A method to analyze invisibility: Navigating the dissonance between woke and safe

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Mohabeer, Ravindra N.
This article starts by considering how ‘the talk’ that black and non-black minority families give to their children comes as a duty to transfer the wisdom of how to be invisible forward through generations. It is not uncommon to think about being visible as a social good, but this is not quite so straightforward when one occupies a body deemed as ‘other.’ This article exposes this tension to explore how invisibility can be understood as an independent, complex, and nuanced social dynamic in its own right by considering literature that uses invisibility as an analytical lens, providing a synthesis of that literature to offer a preliminary multidimensional model of invisibility to extend extant tools for sociological study. This literature considers race, gender, sexuality, various presentations of power, and different social systems to demonstrate a model that identifies how the intersection of power, affect, presence, and voice fluidly transfigure across time and space to create an overall social construct of invisibility. This suggests that deeper development of a multidimensional construct of invisibility can provide a reasoned and valuable additional lens to address a range of social dynamics.
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