“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.