Let Radical Love Replace Despair

Now that America has Trump, I see a lot of wringing of hands and narratives of despair. Radicals in the Americas have literally been resisting oppression and charting pathways to a more loving and ethical world since Columbus rolled up in Ay Ay (St. Croix) in 1493. You cannot maintain white supremacy, predatory capitalism, colonialism, imperialism, hetero sexist patriarchy, and the like while also trying to advance the rhetoric of diversity and inclusion. It doesn’t work.

This does not, however, mean that we are hopeless. It means that we have to choose a side. For the sake of all living species and our Earth mother, we have to choose Decolonization! We cannot want freedom while feasting on the fruits of oppression. We’re only hopeless if we intend to remain hypocrites until the end. Audre Lorde told us that, “the master’s tools cannot dismantle the master’s house.” She was right then and her words still ring true today. Sylvia Wynter tells us that we have to center the most vulnerable among us, those who exist on the “interstices of history”. The radical words and actions of marginalized people, both living and dead, are some of the most beautiful sources of hope, inspiration, and guidance in troubled times.

Our experiences in marginalized bodies pushed Fanon to say, “My final prayer: O my body, make of me always a man who questions.” These questions have led to keen observations about freedom. Instead, of ignoring and minimizing these observations as “unlikely, too extreme, playing the race card, and/or attacks on privileged people,” see them as attacks on systems of oppression that are destructive to life. See them as the maps to freedom that they are.

If Camus is right and, “freedom is nothing but the chance to be better,” let us all be better human beings. As bell hooks noted, we must build community. This praxis “requires vigilant awareness of the work we must continually do to undermine all the socialization that leads us to behave in ways that perpetuate domination.” There’s hope in that kind of radical love.



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