The narratives springing forth about the U.S. Capitol riot on January 6 are becoming more and more inventive.
We’ve seen claims that the riot’s participants were full of “white rage,” emboldened by the “addictive power” of white supremacy, and at least one academic blamed white America across the board (“fix your freaking families”) for the “insurrection.”
But Tuesday afternoon, an education professor from Middlebury College is taking the rhetorical blame up a notch. In a virtual lecture, Jonathan Miller-Lane will discuss the opportunity to “Facilitate the Demilitarization of White Bodies.”
According to the event description, the evidence that whiteness “is always weaponized” is omnipresent, exemplified by the 2017 Charlottesville riot, the Capitol mob or even the infamous dog-walking woman in New York City’s Central Park who threatened to call the police on a black bird watcher.
In order to make any progress toward establishing and sustaining a genuinely representative democracy in the United States, Whiteness must be demilitarized so that bodies designated as “White” might become human. Paradoxically, Middlebury College, an institution founded to embrace the value of unencumbered study is especially well placed to offer space to make progress in this essential effort for democracy’s evolution. But, to do so, we will have to remove humans from the center of our inquiries in favor of what Robin Wall Kimmerer calls a “grammar of animacy” that places humans among, rather than atop, Earth’s life forms.
Regarding that grammar of animacy:
[It] helps break down the separation from the natural world that has plagued Western Civilization for centuries, even millennia […] Not only are plants and animals considered animate, but so are rocks, mountains, water, fire, and places – all are beings that have spirit and our interactions with them must therefore be seen as relationships, not simply as resources to be exploited and used.”
According to his Middlebury webpage, Miller-Lane teaches courses such as “Education in America” and “Social Justice and Evolutionary Spirituality.” The latter makes use of the book “Radical Dharma,” the co-author of which is a professor from Vassar who likewise will soon be giving a lecture on whiteness — in this case, “Surviving White Supremacy.”
The College Fix asked Miller-Lane for more specificity on the “demilitarization” of whiteness, as well the process by which whites can “become human.” He did not respond.
IMAGE: YouTube screencap