Thursday, March 16, 2017

Becoming Rachel Corrie

When I wrote White Nation, a few people, including some friends, criticised me by arguing that between my critique of good multiculturalists and my critique of bad racists I left no space for a progressive white politics. I used to say that if they feel that my critique left no space it doesn't mean there is no space. It only meant that I reject the currently available space. It was up to them to work on finding what and where this progressive space is. If they ask me today, I would not hesitate to say: if you want to see a good white (anti-colonial and anti-racist) political disposition and practice and the progressive space it delineates read the diary and thoughts of this young pro-Palestinian activist called Rachel Corrie who was coldly killed by the settler-colonial Zionist apparatus fourteen years ago today. She was run over by a bulldozer trying to demolish a Palestinian house as she stood bravely in front of it wanting to stop it.
It has been the case and it remains the case that while racialised Third World Looking People (TWLP), indigenous and/or immigrants, can engage in a politics of resistance to white nationalist racism, TWLPs on their own cannot offer an alternative. It should go without saying that only an alliance between the racialised and those white people who can genuinely understand and feel what it is like to be racialised, and who know how to engage in an egalitarian partnership with the racialised, can offer an alternative politics of a fantasised but realistically achievable non-racist space-to-come. This 'knowing how to engage' is not easy. It can only come from a critical reflexive understanding of the nature, magnitude and subtle manifestations of white privilege. But that is precisely what Rachel Corrie was able to do in an exceptionally lucid way while practically engaging in a politics of resistance alongside Palestinians.
As the building or consolidation of an anti and alter-racism alliance between White and non-White people is becoming more urgent today in the face of the rising politics of racial hatred, the thought and practice of Rachel Corrie is one of the many precious anti-racist and anti-colonial inheritances we have that can help us achieve this goal.
We need more and more Rachel-Corrie-becomings today.

No comments:

Post a Comment