This past fall we requested submissions for the THINK BE DO Forum in response to Dirty Art Boi’s Naming the Myth Resisting the Myth. Thanks to everyone who sent in a submission however we are only able to select 4 to feature in the Forum. We will post new pieces throughout May.
We are excited to share our next guest piece for the THINK BE DO Forum by the very talented Julian K. Glover.
Julian K. Glover is an academic, activist, and performer who recently graduated from Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs with an MPA and has degrees in speech communications, music and sociology. He has been published in the Harvard Kennedy School’s LGBTQ Policy Journal is currently pursuing a PhD in African American Studies from Northwestern University where he works with E. Patrick Johnson. He has also worked for several national progressive organizations including the National LGBTQ Task Force, the National Center for Transgender Equality and the Center for American Progress in Washington DC.
“Every breath a transwoman of color takes in an act of revolution”
Lourdes Ashley Hunter
“I may not be a phenomenal woman, but I am an extraordinary queen!”
Tela La’Raine Love
“You will stand with me at all of my intersections or none at all”
Lady Dane Figueroa Edidi
The nature of white supremacy relies on its ability to remain invisible. Blackness is ruthlessly and mercilessly interrogated while whiteness remains the default and thus, unchallenged. I have developed strategies to resist white supremacy after understanding the importance of centering the wisdom, experiences, knowledge and survival practices of trans people of color and specifically transwomen of color (TWOC).
While attending the 2015 National LGBTQ Task Force Creating Change Conference in Denver Colorado, I had an opportunity to attend a healing circle led by the National Director of the Transwomen of Color Collective (TWOCC) Lourdes Ashley Hunter. The purpose of this circle was to provide a collective space for transwomen of color to express their sorrows, trials, tribulations, triumphs and resilience in the face of the various systems of oppression that constantly expose the community to violence and death.
Though I was elated to attend the circle, I did not anticipate that the experience would be transformative for me. Witnessing TWOC speaking truth to power, engaging in collective healing and supporting one another in the face of a world that seeks to destroy them daily forced me to examine the various ways that I- as a cisgender person- was complicit in the subjugation and oppression of TWOC and the transgender and gender nonconforming community at large.
Not too longer after the healing circle and returning to the Midwest, I came to the conclusion that my liberation was dependent on the liberation of TWOC, the trans and gender nonconforming (GNC) community. Further, I realized that it was absolutely essential to not only center the trans (TWOC specifically) and GNC in our fight for liberation, but to demonstrate unconditional love, support and solidarity to that community as well. It is my belief that cisgender people who desire liberation will never achieve such a thing as long as we fail to love- physically, mentally, spiritually, and emotionally- the trans and GNC community.
Lest we forget that love is more than a discursive tool, but an action. We- as cisgender people who desire liberation- must learn how to love TWOC, the trans, and GNC community. We can do this by centering and highlighting their experiences while in protest of systemic oppression, critically listening to them and honoring their wisdom, making sure that they hold leadership positions in our organizations and allowing them to tell us exactly what we can do to improve their lives.
Too many times have I watched colleagues, family and friends who sincerely believe that they are being the best “ally” possible disavow and discount the analysis, wisdom, experiences and desires of those in the trans and GNC community. It is time for us (cisgender people) to acknowledge our cis-sexist privilege, humble ourselves and put our processed love of the trans and GNC community into action. It is through such actions that we can dismantle not just white supremacy, but also patriarchy, colonialism and even capitalism as well.
Having to cut myself in order to be free very conflicting.
Insanity according to my mother.
Being called she when you’re really mostly he
An insanely isolating pain.
Surviving in an a vessel that doesn’t fully express you
is a deep slow gnawing at the soul, weighting down the mind type pain.
Feeling foreign in the only body you have ever known,
walking around fully invisible like he they refuse to see in she,
living between pink or blue
constantly being punished and dismissed for giving zero fucks about pink or blue.
Can leave some thirsty for a dip in the shark tank
dreaming for the relief of the shark’s bite.
To tare down to rebuild is as old as time.
This taring is a mending.
A racing towards death for rebirth.
Chest flexes in the mirror like a 30 year old teenage boi.
Long deep scars stare back at me, invoking my wild shark tale.
For leaning into her mouth and surviving the
assault of the shark’s teeth some have called me brave.
More like desperate. I felt so fucking desperate.
Out of desperation I jumped into shark infested waters.
Out of desperation my body chose the surgeon’s knife,
increasing the chasm between my mother and I,
becoming a stranger to my brothers,
and more of a mystery to lovers.
I wont justify my body or defend my choices.
Their eyes whisper Insanity
at the sight of my transgressive temple
I don’t have the words to explain
why I rather a scar than a breast
my insides cringe at the thought of explaining my body
every time I have sex
I wont justify my body
How do I say I’m a man when the thought of you makes my pussy drip?
How do I explain to them that I am they, him and her but prefer he most of the time?
Their eyes whisper Insanity at the sight of my transgressive temple.
Next comes ignorant questions painting me into narrow boxes marked exotic, oddities, and experiments.
The tooth of a shark scraped my chest.
I left my breasts behind on a surgeon’s table in Florida
He ripped away a complicated part of me
Pain like never before.
I am healing.
Like never before.
They were ripped away so on paper I could be re gendered
When I left them behind did I ditch the binary mythology or cosign it?
Today the M in place of the F is a new Mis gendering.
Did I reject my body or this society?
Did I dismiss, embrace, or redefine myself?
What else did I leave on the surgeon’s table?
What do I have besides just another cliché ass shark tale ?
Not Another Tape
Not Another Tape!
Not another state sanctioned assination
Not another black body to mourn.
