1/31: Idle Racism In The Citadel, Writing Love On The Walls

I do believe in my heart of hearts that Stuart Hall is one of the most influential writers in Media Studies for me. His remarkable selection, "Racist Ideologies And The Media", details all varieties of racism, mass media, and everything in between. Frankly, it's a great bit of writing.

But the problem with that which you love is just how frustrating it can be. This is the case for me with Hall. 

I have expressed my frustration with Hall in the past, for he tends to write beautiful, exorbitant essays punctuated with harsh meaning and numerical lists. It is, to me, the most effective way to get his points across, especially his points about ideologies (in short: ideologies are not "isolated concepts," nor are they "the product of individual consciousness or intention", for ideologies are based on the laziness that allows people to "'utter' ideological truths as if they were their authentic authors" (271-272). The high level stuff comes naturally to our author, and I can see the influence of this essay floating through the academic world.

That being said, I think his more important distinction is between "overt" and "inferential" racism. The difference here is something I have been grasping at for years, that white liberals are more dangerous racially then most KKK rallies simply because no one takes them seriously as threats. As is classic Hall, the author deals with an analysis of television programmes with best intention, but eventually this stops becoming a Media Studies paper. By the time Hall reflects on the graduate student that was grasping hopelessly at simplifying because "racism was so ubiquitous, and at the same time unconscious... that it was impossible to get any critical purchase," we can see that Hall is not trying to grab, hold, and analyze the complex topic (275). This essay becomes a discussion out of place and yet necessary and vital in the world of critical theory.