“If this is your path, as it is mine, let me offer whatever solace you may find in this monstrous benediction: May you discover the enlivening power of darkness within yourself. May it nourish your rage. May your rage inform your actions, and your actions transform you as you struggle to transform your world.” –Susan Stryker
I haven’t been able to sleep. I dream about being systematically silenced and institutionally raped. Every time I lay my head to the pillow to dream, all that envelopes me are thoughts of another day wasted. My body aches for change, my heart weeps.
I think of the powerful moments of the past that commanded direct attention to the disperate power dynamics prevalent in our society. I think about all of the people who either gave their lives or were willing to give their lives to the struggle. I think about the decades ago when this struggle was fiery, determined, and took to the streets. Ground level activism is what I am referring to. I believe that currently we are attempting something more like “institutional/educational activism,” where we are working inside these systems of power to break it down from within. Where this is admirable, I am also compelled to see more people in the public eye commanding change. More of us (who perhaps would be faceless otherwise) writing op-ed pieces to submit to news papers, people emailing news & social media demanding to either start a conversation or fervently asking these social media outlets to air conversations about the disperate power dynamics that frame the society in which we live that would feature perspectives from already disenfranchised populations. I would love to see people putting up flyers that have hard facts reflecting the blatant racial/classist/ableist/elitest biases that are inhibiting the ability for the marginal to have adequate access to the tools we need to lead fulfilling and happy lives.
And then I think about
Things like identity politics and the roles that interpersonal relationships, the many different types of media, education, employment, and politics play in the perpetuation of the status quo. Almost everything in public spaces silence anything that’s not fitting the white, male, heteronormative, middle/upper class, hegemony in one way or another. This silencing begins at very young ages and is only solidified throughout one’s lifetime. It creates a general feeling of inadequacy among those marginalized, as though we really just aren’t as capable as our hegemonic counterpart, where the real issue should be, why in the world do we WANT to be ANYTHING like our hegemonic counter? Why are we struggling for normalcy? For success? What does success really mean within this fundamentally flawed society? My guess would be that we yearn for normalcy & access to the same things our hegemonic counter has because that’s been the rule since the founding of this nation.
In my moments of unrest, I continue to ask myself
Why are we still asking and demanding to be tolerated and accepted, as though we are inadequate, almost admitting that we are so alien that one needs to tolerate our difference and so defective that one needs to accept our fundamentally flawed selves? Why are we so loving to a society that constantly spits on us every day for living? Every day it slaps me in the face how inadequate our educational system is (The things being taught to our children versus the things being left out), and the pushback against the humanities in order to silence the very thing I am so compelled to do with my life is only motivation to keep writing, to keep working as hard as I can to commit to the struggle for change on as many levels as possible.
The first things that I can do for myself:
- I can find a graduate program that actually fits with my goals and aims in life. One that embraces theorizing and active critique of things like identity politics and power dynamics within our society.
- I can continue to write about the current events I find that show the blatant discriminations our society perpetuates.
- I can continue to point to outlets that everyone can use in order to make visible the places etched out for us within this society
- I can continue to ask questions about what this change will look like, and what ‘getting to this change’ entails.
- I can continue this blog in the hope that it will inspire more action and engagement.
And then I think about time.
How much time is this change going to need to actually happen? What role does time play in the perpetuation of the status quo? How does the present affect the past, affect the future, affect the present? How can we more cogently identify these things like temporality and status quo? I’ve begun my trip down the rabbit hole that is queer temporality and am really trying to understand this complex topic as it relates to the struggle for a change regarding the embodiment of identity, the disperate power dynamics within our society, the access to media, education, political power, and upward economic potential.
Before I conclude this post, I would like to highlight some (mostly social) media outlets for all of you who want to start conversations or add to ongoing ones on the struggle:
- The Microaggressions Project
- Implicit Bias & Philosophy
- The Crunk Feminist Collective
- The Feminist Wire
- The New Inquiry
- Melissa Harris-Perry Show
- National Public Radio
- HuffPost Live
On this Memorial Day, I am going to take some time to remember all of the people who fought and died for the struggle. I’m going to be inspired by these people and try to work and dedicate myself to this struggle. I am going to read more about queer temporality, identity politics, and critical race theory so that I will be able to theorize about this visibility and change that needs to happen. I will look for more graduate programs to apply to that is better suited for me to be able to accomplish my aims and goals in life.
I hope that you all take some time today (and everyday) to think critically about this nation that we live in. I hope that you take the time to think about those who have fallen for the sake of the struggle. I hope that from these thoughts you realize that the struggle isn’t close to over, and that you know that you will have to be willing to fight (in various ways) in order to attempt to increase visibility of these discriminations and make change. I hope that you all are inspired by these thoughts to act in productive ways that can reap visibility and that demand direct response.
Do we need a revolution?
I would really like to know your thoughts about this for further discussion & future writing. What does a revolution mean to you? If you think we do need one, what are your thoughts about what this revolution would look like? What would it take to propel this revolution? Will it be violent? Peaceful? Both violent & peaceful, and why? What forms of activism would be implemented during this revolution? If you don’t think we need one, what do you think we need in order to persist in the struggle for more visibility, safe public spaces, and social/structural/institutional change? What would that look like? What would it entail? These are only a few questions to start the conversation going. As I have mentioned previously, this blog is all about engagement and empowerment. It needs your voice, your opinions, your knowledge to keep it going. If you have any literature that you would like to suggest for reading on queer temporality, ideas of (or against) revolution, identity politics, implicit bias, critical race theory, or responses to any of the questions addressed in this post; I hope that you feel safe, encouraged, and empowered to reply. Perhaps your response might empower someone else to reply and we can really start working together toward the goal and purpose of this blog by facilitating a space of engagement in order to excite the visibility and change that we really want and need to have within our society.
I need you comrades, in order to continue this discussion about what is needed to nurture and advance the struggle to get to the actual change we want to see.
Until Next Time,