Optical Illusions

Unmasking a Nobody


I’m Nobody! Who are you?


Welcome my fellow Nobody’s (and if you are a Somebody, I welcome you too):


Welcome! Welcome to my blog – where I hope to show you what hides under the mask of a Nobody. You will be surprised. Happy. Unnerved. Excited… Awed. And – a little – scared. Yes, we will have some fun together.


What is a Nobody?


A Nobody is a failure to society, an embarrassment, always given the side eye — the uninterested smile, and only given attention when society is willing to be amused, entertained, in need of that good-Samaritan-feeling.


In all seriousness, this blog is dedicated to unmasking various channels of oppression and exploring how different modalities of oppression interact.


The pieces published on this blog will represent different takes on intersectionality of modes of oppression particularly ableism, racism and sexism.


You see, not only are perspectives of individuals who are faced with oppression valid as a way of understanding the social reality, they are, in fact, indispensable.


As Socrates stated, “the condition of truth is to allow suffering to speak.” Certain avenues of oppression like racism and sexism have been widely explored by scholars and activists in the past decades and more or less successfully developed through debates between various strands of thought within these circles. However, there remains a lot of disagreement around the issues of primacy of these particular forms of oppression in the society like ours. The posts in the blog will be my personal attempts to take on some of those issues.


The problem of ableism as an additional modality of marginalization and exclusion has only recently been tackled. It refers to the ways in which normative discourses surrounding the body are established as a way of alienating and excluding people with disabilities from political action and relevance. What is more, this way of thinking delegitimizes the disabled to the point of denying them even the possibility of expressing valid views about society. Their disability is taken as a kind of defect that prevents them from comprehending the society in all of its complexity. The status of individuals with disabilities is at best approached with a degree of empathy and the desire to help them. My aim in this blog would be to undermine this essentially liberal attitude by trying to delegitimize the form of thinking about the disabled as “those who need help” and establish a discourse that emphasizes disability as a form of distance that allows for a different not in the least less valuable perspective on society. In other words, my claim is that there is a lot of truth to the idea that is sometimes considered a cliché, which is that being disabled in one way opens the door to additional abilities in another way.


Finally, theorists have written a lot about intersectionality as a way of exploring how these systems of oppression interact in marginalization of persons who embody several characteristics taken as a basis for oppression and exclusion. As a woman, blind, mixed-race, asexual, I will position myself as someone who stands at the “intersection” of ableism, racism and sexism which manifest themselves in my everyday life.


However, instead of creating just another blog where the author positions herself against the layered monolith of white supremacy, patriarchy and ableism thereby allowing those very power structures to define and very often overwhelm her perspective, I will take an affirmative approach in trying to develop a narrative that tries to highlight the experience of standing at the intersection of these forms of oppression but focusing on positive and enabling aspects of such an experience. In other words, my main task will be to express some of the unique experiences and perceptive powers of a person who refuses to be defined by socially constructed labels of disability, race and gender. In doing so, I hope to demonstrate the positive contribution (as opposed to the critical one) to understanding society from the perspective of a woman who is blind of mixed race. To do this is, of course, not to deny the importance of critiques, but the crucial value of my task will lie in the necessity to begin to develop narratives of the oppressed that refuse to be defined by oppression so as to create the possibilities for a just and equal society where the oppressed can be seen as having a lot to contribute rather than being in need of constant help and sympathy.

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