my gurl Rahel let me read a draft of an article she is writing for Everyday Feminism. y’all better check out her work. (@, here’s to being published #2015) in it she was so honest about her identities, she bravely laid out her social conditions of existence and stood firm in her assertions that followed. she inspired me to share this piece with you. its something i have been processing through for a while. they are not complete thoughts, just like conditions are never fully complete, they shift and change, the last year has put me in healthier, more supportive spaces, that encourage laughter and bravery, love and embodying our queerness
Being brown, the browning of my being. it is central to my conditions of knowing and being, but also peripheral. it was suppressed and beaten, denied and dismissed. i still have this fear of never being brown enough. the opposite is never a concern, even being a light skinned, racially ambiguous brown gurl, white supremacy lets me know when i step outta line.
(Pass)ability acts as a privilege no doubt, but it only gets you so far, it gets you to the point where white supremacy decides your body is the borderland between they space and “other”. borderlands are spaces where bodies go to die. i have died many times along that divide. being sexually assaulted at five for being “yellow” at a public pool, the comments on the low in elementary school, being the mission project of proletizing Christian kids within the walls of my high school, being physically and sexually abused in my home, having my headscarf ripped off, being mistaken for “Mexican”, Muslim, Indian, always foreign, never belonging, seeing the look of disgust on peoples faces who think I have no right to a space. accused of taking spots in school, jobs, being undeserving, less than…to space that white supremacy says is theys. the constant reminder that mixed with white will never be white.
the other side of that borderland, questions like, “what are you”, the you can’t sit with us mentality, that reminds me you find me hella sus even though I always meet you with love. Feelin’ like I need to have some kind of brown gurl authentication card in my wallet.
a friend once jokingly told me i was too white because he interpreted my kindness as political correctness and posturing. comparing me to to warm and fuzzy mother fuckers like Michael Franti. he thought he was being funny, he had no idea how often that sentiment (the not being brown enough part, not that michael franti shit) had been mobilized against me. this dismissal of my expression and experience created a divide between us that i doubt we will ever breach.
it’s all love between us for sure, but it’s guarded, it’s the tension, the fear of not being brown enough. there are parts of me that even though i want to share, i hang back. every time he asks questions of me, fear grips me…i wonder how my answers will be used to create violence against me. its that mobilization of colonial violence that gets replicated consciously or not. it is the fear that someone that i cannot help but love, will reject my conditions of existence. (but fuck it, bring on the haters this year….imma be on my Kat Williams ish)
my healing has started, and like every revolutionary act, it is in constant flux and motion. Conditions aren’t static, i dont deal in white noise. My self love has come from the recognition that my brownness and my queerness are indivisibly linked.
If I deny one, I deny both. If I encircle the truth that I am both queer and brown, then I might survive. If I continue to be complicit in the suppression of these condition then I will die. It will be a slow death, filled with unfulfilled moments and unheld hands.