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have in fact become a fully developed antiracist subject? In that case, the subject would
have to then engage in further acts of self-reflection that require new confessions in the
The Settler/White Subject and Self-Reflexivity
Thus borrowing from the work of Scott Morgensen (2011) and Hiram Perez (2005), the
confession of privilege, while claiming to be antiracist and anticolonial, is actually a
strategy that helps constitute the settler/white subject. In Morgensen's (2011) analysis,
the settler subject constitutes itself through incorporation (or what Silva would term en-
gulfment ). Through this logic of settlement, settlers become the rightful inheritors of
all that was indigenous: land, resources, indigenous spirituality, or culture. Thus, indi-
geneity is not necessarily framed as antagonistic to the settler subject; rather the Native
ers who become incorporated into settler subjectivity in order to establish settler claims
to self-determination. Native peoples, by contrast, do not require self-determination be-
Hiram Perez similarly analyzes how the white subject positions itself intellectually as
acosmopolitan subject capable ofabstract theorizing throughtheuseofthe“rawmater-
ial” provided by fixed, brown bodies. The white subject is capable of being “ante-” or
“postidentity,” but understands their postidentity only in relationship to brown subjects
that are hopelessly fixed within identity. Brown peoples provide the “raw material” that
enables the intellectual production of the white subject (Perez 2005).
Thus, self-reflexivity enables the constitution of the white/settler subject. Antiracist/
colonial struggles have created a colonial disease that the settler/white subject may not
in fact be self-determining. As a result, the white/settler subject reasserts her or his
power through self-reflection. In doing so, his or her subjectivity is reaffirmed against
the foil of the “oppressed” people who still remain the “affectable” others who provide
the occasion for this self-reflection.
Oftentimes, the white/settler subject of self-reflexivity positions her- or himself in
relationship to those settler subjects that appear to fail in their responsibilities toward
self-reflection. For instance, a plethora of work has been published that critiques “New
Age” appropriation of Native spirituality. These critiques have addressed the manner
in which aspects of Native “culture” are severed from their context and commodified
as objects that can assist in the healing or personal development of non-Natives. While
these analyses are very valuable, it can also be easy for those in the academy to ridicule
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