When we work for freedom we tend not to rest.
Marci Blackman: ‘We’re doing something that cis-white men have been doing for millennia, which is define ourselves. And that is problematic for the world. It’s dangerous.’
‘I think I bother people when I move through the world, and I like that. I don’t want people to be comfortable. Claim yourself. Claim your body. Claim your space. Claim it.
bell hooks: ‘How do we image ourselves? What is the language that we use to talk about ourselves, to free ourselves? Adrienne Rich repeats this phrase – ‘language is also the place of struggle.’ As women of colour we’re constantly having to pay attention to language, and to look at the language that we use for ourselves, and the language that people use against us … I think part of our intellectual, critical, academic practice is finding out how to free ourselves from those images to claim a different set of images.’
I tell this to my students : decolonize. But there is a price for that decolonisation, that de-centring. You won’t have wealth, you won’t have privilege. There is a cost for liberation.
Why is it that we don’t have liberatory images that are away from, and not an inversion of, what society has told us, but is our own sense of ‘what am I looking like when I am free?’ The images that we are creating within our own private spaces that have to do with independence, power, that are completely counter-hegemonic, that aren’t conceding to what is.
We need to create that counter-hegemonic image in order for transformation to take place.
Shola Lynch on women’s representation in the media: symbolic annihilation is two things – it’s not seeing yourself, but also, it’s only seeing yourself being denigrated, victimised, etcetera, and what that does to you. But I’d rather shift the camera, shift the gaze, and look for the images, the people, the places, that feed me. And I really do think that the more we create our own culture, our own cultural images – the books we write, the films we make – these are the cultural artefacts that live, that speak to people whether we’re there or not.