Listening to in Our Times with Lyndsey Stonebridge, Frisbee Sheffieild and Robert Eaglestone speaking about Hannah Arendt and totalitarianism on my headphones in bed. This was set in the context of having attended a sociology lecture/debate on the concept of whiteness last night with Les Back, Mackenzie Berry, Sophie Black, Agata Pacho, Brett St Louis (Chair). What has formed in my mind this morning was a notion about stereotyping and its relationship to racism. The systematic stereotyping into a generic idea of a cultural identity. This seems to epitomize an inability to hold complex thought about hybridity and uniqueness and demonstrates projected cultural conditioning onto others that is framed by lack of thought – thoughtlessness. What I found difficult about the debate on whiteness in general is that the plurality of voices on any given subject is full of wrong questions and cause and effect narratives that fuel both defensiveness, fear and anger. My position is political although may not appear as such – it is that the only way to make any advance is to raise the level of complex thought in society and to re-think the narratives that frame innate prejudice and instead to acquire comlex thought – I do believe that art is capable of this because it can escape limited and automatic thinking, it forces new thought at its best but also makes people oddly angry – which is revealing of what is at stake .
At the same time I am concerned with the law this morning, how when we relate through systems humanity is often erased. A neighbour has built a roof terrace on the wall at the bottom of our garden. It is a buy-to-let, he has left his tenants and us trying to cope with the invasion of privacy. I am irritated by this classic scenario of living amongst others and never thought I would fight for a boundary but I have lost a place that I was able to be alone in, to try to cope with my mind. I want to just work it out with the actual people involved – but the landlord will not talk, just writes.
What I learn from this is that there are not always true reasons that people want something so, as one tries to win an argument, the reasons keep being adjusted to make a case. It is less to do with the qualitative nature of being about a quantitative presence of measuring one's value (winning)? I don't want to win as such but it becomes a game.