While Smith is playing with and against the ideas of dreaming and dreams, she’s also passing over a neoliberal politics of choice, of allowing the market to dictate social policy and subsequently, the market to impact identity choices. The citizens of Dream City have no choice but to dance whatever dance would be in between the Harlem Shake and the Harlem Shake. But what about those who don’t have choice? Those who can’t choose to be “mixed” even though, maybe they are by our contemporary standards of racial ancestry, but they look black so they’re policed as Black? Live as monolithically Black? Smith’s assertion of a lack of choice for her and for Obama—both at the top of their game—is curious. She’s the chosen one, isn’t she? And him. Don’t they have all the choices in the world?
In this space for THE STATE, I won’t be coming at the discussion in terms of the mixing of pure specimen A and pure specimen B. Rather, I’ll be looking for the mess, the grit, the excess, the tortures, the violence and perhaps most importantly, the disappearing and undone present.