Published in  
October 30, 2017

Out the box

If colonization places us in boxes, one might think that ‘decolonization’ is the act of coming out of the box.

Moving from here to there. But that would be another silent instance of ‘whiteness’: the mythical condition that enlists us in the practice of seeing things as discrete, not relational; as simple, not complex and partial; as dead, not alive and agential. The attempt to come ‘out of the box’ would then be a denial that even ‘the box’ is part of nature’s doing. It would be a reassertion of our trust that the sacred lies in attaining distance from where we are – and that in the gilded and glistening ‘There’ dwells complete resolutions to the challenges and problems we face ‘Here’. I think decolonization is not about moving from ‘Here’ to ‘There’, as it is a weirding of the distance between the two.

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Decolonization is not a category, a property, or a thing in itself – it is a queering of things, of relationships, of assumptions. A stunning ‘what if’ that pulses in the veins of our necropolis. It is an ethical call flowing with the currents of things, inviting us to listen to the murmurs of the supposedly ‘dead’ and ‘instrumental’ world around us. It is the rift in the spaces of power suggesting that there are many other ways to become-with the world that disturb the hegemony of humans and human interests. And this brings me back to the point I began with: don’t come out of the box; decorate its walls. Touch the box. Embroider its corners. Pour libations on its floors. Press your ears against its textured surfaces. In your awkward alliance, you will learn that enchantment is not in short supply, even in the places that feel most bereft of it. And you yourself will not be left intact.