The Piece you won’t Pub­lish but In­vited me to Write

The Star (St. Lucia) - - COMMENT - By Fallen Kit­tie

“I’m not quite sure how to start this but I guess I’ll open by say­ing that the legacy of Euro­cen­trism is vast. That legacy en­com­passes a num­ber of con­ven­tions and ide­olo­gies that have been widely dis­sem­i­nated and nor­malised—which is why I find it slightly idio­syn­cratic when our peo­ple cheer for their lib­erty and eman­ci­pa­tion whilst abid­ing those Euro­cen­tric pro­to­cols.

Au­dre Lorde fa­mously dis­cussed dis­man­tling the mas­ter’s house us­ing the mas­ter’s tools, but I be­lieve many are not in the busi­ness of dis­man­tling as much as they are vested in strength­en­ing the faulty foun­da­tion. And my be­lief was sub­stan­ti­ated fol­low­ing a rather lengthy, fruit­less ex­change I had with the An­tigua Chron­i­cle fol­low­ing its un­wit­ting en­dorse­ment of an anti-LGBTQIA+ sen­ti­ment the other evening. The con­tent it­self wasn’t prob­lem­atic; it was the ac­com­pa­ny­ing sen­ti­ment from the linked post and the en­su­ing jeers.

As op­posed to be­ing ac­count­able for the part it played in the spec­ta­cle, wherein its plat­form proved to be a site for anti-LGBTQIA+ re­marks in that thread, An­tigua Chron­i­cle, or its cor­re­spon­dents, pro­ceeded to call my call­outs “long-winded”, “fool­ish”, and “in bad taste” be­cause I re­fused to cod­dle their feel­ings. In­stead of en­gag­ing a crit­i­cally re­flec­tive di­a­logue, they charged me with writ­ing an [un­paid] ar­ti­cle, ques­tioned my ac­tivism be­cause they in­sisted my time would be bet­ter spent on the ground as op­posed to call­ing them out, and made a bunch of false equiv­a­len­cies; as if in­cur­ring the loss of busi­ness from big­ots was tan­ta­mount to what LGBTQIA+ in­di­vid­u­als like my­self face daily; be­cause I am largely de­fined by my prox­im­ity to in­jus­tice - and dys­func­tion.

I’m a black, Métis An­tiguan woman who is re­luc­tantly rad­i­calised, as well as os­tracised, by one-drop rule. In­dige­nous un­der­stand­ings of gen­der, sex­u­al­ity, and over­all ex­is­ten­tial­ism were - and still are - in­val­i­dated as our peo­ples were forced to as­sim­i­late to colo­nial rule; which is why it baf­fles me that a prom­i­nent out­let and pop­u­lace would rather abide the legacy of that rhetoric. You can­not pro­fess to be free when your mind and spirit are shack­led by an­ti­quated, largely an­dro­cen­tric val­ues. Not too long ago, An­tigua Chron­i­cle pub­lished an open let­ter scru­ti­n­is­ing the former Miss An­tigua for her ac­tivism—the au­thor go­ing so far as to sug­gest that les­bian­ism is less of an is­sue be­cause it ap­peals to the male gaze.

Re­gard­less of how I may be fetishised or sex­u­alised, my ev­ery mark and mus­ing re­minds me that my voice is un­heard as well as un­wanted; and ob­vi­ously, unloved. So, yes - I do tend to snicker at

such sanc­ti­mo­nious and sen­ti­men­tal­ist plat­i­tudes. My life has never been mine; and as a species, I don’t think we ever at­tain in­de­pen­dence. There are al­ways con­ven­tions and rules we must oblige, all to ob­tain val­i­da­tion. Con­nec­tiv­ity is more quan­tifi­able than qual­i­fi­able. It’s about how much you can get, not what you can get.

But I be­lieve we can flour­ish through code­pen­dence and ef­fect change, and do­ing so en­tails cog­ni­sance of just who we are as a peo­ple. We are not our colonis­ers and though some of their ide­olo­gies have proven to be idyl­lic for some that does not dis­credit or de­hu­man­ise oth­ers be­yond. I un­der­stand that we have much to take in given the strides made by con­tem­po­raries, how mar­velous and novel cer­tain prospects are in the static nexus of iden­tity.

As­pi­ra­tion in­volves not only know­ing where you’re go­ing, but also know­ing where you come from in ad­di­tion to where you cur­rently are.

“I ask that you think of not only where you are, but who you are.”

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