[iDC] Gender, Race, and Ethnicity

Eduardo Navas eduardo at navasse.net
Tue Apr 18 19:36:03 EDT 2006

Hello everyone,

This has been one of the most constructive and enriching threads I have been
part of.  I want to thank Trebor for his last write up, definitely opened up
the space to beef up my bibliography.  Definitely hitting the library in the
next couple of days.  Great stuff, thanks thanks!!!

I have a couple of Comments for Danny and Paul.  This is in part to clarify
somethings that should help the ongoing discourse as I mainly hope that the
conversation moves on without closing down on different peoples.  I will
first Respond to Danny.  You write:

On 4/18/06 2:47 PM, "Danny Butt" <db at dannybutt.net> wrote:

> On 19/04/2006, at 6:20 AM, Christiane Robbins @ Jetztzeit wrote:
> this is nothing to do with "desperately separating things into
> categories". It's about having some accountability to the cultural
> forms we engage with as we do "theory" (or practice).

My comment was directed at the demand to have "non-eurocentric" examples,
clearly defined.  My point was that, as we have already seen with the lists
of references sent to the list in the last few posts, while it is important
to name things and understand histories, it is also important to understand
crossovers.  You also make my point by also reacting to the comment John
wrote, which is the same comment that made me write my previous post.  You

> John, I appreciate your sensitive discussion of Jamaican music, and
> that your your query about "innovative non-eurocentric new media
> artists" (would we have consensus on "innovation?") is motivated by a
> desire to see the discussion move forward pragmatically. But I have
> to say that laundry lists of "non-Eurocentric media artists" are part
> of the problem, not the solution. They become things that can be name-
> checked as examples of non-Euro practices and this leads to tokenism
> - not that tokenism is always worse than silence. FWIW, an upcoming
> issue of Leonardo has pieces on the issue from myself and others. But
> rather than looking for the marginal, it's more valuable, I think, to
> precisely have a conversation about the *centre* of new media
> discourse and its investment in particular racial/ethnic/gendered/
> cultural norms.

I think you said it better, though.  Kudos.

Now I would like to comment on Paul's last response. Paul wrote:

On 4/18/06 7:29 AM, "anansi1 at earthlink.net" <anansi1 at earthlink.net> wrote:

> Eduardo -um, I don't endorse Mailer or Adorno, but it's good to know where the
> enemy stands. Thus, yes, you can and should read outside outside of the
>"norms" of what would be expected of hip-hop etc. Adorno hated Black music, but
>amusingly enough his stance is mirrored in today's artworld. If you're going to
>nit pick... There's not too much I can respond to! I enjoyed reading Trebor's
>post about gender/race/ethnicity

To say that one should dismiss Adorno as the enemy is to say that one should
then dismiss a big chunk of the Frankfurt School, which forms a very
important part of critical studies.  As many on the list know, Adorno was a
Jew who had to flee Germany because of WWII.  He was an immigrant in the
United States and lived here from the thirties on to the late fifties,
teaching at UCLA then moving back to Germany where he died, always
collaborating with Horkheimer.  His struggle was also one of
difference--that of the Jew.  And much of his writing is informed by fear of
totalitarianism.  While it is true that he did have polemical writings about
Jazz music, it is also true that much of his writing, including texts on
music, are useful to develop newer models of cultural resistance.  It is
disappointing to me to hear him be named an enemy with such casualness.

 This is no different than to dismiss Marx because he wrote about the Jews
in what scholars have debated is "ambiguous form."  His writings on the
jews are always played down, and his historical materialism always
celebrated.  I see Paul using Marx's ideas quite a bit, and so I also see
many Jews using Marx (to name the Frankfurt school again...), even when he
wrote polemical texts about his own culture. Here is something to consider:

One last thing is to not always think in terms of oppositions or enemies.  I
fear this is why people often go silent on mailing lists because those  who
have gained privileged positions to speak for the "invisible" are quick to
point the finger in similar fashion as their oppressors have in the past.

So let's discuss constructively.  I'm curious to hear what people think of
some of the texts that have been shared so far.  Can those who have read
them comment on how they could relate to the remix?



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