On the Politics of Hate and Aesthetics of Mutuality
The COVID-19 Hate Crimes Act signed by President Joseph Biden in May 2021 legislatively punctuates the cultural discourse that has mobilized hate as a political category. The ubiquity of “Stop Asian Hate” (which, despite its phrasing, generally seems to call for the end of anti-Asian hate) as a slogan announcing solidarity with people of Asian descent, corresponds with the established practice of legislating against hate in the United States. These phenomena prompt us to ask: What understandings of race and racism accompany such legislative solutions organized around hate? How may we understand the call for the end of anti-Asian hate in relation to anti-Black and anti-Brown racism, to settler colonialism, and against the conditions that give rise to conceptualization of the twenty-first century as “The Asian Century”? Drawing insight from writers and artists including Allan deSouza and Jean Shin, Kandice Chuh invites us to recognize these phenomena and inquiries as aesthetic and pedagogic matters as much as political and historical ones, as she emphasizes the importance of mutuality as an analytic, practice, and sensibility of anti-racist intellectual work.
Kandice Chuh is professor of English, American studies, and Critical Social Psychology at the CUNY Graduate Center. She teaches courses on race and aesthetic theory, queer of color critique, women of color feminisms, decolonial cultural studies, and Asian and Asian American racialization. Chuh is the author of The Difference Aesthetics Makes: on the humanities ‘after Man’ (2019) and Imagine Otherwise: on Asian Americanist Critique (2003) and is at work on a collection of essays titled The Disinterested Teacher. Her current research focuses on Asian racialization in the so-called “Asian Century.”