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  • Bernadette Bowen

Response to The Witches are Coming

The following was a response to the below prompt for a "Raging Women: Then & Now" course.


"What does West mean by witchcraft? Would you say this text operates as witchcraft? How?"

The way I understood West using the term "witchcraft" is the same way I've seen some philosophers of technology refer to language and other mediums as magic. As many before me have argued, we do take for granted how mystical and amazing language usage truly is in our lives. We literally speak things into being everyday. This is the same way I see that this text operates as witchcraft or magic. Referring to a different type of witches and wizards than our West text referred to this week: I don't know about you all, but I grew up reading the books and watching the Harry Potter movies. I have distinct memories of playing the games that came within the the DVD menu of "The Sorcerer's Stone" in a quite insatiable way. I wanted to be what I ate. As soon as I consumed the fantasy of performing magic, I was captivated, and all I wanted to do was be able to say some magic words, wave a wand and perform magical feats.


Lucky for me, Dear Reader (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wizard_People,_Dear_Reader (Links to an external site.)), a few years later video games were made that gave me the closest immersive glimpse into being able to subjectively place myself into the wonderful world of Harry Potter. Even later, Lego Harry Potter games were made where my lego avatar could walk around and as close as possible stack blocks together and assemble my very own world. But, little did little bird know, she had the power to speak magic into being all along.


To elaborate, on one hand (and as we discussed a bit in class this week), I just argue that we many times have internalized sense of learned powerlessness. Ergo, intention aside, I believe understandably within an increasingly globalized world within a proven U.S. oligarchy under late-stage capitalism we all aren't exactly having a good time right now. We can and should speak up when we can. Even if it makes us uncomfortable. Especially when it makes us uncomfortable. There is an important distinction between discomfort and pain.


Thus considering that, on the other hand, (and as Chey mentioned) not everyone has the same level of privilege to be able to speak up. Hence why in this week's synchronous class I attempted to describe my rationale for why I interact the way I do. Whether people acknowledge it or not, I do constantly mentally weigh the amount that and how I talk. Part of that involves considering a) how many times in the past I have been silenced, b) how many times I've sat back and watched myself and people around me not speak up in moments of injustice throughout my life, and c) attempting to speak up for others who don't deserve to constantly have to carry the burden of speaking back to powerful persons who don't even acknowledge marginalized peoples humanness and/or basic needs for respect and personal dignity.

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