Think Be Do Forum Feature: Julian K. Glover

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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. 12204605_10153347870557572_520458057_n

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.

 

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Naming the Myth, Resisting the Myth

StopMystfyPascalRobertsPascal Roberts

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

Don’t Ask Me

Please do not ask me what  I think white people should do about anything.

Cause if after living, studying, and benefiting from these systems for hundreds of years

you can’t quite seem to figure out how to undo it

or how to be accountable to interrupting it  at all times

then you really don’t want to know.

If you ask me I’m going to tell you to get on some John Brown type shit.

Donate your money , tell your friends to, or give me their numbers and go somewhere and sit down type shit.

If you haven’t dealt with your own family and  friends, aka fellow white profiteers and appropriators you’re not really serious.

If you’re willing to take jobs leading people of color to solve their own problemsyou’re the same as the blue coats on Wall Street…Bottom feeders

cloaked and disguised in the good intentions of a 501c3, fellowship, benefit, poverty perpetuating philanthropy.

You not serious you poverty pimping, neo colonist,Iggy what’s her name look a likes.

You’re addicted to our oppression.

Sneaky pop culture fiends addicted to this America Life style.

Always using and consuming us. Wannabes  dressing, talking, walking, like us.

Living to jive, sing, and rap like us.

Stomping on us trying to prosper while proving your one of the good ones.

Moving into hoods raising prices, pushing us out.

Our homes collateral damage on your journey for identity.

Please do not ask me what I think white people should do about anything.

Cause if after living, studying, and benefiting from these systems for hundreds of years

you can’t quite seem to figure out how to undo it

or how to be accountable to interrupting it at all times

then you really don’t want to know.

If watching us get murdered in these streets again and again

hearing how they’re filling the jails like slave ships, and closing schools while quoting higher unemployment rates, hasn’t cause you to burn something by now!?

You not really trying to get down.

You just want me to give you fodder for Progressive debates.

An excuse to blame corporations and republicans or some soothing words…

 you know magical salve for the cancer eating at your soul, I mean white guilt.

Don’t ask me cause if you asking you probably already know.

Come on  lets be honest  you don’t  really want to do all that

why would you want to risk so much, for me ?

Why when you can find  comfortable job, school for you kids, and peaceful protests to attend from time to time, to relieve your anxieties.

Don’t ask me shit.

Don’t look my way with your silly questions.

Don’t confuse my calm demeanor with the face of your dream  token

or my presence at your racist ass institutions with diversity formulas to ease your mind.

Cause if you ask me I’m going to tell you to get on some John Brown type shit.

If watching us get murdered in these streets again and again with no consequence.

and if hearing how they’re filling the jails like slave ships, and closing schools while quoting higher unemployment rates

hasn’t cause you to burn something by now

you not really trying to get down.

Skittles Tea

I’m on ten

so much is being said about Trayvon

I don’t want to speak

the thought of it  fills me with anger

and hopelessness

but I know I can’t give up

I know this is what the beast does

this is white supremacy this is injustice and this is not new

we know this beast oh too well

and that is why though angry and sad many of us were not surprised

it happens all the time

on  grander scales everyday

multiply one black boy dead with nothing but skittles and ice tea  in his hand

with over 100 other unarmed black men killed by men in uniforms just last year

with all the women raped last night

plus all the black and brown bodies behind bars

fighting for sanity struggling to hold on to their humanity in the the dungeons of the PIC

plus all the seniors on fixed income who are hungry and huddled around boxed fans in 80 degree apartments

counting the last of their medications which are slowing killing them to keep them alive

but what does all that have to do with Trayvon they will cry

there will always be those who deny whats clear as day

they are invested in the myth of white supremacy

they lust after the spoils of capitalism

they benefit and profit and find comfort in it all

whether consciously or subconsciously

their just happy to be middle class or at least not one of those lazy poor people

they believe he must of got what he deserved

so much is being said about Trayvon

its a sticky hot summer night and I am boiling with sweat and melting in tears

its just another painful reminder

we still 3/5s even less than that

the stats of this judicial system boast

so the struggle continues

yes “we who believe in freedom can not rest”

but I don’t want to be equal with white

in order to be valued

After all shouldn’t freedom equal rest?

talking about why the verdict was not guilty

trying to find reasoning in a corrupt system … insanity

I’m so angry I just want to punch Zimmerman’s smug face

I don’t want to kill him

he’s not worth blood on my hands

just punch him around a bit

let him know we see right through you

you are the suspicious one

with your brown skin worshiping whiteness

upholding this status quo

murdering a child thats a special kind of low

what makes us want to have children in a country

that continues to devour our young, starve the old, and jail the strong?

Sometimes it gets thick

the weight of this struggle

the reality of our plight

sometimes injustice spits in my face

I weep and wipe sour saliva from my eyes

tonight they are stinging with the pains of a good cry

tonight slow sad songs are playing

my liquor is pouring

and I’m humming along for my life

for the lives lost and the burden of those still living

today I read of a black woman who watched a old white man

shoot her 13 year old son

he accused him of stealing  guns

what made him think he could

look this boy’s mother in the eye one moment

and shoot her son point blank the next

insanity, white supremacy 2 sides of the same coin

I weep for him for her

for those of us who walk in the skins of the “suspicious” ones

for every woman who will be told she deserved it

for those of us who’s capacity for greatness

is overshadowed by lust for power, control,

and the comforts of an identity rooted in the misrepresentation of we

tonight Luther,Jill, Chrisette and Kem

are singing me through my grief

I’m grateful for the way their voices

guide me to the depths of sorrow

with gentle romantic soothing alto baritones

their melodies remind me pain is not new and love is still real

every lusty, sultry, melancholy note screams

its ok to be angry, to weep, and to love as the struggle continues