“During the heyday of westerns on U.S. television, anyone watching saw spectacle after spectacle of white men destroying hundreds of Native Americans. No psychoanalytic studies have been done exploring the psychological impact on individuals (especially Native Americans) who have suffered holocaust and genocidal attack only to live in a culture where the major medium of mass communication reenacts this tragedy for “entertainment.” Yet this has always been the case with Native Americans. When westerns were regularly shown on television, one could daily witness the slaughter of nations by white people. Children naturally mimic this genocidal drama and play cowboys and Indians.”—bell hooks (via wretchedoftheearth)
Living with life is very hard. Mostly we do our best to stifle life - to be tame or to be wanton, to be tranquillised or raging. Extremes have the same effect; they insulate us from the intensity of life.
And extremes - whether of dullness or fury - successfully prevent feeling. I know our feelings can be so unbearable that we employ ingenious strategies—unconscious strategies—to keep those feelings away. We do a feelings-swap, where we avoid feeling sad or lonely or afraid or inadequate, and feel angry instead. It can work the other way, too—sometimes you do need to feel angry, not inadequate; sometimes you do need to feel love and acceptance, and not the tragic drama of your life.
It takes courage to feel the feeling—and not trade it on the feelings-exchange, or even transfer it altogether to another person.
“Nothing better exemplifies this distinction than the structure of derogatory language. Derogatory terms do not mean; they assault. Their intention is not to communicate but to harm. Thus they are not discursive signs or linguistic statements but modes of aggression. They express a structure of power and domination, a hierarchy that contextualizes them and gives them their force. As gestures of assault they reflect their users status as a member of the dominant group. The derogatory term does more than speak; it silences. That ability to silence derives from the fact that, in turning its hegemonic position to account, it turns the racialized other into a language for whiteness itself. Those situated lower on the hierarchy have no viable means of defending themselves. This, in effect, renders the derogation unanswerable in its own terms. The derogatory term obtrudes with a small daily violence whose form is gratuitous, without motivation in the situation in which it is used, and whose content is to render that situation dominated by white supremacy. If it sits at the heart of the language of racism it is because it is banal and everyday even while symbolizing racism’s utmost violence, the verbal form of its genocidal trajectory. Those who use derogatory terms repeatedly are putting themselves in a continual state of aggression; turning their objective complicity with a structured relation of white supremacist dominance into an active investment or affirmation. Such modes of assault demonstrate a specific obsession with those denigrated that characterizes the socius of white supremacy, its demands for allegiance, its conditions of membership, its residence in viciousness.”—