Whats the best way to silence victims’ voices and subjectivity?
Well, why not throw out the discourse all together!
The elimination of discourse was a theme that I picked up on in a number of the readings this week (and throughout the quarter). I think this is one of the most dangerous tactics of furthering oppression in that it erases oppression altogether. Through the naturalization and normalization of scientific (and Enlightenment ideals altogether) and medicalized objectivity, subjectivity is arranged in a hierarchy and effectively silenced. It is, after all, mere subjectivity.
In the most absurd and humiliating case for Western rationalism, this subjectivity is arranged in the great chain of being. Actually, for the scientist, it becomes hard to say when subjecthood begins – is it with the orangutan? Does the African make leap into subjecthood? For the purposes of this science, no. This is natural of course, it is not political, but can be read from the body – the body speaks, the scientist listens. There is no discourse to be entertained.
Hogan describes a similar science:
“Do their cells [the buffalo], like mine, remember the terror, the changed world and destroyed land?”
“The people of science would say this question is a projection. It is anthropomorphism, one of those words that change compassion and empathy into pathologies. During the fire in Yellowstone, a park ranger told the people not to feed the starving elk. ‘There is no scientific proof that animals feel pain,’ he said over National Public Radio.’”
Subjecthood for both the buffalo and the natives is thus eliminated.
This passage echoes a statement of the judge in the Johnson case – that there is no proof that mother and child bonded before and during birth. It is not mere circumstance that proof and evidence always manage to show up on one side and not the other.