On Facts, Proof, and the Reception of Black Critique in White Dutch Media

These illustrations, which are part of “the practice of displaying Blackness for enjoyment and edification of the white viewers,” produce White liberal subjectivities that are not driven by the will to dominate (that is, ‘the racist who wants’), but the voyeuristic desire to consume Black pain. The manner through which Black people enter the field of visibility is regulated through an anti-Black visual economy—which is especially troubling in the context of ‘anti-racism’ because our ‘private injury’ invents us as subjects, while the ‘willingness’ of Whites to ‘see’, ‘listen’, ‘feel for’, or entertain the notion that “racism is an evil that needs to be fought” proves that they possess the psychic and emotional space to ‘look beyond their own self-interest’. Feeling for those of us who experience racism not only suggests that the problem of anti-Black racism is a problem of—or felt by—Black people, but also that an effective anti-racist praxis simply requires the sympathetic feelings of Whites. The willingness of Whites to ‘look beyond their own self-interest’ re-centres White agency while it simultaneously confirms their self-perception as ‘caring’, ‘empathetic’, ‘good people’, who are not like ‘the racist who wants’. “Rather than ‘solving racism’ by being better white people,” Damien Riggs tells us, Whites need “to recognize that belief in the ‘goodness’ of white people, values and ways of knowing is precisely the foundation of practices of oppression.”

Egbert Alejandro Martina in On Facts, Proof, and the Reception of Black Critique in White Dutch Media (Processed Life)