Anti-Blackness, Carcerality, and Global Capitalism

Photo by Mehdi Sepehri on Unsplash

I have been brown all my life.

Mostly on the fair-skinned side of the shade, although according to my mother’s side of the family not nearly as fair/pale as they would have liked my skin color to be. Growing up I was always compared to what my mother’s skin was like — her nickname as a child was “memsaheb” (a (white) foreigner) at birth, the name signifying her almost white porcelain skin. In the poor, working-class Bengali family that she grew up in, her white skin was considered an object of pride and one of immense capital. That, and the…

When the University of Washington offered me a position as a tenure track assistant professor position in March 2020, I was thrilled beyond measure. I knew that as an international student in the US, my transition from Ph.D. candidacy to full-time employment won’t be possible without a work permit granted by the federal government — -also known as the H1B visa. I was aware that acquiring an H1B would be a challenging process. Ten months later, I admit that I never prepared myself for the possibility of losing healthcare, several months of income, and possible deportation. As I encountered endless…

[From the concluding chapter of my doctoral dissertation “A Grassroots Praxis of Technology: View from the South”]

My work with the grassroots social movements of the U.S. South to the extent I have reported in my dissertation is by no means a conclusive work on the broader agenda that I set out to do in the field of computing. This is to say, the agenda to construct and practice resistance and accountability against hegemonic technology cultures of the world has always been and is going to be, a long term project beyond the scope of a dissertation. Perhaps, beyond the scope of the academy altogether — who are we to set the rules for how the culture…

“the respectable man enjoys a dark body best

when it comes with a good

cry thrown in.” — Joshua Bennett

Khadijah, one of the presenters in our workshop “Design and the Politics of Collaboration” at the 22nd Conference of Computer Supported Cooperative Work (CSCW) 2019, did not have slides. Instead, she read a poem by Joshua Bennett, “A Still Life with First Best Friend.” When it was her turn to present, she gently asked if she could kneel and read the poem as a way of presenting her work to the room. Khadijah Abdurahman’s identity is perhaps important to correctly…

It’s been a therapeutic few months in this village of ours. A therapy for all the wounded souls of the difficult times.

And this is, indeed, the darkest of times — the time of extreme capitalism, extreme violence and communalism, and extreme centralization of power. You either come out of it as the oppressor finding refuge in possessions and privilege, only to suffocate yourself in your own power; or you become the oppressed fatalistically accepting your powerlessness. You are a victim of a bigger puzzle either way. But what does an alternative learning space in a far-away village have to…

Sucheta Ghoshal

Assistant Professor at HCDE, UW. PhD in Human-Centered Computing from Georgia Tech.

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