“You know, whenever Pharaoh wanted to prolong the period of slavery in Egypt, he had a favorite, favorite formula for doing it. What was that? He kept the slaves fighting among themselves. But whenever the slaves get together, something happens in Pharaoh’s court, and he cannot hold the slaves in slavery. When the slaves get together, that’s the beginning of getting out of slavery. Now let us maintain unity.”
“I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” (1968), Martin Luther King, Jr.
It’s no secret: I love talking about issues of identity. My two great loves at the moment seem to be race and gender. It’s fascinating stuff, and pop culture often provides us with a myriad of incidents to discuss. But lately, after spending a few months abroad, it seems I’ve become more and more aware that these -isms don’t only occur on the entertainment blogs – they’re happening right now, in our daily lives. It happens when some of us are asked where we come from and “California” isn’t a good enough response. It happens when people suggest that your “no” wasn’t clear enough. It happens when people try to label you instead of you defining yourself. This stuff happens. It’s happening in France, it happens in the States, and I’m positive it happens everywhere.
It happens. It happens and it builds up and it weighs on you and before you even realize it, it starts to hurt. So what do you do?
You scream. And shout. And let it all out.
(Literally, figuratively, whatever works for you)
But really, all will.i.am and Britney Spears collaborations aside, screaming is a form of expression. It indicates that something has happened. It indicates that you’re feeling something, and more often than not, that you need support. I’m finding that right now, with all that I’ve learned and encountered, I cherish these support groups and safe spaces a great deal.