Proximal Ambivalence

Race Reflections AT WORK

02-10-2023 • 20 mins

In today's episode Guilaine explore and defines the concept of proximal ambivalence and proximal dynamics. She begins with the recent incident covered in the news that highlighted issues of anti-blackness within communities of colour, specifically in this context south asian communities in the UK. She reflects that whilst it's important to avoid overgeneralising it's also important to draw parallels and see patterns when they occur. She goes on to talk about some of her experiences of these dynamics and examines the specific racialised and economic context and tensions around afro haircare shops in the UK and the long historical legacies of inter-"racial" conflicts and tensions that date back to colonial administration and the role south asian groups played in African colonies and the Caribbean.

She then defines proximal ambivalence as a term that derives the ways that groups with proximity to power/Whiteness can have mixed feelings when it comes to justice, liberation and dismantling White Supremacy. This is because White Supremacy is a caste system or pyramid and everyone within its structures and strata can reproduce and enact racialised violence towards groups lower down the complex hierarchies. All groups including people racialised as white exist within these racialised hierarchies which is what creates these proximal dynamics.

She then considers how these dynamics look within the workplace.

Guilaine fully explores this subject in her upcoming book White Minds that you can pre-order here: https://policy.bristoluniversitypress.co.uk/white-minds

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To send us your queries, questions and dilemmas please email atwork@racereflections.co.uk