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Hari Kunzru calls for active intellectual 'unpicking'

Jaipur, Jan 27 : Participating in a session on racism at the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival, acclaimed author of 'The Impressionist' Hari Kunzru brought up the hashtag #ItsOkayToBeWhite that is used by the American alt-right groups, in the context of the supposed expectation that white people are supposed to feel permanently guilty.

Kunzru theorized that this idea emerges from the uncomfortable sensation that one is individually complicit in racism.

"It is a tricky theoretical ground because of the way our culture encourages us to think in terms of personal agency, guilt and responsibility," he said.

In a neat turn of phrase, he advocated the idea of "active intellectual unpicking" to help people reconcile their individual ideas of themselves as liberal, with the knowledge that they are the beneficiary of a system that privileges them.

The challenge facing people of colour is what Kunzru termed "a collective coming together", to collectivize over shared oppression, with the same aims in mind, and at the same time emphasise their "individual subjectivities" in order to dismantle the generalisation.

The Jaipur Literature Festival will reach its culmination on Monday.

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Hari Kunzru calls for active intellectual 'unpicking'

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