Thursday, February 16, 2017

On academic gas-lighting

The academy has been gas-lighting me y’all. I left a [please stand by for extreme romanticization] revolutionary space rampant where critical thinking is rewarded with cash prizes and free full means from prominent Afghani restaurants-- [I always get carried away, pls allow it], I found myself in a whitehole—

Oh right, let’s explain that one.
So basically a blackhole is a region of space having a gravitational field so intense that no matter or radiation can escape, according to Father Google.
A whitehole is thereby a region with no gravitational field because ITS COLONIAL AND RACIST SO IT TAKES OVER SPACE BY FORCE AND WOE IS TO US [do you like my unbiased neutrality? I keep hearing its professional].

Basically I moved from a very cushy Social Sciencey saferrrr space where basically every activity was a radical act of self-care [which I have a problem with in itself but--] into a white-majority graduate school of Urban Planning where the level of cognizance around issues of systemic racism and capitalism and thinking critically on the most basic level did not exist. It was Colourblindtopia. We were all equal humans and humanity was our unifying basis that would liberate us all. All lives matter. The white man and the 1G Sikh uncle are on the same level on the playing field.

And at first I was just like, is it me? Am I unintelligent? Has [previous institution that has been romanticized above] been lying to me? Is my analysis polarizing and extreme? Do I actually write poorly? It got so bad that I was considering taking my scarf off, considering dropping out of school, considering doing all sorts of things that people like me don’t generally consider [according to our doting fans, irl is different].

But alas, like all cliché stories about coming to find one’s self and starting a revolution I came to the realization that I am simply suffering the side effects of white supremacist capitalism. And I’m going to outline how these dynamics operated in very material terms:

1.     Professors who didn’t agree with my arguments nitpicked my grammar. Wallahi I thought I was a poor writer but mans were just telling me not to think so hard about the implications of the work I am being trained in a professional capacity to do {real feedback: “this paper is overwritten”}. I ended up burning that essay because I’m dramatic but y’all, I’m not being narcissistic. I can accept genuine critique about poor writing and flawed arguments but my argument was simple and concise and it was “over written” (direct quote) at this school because God forbid you suggest the work Urban Planners do was violence. This one I can pinpoint particularly.

2.     A general feeling of eraticness, unhingedness. I was in this space where I already felt small because imposter syndrome, but even smaller because I didn’t exist outside a romantic oppressed who needs to be treated to “coffee and pastries” after a recent tragedy [irl excerpt], a crazed homophobe [this one isn’t new to us Muzlims. Pinkwashing is pretty prevalent, uncreative and ultimately destructive] or nobody. The thing with studying such a spatial field is that you’d think that you can premise yourself in a spatial analysis if not a theoretical analysis, but no. South Asian Muslim women, who are at least allowed some model minority-ism in most academic spaces were monstrous ghosts. Let me just emphasize that I don’t appreciate identity politics without a class analysis but it has come to this.

3.     Lots of white tears, and special varieties of male tears. Y’all, if only we could send all that water to a prominent charity for one of their well projects, it would come to good use.

4.     Exhaustion. Exhaustion. Exhaustion. Y’all, I would leave school without the ability to visually situate myself in a classroom setting. In fact, tomorrow I’m skipping class because I’m there right now. I’m exhausted.

I felt inspired to write this because someone told me that we should never stop writing especially when the racialization of Muslims [I get that we aren’t homogenous so please just take this as my perspective--] is just getting more intense and that we must take up space particularly where we are not welcome.

I’ve taken to my woes by trying to show up for rallies and by trying to take up space physically as well because I’m pretty fed up of the academy and the capitalism it operates under. Viva communista and fuck the police.


1 comment:

  1. Sorry about your experiences :(.

    You might be interested in this journal and the community around it:

    It might give you the opportunity to create a shared safe space in Urban Planning ? ...