The Power of Spectrums – The master’s tool will never dismantle the master’s house
We have often fell into conversations of binary and duality. Even amongs people who reject binaries in many other areas and see binaries themselves as an act of violence.
One such binary that has been forced on us is violence vs. nonviolence. We must choose as people how we will attain our liberation. We must choose which side we are on. This stance would fully ignore the reality that we are full and complex beings who may act violently or nonviolently in various situations. ALL OF US ARE AND HAVE BEEN VIOLENT. That is an assertion that needs to be recognized. We must resist the system’s need to box us in and force us to deny part of ourselves. The compartmentalizing of our being is an act of violence. Forcing us to deny parts of ourself is a tool of the master’s house to deny understanding us as the full and complex beings we are. Only acknowledging our pain as marginalized people when it fits clearly in a box that they can digest.
This same idea holds true in many other areas of our life. Artist, lovers, friends, family, etc.. We should have a basis for healthy interactions with the people in our lives but that basis should not be so restrictive that it doesn’t allow freedom for that person to express themselves fully in ways that is not a detriment to your mental well being. Now it is important not to use this caveat of detriment to someone’s mental well being as a crutch to guard against challenging conversations that may reveal to you truths or alternative perspectives you are not ready to hear. Rather it is to establish rules of clear, healthy, fair communication and conflict necessary to growth and not condoning abusive and subjugating interactions.
Though it may be uncomfortable at times we must resist the desire to box people into well hold perceptual categories that prevent them from stepping into realms that may surprise us. Marginalized rage and pain need not only be expressed in digestible forms for their oppressor. Marginalized people need not be relegated only to spaces when they are teaching of their oppressor. The perspective of the marginalized people must not be tokenized but instead uplifted in places that it is typically not present. We also must not compartmentalize people’s struggles. A woman should not be forced to ignore her oppression as a woman in order to uplift and fight against race/culture/ethnic based oppression. All the same a working class or poor person should not have to be on the fringes of the feminist struggle. These ideas also work in reverse as well. We need to acknowledge that people are complex beings constantly fighting to uplift our own personal voices and struggles that have been muted by systemic oppression in the many various ways it has and at the same time we are recognizing our privilege and undoing the ways in which we perpetuate the oppression of other people in other conditions that we never directly experienced. We are oppressors and the oppressed at all times. We cannot fit into the binaries and categories created to divide us and often use to perpetuate that divide through tokenism.
To dismantle the master’s house we need to reject this categories and embrace our spectrum of complexities while recognizing the solidarity that exists between all of us in our struggle for liberation.