In a mad maps workshop the other day, I was asked how I resist patriarchy and white supremacy. It’s a big question, and I started writing a list of answers in my journal.
We moved on to other parts of the workshop, and I was still making the list. Felt delicious to be real about.
There are ways I feel like I’m supposed to resist patriarchy and white supremacy, and then there’s my truest truth about how I actually do it. So here’s the list I made of how I resist patriarchy and white supremacy. Thank you for hearing my truest truth.
how I resist patriarchy and white supremacy
I enjoy creating zones of gender anarchy and gender fuckery. The home that Ming and I share is a genderqueer gender anarchy space. It feels very relaxing, to rest in a gender anarchy space and not need to defend a gender or gender performance at home.
I also resist patriarchy and white supremacy by no longer sacrificing my well-being for men and treating men as more important than me. It took a long time, but I denounce my past of serving white men as superior to me and getting a sense of self-worth by being in service of them.
I thought I was worthless, and helping white men was a way to get worth. Now I see that I was mostly being abused in those situations and reenacting early trauma Feels great to say no and shift who I give my resources to. Makes sense to give my resources to people who care and will actually be there for me and take my needs seriously.
Sharing graffiti about resisting patriarchy and white supremacy makes me happy. Any street art, including slaps, wheat pasting, stenciling, train graffiti, bathroom sharpie, underbridge spray painting, banner drops, and other creative expressions of the truth of the people.
Not that I think street art will solve problems by itself–I just love to bring the topics more into the light. Race is so difficult to talk about for so many people, and even the word patriarchy is a joke to some. Bringing these topics more out in the open helps.
talking about it
Mentioning patriarchy and white supremacy in conversation with friends, on this blog, in zines I make, and in groups that aren’t based on discussing these topics is a way to normalize resistance. Patriarchy and white supremacy are the elephants in many rooms. Why not say the emperor has no clothes and state the obvious?
I like talking with friends about the books we’re reading about race, gender, power, and cultural change. The books as well as podcasts and courses we take are great food for thought.
I mention the racism I saw enacted in my family of origin between my parents. And I enjoy telling people the things I heard in my family about race and patriarchy. Recently I mentioned in a group how my dad used to say, “I’m not racist–I hate everyone.” I commented to the group that my dad was racist, and he did hate almost everyone.
Mentioning racism I witnessed at home means other people might feel ok talking about the racism they noticed as kids also. And it feels good to remind people that I had to shed the values I learned in my family and decide my own values. That’s an important part of creating a better world. I want to model choice, to remind people that creating our own values is not only possible, it’s our responsibility.
Feels right to bring up the Trinity bomb test and how my ancestors on my mom’s side were harmed by it. That harm was passed on intergenerationally. Strange that I suffer today, due to a bomb test so many years ago. The government didn’t consider the Tularosa Basin area inhabited because the people who lived there mostly weren’t white.
It’s complexifying to mention my ancestors and how they were treated as worthless for their ethnicity. Most people see me as white, and it feels helpful to bring up my background and explain what I have at stake.
Doing anti-nuclear peace work with hundreds of activists here in the desert, I often mention how war is racist. Bringing in that part of how killing is justified by the military industrial complex feels important because it’s too often overlooked.
radical mental health
A main way I resist patriarchy and white supremacy is doing radical mental health. Helping people who are suffering about violence is important–whether they’re suffering from receiving the violence, or suffering from giving the violence. Many of us are suffering from both giving and receiving violence.
Happy people who are connected and cared for are much less likely to do violence. Radical mental health spaces are healing. We do care together. Creating pockets of support and happiness is cultural healing.
the ways I think I’m supposed to do
Showing up at protests and risking arrest are less possible for me now. I don’t have money to give for reparations, to justice orgs, or for cash mutual aid. Laws don’t make sense to me, so I don’t want to work on law justice. I don’t want to share disturbing articles on social media or put a frame on my userpic.
Hopefully the things I do matter. I used to feel guilty I don’t do anything, but when I see this list, I say–hmm. Maybe that’s a start.
What others think is not really the point–virtue signaling is prevalent, but my desire is to actually help. The problems feel deep. But I can be the dung of change, if not the seed.