Runnymede Trust’s End Racism campaign – Race and Sex debate, Manchester, 13.2.14

I  took part in a debate about these important issues at the Martin Harris Centre, University of Manchester on February 13th at 7pm. Here is a Storify from the event. For more details see “Some of my thoughts”

Here is my stance:

It is important to debate issues around Race and Sex because we need to highlight the contested nature of these factors which affect all areas of our lives. Race and Sex, as concepts are only really problematized when they are used to view and explore minority positions (of whatever cultural/sexual/gender identification). However, my position paper seeks to uncover the hidden reality that Race and Sex are not neutral concepts as wielded by the dominant power structure. In other words, the white (heterosexual) male position which is universally accepted as a neutral and universal prism through which to examine “Other” positions is fraught with its own contradictions and misuse of power/privilege. My paper, attempts to describe and define this un-neutral de facto starting point as a ‘racial patriarchy’ (which we all play into in some shape or form as Cornel West honestly admits to himself in Breaking Bread: Insurgent Black Intellectual Life) and also look at the use of bell hooks’ expression of “patriarchal terrorism” to examine its modus operandi. I like to hold the phenomenon of Brownian motion as an image for our discourse. If we take our minds back to O-level physics where under a microscope we were invited to observe the buffeted motion of a smoke particle in the air, where the “invisible” air molecules were colliding with the visible smoke particle, affecting its path, this was called Brownian motion, named after its discoverer, the botanist Robert Brown. For us in our discourses about Race and Sex, we need to begin to focus on the “invisible”; those defining issues that comprise the structural inequalities that exist. Making the invisible, visible will help us to be better able combat it.

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