Author and MacArthur Genius Junot Diaz recently spoke at the Applied Research Center’s Facing Race conference in Baltimore. In this clip, he talks about the politics of race and our collective blindspots around privilege and inequality. At the heart of his challenge to activists and cultural workers of color is the idea that our “economies of attraction”–including the literary and aesthetic–are still tethered to a racial hierarchy.
More via Colorlines.com’s Channing Kennedy:
This excerpt is the first 25 minutes of his talk, and there’s plenty to chew on. Here, for instance, is Díaz explaining his work’s recurring theme of “decolonial love”:
“The funny thing about our privilege is that we all have a blind spot around our privilege, shaped exactly like us. Most of us will identify privileges that we know we could live without. So when it comes time to talk about our privileges, we’ll throw shit down like it’s an ace. And that shit is a three! I understand that. You grow up and you live a life where you feel like you haven’t had shit, the last thing you want to give up is the one thing, the couple of things that you’ve really held on to.
“I’m telling you guys, we’re never going to fucking get anywhere—if you want to hear my apocalyptic proclamation which I would never repeat, but which I know you motherfuckers are going to tweet about—we are never going to get anywhere as long as our economies of attraction continue to resemble, more or less, the economy of attraction of white supremacy.”