The Macksey Journal


Racism has traditionally been analyzed as a cognitive, epistemological problems: i.e. failed forms knowing about otherness. This masculinist methodology has denied embodied infrastructure, hystericizing symbolic parameters. This suppresses societal acknowledgement of our psychically submerged reality, which metatheoretically injures those less intimate with hegemonic privilege. Indeed, intrapsychic infrastructure is a primary way of signifying relationships of power and differentiation, including imperialist States and their subjects. I argue that epistemological approaches to otherness miss the central phenomenon: i.e. the conative matter of fantasy, anxiety, desire, and drive. Lacanian psychoanalysis understands fearing or idealizing otherness as a process of either “abjecting” or fetishizing the Other: two forms of the same hysteria. Jacques Lacan’s account of the Imaginary Register and the Mirror Phase demystify how one’s self-images and self-symbols can be threatened by otherness, crystalizing as viciously unchecked, libidinal forces. Racial transitivism is an intrapsychic division of the self from itself. For Lacan, our relation to ‘reality’ is underwritten by our erotic investment in (re-)finding the self’s wholeness, affirming what is ‘like us’ and denying what is ‘unlike us.’ A structural rigidity of ego can easily metastasize a fragility of embodiment, resulting in illusory and specular relations with others, who become mere placeholders of the subject’s intrapsychic dissonance. Racism is ultimately a failed maintenance of our erotic self-understanding and embodied self-being. By reclaiming psychoanalysis for racial (re-)construction, we can unearth internal mechanisms of our intersubjective dramas. Before there can be successful, democratic communities, there must be reflective and restructured subjects.