Feminist Games

quo magis speculativa, magis practica

Tag: coloniality

snakes

Harriet Tubman, according to Lydia Maria Child, once said:

“God won’t let Master Lincoln beat the South until he does right thing. Master Lincoln, he’s a great man, and I’m a poor Negro but this Negro can tell Master Lincoln how to save money and young men. He can do it by setting the Negroes free. Suppose there was an awful big snake down there on the floor. He bites you. Folks all scared, because you may die. You send for doctor to cut the bite; but the snake rolled up there, and while doctor is doing it, he bites you again. The doctor cuts out that bite; but while he’s doing it, the snake springs up and bites you again, and so he keeps doing it, till you kill him. That’s what Master Lincoln ought to know.”

In this analogy, we can imagine that Tubman thinks of slavery like a snake, or perhaps an enslaved creature as the snake itself. In either case, it is the conditions of slavery that motivate the biting. But neither slavery, nor people subject to it, operate like creatures, like the snake. Which is not to criticize the choice of creature that Tubman identifies, but simply to account for the reason the body and snake are in relation in the first place. This metaphor, while trying to punctuate the stakes of abolition, takes for granted the necessity of the body’s (the United States’) continued existence. It takes for granted the need, will, or want to live, and perhaps consequently, to reproduce. Such a premise is central to the colonization of the Americas, and it serves as a precondition for settlers to enslave anyone in the first place. It is through property relations that the politics of reproduction are brought to bear on the backs of black folk, and it explains a central premise in black liberation politics: the right to be included in the project of setter colonization. The fight between you and the snake, what characterizes your relationship to each other, is competition over the right to live and reproduce. So while the snake in Tubman’s metaphor might represent an oppressed person, we might also see its constitution – as locked into this competitive dynamic with a man – as representative of colonial politics or coloniality, writ large. If we do, we must be mindful of the ironic limitation to imagining settler colonialism in this way: if it were so simple to contain colonialism into a body, perhaps it might be slain. But colonialism is not a body; it is an act. It is a universe of possibilities and of laws, of priorities and values. And to really know colonialism is to be outside it; to be so completely alienated by it that your existence constantly teeters on the brink of violent erasure. In other words, to be so far removed from any power within the system, that the idea of ever living away from it is impossible for some people to ever accept.

note

Diversity is the fruit of a poisoned tree. [1] [2] [3]

epic footnote series

Academic institutions tend to reproduce colonial schemes and milieus that only legitimate discrete packages of knowledge; my readers should be aware of how incredibly uncomfortable I am in producing knowledge about Minecraft in this way. This discomfort comes from being both within the meshwork and outside the network that connects Minecraft-related objects, places, players, and logics together. My thesis is not concerned with those people who love Minecraft and derive great personal benefit to the way the game is currently designed; rather, my observations reflect a personal, ontological desire to decolonize a virtual world that does not value plurality and multiplicity. 

what is new media?

New Media is a new category; a new discrete syntax term, the limits of which reflect the limitations of the object-oriented, colonial epistemology that created it.

New Media is a capitalist term; it describes new tools that come about through the process of digitization, the construction of virtual systems, or the organization of digital information. The Internet in its entirety is not “new media”—this network of analog cables and interstellar satellites are seldom referred to this way. Read the rest of this entry »

an alternative gospel

*in some ways, parenting is first about teaching a child about the material world—the things we believe to be solid and fixed, literally and figuratively. “parents” “mom and mom” “dad and dad” “mom and dad” etc.

the transition into adulthood seems to be one of uprooting the foundations of what people believe to be the material world. adultness or maturity is often understood by a person’s capacity for open-minded thought, but how does one become open-minded? it comes from being lied to, learning that not everything people tell you is “true.” having an open-mind is a polite way of reframing a filter/censor that, over time, becomes more adept at hearing ideas, then organize them, then articulating why something is “shit” or “not shit.”

Read the rest of this entry »