grad school theorizing

in grad school, in class, i’m discussing visual theory, the same as it is always discussed: what is visual, what is reality, what is memory, is photography a science or an art?  it is a circle jerk of supposed intellectual stimulation with no moment of climax.

we never discuss how is image used against people. we never discuss why is it that our language department is so large (the colonization of people by the Spanish) and yet we have so few US Latinx in our program—and me the only one from ohio — at a state school.
we never discuss how the police use photography or video, against the descendants of colonized people who are so huge in numbers that they drive a capitalist market for our academic department, while we are still able to keep said subjugated people out.
what does it mean when a white professor, doesn’t know who eric garner is, yet wouldn’t have their position if it weren’t for the subjugation of black and brown lives?
i don’t want to discuss what do Descartes and Freidburg think of optics and windows, or what do any other dead white men think. i want to hear the voices of those that don’t look like my classmates. i want us to be expected to know the politics of those that make us rich in academic capitalism but are controlled by image and excluded from our discussions.
instead, of looking at the society we live in, we continue with the banality of postulating what Walter Benjamin would think about reality versus nostalgia in images followed by patting ourselves on the back for reading and regurgitating selected chapters of books.

White Man’s Burden, Again

I first blogged about this in 2004.

This happens to me every year, and every year I get angry.

Every year some self-righteous white man, feeling empowered with his white man’s burden, asks me to make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for a homeless person.

Today I was asked “Don’t you want to put a smile on a homeless child?” My response, “Do you really want to engage in that question with me?” He said “No”.  Smart man. But I informed him it was too late because he had already started talking.

You see there are soooo many issues with it. The homeless shelters prefer the cans of peanut butter, jelly and bread, more than they prefer receiving a soggy sandwich.  The shelters in fact, have requested that sandwiches not be donated .   Making soggy sandwiches does not recognize nor bring awareness to any real issue surrounding homelessness, or hunger.   Rather, it counter serves  in that it gets privileged students to believe that they have now done a good deed and addressed the issue when at best they’ve wasted resources and instilled a false sense of positive contribution.

It was infuriating to see the students buying coffees from inside the Wexner Center in order to stay warm while standing in the street making soggy sandwiches to put into Ziploc bags.   Take that coffee money, take your time, take those Ziploc bags and plastic gloves, and put it elsewhere where it can be less destructive.  What would be even cooler and better yet is if you did something that addressed the real issues of hunger in this country.