Saturday, February 6, 2010

"The struggle to make visible the violences of identity may be even more urgent today,

in an era when the dominant discourse, especially in North America and Europe, proclaims race, gender, and class hierarchies to have been overcome. Yes, there were regrettable social hierarchies, the story goes, there was slavery and Jim Crow laws, there was generalized subordination of women under patriarchy, repression and genocide of native populations, the oppression of workers in factories and sweatshops - but since all that is now past, society must be "identity blind." A black man in the White House is posed as the ultimate confirmation of this discourse. The mandate of feminism, antiracist activism, workers struggles, and other identity politics are over, according to this view, and the social divisions of identity are only perpetuated by those who continue to speak of them. That is how those who promote consciousness of social inequalties along identity lines are cast as creating class, race, gender, and other identity divisions. And as a result we are increasingly facing paradoxical forms of "color-blind" racism, "gender-blind" sexism, "class-blind" class oppression, and so forth. [4]

-Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri in Commonwealth (2009) p. 327-8

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