The antiracist research network RASTER supports the criticism and demands raised by SahWira Africa International towards the recent award-winning PLAN International Finland campaign “Maternity wear for a 12-year old”. We also encourage other organisations to continue the critical discussion about the repetitive gesture of speaking on behalf of and “saving brown women”.
In the first week of June, I participated in the workshop “Racism and Anti-racism in the Nordic Societies”, at the Södertörn University in Sweden. It was the first time I attended an academic anti-racism event. As a black newcomer to the field, I felt the discussions were rich and enlightening. However, I also felt how whiteness in the academia can be silencing. Based on my experience in the workshop, this text is a reflection about the silencing force of whiteness in the academia and how it can affect the participation of black scholars in predominantly white groups, environments and debates.
Whiteness is not a matter of skin pigmentation or phenotypical traits but a structural system of advantage that grants privilege to white people. Whiteness as a system of supremacy and privilege is based on exclusion of other groups, and hence, becomes a site of struggle for people who don’t meet the social ideal of whiteness, such as, for example, Russian-speakers in Finland.
What are the central questions for antiracism today and what kinds of strategies do activists and researchers use in their struggles towards an antiracist future? What is critical antiracist activism and how are understandings of it related to our intersecting positionalities? These are some of the questions that were addressed by activists and researchers in a panel discussion, organised by Raster network, at the Antiracist Forum.