On Positionality and Not Naming Names: A Rejoinder to the Response by Maikey and Schotten

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On Positionality and Not Naming Names: A Rejoinder to the Response by Maikey and Schotten

[This article, published at Jadaliyya, was written as a rejoinder to Haneen Maikey and Heike Schotten's response to the authors' article on the intersections and impasses between US centered pinkwashing and pinkwatching activism.  Click here to read Maikey and Schotten's response, and click here to read the original article by Mikdashi and Puar.]

We thank Haneen Maikey and Heike Schotten for their thoughtful and detailed response to our article. We appreciate the time, effort, as well as political commitment and conviction it took to articulate their concerns about our article. We do not necessarily disagree with many of their points. We would like, however, to take the opportunity to clarify the methodological approach to our article, and acknowledge that some of this elaboration would have been helpfully included in the original essay. It is important to translate political disagreement into dialogue and we welcome this opportunity to continue this discussion.

On Not-Naming Names

There are several reasons why we did not provide “examples” or  “evidence.” First of all, our piece was informed by numerous conversations over the past several years (Puar has been writing on and speaking about queer organizing in relation to Israel-Palestine since 2005 and participating in such organizing since 2009; Mikdashi has been involved in activism and teaching on these topics since 2006). These conversations often indicated concerns that overlapped with our own; not directly about certain people, statements, or organizations, but more about public forums and the politicization of activists at these forums, discourses that emerged from various events, and responses to publications on social media. In synthesizing these conversations, we hoped to take part in forging a space for critical discussion among a diverse and growing activist movement.

Secondly, we understood first and foremost ourselves to be implicated in this critique.  As participants in this solidarity movement, as we noted, and as pinkwatchers ourselves, we constituted our own work, positionalities, and histories as a source of critique for the article. (For example, Puar produced an early public intervention detailing pinkwashing in the Guardian in 2010 that fell into many of the pitfalls we outline in our piece.)

We also understood several other political organizing benefits to not naming names:

1. Providing names/examples would have detracted from the overall systemic problem we are discussing by blaming certain individuals and events and lauding other individuals and events by not-naming them. We did not, and do not, see any singular activity, organization, person nor event as culpable for these dynamics. We