These words from bell hooks resonate with what I see everywhere I look. I see people defending place in mainstream spaces, refusing to be silenced. People are resisting the usual suspects; people are also resisting possible allies. People are resisting complex circumstances, but the same oppressors are in plain sight (whether we acknowledge them or not). And, people are defending space on the margins - their sites of resistance - whether these sites exist in the physical or cyber worlds.
I bring the powerful words of bell hooks to my little corner of resistance. I read them for myself and pass them along, as someone who is acutely aware of my own oppression and who is slowly confronting the extent to which I oppress others as a white occupier of the so-called First World.
bell hooks writes:
Silenced. We fear those who speak about us, who do not speak to us and with us. We know what it is like to be silenced. We know the forces that silence us, because they never want us to speak, differ from the forces that say speak, tell me your story. Only do not speak in a voice of resistance. Only speak from that space in the margin that is a sign of deprivation, a wound, an unfulfilled longing. Only speak your pain.
This is a site of intervention. A message from that space in the margin that is a site of creativity and power, that inclusive space where we rediscover ourselves, where we move in solidarity to erase the category of colonized/colonizer. Marginality as site of resistance. Enter that space. Let us meet there. Enter that space. We greet you as liberators.
Spaces can be real and imagined. Spaces tell stories and unfold histories. Spaces can be interrupted, appropriated, and transformed through artistic and literary practice.
As Pratibha Parma notes, "The appropriation and use of space are political acts."
I am located in the margin. I make a definite distinction between that marginality which is imposed by oppressive structures and that marginality one chooses as site of resistance -- as location of radical openness and possibility. This site of resistance is continually formed in that segregated culture of opposition that is our critical response to domination. We come to this space through suffering and pain, through struggle. We know struggle to be that which pleasures, delights, and fulfills desire. We are transformed, individually, collectively, as we make radical creative space which affirms and sustains our subjectivity, which gives us new location from which to articulate our sense of the world.
hooks, b. (2004). Choosing the margin as a space of radical openness. In S. Harding (Ed.), The Feminist Standpoint Theory Reader: Intellectual and Political Controversies (pp. 153-159). New York: Routledge.