I am one
in the army of oppressed.
This is not the same oppression
of the days of yore.
Identity is the enemy;
categorization is the tool
used to fool.
We simply provide our
but what we truly render
So jaded are we,
repressed as can be.
With our hopes and dreams
minimized and ripped to shreds.
No wonder we
who were born ‘free’
remain captive to the prisons
in our heads.
I won’t let this go without a fight,
if it’s the last thing I do.
I will pour all my love and attention,
with every heartbeat I’ll mention
the tumult and strife
we consider a life.
We were forced to live in this land
In this nation I plan,
to exploit this place that constantly exploits
‘The land of the ‘brave’, the home of the ‘free’ indeed
and in kind
I hope one will find
the position that was etched
out for us
under your shoes.
By Desi Self (3.2.13)
I was recently inspired to share my poetry after a conversation that I had with a feminist scholar in the field of Critical Race Theory. We got to talking about how infuriating the field of Philosophy is when it comes to teaching, publishing, and progressing the fields of Critical Race Theory, Gender Studies, Feminist Philosophy, African American Studies, and the like. I was able to speak to her because of an event that was open to the public in which she was speaking. The title of her talk was, “Moving Beyond Tolerance in the Academy.” This was a discussion that provided such disconcerting facts like women of color account for less than HALF of ONE PERCENT of scholars/professors in the field of Philosophy. Her discussion ended with a reading of a poem about what moving beyond tolerance would look like, which was truly inspiring (digression: I made a connection with the poem as well because the author is someone that I am in correspondance with for an upcoming event I am hosting! This made me all the more excited to meet them in person.). It reminded me what I am fighting for. My discussion with the speaker this morning ended on a great note though. She really was pushing for me to keep motivated and determined, and we then discussed potential networking opportunities. I love that this happened when it happened, which I will explain further in a later blog.
So, who is this speaker to which I refer? Dr. Namita Goswami. She currently teaches at Indiana State U. She is an amazingly strong and intelligent, open and welcoming, supportive and encouraging force. She has faced hardships in her scholarly progression, though these things haven’t defeated her. I remember when I wrote about her struggle in Chicago, and how floored I was by it and what seemed to be a LACK of a real sincere reaction from the folks at that university. It is situations like hers that motivate me to act. I want to make visible these things so that there might be hope for a tangible, safe space for us (women of color philosophers/feminists/writers/activists/scholars) both within the scholarship and in public realms. One person who is actively facilitating safe spaces is the author of the poem this morning’s talk ended with. Dr. Alexis Pauline Gumbs provides a space for discourse (in this case, within the scholarship) using various mediums. I suggest checking her web pages out, there are a lot of inspiring things on them!
I wrote this because of Namita.
I wrote this to those of you who are reading.
Activism comes in many forms, not just writing, I was reminded of this this morning. You’re not alone in your action.