I will not lie to you. I have been finding it difficult to write this week. There are too many thoughts and ideas running around frantically in this head of mine, and they refuse to be settled.
They refuse to let me grab onto them and put them in jars so they can be revisited later. I am not sure if this is just me but doesn’t it feel like the powers that be have shaken, ruffled and abruptly lifted the thick rug that covers our collective B.S.?
It’s as if this dust that has come refuses to settle, rather it stands still, clouding the air with its stench leaving us no choice but to deal with all of the gunk we’ve stored under that rug.
There was a student-run newspaper, maybe you know it, that published a letter that attempted to address the racism and discrimination that exists within its practices.
I am not entirely sure if there are any number of unconscious and implicit bias trainings that can illuminate individuals who already feel like they know it all and are woke.
For several years, students have continually called out the newspaper for their consistent discriminatory behavior and their participation in perpetuating systems, standards and stereotypes that racially and systematically abuses and oppresses those of us who are Black, Brown, Indigenous and non-white students on campus. Let it be clear that a simple letter, which seems like it was written last minute, does not and will never absolve The Lawrentian of their behavior. It does not wash their hands clean.
However, the letter is a step in merely clearing a route that could lead the student-run newspaper in the right direction. Let me not be so harsh and unrelenting in my criticism for just a few sentences. I am glad that a student-run newspaper exists at a predominantly white institution like Lawrence University.
Not only am I glad, but I am ecstatic, because this means that the power for radical change is in the hands of students, and it is not, nor should it be, corrupted by administrative agendas, powers or influences. The Lawrentian has introduced me to so many amazing, elegant and informed writers and their columns.
Not to mention that grabbing a newspaper and reading it with my morning cup of joe (which is really just some OJ), allows me to live my grown woman Hollywood fantasy of reading a newspaper in which only my eyes can be seen by anyone walking by.
Making me look all mysterious and intriguing. Like c’mon, ya girl is living the dream! It is important, however, that it is understood by such organizations, that writers have often enforced whiteness, Eurocentrism and Euro-colonial standards.
Who is writing the story matters and where the story is placed also matters. That is all I will say on that, I am not here to teach anyone about things they should already know. Especially things they inherited that empower them but were designed to oppress, write off and abuse others.
I will refer to an old saying that I am constantly reminded of, “With great power, comes great responsibility.” Much like the students who run a newspaper, writers and all of us as citizens of a country that has labelled itself as “great,” we too have an important responsibility.
As writers, voters, educators and even role models we should not take what we do so lightly. When you vote for any persons that are proud of being a racist, white supremacist funded, rapist, xenophobic, fat-taker, even if you are none of these things, you are breathing new life into all of these things to continue living on.
When you endorse the Messiah of those who hate my people, the ambassadors of Euro-Colonialism and the enforcers of whiteness, you are endorsing the continuous genocide of my people.
You are endorsing those that trick you into thinking that it was their God given right to cleanse the world of those of us that are not pure (according to Euro anything standards, that usually means white). Please leave God at the door, stop claiming this is divine right and will. It’s pathetic.
As much as I have learned and come to know, I will never understand why, in the history of the world, people have come to the conclusion that violence, hate and malice are the only methods in which they could have built themselves and their legacy on.
I hate to sound like a hopeless romantic, but, honestly, I truly believe that love is the utmost powerful weapon. I hope that letters that attempt to mend the brokenness caused by these horrors and everything that it inspires are written out of love.
I’m tired of letters that are carefully constructed props and statements to be forgotten. I would hope that when people vote, it is with intention, not because it is a dreaded responsibility. Do you know how many people in this very U.S. of A. cannot vote because they are colonial subjects?
Look up Puerto Rico and learn about the many second-class American citizens who are valued colonial objects but not valuable enough as subjects to vote for our congressional representatives or the president of the United States. How can it be ok to rob people of their agency?
Radical political, economic, spiritual, personal liberation happens when you love yourself enough to realize that you are bound to systems that give you conditional freedom and liberation and being weird enough to want more.
It is realizing that you are bound to systems and standards that distort your sense of self and sense of worth. It is wanting more than just what you have been told you can aspire to. Many people think that it is just the colonized that need to be liberated. But who will liberate the colonizers from themselves?
Emancipation of the systems requires confrontation with the Shadow Self. It requires love. Radical liberation and accountability is an act of love. You cannot be ***woke if you have not awakened to the reality of your contributions to these things.
Let it be clear that if there is anything this election has taught is that the bad tan and toupee in a red tie in the White House, is just a symptom of the larger, more intricate issues woven into the fabric of this country.
So, it is our duty, and especially those that benefit from these systems, to confront the very monsters they created.
Love yourself enough to set yourself free.
Carmen San Diego