The Resistance, as always, is evolving and experimenting. We are one faction of those fighting for the future: a group of writers, thinkers, and artists using our powers to fight imagination with imagination. Through a pirate communications channel (CoLab Radio), we are imagining Alternative Futures – creating stories to question the existing dominant power structure and (re)build our own.
The year is 2265. Many around me partake in celebration of four hundred years of what has come to be known as “liberty”, a re-writing of history intended specifically to mask the continued imprisonment which we endure. Centuries have passed, but if my furtive reading of the Forbidden is at all accurate, little has changed. The resistance has never ceased, and yet our progress toward a more equitable society appears as elusive as it must have to those before me gazing back mournfully on the promise of freedom to which so many had desperately clung following the Old Victory. On this day, surrounded by forced merriment and hollow camaraderie, I instead sit in the solace of my mind, pondering what words I might have spoken to myself, even just 250 years ago, to compel a radical choice…
I stopped asking for my rights when I realized I already had them. I stopped asking not to be raped when I realized I was pleading with a rapist; a weak, fragile individual whose only sense of power was garnered through physical imposition of his will and violent, gendered norms that he and I both unfalteringly adopted. He relied on my continued belief in his authority as a psychological manifestation of the physical chains I might as well have been wearing. But then I left.
It was hard to leave, while not actually leaving. For over a year, we lived in very close proximity. But I left–I stopped believing myself female, and began to see myself as human, as a spirit soul. I left as soon as I realized I had no desire to be equal to someone like that. Why should I ever let someone with such little belief in his own worth be a judge of mine? I stepped out of the neatly carved mold sitting snugly beneath his, a first, hesitant step toward freedom tainted only by my sadness for the others who remain.
I envision an America in which black people have left—not physically, of course, but have shed the psychological and spiritual usurping of our identities. I strive for a present disabused of white notions of equality, ones deformed and mutilated by fear and self-loathing, at once true and false. In this present, we burst their thought monopolies to embrace a dignity–the beautiful, unimagined human spirit–accompanying the realization of inherent value. This is the alternative concept my heart desperately chases: relationships between individuals free of arbitrary hierarchical constraints; meaning found in the absence of external dictation. The possibility not of falling in love, but falling out of it; love as the default, the kind of love that manifests not in safe spaces but in a safe world, a love that enables freedom of body and spirit, and not sought after, but experienced.
These musings are not in any way to detract from the power harnessed in the shared determination exhibited by the Movement for Black Lives, or any movement in the dark history of this country that has called for an end to unbridled hate. Indeed, that rallied cry imbued with a desperate sense of purpose, whatever it may be, is testament to a resilience that will not be quelled no matter the oppressive violence endured. Rather, these thoughts are a simple suggestion of a possible answer to the question that inevitably arises when our hunger strikes successfully dislodge presidents of colleges: What now? Laced with my admiration for such commitment is a hopeful plea that we may also have a movement of mind and heart in which we see in every day, in every single interaction with another human being, an opportunity to demonstrate this alternative concept of equality which exists—and always has–in the depths of our subconscious, just waiting to blossom into a brilliant American future.