art book thoughts


“Blanking can be an action performed in relation to written and spoken complaints. You can be blanked in person. A senior academic made a complaint about bullying from her head of department. Her head of department had told her he was recording their conversation during the conversation. In a subsequent meeting with administrators, she asked about this recording: “They just stared at me, they didn’t answer, they did not speak, which I just found quite extraordinary.” A blank stare can be how you are received; you say something, and they say nothing back. This is not ordinarily what happens in conversations during meetings (“I found it quite extraordinary”). She is turned into a spectacle by not being heard (“they just stared at me”). By not saying something in response to what she says, it is as if she has not said anything. When you say something, it needs to be acknowledged as having been said. This is what blanking can be doing: when someone says something, you can stop what they say from being said by acting as if they did not say it.”

Sara Ahmed

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