Saturday, February 5, 2011
None of what I'm thinking today has anything to do with my hair. I'm thinking about colonialism, first and foremost, and how we often talk about it as though it was a barbaric practice of the past, when in fact it is in play all around us, every day. I'm thinking about all of our inherited and internalized -isms. Racism, sexism, classism, and more. And how if we don't take responsibility for healing those terrible scars of miseducation which sit inside us and affect our every action and word, that we are potentially (probably?) contributing to the oppression of others. I hear lots of "well-meaning" people say things that are hurtful or do things that are downright oppressive and negatively affect the quality of life of other people. Words they don't have to say and things they don't have to do to get by and live well. Sometimes I say something, or ask a question. Sometimes I don't. Many factors inform my responses, the most pressing being my own survival.
Today, I am thinking a lot about silence. And how imposed silence of the oppressed is a tool of capitalism, colonialism, and patriarchy. I am thinking about the times I have felt silenced when what I wanted most was to speak loudly on behalf of myself or of others. I stayed silent, because I feared the reaction of the person or people without whom I literally can not pay my bills. With anyone else, I know their reaction is theirs to hold and deal with. But not with the ones who control resources - MY resources. I am stuck in the capitalist loop.
I am thinking: I want so desperately to have the right response and ask the right questions. When faced with these things, I stutter, then smile and perform, like I've been taught to do. I don't want to wear this mask, but I don't ever seem to know what the right answers or questions are anymore.