Decolonial Strategies, Decolonial Challenges
Today, I am still in Saudi Arabia, this time writing from my sister's old room which consists of two twin beds. It’s where we are sleeping throughout our stay, surrounded by family photos and our “name art” (done in Dubai circa 2007 in a mall by a South Indian man from one of those mall kiosks) above our respective beds.
This week, we examined decolonization through the lens of community. We analyzed the key differences between allyship, kinship, and reciprocal solidarity (and how we define each of these terms). We also did an exercise aimed to shed a light on how we determine our formal from our informal communities, which led to discussions about our diasporic living and how we make sense of our identities through it and in turn how that has affected how we feel about and deal with social issues in different communities.
Tuck and Yang’s, Decolonization Is Not A Metaphor, left me with a lot more questions than answers. This reading was unsettling in a lot of ways, but more importantly, intriguing enough to dissect. The questions that have presented themselves have already shifted my perception and my stance on this subject. It has also proven that my position on decoloniality is subject to change as well.
Lumping together all injustices and social justice movements is very problematic. It leads to a loss of meaning and, as a result, to a loss of meaningful engagement. This issue I have personally witnessed an increase in the past couple of years. By throwing the word “decolonizing” around all of these issues as a whole, we are blurring and treating each problem the same. Tuck and Yang try to explain the different forms colonization operates in (internal, external, and settler). They go on to say how each of these forms is entangled and how colonialism in place benefits from colonialism from another, piling on issues upon issues.
All of this isn’t to say that one person can speak for every injustice in every culture. It’s not to say all marginalized people have the right to claim their injustice as the “more important issue” (although there’s a lot to be said about this claim too). In “Reciprocal Solidarity,” Sa’ed Atshan & Darnell Moore talk about true allyship and kinship that ‘“deep[ens] participation with each other” to recognize love as a radical act and to sustain communities across borders in the face of colonization, neoliberal individualism, and coercion and confinement (Moore, “Liminal”).’