Notes on: Carter, C & Jocson KM (2022): Untaming/untameable tongues: methodological openings and critical strategies for tracing raciality, International Journal of
Research & Method in Education, DOI: 10.1080/1743727X.2022.2043843

[A bity samey but then gets good with explication of da Silva and using her work to critically analyse a University statement on racial injustice. Rather like Fairclough's critical discourse analysis. Also very familiar to anyone who knows Bourdieu on symbolic violence -- you see your personal experience turned into 'data' or 'evidence' {or educational grades} and discussed 'rationally'. This is very common to all non-elite groups, not just black people, of course. There is no discussion of Bourdieu's alternative research strategy -- 'understanding']

Epistemic erasure has long affected pedagogy in research methods courses, especially the centrality of race, as their experience confirms. They want to widen the debate to include 'onto- epistemological connections' beginning with Anzaldúa on taming the tongue. They want to open the door to alternatives to obliteration (2). Silva shows how rationality has become a political symbolic arsenal that rationalises obliteration, used to justify violence and obliteration. We can think with this, mapping and linking the global health pandemic and continued state violence [nice vague terms].

We must ask ourselves questions, and we do this in interludes where we quote scholar activists and songs played by women and non-binary artists of colour. These were playing in our heads as we collaborated and discussed our rationality. They artistic pieces are untameable. They have deepened our learning and thinking. We have had conversations that illustrate methodological openings 'in untaming/untameable tongues' that have somehow just emerged when thinking of instances of rationality. We have shared stories from everyday practices and knowledges, building on the methodologies of story and 'pláticas methodology' and this might transform research practices. Specifically we talk about institutional statements and this has helped us unpack Silva's theorisations. We also consider the greater contexts.

[One of the real disappointments is that Carter and Jocson do not develop anything really from either Anzaldua or the platicas work, or if they do, it is not explicit in this article, despite Rizvi's remarks in her  Introduction. Anzaldua develops a border position, as Mignolo argues, not a desire to develop an alternative community perspective. The platicas approach is more compatible, but C&J do not use it, or indeed mention it ever again, preferring to chat among themselves rather than engage in any free-ranging conversations with other women in academia].

The first interlude is from Nagar, a 'scholar activist' who talks about making knowledge as praxis disrupting understandings especially those that perform epistemic violence, turning to what we are not taught, how we have been led astray, taking or teaching courses that are not on the official programs, not staying 'within the confines of Western thought' (2) [ambitious], highlighting a line or a word or phrase, trying to embrace others thoughts, reading challenging texts.

Developments in qualitative research lately have brought us racially just methodologies, often stemming from 'work of radical women of colour and black feminist thought'(3) [emphasis on Denzin and Lincoln] centring on lived experie;p-nce, counter narratives, writing itself as a method, looking at the desire of the community itself.  We are now at an important juncture to not only confront legacies of racism but 'to reimagine what else might be made possible'

We offer an 'extemporaneous exchange' between us online via docs and email, lasting a month. It was prompted by an institutional statement on racial justice. It has been slightly edited. Songs informing our ideas are explicitly named 'because aesthetics are central to intellectual practice… A sonic practice that has guided our own thinking – writing – jam sessions'. We are to release imagination and decipher, develop a new science of human forms of life especially the aesthetic, paying attention to lyrical and sonic critiques of colonialism within black creative work.

[Then conversation one — highly reminiscent of Gale and Wyatt. If they found these stimulating, how much more stimulating might they have found conversations with somebody outside their own thought bubble, or even conversations with a book? I'm going to brutalise as usual]

They want to criticise the latest statement on racial justice extended by the University because they see it as vacuous and extending the violence, another example of white supremacy, empty, lacking emotion and action, 'performing allyship', a mere statement of plans, lacking implications. Apparently there are links with some of the songs they have listened to. Their own suggestions have not appeared — a learning space where they could grow their own community and show the interconnectedness of their struggles. They want untameable tongues, not an attempt to tame them with simple statements. This statement will only lead to others. They fear speaking up. They only feel more separated.

The conversation led them to think about what official statements actually do and how they arise. They just name what's happened, sometimes announce general solidarity [false universality] which can only operate to obscure complicity, they are vague about action, never attempting to stop the next incidents of violence, not seeing any interconnections.

Conversation two begins with a discussion of the playlists they have agreed. One song apparently breaks through language and reveals the power in hearing each other. They admire da Silva and her refusal to contain blackness. That makes them think about how normal methodology is complicit in the limits of normal racial thinking as are many other approaches to promoting racial justice. Instead we should promote a different mode of consciousness and untamed tongues. This then leads to further difficulties about what this might mean, something becoming and unlinear? It would be marvellous to release the imagination 'from complicity and form' (5)

They want to think not only with what is saleable but what is possible beyond colonial logic and categories that this involves that we acknowledge existing complicity is that have involved us in not seeing, our complicity in existing scholarship. We need constantly to struggle to unleash what has been suppressed, always maintain untameability.

