Yesterday I attended an event at the City University of New York’s Center for Lesbian & Gay Studies for a roundtable discussion on Black/Queer/Diaspora the seeming ultimate in minority topics. I have to admit that I was unsure what would actually be discusses at the event. To my surprise topics related to the “connectivity” explored in Integrationalism were at the forefront.
In a special issue of GLQ, Jafari Allen beckoned us to see that “Black/queer/diaspora is an organic project of multivalent and multiscalar reclamation, revisioning, and futurity (yes, all at once).” This event brings together preeminent writers and thinkers at the forefront of engaging with this work. Issue editor Jafari Allen (Yale) and contributor Vanessa Agard-Jones (Columbia) present research from their new projects emerging from the conversations of the special issue. Robert Reid-Pharr (CUNY Graduate Center), and Rosamond S. King (Brooklyn College) will offer responses to this new work, informed by their own scholarship and research interests. Collectively, they will each present new research that considers and expands the methodological and conceptual inquiries grounding the issue.
After the presentation of Allen’s new book project Black/Queer/Diaspora and a Agard-Jones’s beyond fascinating paper What the Sands Remember (which could suggest radical political warfare on ethnic and sexual minorities via unethical bio & chemical policy. READ IT) their critiques made the event much more compelling. Rosemond King’s poetry was beautifully easy yet provocative, although I’m not sure she’d agree with my choice of language. But the kicker was Dr Robert Reid-Pharr’s critique of Allen & Agard-Jone’s work. He said
Black Queer Diaspora should be presented as a heuristic
Meaning that it “can” go away. In writing about the future colleagues, peers, critiques, and I regularly explore the ends of things to push understanding beyond the linear site of our day-to-day lives in an effort to understand the exponential growth of our actual reality. I’ve never seen so many minorities clash at one, and to think that they are a problem to potentially be solved with less-than optimal outcomes; or rather a diluted existence in to the tolerances and acceptances and general culture of a (or all) societies is quite likely what will happen per the history of all other physical systems in their respective evolution.
Even further and most interesting to me as a socialized African American, although my genome sequence reads quite different, was question posed from the audience by a woman asking Jafari Allan if he agreed with Rober Reid-Pharr’s comment about heuristics. Allen agreed that “Queer” could go away, as he elaborated about his and the academy’s difficulty with the term. He continued to say that “Black” could never go away.
To this point I haven’t dealt with Afro-futurism mainly because it is not an interest of mine, even after the request of editors at organizations like Humanity+ & IEET. Having stated that, the writings and comments around Afro-futurism concern me simply because I am classified as black. Phenomenologically I am inclined to reject Allen’s suggestion that “Black” could never dilute, especially while considering “Queer” to have the potential to do so. While we are still early in the commencement of our technological evolution it is possible to consider the potential of ethnic ranks pervading the humanoid population. Simply, human selection aside from that of natural selection allowing human-kind to design itself in the favor of its ambitions has commence. I’m compelled to think of the green-honed four-toed tri-breasted Spanish-speaking avatars designed in SecondLife and those in real life. Our population will be a large sea of minorities, identifying as a singular spectrum of species. From a socio-cultural standpoint, I think that Anthropologists can find and will continue to find remnants of tolerance leading to acceptance from individuals living OUT or transparent lifestyles to dilute the majority and minority normative: exposing everyone as a participating individual.