chapter  6
18 Pages

Why is racism always a fantasy?

For Zˇizˇek, racism begins with the question of ‘Che vuoi?’. As we saw in Chapter 5, ‘Che vuoi?’ is a shorthand way of asking ‘What do you want from me?’. This question arises from the arbitrary character of our roles in the Symbolic Order. These roles are arbitrary in that they are not the direct consequence of our actual, real properties. For example, if I am a king there is nothing inherently ‘kingly’ about me; I do not have an intrinsic quality of ‘kingliness’ that I am born with. The qualities of ‘kingliness’ are conferred upon me by my position in the Symbolic Order when I am born into a royal family. We therefore maintain a distance towards our roles because we do not feel we can fully account for them. This distance is expressed by the ‘Che vuoi?’ – ‘Why am I what you say I am?’ – the question we address to the big Other. It is a question asked these days less by kings and more by celebrities: do you (the fans) love me for my fame (my role in the Symbolic Order) or for who I really am?