They like a metaphor of walking against a moving walkway, and the questions it provokes like what would happen if we were to give in or get off altogether. They are particularly aware at how attempts to bring about racial justice can operate on behalf of whiteness. Whiteness is elusive. For these reasons they are reluctant to embrace racial justice 'as it is currently conceptualised, as an ethical project' (6). Knowledge apartheid is rooted in higher education institutions, as is the erasure of the contributions of communities of colour and the epistemological ignorance of race. Deficit laden practices and policies 'work with capital' but institutional projects can also be complicit, even if they have institutional statements about racial justice.

They find da Silva useful again [her publication Toward a Global Idea of Race] on why there is no ethical outrage about violence against people of colour, how racial categories produce exclusion without any need for explanation, how modern representation produce others as subalterns [seems pretty much like the article then]. It is universal reason that produces human difference, as developed in post-Enlightenment even critical theories, especially those that maintain modern tools of science and history. These still value the 'productive nomos or reason as the regulator of the universe' (7). We can see this in the post-modern critique of ethnographic authority as it heads towards relativism: the new subjectivities are still the effects of a productive nomos [da Silva but could be Habermas or Jameson], and this can incorporate '"current writings of the global subaltern"'. They even hint at some underlying truth or essence

There is therefore a whole political symbolic arsenal, even though there are different notions of racial justice, different articulations of rationality, including some that profess its irrelevance. They can use that to look at the racial justice statements in their own university. These rewrite the racial subaltern but still leave it subject to natural conditions, excuse the effects of their rewriting, and deploy a transparency thesis, drawing upon the enlightenment notion that Man is the only figure endowed with reason. The assumption is that the University itself is the only one gifted with 'the privilege to actualise itself' as some global authority.

Da Silva suggests that we need considerable analytic ground work to show how racial categories are combined with others and how they produce modern subjects which can be excluded without ethical crisis. We have to use these analyses to undermine the political and symbolic arsenal mentioned above.

The point is not to show that specific deployments of false, but how they are productive, how they mobilise what Silva calls the '"transparent I"' (8), endowed with reason and the power to regulate, while others are perfectible and positioned, permitting, ultimately, a better racial. Thus sociological facts can be wielded as evidence for both police and jury [in cases where the police have shot black people], a pathway can be provided for these decisions to become matters that are debated.

The proper use of transparency would see others not only as things which are affected but things inhabiting spaces where violence is inflicted upon them, justified by modern rationality. Transparency becomes a desired outcome of a political act. We can see in courts of law how racial violence can be obliterated by logic 'however unintentionally', and the same goes in statements serving the interests of corporations and HEI's. They are plentiful. We can now turn to the specific statement their university issued following an outbreak of anti-Asian violence.
First the statement arrived after the violence occurred. They already have low expectations. The statement tries to de-contextualise by saying that it is one episode in a series of racist episodes, as if this is a common problem, bound to occur from a lack of assimilation, ranging over time. The statement mentions misogyny as well, and Silva talks about how this is articulated with racism — a kind of double mediation and double affectability. The statement talks about the effects on the subjects, reinforcing that there is a pattern, something logical or predestined, happening without question, despite empathy for the victims. The authorities say they don't want it to be like this 'but to admit that this is the way it is. It is here to stay.'(9)

Second the statement has its own list of resources to explain violence as residual hatred, which would justify its rewriting efforts. It is seen as an individual matter. Violent acts are to be seen as evidence, then brought into policies of intervention, not realising how 'evidence is complicit with the analytics of raciality… [Especially]… More anthropological evidence of how linguistic and cultural differences produce racial violence' (10). This evidence is particularly valuable when it works with capital. Supporting the policy would therefore in effect support a form of racial justice that would lead to 'more obliteration', more police, more instruments, more capital investment, more data.

Third, there is a transparency thesis. The statement calls for a better and more socially just world through education, a more inclusive and just society, the classic call for universality, implying that we stay within the same logic the same strategies of justice, the notion that we already know the truth about Asian-American and other outsiders, and only need more confirmatory data. Silva confirms that freedom and equality have never been all-encompassing, although it is always claimed to be universal, and the reason it is never attained is down to various economic and sociological variables, presented as facts.

Overall, a racial logic that is routine and difficult to see let alone question has been identified, and black people are led to reinforce ideas about themselves 'that are not from us'. It is necessary to engage in undermining and reimagining.

It is not enough to describe abjection or deprivation. How can new demands be formulated past logic and common sense without adding to the arsenal of ratio to you already. We must try to undo the patterns first. They are going to transform research methods courses. They want to argue there is more to research than the conventional techniques like coding, evidence or clarification, and that these are part of a political symbolic act reproducing the more sinister racial Arsenal. In particular, 'there is a tendency to lean on static notions of category' (11). Alternatives are needed, maybe focusing on the [usual]' "relational, inter-textual, interdisciplinary, into human and multidisciplinary" [quoting McKittrick]'. Lots of questions remain. Perhaps we should head for untameability [and thus a private language?] We should aim at solidarity based on 'relational, transitive and creative' forms, not just aiming to explain but to challenge.

The current educational system is pushing through reforms with the excuse that it needs to recover and return to normal, but radical redesign is required, especially to challenge conventional categories. The curious self needs to be supported by kinship and conviviality, shared stories, an idea of theory as practice, support from songs and poems, even 'the idea of plateau is a region of intensities' (12) , And have sought ideas from Afro futurist curriculum. The gathering of more untameable tongues is still required.