What a godawful week it’s been.
I woke up in the early hours of Thursday and immediately checked the news about the Georgia Senate runoffs. The historic victories raised my hopes that the arc of the moral universe might just be bending towards justice.
Then in a few short hours, I watched the white backlash unfold in real-time. One video from the insurrection showed a Black guard failing to deter the oncoming advance of white fascists storming into the Capitol building shouting, “This is OUR America!”
I felt their hatred in my bones.
I realized then that I’ve seen this hatred before. I recognized it from the videos of the Ku Klux Klan and Neo-Nazis who marched down the streets of Charlottesville four years ago. But I’ve also seen it on the suburban streets of Sydney and Melbourne when white people have yelled, “Go back to China!” The same ones now abusing Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples who are calling on us to “Change the Date”.
The hatred is also there in the bitter defensiveness of white managers who are called out for their racism at a diversity workshop. The people who insist, “All Lives Matter”. And the self-proclaimed liberals who tut-tut the rioters while eagerly cashing out the dividends of white power and privilege.
I’ve eased back into work this year, coincidentally finalizing an editorial for a Special Issue on ‘Anti-racism in the age of white supremacy and backlash’ for the journal Equality, Diversity and Inclusion. With my co-editors and sisters in resistance, Deborah Brewis, Sadhvi Dar, and Angela Martinez Dy, we reflect on the prevailing antagonistic sentiments that both inflate and denigrate the gains that have been made towards racial equity. We bear witness to the marginalization of anti-racist knowledge in the academy and the very real consequences when anti-racist scholars are marked and targeted as ‘threats’ (h/t CV Harquail).
, as the violence rages on, I would like to invite you to take the first new moon of 2021 as an opportunity to find our way back to our truths. Rather than run from the discomfort of seeing the ugly face of white supremacy, let’s meet its gaze with all our resolve and recommit to taking this motherfucker down.
If you’re racialized as BIPOC, I have so much love for you right now. I insist on your survival. Hit reply if you need someone to cry with, scream with, co-conspire with. Make space for radical self-care, community, and rest. Let joy be the cornerstone of our revolution.
If you’re racialized as white, I have so much love for you too. Thank you for being here, for bearing the anger, guilt, and pain with us. I know some of you reading this have been called troublemaker and traitor for daring to fight for racial justice. For your audacity to love people of color. I see you too.
Things I’m not available for in 2021:
- Any more of this white fascist nonsense;
- That guy who may be getting impeached again;
- White feminists who bemoan gender inequality while perpetuating racism;
- Non-Indigenous and non-Black people of color who hijack discussions of racism (h/t to my friend Christine Han who reminded me of the concept of the racial bourgeoisie);
- Anything except respectful and considerate treatment (h/t Angela Martinez Dy) for myself and all marginalized folx; and
- Overworking, exhaustion, and burnout.
What are your boundaries in 2021, ?
For this new moon, the tarot card I drew for us is The Empress. In these challenging times, she is the promise of renewal. In the traditional Rider-Waite-Smith deck, The Empress is a beautiful figure luxuriating in a fertile, verdant landscape. She wears a crown of stars and a long white gown painted with pomegranates — a symbol of love, fertility, and life. However, my Rider-Waite-Smith deck is currently out of commission as I’m re-engaging in some serious self-study, so I drew The Empress from my Thoth deck.
The art by Lady Frieda Harris (above) shows an ethereal feminine form with a swan and shield by her feet. The Empress portends that life will endure but the structures we need to sustain our survival cannot be found in the imperialist white supremacist capitalist cis-heteropatriarchal authorities of The Emperor or The Hierophant. Our world must be rebuilt on the foundations of Divine Feminine (Feminist) Wisdom.