time and its assumed that the slave has access to a classed, gendered and sexed integrity all the while blackness as a limit case, the sine qua non inhabitant of the zone of non-being and social death, is harnessed to stand in as the showpiece recipient of coloniality’s most egregious violence.
The producers of this podcast will endevour to explore the singularity of global antiblackness and the resistance to it by black people across the world from this point forward. As black people resist in various ways, we will insist that the acme of such resistance is Afropessimism. Alluding to a popular Fanonian theme of asphyxiation and freedom, decolonial scholars tell us that ”coloniality is the very air we breathe”. To which we respond: ”decoloniality inhales the slave to lend itself a radical posture as slavery is what has had all of humanity on life support.” Its buoyancy as a radical theory depends on the slave’s exsanguination. Breathe in, bleed out.
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