Saturday, October 22, 2011

Learning To Love In The Dark

As I young girl growing up among mostly white people and mostly rich, racist white people. I was left with a long legacy of internalized racism. I think that is why I am so vocal about it, because I know how powerful and destructive the tools of colonialism are. Whether they are movies or Christianity. Anything can and is used as a tool to keep up oppressed, and we must be ever vigilant, because they work. And I want us to be free.

One of the ways I am working to decolonize my spirit, is by loving myself and loving my and our blackness. It has put me in a time in my life where my relationships with Black and Brown Womyn are my priority, to love them and give them my best and that includes myself. Because for a long time, I wasn't very good to myself. And whether it was because at 15, when my boyfriend's mother told me that she was pleased I was not one of those immigrants who were destroying her white middle class neighbourhood. In order not to believe I could be as bad as she described, I instead chose to pretend that I was outside of that. As a mixed race girl, it is one of the 'privileges' that we enjoy, we are able to reject Blackness. White plantation owners would do the paper bag test to us and not our darker skinned sisters, this meant that we had the option of social mobility, even if it was only out of a strategy of divide and conquer, letting a few of us through so we could oppress each other. As Keisha-Monique says, "the most powerful tool of the oppressor is the mind of the oppressed".

As someone who has dated a lot of white folks or folks with white privilege and now in a relationship with not only someone who is descriptively Black, but someone who is politically Black American, I am confronting other remnants of that internalized racism, some white guilt I was holding on to, some body issues, so much in fact. And inspired by this radical (remembering that radical means from the roots;) process of loving and healing, is this piece I performed at Leah Lakshmi Piepzna- Samarasinha's launch of the most important and beautiful Love Cake. There are two pieces I perform in this, the first one is a version of a poem I submitted to Soy Forde's Creative Commess Blog Carnival, check out her blog here.

I try to remind myself that there is no purity in any of it, decolonization, even liberation are processes we move in and out of, ebb and flow, live and learn in. There is no inauthenticity in any of it, through it all we Black and Brown, this too is a part of our experience. There is so much nuance, degree in all of it. It's why I love it when we tell our stories, all of them.

1 comment:

  1. i am most definitely going to get my hands on "Love Cake!" this post resonates so much--it's such a constant process understanding who we are and reworking the way we think about certain kinds of things. & it's hard work too! but so necessary for the self-reflexive person.