In this piece, David Olali examines the seeming innocuousness that heritage icons assume, with their predisposition towards narratives of nativization, where they take on new social and cultural life, with the appertaining implications of meanings appended to them. Following Jacqueline Jones’ argument—on the myth of race—in Dreadful Deceit (2013), Olali argues that symbols, while they are capable of conveying intents, including racialized ones, are of themselves, as in understanding scripture tropes, not racist, but the people who deploy them could either be or are! But that, too, depends on the task or deployment to which such “racist” icons are put.

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