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What did Fred Moten mean by the “fugitive movement,” and how does this relate to or conflict with Richard Dyer’s writing about “white”?

Fred Moten argues that Blackness is “fugitive,” for Black people naturally flee, sometimes in body, sometimes in mind, from oppressive social structures. Richard Dyer maintains that whiteness is actually a non-identity and a “cultural void” that is viewed as normal or basic. Nonwhite people often try to change to become more “white” and more “normal.”

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Both Fred Moten and Richard Dyer examine issues of race, trying to figure out what race means and how people use it and abuse it.

Fred Moten studies Blackness, which he calls inherently “fugitive.” Black people instinctively flee from the social structures that have oppressed them, Moten argues. They want to stand outside the mainstream culture, on the “outlaw edge,” refusing to play the role set for them in society. Some remove their bodies to new physical locations; others remove their minds, moving toward a world free from all that makes Blackness seem abnormal.

Richard Dyer, on the other hand, writes about whiteness. According to Dyer, whiteness is a “cultural void,” the norm that is really a non-identity. White people embrace other kinds of identities rather than whiteness, but they also have inherent power because of their whiteness, which is viewed as “basic” humanity and “normal.” People who are not white, Dyer continues, must fight for their humanity, and they often have to change to seem more “white” in order to access the opportunities white people often take for granted.

We can see how both of these arguments identify whiteness as the norm behind society's structures. Black people, according to Moten, seek to flee that norm, while white people, according to Dyer, don't even recognize the norm, while others are expected to change to conform to it. While their presentations clearly have different focal points, they essentially present a similar picture of insider versus outsider based on racial concerns.

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