Neither impugning nor disavowing whiteness does a viable politics make: The limits of identity politics

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

When you purchase. your ticket to the 1993 Whitney Biennial Exhibition, you are given a button on which is printed one or several of the words in the statement: “i can’t imagine ever wanting to be white.” I had no idea that I had been given the button that reads “white” as I automatically attached it to my shirt pocket, assuming that it bore the museum logo. Engrossed in the show, I did not notice what was on the buttons that the other patrons wore until I spotted an acquaintance wearing the button with the word “imagine.” I immediately thought of John Lennon and wondered about the connection between 1960s and 1970s counterculture and the identity-politics feel of the exhibition. Was it, I imagined, a way of suggesting that the source of the counterculture, as Michele Wallace has argued, was in the challenges to the mainstream culture by “others ” especially people of color? 1 It was only when I added my button to the others in the box at the exit that I grasped the statement in its entirety and realized that it was part of the show. This canny installation, Museum Tags: Second Movement (Overture) or Overture con Claque—Overture with Hired Audience Members, by Daniel J. Martinez, forced me to reflect on the statement and everything I had just seen.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAfter Political Correctness
Subtitle of host publicationThe Humanities and Society in the 1990s
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Pages255-285
Number of pages31
ISBN (Electronic)9780429971020
ISBN (Print)9780813323367
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018
Externally publishedYes

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ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

Cite this

Yudice, G. (2018). Neither impugning nor disavowing whiteness does a viable politics make: The limits of identity politics. In After Political Correctness: The Humanities and Society in the 1990s (pp. 255-285). Taylor and Francis. https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429502477