Islamic Counter-Racist Thought Food #67

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

Consider this:

Futurity is a register of freedom, while The Future is another prison-house built to confine it. I describe as futurity the openness in the present arising out of the ineradicable diversity of calculating, contending, and collaborating stakeholders who struggle to make and remake the shared world, peer to peer. Futurity cannot be delineated but only lived, in serial presents attesting always unpredictably to struggle, collaboration, and expression. The Future, to the contrary, brandishing the shackle of its definite article, is always described from a parochial present and is always a funhouse mirror reflecting a parochial present back to itself, amplifying its desires and fears, confirming its prejudices, reassuring its True Believers that the Key to History is in their hands. (p.62)

Extract taken from Carrico, Dale (2013) Futurological Discourses and Posthuman Terrains. Existenz 8(2): 47-63.

Peace

BOOK: (White) Imaginary Futures

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

IF.jpg

I have almost finished reading the outstanding work Imaginary Futures: From Thinking Machines to The Global Village (London: Pluto Press, 2007) by white Marxist male, Richard Barbrook. IMHO, the work makes for a veritable tour de force and is essential reading for those interested in decolonizing computing vis-a-vis understanding how (white) visions of the future repeatedly – or rather ‘algorithmically‘ – inform and inflect the present, not to mention for Barbrook’s useful, yet highly Eurocentric, account of the Cold War origins of computers, ICTs (information and communication technologies) and the Net. (For a brief discussion of the ‘algorithmic’ nature of White Supremacy / Racism, interested readers are invited to check out the following extended abstract by Dr Syed Mustafa Ali, Lecturer in the School of Computing and Communications at The Open University: “Transhumanism and/as Whiteness“.)

Interested readers can download a copy (PDF format) of the book here.

A highly useful overview of the book was presented by Barbrook at Warwick University in 2011 and is available for viewing on YouTube:

One of the most interesting sequences of slides appearing towards the end of the presentation is the following:The Futures.JPG

From a Counter-Racist / decolonial perspective, I am immediately led to ask who is this we that Barbrook is inviting to invent new futures? I should also like to suggest that for non-white VoRs (Victims of Racism / White Supremacy), the wording of the first slide (on the left) should be replaced with the following:

Those who do not remember the [White Supremacist / Racist] future [that shapes the White Supremacist / Racist present] are condemned to [have the White Supremacist / Racist future] repeated [on them]

Peace

(Black Man) = Almost Human

Peace Be Unto Those Who Follow Right Guidance.

AH

I’ve just finished watching the first episode of Almost Human, an American science fiction / crime drama series which premiered on Fox yesterday evening. The series is set thirty-five years in the future when humans in the Los Angeles Police Department are paired up with life-like androids. John Kennex (played by Karl Urban), a detective who has a dislike for robot partners, is paired up with an android capable of emotion called Dorian (played by Michael Ealy).

Clearly drawing upon science fiction film precedents such as Bladerunner and I, Robot, what makes Almost Human interesting from a Counter-Racist perspective is that the principal human protagonist, detective John Kennex, is a white human male, while his android = robot partner / side-kick is a non-white “almost human” = sub-human ‘male’. Stated slightly differently, the white male protagonist is a man, while his non-white ‘male’ sidekick is a ‘man’. In addition, it transpires that the white male protagonists former ‘love interest’ / girlfriend is a non-white female who has since left him on account of her being connected with a criminal organisation called The Syndicate. Interestingly, both non-white ‘surround’ characters, ‘male’ and female, are played by relatively light-skinned black actors with European features – blue eyes in the case of the ‘male’ and a very straight nose in the case of the female.

During the episode we learn that the “almost human” android ‘male’ belongs to a line of robots that were taken out of service on account of them being capable of emotion / feelings and some of them turning ‘crazy’. So what do we have here if not the figure of the sub-human / “almost human” non-white / black man who has a tendency to “go crazy”, i.e. turn ‘wild’, ‘uncontrollable’, ‘volatile’ etc. Frantz Fanon would have a field day analyzing this series and I intend to attempt to do the same.

In closing, I should like to point interested readers to the following two reviews of the series available online:

Almost Human and Sleepy Hollow: Two new Fox dramas are silly enough to be serious about race by Willa Paskin

Robo-racism abounds in the new Almost Human trailer

Here is the trailer on YouTube:

Official Trailer | ALMOST HUMAN | FOX BROADCASTING

Peace