I always appreciate readings that raise the interconnections between nations, particularly between the US and other Third World nations–reminding us that there is much more beyond our borders. Okihiro’s viewpoints of Third World studies as the theorization of liberation for everyone (!)–not just for Third World or communities of color.  As Okihiro claims: Third World studies are “about society and the human condition broadly”.  However, I have noted that in creating spaces for ethic studies (as a discipline, set of theories and recognition of knowledge) and for communities of color, these spaces are often exclusive to members of their specific communities.  While this work is very salient, I agree with Okihiro that this feeds into a cultural nationalism (intentionally or not). It also maintains boundaries between knowledges and social groups impossible to overcome, it also excuses white, US Americans to learn about their interconnections with “ethnic” or Third World nations, and it continues to fragment us in our fight for their own freedom. Moreover, as Sudbury and Okinawa remind us, we also need to check our own positionality as situated within the US.

I believe that there is still an even more challenging need to share understandings of political, social, and material relations between ethnic groups, and nations, reach a common ground, and build solidarity across differences.  This also reminds me of Laura Pulido, a Chicana geographer and Environmental Justice scholar who is now urgently asking us to re-think how we talk about race when doing EJ scholarship and activism since bringing visibility to the disproportionate environmental hazards to which communities of color are exposed has not been highly effective in the past decades.  Thus, she calls for tracing interconnections among communities that experience various forms of oppression and violence across racial boundaries.  As we see nationalistic, white supremacist, xenophobic rise forcefully, I believe it is critical to re-examine how we trace power and difference.

I want to also carefully think and problematize the universality of communicating openly when doing public scholarship as Hale and other scholars stipulate.  Is communicating or disclosing our politics and moral views openly always the most ethical thing to do?