Malcolm Bailey, Untitled, 1969, acrylic on composition board, 48 × 72". © Malcolm Bailey.

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 impressive thinkers and yet all equally impressively blind. One is allowed, I think, to feel a certain amount of pique in reading them and noticing the extensive labor they put into defining a concept like perception while tossing off casually vicious, fearful, and disdainful perceptions

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and get the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the PRINT EDITION of the Summer 2018 issue for $17 or the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.