‘Racism is now “genius”?’

In a gesture that will forever warp the meaning of the term ‘genius’, an American poet has received a $625,000 MacArthur “genius grant”, and she is going to use it to create the “Racial Imaginary Institute”, where fellow ‘geniuses’ can

“show art, curate dialogues, have readings, and talk about the ways in which the structure of ‘white supremacy’ in American society influences our culture.”

“Claudia Rankine is extremely interested in ‘whiteness’ {‘She is obsessed with skin colour’}, believing that

“it’s important that people begin to understand that ‘whiteness’ is not inevitable, and that white dominance is not inevitable.”


“One reason Rankine wants such a center to exist is because she recently went into a bookstore at the ‘Los Angeles Contemporary Museum of Art’

“and I asked them for books on ‘whiteness’. The man was like, ‘What?’

“I said, ‘Well, you know. Books that address the ways in which white contemporary artists deal with ‘whiteness’, interrogate it, analyze it, work in ways that push up with constructions of ‘whiteness’.’ He’s like, ‘I don’t know what you mean.’” {Because he doesn’t think in terms of race, unlike a racist…}

“She is sensitive to the experiences of ‘people of color’ in almost everything she says and writes {!}… Her next book, which is just starting to take shape, will be

“doing a lot of work on white construction…”

“Rankine says she understands why people don’t want to focus on ‘whiteness’ {Because they’re not racist?}.

“I think we’ve seen whiteness centralized forever, so they’re no longer interested in making it the subject, putting it in the subject position. But I think that it’s been centralized in order to continue its dominance, and it’s never been the object of inquiry to understand its paranoia, its violence, its rage.”

–‘Claudia Rankine: why I’m spending $625,000 to study whiteness’,
Steven W Thrasher, The Guardian (U.K.), 19 October 2016


Claudia Rankine

Claudia Rankine

“Praised as “a critical voice in current conversations about racial violence”, Rankine is one of 23 people chosen by the ‘MacArthur Foundation’ as a 2016 ‘fellow’. The fellowships come with a stipend of $625,000, paid out over the next five years, and are intended to allow the recipients to

“exercise their own creative instincts for the benefit of human society”. {How ironic is that?}

“Rankine told ‘Time’ magazine that she intended to use the grant to set up a “Racial Imaginary Institute”, which would enable creative thinkers

“to come together in a kind of laboratory environment to talk about the making of art and culture and … the dismantling of ‘white dominance’”.



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