Michelle M. Wright

  • LET US NOT PRAISE FAMOUS MEN

    EITHER BECAUSE OF or in spite of the fact that I am a biracial Black lesbian academic, enlightenment is always “the Enlightenment” for me, specifically signifying the historical era and ideology that is my most frequent point of orientation. One could argue that it was the Enlightenment that made me: After all, this is when European and US white heterosexual males hit their intellectual stride, creating themselves as a holistic entity while the other 95 percent of the planet became what are now called “gender,” “racial,” and “sexual” “minorities.”

    Thomas Jefferson, Immanuel Kant, David Hume—all

  • the physics of Black art

    LET US BEGIN with a dangerous story: In March 1997, I traveled to Crete to present my first academic paper. I arrived tired and cranky, and as I walked through the hotel lobby I passed a handful of guests, all white and middle-aged. In that moment, I had an experience common to people of the African diaspora. As I passed by, the onlookers’ heads all turned to watch me, their expressions frozen in wonder and surprise. I was determined to ignore them. Nonetheless, an ungracious thought, conditioned by my awareness that I had just landed on European soil, occurred: They must be fucking Germans.