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[Xmca-l] Re: Word, deed, so-called, indeed! A small bit of field-note data



The diffusion of words, their take-up will be highly contested. In
organizing spaces words are indeed deeds but there are also fine
distinctions between words (as explicit political strategy, as when
activists talk to the media and deliberately engage in the politics of
language and framing) and deed (or as some organizers say, 'Talk is talk
and that may not change the realities of my community').

The complex set of words 'we are the 99%' acquired a particular meaning
recently: perhaps hope for some, perhaps discursive evidence of an
emergent class consciousness in the US...

Yet, who gets to take-up words/expressions? And how is that take-up
mediated by a pervasive politics of race?  In the case of a 'die-in' in
the present context of community responses to police violence, how is the
meaning of a 'die-in' encircled by the racialization of place and the ways
participants' bodies are marked (racialized)?  White privileged
participants, for instance, occupy a particular social space that enables
them to participate in 'die-ins' yet this may look differently in Black
communities, where performing a protest carries with it both symbolic and
material risk of a different kind.

At a conference recently, the Mexican American Studies teachers who were
banned from teaching Chicana/o texts and histories (see Arizona's HB,
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/11/arizona-mexican-american-studies-c
urriculum-constitutional_n_2851034.html) spoke about the violence of the
state and how it was directed at them at a very personal level. Two of the
former teachers spoke about not reproducing violence and violent language
as a way for their own healing.  During the Q & A of the session, one
white female scholar spoke up and stated clearly, 'You should be able to
say, F*&K You, you should be angry and fightŠ"  While I, too felt, what
the scholar said, upon reflection the politics of race and voice is ever
present: as outsider to the struggle in Tucson and as a White female,
indeed the word precedes deed.  'It's easier said by you' someone might
retort.

I recommend looking at Judith Butler's "Endangered/Endangering: Schematic
Racism and White Paranoia" in Mike Davis's (Ed), Reading Rodney King:
Reading Urban Uprising.

-Miguel



On 12/6/14 9:32 AM, "Peg Griffin" <Peg.Griffin@att.net> wrote:
2281
>Recently in urban US settings, "die-in" arose as a common word (clear
>lineage from sit-in of the civil rights lunch counters and teach-in of the
>anti-war movement universities) during spontaneous discussions and
>collaborative planning for mass activities responding to fatal police acts
>resulting in deaths of young unarmed men in communities of color.  The
>word
>became routine as "a die-in," "the die-in," and "our first die-in," and
>"each die-in" and so on, used not only in talk but also in written agendas
>and time-tables (called "tick-tocks" by some).  People were advised to
>carry
>large trash bags to spread over wet and oil-slick ground used for the
>die-in.  At certain times in the protest marches, street organizers using
>bullhorns called for people to split into two groups: one to act as the
>dead
>in the die-in and one to enact observers of the fatal acts.
>
>A national TV newscaster soon used "so-called die-in" when describing one
>of
>the massive actions.
>
>The next day, a local and witty young street organizer directed activists
>at
>an intersection to form into three groups: those enacting observers in the
>middle, those in the die-in on the left and those in the so-called-die-in
>on
>the right.
>
> 
>