Monday, November 5, 2012

I was interested by the preconceived impressions that Ahmed discusses in her introduction and how they relate to her later chapters as well as 9/11 and a viewing of the events over a decade later. The moment of encounter seems to take precedence in Ahmed's chapter on the affective politics of fear. The proximity of subjects is what allows for fear, and the collapse of distance itself can incite fear. Ahmed talks of the fears of white children that they would be eaten by black men, the fear that their own body would be incorporated into the body of an unknown subject. This anticipation of proximity and the fear it brings cause the shrinkage into bodily and social space.

So when thinking of 9/11, to what extent are preconceived impressions acting to shrink people into themselves and into social groupings? The preconceptions of the Muslim community abroad and the American Muslim community inform the response to the attack, but the response was exaggerated as each person recoiled into themselves and the social groups they were already familiar with creating distance between already fairly divided sections of society. This shrinkage only heightens anxiety, as with distance comes the inability to know what "the other" holds. The screening of the telethon definitely reaffirmed this shrinkage from the Muslim community post-9/11 by white America as the telethon hoped to reestablish nationalism as the group we shrink in in fear together. Identification in the other lessens the anxiety as the other becomes less and less unknown.

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