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Bitch Media: Purity in a Trumped-Up World

By Dr. Chanda Prescod-Weinstein
Bitch Media

Against Purity (Alexis Shotwell)What are the ideas that drive Against Purity? How did you come to the conclusion that this was a work you needed to write?

I wrote this book with an urgency that I still don’t understand. The main impetus was looking at climate change, colonialism, the ongoing murders of Black people by police, and other big social harms, and seeing a lot of people retreating when we began to understand how bad and huge and complex the problems that we’re up against are. There’s a lot of freezing up when people realize how complicit we are in those problems, how some of us benefit from things that we also hate, or how we’ve really messed up in the past. So a big part of it was feeling that we need some ways to imagine how we can keep working on things even when we realize that we can’t solve problems alone, and that we’re not innocent. White middle-class people in particular have a tendency to want to be perfect, and that’s [at the root] of white fragility and an inability to take criticism. I’m interested in how we might start from the understanding that we’re already compromised.

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Against Purity