Brown skin, white masks

I just began reading Hamid Dabashi’s book Brown Skin, White Masks, which is a fascinating analysis of the role of native informers in the imperial project of the US and Europe.

The best way to extend Fanon’s revolutionary legacy into the contingencies of our own time is to remain awake to the way the ideological machinery of beleaguered capital keeps reinventing itself.

Today, in the age of multi-culturalism, capital needs newer forms of domination, facilitated by homeless, soulless native informers who have taken over the work that the racist Orientalists once performed.

What we are witnessing today is simply a more advanced stage of colonialism, reflecting a more advanced condition of capitalism in its globalized stage, with newer forms of domination in need of a renewed ideological language. It is thus absolutely imperative that we do not counter-fetishize any particular colour-coded mode of ideological domination – black or brown, Jew or Muslim – as a target of moral assassination.

Capital, in the end, is colour-blind and gender-neutral. It wants to produce cheaply and sell massively to the widest possible market, and it could not care less who buys, who sells, who profits, and who suffers the consequences of this treacherous cycle. The service that the native informers provide to the imperialist project is just another disposable commodity in that cycle, like a roll of toilet paper – use it, discard it, and leave.

Brilliant!

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2 thoughts on “Brown skin, white masks

  1. almostclever

    Sounds like a good book about the comprador intellectuals in the west.

    This rings true of any group of people who identify more with the people holding them down… like women, for instance.

    I wonder who Hamid Dabashi would label as “wearing a mask?”

    I’ll def have to check out this book

    1. Sarah, he names many people in the book: Azar Nafisi (Reading Lolita in Tehran); Fouad Ajami, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Irshad Manji and a few others. All I absolutely agree with.

      Definitely check the book out, it’s AMAZING.

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