in the dream, i swim with small dead birds and some that are barely living.
some of us are making our "art" on stolen land.
in class, my professor suggests I study a POC performance artist who captures discomfort and terror through embodiment. He thinks I'll find her work "interesting." Subjecting the body to vileness as a way of considering the white world, I suppose. wasn't this me once? isn't this me every fucking day? i try to protest:
what if, rather than staging cruelty or discomfort, we could stage pleasure and joy as a way of reconstructing subjectivities? In a historical context where Black and brown women are (still) routinely subject to a variety of socio-political violences, what would it mean to capture a moment, even if utopic and fleeting, of comfort and bodily pleasure. Is this something the camera, with it legacies of colonial violence and surveillance, can capture?
NO. or maybe not.
you point the camera and there is the specter of the white world wanting to unqueer you, unbody you, unhuman you. their's is a history of classification, comparison and domination.
what is is about whiteness that makes the suffering of the brown and Black body so delicious?
they want to feel badly, so they can feel a little better. a white latina student screens a video on border violence, then e-mails asking to get to know each other better "as humans." i can't stop reading this sentence and all the violence it entails.
in white studies 101, a professor talks about upsetting paradigms of power then assigns more Judith Butler. then a little Haraway. then a little Phelan. then a little... graduate skool is a nightmare I can't totally describe. everywhere you look someone is documenting the way you will die and then writing a research paper about it. and no one is saying: this is not okay.
"This video makes it look like you are broken? Like you are broken and trying to put yourself together..." my classmate tells me. The white optics of WHOLENESS- where something that doesn't cohere, doesn't symmetry is automatically broken. fractured. these are spacialities convenient to colonial logics. can't see what lives "in the breaks"
i don't know how to say something like: for me, being in a room of only poc or latinx people doesn't feel how it should feel. doesn't feel enuf any longer. it was what I wanted once. this formation -- what this formation is supposed to entail -- feels like another distraction.
i'm being reductive here. but how does me saying "I'm latinx" help the white world--cuz I know it does.
two times this week, graduate students have told me to quiet down when I talked shit about white professors. saying, well, they wrote me a really nice recommendation letter. well, she's actually been there for me every step of the way when I was getting a job. well, we have to play the game.
i don't want to be trained to be like this. to be a cop. to have to protect whiteness in order to eat. this is the lie.
on Monday, I am sitting at the edge of the hotel bed crying saying to the lamp: why don't I belong anywhere. i want to be water so badly, but I'm fire. i don't know what this means yet. i suppose its a blessing to feel like you don't belong anywhere in this world.