There is a grieving happen all over this place.
This grief is for the pigmented ones…
our sister brother cousin ones
often suppressed, miseducated, envied yet hated ones
…it feels like a permeant state this grief.
How do you live when we always dying?
How you living … we crying?
To love under oppression is to be in a constant state of grief, lost, sadness, anger?
Fatha Baldwin named it a constant state of rage.
This rage is blazing in the bellies of us the tired ,fighting, resisting, ones
Yea you I feel you raging, you the fired up and ain’t taking it no more ones.
The old, young, wild, free, bold, queer, conscious and laying your bodies on the gears, facing fear, protesting, yelling, campaigning, demanding, and building a better world, ones.
This rage is a flame burning in the hearts of weeping mothers who’ve buried children shot down by these systems.
There is a grieving happen all over this place.
This grief is for the pigmented ones…
our sister brother cousin ones.
Targeted by too many violent system ones.
This grief is radiating from all us.
The ones who hurt when people hurt.
Those who feel powerless to stop the assault on black, brown, poor, and anybody who refuses to bow to state violence.
There is a grieving happening all over this place accompanied by a battle cry.
One moment we’re crying the next fighting.
When you’re done crying how and why
on the backs of those tears
are what now …lets go… can’t stop now… . #strugglecontinues #DiryArtBoi
I support black people of all genders and classes getting together to celebrate our beauty and to develop political platforms but the million man march is a joke. It’s political grand standing and theatre at best. Anyone who would follow that slimy shady, sexist, classist, homophobic, megalomaniac, Louis Farrakhan is a fool. I just have to say it. He has done so much damage his hands are stained with Malcom’s blood. With All the resources he has built through his temple and followers in Chicago their impact on the south side should be 10x what it is. He’s just an old time hustling ass preacher who found a nice con in pushing Islam and claiming to continue Elijah Muhammad’s Legacy. It’s really sad and disappointing to see black folks so thirsty for political attention that we would follow that man for another symbolic March.After all the political activity this past year where is the event to build alliances between recently politically active young people and previous generations? We don’t have to agree on everything but can we agree to stop following snakes who continue to degrade women and poor people for starters? Can we agree to put a pause on useless marchers until we build some strategic alliances amongst ourselves that will have a direct impact on the violence of poverty they are using to keep our people in economic and psychological choke holds? Can we try to do this without people trying to build brands, get rich in the process, or trying to become the next mayor/president. Surely we have realized after multiple million men marches and countless black mayors,senators,and even a president that our strengths and solutions ly somewhere else amongst ourselves outside the trappings of respectability, capitalism, and the american political system.
This reminds me why I have started calling it the Myth of white supremacy with intentional lowercase. I stay grasping for the words and actions to effectively resist the myth while building new ways of relating to people and the planet. Sometimes just saying white supremacy reenforces it in our minds and continues to center whiteness. We must find ways in language as well as action to be real about the nature of this thing while struggling to destroy it. This is warfare and the power of words and propaganda cannot be under estimated.
Many societies have cultures rooted in myths and propaganda which justifies the damage they do to people and the planet in the pursuit of power or “nation” building. These myths give a sense of identity to the people and attempt to mystify governments and institutions away from responsibility for the blood on their hands and harm done to the environment. At the core of American so called patriotism is the myth of white supremacy and its insidious partner capitalism.
The Media repackages, reenforces, and promotes assimilation and justifications for these global predators. Pop culture is constantly telling us to consume things that help you succeed, aka earn money and prestige in the white business world. The clothes you wear, the way you talk, what’s considered sophisticated versus what’s “ghetto”,”classy”, “respectable” or “professional. Behind all these are things that tie you to the myth of white supremacy and press you to perpetuate the globalization of capitalism.
As we acknowledge the reality of how it impacts the world we must also affirm its fallacy and finite nature. As we continue to critique it we must not give it more power in our minds than it deserves. Though it has real political implications at the end of the day it’s a lie. A lie intertwined with capitalism used to create systems and institutions of oppression that can be destroyed and replaced. Too many people want to hold white people “accountable”,try to convince them to walk away from world domination, privilege, and the status quo. Most of us are taught to believe that we can convince at least a handful of good people to be a little nicer to people of color, the poor, or anyone outside the 1% for that matter. You know the way liberals rather frame the same old white supremacist and capitalists exploits as civil or human rights issues. Worse others just want more of “their” people to get a piece of the action or a place at the table so they can prove they’re ability to assimilate and integrate into these systems to their own benefit.
What are your thoughts on the nature of white supremacy? What are you strategies for resisting and unlearning its influence on your day to day? Have you thought about connections between the way we talk about oppression and perpetuate it at the same time? Have you thought about the connection between this myth, globalization, and your daily spending habits? Have you had this types of discussions with young people or everyday poor/ working class POC? Can you explain the myth of white supremacy to a 10 or 16 year old? I ask these questions in a effort to push us towards sharping our analysis, tactics, and continuing to shape a practical black liberation politic for the masses. If these words and ideas don’t translate into the day to day lives of the poorest of the poor as well as the so called middle class they mean nothing. -#DirtyArtBoi
We do not have to agree on everything for me to be your fan, supporter, and a person who enjoys seeing you do well. This is apart of what it means for me to practice solidarity. If we truly believe that our freedom and happiness is tied together across many intersections then when I shine you shine and vis versa. Competition can be fun but is often bred in us to keep us divi
ded. We have to intentionally work against the urges to compare and compete for profit over people. A common challenge to this are our own insecurities and ignorance of self. When you are ok with who you are you don’t need to compare nor do you feel threatened at others’ success. Now someone else’s success or shine at the expense of my peeps or liberation politic thats another story.