White Privilege and Shortcuts to Anti-Racism

Key information

5:00 pm to 6:30 pm
Virtual Event

About this event

Dr Miriyam Aouragh
White Privilege and Shortcuts to Anti-Racism: A talk by Dr Miriyam Aouragh

Miriyam Aouragh (Anthropologist) Reader, University of Westminster, is the author of a number of scholarly publications but also engages as a public intellectual in activist movements and political debates concerning racism, imperialism and capitalism. As a second-generation Dutch-Moroccan, she was prompted to write Short-cuts to Anti-racism to challenge recent developments and experiences as an activist-cum-academic in the Netherlands.

Based on her point of principle that ‘Our political differences are in essence ideological, and not biological’, her purpose is to restore the ‘intellectual link’ between a Left epistemology and anti-racism. Her explicit intention is to promote a more proactive engagement because proximity and trust foster vulnerability and the sharing of experiences. They also open us to the truly transgressive realisation that ‘one liberation is bound up with the other.’ Concretely, she unpacks the way in which the concept of ‘white privilege’ is taking over as a liberal shortcut in anti-racist struggles as it privileges the subjective analytic modality of privilege studies on an individual rather than on a socio-economic historical holistic assessment; she builds from there to identify two schisms that are emerging in social movements. The first schism pits class-based against race-based analyses. The second schism is a questioning of solidarity politics, marked by the rise of political articulations based on personalised and skin-colour based positions (‘non-black-people-of-colour’) leading to implied hierarchies of oppression and to ardent critiques towards unifying markers (‘poc’,‘political blackness’) and collectivist insignias.

Aouragh’s idea of pointing to previous struggles is invested in internationalism and concrete solidarity, as these are the necessary sources for a ‘radical kinship to recreate a dynamic progressive anti-racist movement at a time when racism is on the rise’.

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Organiser: Centre for Migration and Diaspora Studies

Contact email: rs94@soas.ac.uk