Having just returned from the so-called Critical Ethnic Studies (Association) conference and being completely mentally and physically exhausted, all I want to say at this point (to a certain somebody) is:
Don’t speak to me of the future of genocide(s), the failures and trappings of revolution/desire/imagination, and the need to fuck off the academic-industrial-complex, as you speak from a podium as the Chair of an Official Academic Department sponsoring this Major Conference; wearing a barong and invoking Lapu Lapu (because somehow you are exempt from your own critiques and somehow your performance isn’t an appropriation of the symbols of Spanish/American genocides or doesn’t reproduce a “false” ancestral connection to the indigenous Filipino); willfully ignoring the material, affective, and intellectual labor of women of color feminists and queer of color theorists (some of whom are sitting behind you cleaning up your shit as you speak); creating strawmen to cut down (those strawmen being a monolithic Filipino American Studies and a non-critical, pre- or post-political Ethnic Studies that has no real basis in reality) when there are other much bigger and more powerful fish to fry (did we forget about Anthropology/Sociology/Political Science/Area Studies/History and….); while deploying the hateful, masculinist and violent rhetoric of warfare, death and “fucking” that relies on the same logic and discourse of this genocidal, militarist surveillance state that you can’t see any way out of or offer any possibilities for surviving.
Even if what you’re saying is true— and certainly some of it is, to a point— I don’t want to buy what you’re selling. And don’t pretend that this conference is about creating an Association, for you said yourself you don’t believe in collectivities (because that’s too old school and nostalgic, right?)— this conference was about selling yourself and your department as an intellectual vanguard to guide the rest of us wayward sheep (or rather should I say lemmings because we all need to jump off this genocidal cliff with you to be critical and important). Who’s complicit in genocide, the perpetuation of the neoliberal university, and structures of domination and subordination, now? Oh right, you and that (onto-epistemological) horse you rode in on. So, to borrow from your language, get the hell out.
One more thing- DR, you may call ‘86 a failed revolution, and you’re right, but when I look at this photo, I see hope, possibilities, and the will and practice of survival in the face of death. Photos like these give me sustenance and strength to continue surviving in this academy, of living on despite the daily assault coming not only from those big bad whiteys but from academics of color like yourself who should damn well know better by now. I channel these ancestors, and not your hate, to continue my praxis of solidarity, accountability, and ethical exchange with the folks that matter, the ones you can’t see as anything but already dead or already failed in some way. I’mma let you finish, but you can take your “critical” ethnic studies and I’ll just continue doing mine.
MAKIBAKA! HUWAG MATAKOT!
[a note of clarification, I am not curate, but simply reblogged the photo from her above, adding my own thoughts.]