What Cyborgs Dream

Part 2 in our series on "Horror, Ghosts, and Hauntings". Reblogged with permission, original here.

To Read Part 1 in the series, click here

By: Maile Arvin

Yes, I am telling you a story, but you may be reading another one.

— Eve Tuck and C. Ree, A Glossary of Haunting

We met at a conference. I had just presented a paper about how cyborgs and animals are organizing their own communities against settler colonialism, imperialism and white supremacy. Animals, for instance, are everywhere making important connections between factory farming and dispossession of Indigenous lands and ways of life. Cyborgs (Black and non-Black) are major leaders in protests against police murders of Black youth, as they are similarly criminalized and killed in the streets.

Several male professors, all human but one cyborg, challenged me. Were not my ideas rather romantic? they asked. I don’t know anything about cyborgs or animals, or race or colonialism, but I doubt what you say is really the case, they challenged flatly, eyeing me as if in disbelief not just of my arguments but of my very existence, standing plainly in front of the blue of a projection screen recently vacated by Powerpoint.

Why don’t you focus more specifically on the five-year historical period when humans realized animals were sentient and communicate across species? Now that’s a very interesting time period, they droned, their voices echoing around me as a familiar anger expanded in my chest. Still, they concluded, everyone knows neither animals nor androids have empathy. I met their arrogant stares with my own disbelief.

“I was speaking of solidarity, not empathy,” I said. Then I walked out of my own panel.

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Out of a Concern for Justice: Ghosts and Racism

After former basketball team owner Donald Sterling’s racist remarks made him the subject of controversy, boycotts, and financial feuds, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar appeared on the show “This Week” to speak about the ethereal nature of racism—as it is experienced by racist whites. “I’ve did a little bit of research,” Abdul-Jabbar told host George Stephanopoulos, “and more whites believe in ghosts than believe in racism.” The statistic, while certainly provocative, proved to be a little more complicated than that. Racism, as Abdul-Jabbar himself wrote in Time magazine the day after his appearance, is defined in a myriad of ways and no true measure of the latter statistic really exists.

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