Resistance Must Be Personal

 

re·sist·ance

rəˈzistəns/

noun

1.

the refusal to accept or comply with something; the attempt to prevent something by action or argument.

 

Bob Marley gave us so many songs of political resistance.  The song above “Slogans” is not as well-known as his other hits—but it’s a song that captures why I approach slogans and hashtags with reservation these days.

Have we become slogan and hashtag groupies?

Make America Great Again

I’m with her

Black Lives Matter

#pantssuit

#draintheswamp

#lockherup

#feeltheburn

I find myself trying to distinguish acts of resistance from the appearance of it.

Recently, I was asked with a certain I’m-disappointed-in-you tone why I wasn’t going to the Women’s March on Washington during the Trump Inauguration. It’s simple: Donald Trump is not the first evil white man with power that Black people have known. There was been Bull Conner, George Wallace, Jesse Helms, Thomas Jefferson(to name a few). There is no shortage of white landlords, supervisors, preachers and neighbors that have made Black people’s lives a living hell.

My concern for justice is no more urgent because of the election of Donald Trump. To borrow a phrase from elders in the Civil Rights Movement: It’s always times like these. Second, Black women did a lot of heavy lifting in this past election. We showed up in the trenches and on the stages. Over and over we have rolled up our sleeves to scrub America clean. I’m skeptical of sudden solidarity with white feminists in particular, who stood silent over the graves of Renisha McBride Sandra Bland, Korryn Gaines, Jessica Williams, and so many more.

Lucille Clifton

(1936-2010, Depew, New York, USA)

why some people

be mad at me sometimes

.

they ask me to remember

but they want me to remember

their memories

.

and i keep on remembering

mine.

. . .

I understand the need and urgency to show mass opposition of Trump, but  Americans saw this day coming.  We were warned every time Trump tweeted, spoke, and had a tantrum.

Will solidarity marches against Donald Trump transform the issues at my doorstep?

I have my doubts.

Fighting Donald Trump is necessary, but the American people voted for this terror of a president. We are at odds with our fellow U.S voters who find power, racism, indifference, narcissism, classism, sexism, bigotry, white supremacy irresistible. This is our  shameful legacy to ourselves. In fact, what we resist others find it irresistible. How do you fight against this seduction?

Langston Hughes

“Tired” (Feb. 1931)

I am so tired of waiting,

Aren’t you?

For the world to become good

And beautiful and kind.

Let us take a knife

And cut the world in two –

And see what worms are eating

At the rind.

My grandmother had a phrase: “Can I trust you in the dark?”
What does your resistance look like when nobody is watching, reading, sharing, posting, organizing?

It’s easy to put up a digital fist. Easy. It’s fairly easy to blog or make a video and get a following of strangers that are #teamyou.

What is more difficult is to live your convictions because that requires a constant resisting of something or somebody.

And this is why resistance must first and foremost be personal.

Resistance doesn’t always require fireworks. Sometimes it’s the everyday goodwill that sparks a difference.

If resistance is not a personal practice it cannot be executed for a sustainable movement.

Everyone believes we have to do something—build our own wall of resistance, if you will, against Donald Trump. And of course, what comes to mind? Protest. Rally. March.

Washington gonna Washington. It has its own agenda, but being deliberate about prioritizing people’s lives around ourselves is the best way to take focus off of Trump and onto the people/communities that matters most.

Here’s some ways to hold ourselves accountable to resistance:

1)    Resist hiring/inviting the same people/artists for opportunities. Widen the door.

2)    Resist the Internet. Read a book. Support a writer or write. Enjoy nature. Create.

3)    Refuse to share toxic news that amplifies Trump and other foolishness.

4)    Resist assumptions. People’s politics and their backgrounds are layered and complex. Listen before you challenge.

5)    Resist swinging for the homerun. Small impacts matter.

 

 

“plant and wait for the sun

one day your hands will pull

the Earth out of the dark”

-excerpt from my poem, “Duty

********************************************************************

*This post was originally published at http://afteriwasdead.blogspot.com for series of  New Orleans responses to the election of Donal Trump.


2 Comments

  • Danielle Smith

    January 16, 2017

    I truly thank you for this.

    • brassybrown

      January 16, 2017

      Thanks for reading.

Comments are closed.