power in writing

i live in a constant state of amazement and i am awed at the power people carry within them to, without even knowing me, name a feeling in my heart or a budding thought in my head and describe it so fully that it forces my head to nod vigorously and my hands to clap until they feel like they are on fire. today sudy and sylvia did that for me, although it’s not uncommon for them to do so.

that’s what i love about blogging. you don’t have to consider yourself a “writer” to write, although there are some real book-deal deserving people in the blogosphere. you don’t have to spell words correctly. you don’t have to have a fancy domain name [.com].  and even though people will try to call you “the Voice” for whatever community you belong to, you just have to be yourself and speak your truth.

blogging has power. writing has power. people know this, that’s why they continue to call you names, discredit you, and disrespect you by mocking the oppression of your people.

recently, andy smith, a writer whose words have changed my own life as well as that of many other people, was denied tenure at the univ. of michigan. the timing of this is unbelievable with the “dialogue” between apostate and blackamazon around whether BA should ever question the history and policies of planned parenthood because of the work the org does for women. it was from ANDY’s writings that i realized we are to be  accountable to the people, not the non-profit industrial complex.  yes, work for them, volunteer with them, advocate with them. they can be created and used for good work. but never consider non-profits or the organization itself to be the soul of the movement you or i are involved in.

if you’re in the mich area, students are organizing and will be addressing racism within the academy. details are can be found at www.woclockdown.org


Filed under writing/poetry

8 responses to “power in writing

  1. what kills me about the “dialog” (don’t both parties have to be listening, ahem APOSTATE ahem, for it to be a dialog?), is: why wouldn’t anyone who wants to see PP succeed – and I fully admit, I’m one of them, I do clinic defense work for PP on Saturdays – be totally up front about the racist past/history (both recent and not so recent) of the organization?! I mean, come on! In addition to, oh, I don’t know, IT BEING THE MORALLY RIGHT THING TO DO, acknowledging PP’s racism that is, it’s also the only viable way to help PP move forward as an organization and start actually supporting and nourishing and helping the communities it purports to serve.

    I don’t know if I expressed this right, I just find this so frustrating. Yep, Sanger was a eugenicist, yep, racist ableist anti-Semitic, yep yep yep. Acknowledge it. Stop fighting it.

    sigh. On the bright side, I do love the new layout – nice photo montage! (esp. love the DPN poster!)

  2. Bq

    “…we are to be accountable to the people, not the non-profit industrial complex. ”


  3. lol agreed. i called it a “dialogue” with sarcastic quotation marks because some reason the word blogwar hits me funny. you know, like what’s being discussed isn’t important or doesn’t have anything to do with real life.

    what stuck out to me about what was written was not how the person was downright disrespectful, wanted to erase history, and other VERY noticeable things, but how emotional attachment can be used to keep things in place. how many times have you questioned something (i.e. capitalism, individualism, racism in an organization) and see people get so upset that they don’t know what to do with themselves? i haven’t read about power much but this conversation made me realize how much the every day person’s ability (or inability) to question can be used to keep structures in place or create new things. but maybe that was already obvious to everyone but me : )

  4. how emotional attachment can be used to keep things in place. how many times have you questioned something (i.e. capitalism, individualism, racism in an organization) and see people get so upset that they don’t know what to do with themselves?

    YES YES YES. I saw this firsthand back in November – went to the annual convention for my beloved socialist lawyers’ club (actual name: The National Lawyers Guild), and was just dumbsquizzled by how resistant the old guard is to acknowledging and confronting racism within the organization. Lots of people my parents’ age saying things like, “oh, but we don’t need to racialize this debate” … well duh, it’s already racialized.

    Oh my, what you’ve said is so true, and I am having such flashbacks. It was such an unpleasant experience, to see all these older, richer, white (mostly male) attorneys basically telling the younger attorneys (mostly POC, generally a good gender split) to shut up.

  5. my really funny friend (who goes by thinkfreestyle online, thinkfreestyle.blogspot.com) calls that the blink blink or something like that. there have been so many times where i’ve seen her say something at a conference and the room is absolutely silent for a minute or two (hence the only movement or sound being eyes blinking) and then they hurriedly move on to a new topic. so everytime i hear of something similiar i think of her : )

  6. Hah! That’s an excellent description!

  7. Ooo, I get the blink blink constantly!

    Anyway, now you’ve set me off on the power of words; which makes me think of not only the power of words to do Good, but also the power of words to incite/create/inflict Bad.

  8. Aaminah

    Ha, I love that “blink blink” too. There is also the very literal blink that I really hate, where someone (it is more phyisically obvious with women unfortunately but men do it too) says something totally stupid and racist/sexist/ageist/ableist in very a very obvious way and then when you tell them so they give you the wide-eyed blink blink and say something like “but that’s not how I meant it!” and kinda bat their pretty eyes at you, maybe even pout a little, so that you will believe they are just cute and made an innocent mistake.

    Ah, lastcrazyhorn, as we all know, with any great power comes the dilemma of whether you will use your power for good or for evil. I swear, too many are choosing the for evil side, probably because it seems like more fun and more lucrative (financially, professionally, notoriety-wise etc). But sometimes even when we think we have decided to use our power for good, we slip up and still misuse it…

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