Weekend

Required Reading

This week, Apple’s new sphere, demanding the impossible, objectivity in journalism, the absence of Latinx people in US mainstream culture, who defines racism, and more.

Apple’s new store in Singapore is designed by Foster + Partners and breaks the mold by embracing the sphere (unlike the cubes Apple is usually associated with). More info and images at Dezeen (via Dezeen)

Can it please be impossible for the organisations that profit from radical pedagogies and genuinely free-thinking, leftist modes of practice not to reconcile their public-facing politics and their management. Centrism is not ideology free: it is a socially liberal position that will always side with right-wing policies under pressure. An environment, such as a museum, that refuses to be hostile to anyone is invariably hostile to certain bodies. Hostile to minoritised communities, hostile to those without generational wealth and, critically, hostile to its own workers and producers.

The politics that have made it possible for Black artists to be recognised, for queer scholarship to be taught, for disability access to be mandatory, for funding to be available to artists, for a rethinking of the canon, for women to be directors of museums, for social justice, were and continue to be radical. They were once ‘the impossible’.

That’s when I learned that, in Canadian media, there’s an added burden of proof, for both journalists and sources, that accompanies stories about racism.

I’d worked in journalism for six years by then, and the skepticism toward Moore and Jones’s identities — let alone their experiences — was the first time I’d seen my interviewees’ claims met with such a high degree of mistrust. (The executive producer at the time says she regularly asks reporters for verification of sources’ names and their accounts. This is the first time I remember her asking it of me.) I trusted the men’s names and their experiences because, all around us — including my very presence in Baltimore, specifically in Freddie Gray’s neighbourhood — were signs that these experiences were not uncommon. The raw forcefulness with which they spoke was an indication that they were telling me the truth. But there was one more clear sign that I offered to my executive producer about how I knew they had given me their real names: Jarrod Jones had corrected my initial spelling of his first name, which, to me, was proof that he hadn’t lied about it. (The executive producer did not recall this part of the conversation.) She seemed unswayed and instead began to remind me about the importance of accuracy and verification as core principles of journalism.

I came out of my executive producer’s office with a look on my face that caught the attention of an older white male colleague, who asked me if I was okay. I told him what had happened. He spoke to the executive producer on my behalf. She relented.

RELATED: “Journalists Need to Remember that Not All News Readers Are White” by Marc Lacey in Neiman Reports

The inventory of exclusion is long. Latinos have been shut out of prestige magazines that confer authority, awards and book deals. New York City is about 30 percent Latino — 2.5 million stories to tell. Yet on its contributor page, The New Yorker magazine does not appear to list a single Latino; the magazine declined to confirm or deny. Because of the publication’s union, some newsroom inequalities have recently been addressed. The New Yorker should tackle racial inequalities too, so that excluded groups, including Latinos, particularly nonwhite Latinos, are hired as high-level editors and writers and the magazine can credibly cover Nueva York.

Q: Yes and of course Foucault would say the authority that does not need a violent force to enforce itself is the scariest kind of all.

A: He would. Though I think Foucault is often misinterpreted in this regard, to assume that any truth discourse is a form of power, and every form of power is violent and objectionable in itself. True, he sometimes sounds as if that’s what he’s saying. But if specifically challenged, he’d always say, no, no, obviously not.

The idea that knowledge is always a form of power is very flattering to academics, who have a great deal of one and very little of the other, so it’s hardly surprising they like it so much. Foucault himself had his own immediate concerns – he was diagnosed as a homosexual in his youth, and wanted to understand how it came about that his most intimate desires could be considered a disease.

He effectively dedicated his life to trying to understand that. But many on the academic left forget that, such diagnoses were not just abstractions, they ultimately relied on force of law, on the threat of physical violence, even if the doctor isn’t personally carrying a gun. A kind of vulgar Foucauldianism has encouraged us to overlook how much the threat of force really does still lurk behind most of the institutions he describes.

The Panopticon was a prison after all. Normally if you think someone might be staring at you at any moment, you just go someplace else. Actually things have gotten rather worse in that respect since Foucault’s time. There didn’t used to be actual armed guards in schools and hospitals; now in many places there are.

It is unclear how many people read the Peace Data articles. The I.R.A. created 13 fake Facebook accounts and two pages dedicated to promoting the site, Facebook said. The pages were followed by 14,000 people.

Mr. Wood said he was saddened but unsurprised that so many Americans had been drawn into the Russian plot.

“Americans are so divided right now, I guess it makes sense to me that they would want to turn us against each other,” he said. Mr. Wood stands behind the articles he wrote for the site, but he’s upset to have been used as pawn in a Russian plot to divide Americans.

Mr. Wood discovered that the site he had been working for was part of a Russian-backed plot when he received an email from a reporter Tuesday evening.

White elites —who play an outsized role in defining racism in academia, the media, and the broader culture — instead seem to define ‘racism’ in ways that are congenial to their own preferences and priorities. Rather than actually dismantling white supremacy or meaningfully empowering people of color, efforts often seem to be oriented towards consolidating social and cultural capital in the hands of the ‘good’ whites.  Charges of “racism,” for instance, are primarily deployed against the political opponents of upwardly-mobile, highly-educated progressive white people. Even to the point of branding prominent black or brown dissenters as race-traitors (despite the reality that, on average, blacks and Hispanics tend to be significantly more socially conservative and religious than whites).

  • This might be useful to our US readers: www.locast.org is a nonprofit public service in the US and provides local broadcast signals over the internet in select cities. So you can watch ABC, PBS, CBS, Court TV, Fox, Laff, Pix, and other channels for free. All you need is a broadband connection.
  • Very sad:

Required Reading is published every Saturday, and it is comprised of a short list of art-related links to long-form articles, videos, blog posts, or photo essays worth a second look.

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