JUDITH BUTLER TURNS DOWN CIVIL COURAGE AWARD FROM BERLIN PRIDE: “I MUST DISTANCE MYSELF FROM THIS RACIST COMPLICITY”
Press Release by SUSPECT on the events of the 19th June, 2010
As Berlin Queer and Trans Activists of Colour and Allies we welcome Judith Butler’s decision to turn down the Zivilcourage Prize awarded by Berlin Pride. We are delighted that a renowned theorist has used her celebrity status to honour queer of colour critiques against racism, war, borders, police violence and apartheid. We especially value her bravery in openly critiquing and scandalising the organisers’ closeness to homonationalist organisations. Her courageous speech is a testimony to her openness for new ideas, and her readiness to engage with our long activist and academic work, which all too often happens under conditions of isolation, precariousness, appropriation and instrumentalisation.
Sadly this is happening once again, for the people of colour organisations who according to Butler should have deserved the award more than her are not mentioned once in the press reports to date. Butler offered the prize to GLADT (www.gladt.de) , LesMigraS (www.lesmigras.de), SUSPECT and ReachOut (www.reachoutberlin.de), yet the one political space mentioned in the reports is the Transgenial Christopher Street Day, a white-dominated alternative Pride event. Instead of racism, the press focuses on a simple critique of commercialisation. This even though Butler herself was quite clear: “I must distance myself from complicity with racism, including anti-Muslim racism.” She notes that not just homosexuals, but also “bi, trans and queer people can be used by those who want to wage war.”