Racism, Resistance, Resurgence

Samhea Gaber

The Implicit Mechanisms of Racism

This discussion will explore the broader issue of racism in the cultural debate. This will consider the idea of psychological projection of insecurities as a cause of racism. Frantz Fanon explores racism as a sort of external social pressure that becomes emotionally accepted by the subject through psychological processes. In other words, when one is told one is inferior long enough eventually one internalizes this sense of inferiority.  Thus, to Fanon racism is a form of violence in two ways: The overt mechanism of racism (i.e. the use of military / police violence/ etc.), and the implicit mechanisms of racism that result in a violence of the mind through the subject internalizing the negative social pressures of racism and oppression. In effect, the psyche of the oppressed person is used as a tool of oppression. Thus, the process of teaching persons of color to not be oppressed by their archetypes is more important than trying to change the behaviour of the oppressors.

This presentation will discuss experiences of “the others” in a white world, which would help to create an image of the world through their lens. My presentation will explore ideas around the psychological elements of racism and the absence of culture and cultural hierarchies from a “Fanonian” perspective.

Sameha Al Ghamdi is completing her PhD with the Social and Political Thought Department at York University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. She is currently working on her PhD dissertation and expects to complete it by the end of 2019. The focus of her dissertation is on the articulation of the political within modernity and how knowledge production informs and shapes how we understand the political. Sameha completed her Masters Degree in Political Science in 2013. During this degree she completed a Major Research Project exploring the impact of violence in the Arab Spring on women’s rights in Egypt. Originally from Saudi Arabia, Sameha completed her undergraduate degree in Economics from the King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah.

Sarah Kent

“constellations of co-resistance”: Black Lives Matter and Indigenous Resurgence in Tall Paul’s “No Questions”

Speaking to the project of Indigenous resurgence, Nishnaabeg scholar Leanne Simpson states, “I’m interested in making sure we are not replicating heteropatriarchy or anti-blackness by learning how to engage in constellations of co-resistance” (27). “No Questions,” a hip-hop protest song by Ojibwe artist Tall Paul, vocalizes the entwinement of black liberation and Indigenous resurgence in response to the necropolitical workings of settler-colonialism. Illuminating how black children are not immune from racist violence, “No Questions” tells the narratives of George Stinney and Tamir Rice. Creating consciousness surrounding how black lives are devalued, Tall Paul—as an Ojibwe artist—demonstrate how communities impacted by racialized violence can traverse the divisions created by settler-colonialism to envision other worlds. While the song talks back to anti-blackness, “No Questions” moves beyond a “damage-centered” (Tuck 409) orientation by elucidating the possibilities for black and Indigenous solidarity that does not hinge on whiteness. The track is a call to action. Reading “No Questions” as social activist praxis, this paper evaluates how creative expression performs and illuminates everyday acts of co-resistance that can catalyze socio-political transformations.

Sarah Kent is a settler doctoral student in the Department of English at Queen’s University, situated on the traditional territories of the Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee peoples. Her dissertation attends to the affective terrains of solidarity between black and Indigenous communities on Turtle Island in the wake of settler-colonial violence. Other research interests include biopower, prison studies, social consciousness in hip-hop, and eco-activism. Sarah’s work has appeared in Postcolonial Interventions, Parlour Journal, and ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature, and she has forthcoming work in a special of issue of Women’s Writing and an edited collection on Nationalism in North America. Her work is supported by a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship through the Social Sciences and Research Council of Canada.

Sylvia Nowak

“Visual Resistance”: Learning from Anti-Racist Activities in Toronto

With the rise of racist hate groups, locally and internationally – anti-racist activists are facing a critical moment in confronting and resisting racism. During the 1990s, Toronto played a central role in similar confrontations, particularly between the Heritage Front (HF) and the local Anti-Racist Action (ARA) chapter. The Heritage Front was a Neo-Nazi white supremacist group that was publicly active in Southern Ontario. They held recruiting drives targeting youth, produced hate materials and organised racist concerts and rallies. As the Heritage Front’s presence grew, activists came together to form an ARA chapter in Toronto to confront the Heritage Front, holding counter-events and producing their own materials. By looking at various archives what can we learn to better combat hate today? How can we bridge the past into the present? In this artistic and scholarly presentation, visual archival research will be used to explore examples of anti-racist activism in 1990s Toronto, helping frame our understanding of current issues and struggles.

Sylvia Nowak is a Toronto-based activist, documentary maker and artist. Her formal background began in still photography but has shifted to include video and digital media. At the core of all her work is an interest in social issues and a desire always to learn. She is currently pursuing an MFA in Documentary Media at Ryerson University and working on her thesis film, 206 Carlton.