Finding a Way Out of the Polder

“It was after the end of
the world… To lie on
our backs looking
into the dark was all
there was worth

—       Nathaniel Mackey, “Eye on the Scarecrow” from Splay Anthem.

These past few months I have been busy doing everything except blogging. One could say I have been purposefully shying away from it, in the main, because I felt—and still feel—like writing fuck everything ad infinitum. An urge that I have, somehow, managed to curb when writing for ‘official’ publications and panels. My engagement with the intellectual work of theorists grouped under the label ‘Afro-Pessimism’ made me realize that the only possible response is fuck everything, starting with the nation-state. The nation-state is so deeply fucked that we might not be able to rehabilitate it, at all. If recuperation (making things better) is our political goal, then we might be setting ourselves up for an impossible task.

Over the past months, I’ve been told, several times, in purportedly leftist spaces, that my work is “too radical,” or even more bewildering: “too political.” What does it mean to be too political? What constitutes the ‘too’? The ‘too’, which is almost accusatory, is as curious as it is significant, and says much about what is considered ‘constructive politics’, and what is not. The diagnosis ‘too political’ implies that a certain kind of politics, or criticality, is expected—perhaps, even desired—however, I am overdoing it by desiring, in the words of Aimé Césaire, “The only thing in the world worth beginning // The End of the World, of course.” My demand is, by its very nature, in a relation of excess vis-à-vis the political, and, therefore, unreasonable both in terms of meaningfulness and practicality. To fundamentally question the legitimacy of established ways is seen as not only an assault on ‘freedom’ and ‘democracy’, but also a subversive act against the nation itself.

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This Fag Can Rap

Check it! I keep the trade in the clutch
And I never gave a fuck, so I do what I want
Spitting all up in your ear, put your hand in my butt
Cause my shit come tighter than a drag when she tucked

Cakes Da Killa, Goodie Goodies

If I were to make an 80s style montage of my life, rap music would accompany it. You may wonder how I, as a queer-identified man, could stomach rap music. The long and short of it is that rappers articulated some of the anger, frustration and estrangement I felt in a way that I could relate to. It wasn’t particularly easy for me to negotiate my “queerness” within Hip-Hop culture. Similarly, manoeuvring my “queerness” within a Christian context proved equally difficult. We all rely to a large extent on community culture for our self-definition and direction. And growing up as a Christian diasporic queer Black Caribbean kid, Curaçaoan culture, as well as Dutch and Hip-Hop culture, offered frameworks of understanding that were often counter-intuitive.

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On the Use of the Word “Blanke”

I always find it odd when White Autochtoon Dutch folk use, when referring to their skin colour and/or “race,”  the adjective “blanke” instead of “white.” This rhetorical move made me wonder why White Autochtoon Dutch people refer to themselves as “blank” instead of “white.”

Analyses of “social problems” tend to problematize the “Other” in relation to White Autochtoon Dutch norms, and differences in social position are often expressed in binary terms of black and white: it’s witte school versus zwarte school (White school versus Black school) and witte wijk  versus zwarte wijk (white neighbourhood versus black neighbourhood). However, when it comes to race it’s “blank” versus “zwart.” There’s an interesting dynamic going on between “blank” and “wit” in which it seems “blank” is reserved for categorizing people. To me, “blanke” is  a depoliticized term to refer to White people.

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