Monday, November 3, 2008
Race, Spectacle, and Performance
Today in class we approached the subject of "performed" behaviors in American society with regard to the "race question" (following our reading of Wachtel). It appears that, according to the class, people in America are taught to self-police their speech (we heard several examples of this in class, "Oh no! You can't say that!") and to perform a kind of tolerance in keeping with what might be a mythological dream of what American is and represents. We seem to espouse racial harmony and to respect, in a culturally relativistic sense, ethnic and religious diversity. Nevertheless, it appears that many of you think that, a) there is something of a "race problem," and b) the only way the situation concerning this "problem" will be improved is by the passing of time. So, if that's what many of you believe, why "perform"? By performing, do we in any way move closer to actual harmony, honest mutual respect, tolerance, and acceptance? In essence, through performance do we move closer to not needing to perform?