We’re slowly approaching the end of the first working year of the Autonomous Collective Against Racism (ACAR). Though we are still a proto-collective of sorts, with policies still in the works and ideas yet to coalesce, the support it receives gives me optimism for its future.
I try to imagine what it would have been like finding an ACAR stall at O-Week a few years ago, when I was just prompted into my early days of race consciousness thanks to introductory sociology and forays into Tumblr, and I can almost taste the relief. Not that I feel ACAR is ready for a stall at O-Week – despite political support from the SRC, there are still factions on campus that are hostile to our existence, and that made itself evident at the beginning of this year.
I hope our collective can be viewed as one that is not entirely constructed in opposition. While our name states that we are “Against Racism”, we also stand for values of community, friendship, growth, radical love and empathy. Despite our formation in the midst of conflict, this collective is not just about “taking a stand” — we hope to plant the seeds of something positive. So, to people opposed to our autonomy and politics, I say: people should lead their own movements, and any anti-racism movement on campus that has no room for the emotional support of students who experience racism is lacking. This criticism is not just about validity, but priority of activism on campus.
All oppression is connected, said Staceyann Chin. Racism is complex and multifaceted, but thanks to colonialism and imperialism, seems to eerily follow the same pattern in most countries around the world. The differences between those patterns need to be explored, and I won’t ever claim that all forms of racism take the same shape. But the fantasy of biological race is behind it. The fantasy of biological purity, of whiteness, and the power it imparts to white people: those things must be called to attention and eradicated accordingly.
I, for one, am looking forward to it. To dismantling whiteness, and having some really good autonomous parties while doing so.