opacity

Regarding the philosopher Édouard Glissant, Teju Cole writes:

Thinking about DeCarava’s work in this way reminds me of the philosopher Édouard Glissant, who was born in Martinique, educated at the Sorbonne and profoundly involved in anticolonial movements of the ’50s and ’60s. One of Glissant’s main projects was an exploration of the word “opacity.” Glissant defined it as a right to not have to be understood on others’ terms, a right to be misunderstood if need be. The argument was rooted in linguistic considerations: It was a stance against certain expectations of transparency embedded in the French language. Glissant sought to defend the opacity, obscurity and inscrutability of Caribbean blacks and other marginalized peoples. External pressures insisted on everything being illuminated, simplified and explained. Glissant’s response: No.

from “A True Picture of Black Skin

One of my cherished quotes from Mary Poppins: “I never explain anything.”

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