Columns / Discourse / February 14, 2018

The F-Word: Finding peace of mind while living under one’s colonizer

Cursing

Professionalism and the image of a presidential leader is an idea hyped up by white colonizers. It was these colonizers who wore suits and spoke in dictionary words. So the stereotype of the suited, well-spoken, male CEO persists today while the custodian is the immigrant of color with broken English.

I am often told not to curse and to be professional, especially when I am placed as a leader. I’ve been told off for my grammar by strangers and mentors alike. And it bothers me. It bothers me that I am expected to measure up to the white man. So I curse like there is no tomorrow and I speak in the vernacular English that my community speaks in. I write with inconsistent punctuation, basic vocabulary and grammar that is not always correct. I am NOT my colonizer, neither do I want to be.

 

Steering away from capitalism as much as possible

White men have used and still use capitalism to profit off of the business of people of color. For example: we all need food, but all the businesses that sell food at low prices are white-owned because they have had the historical opportunity to grow and be ahead of newly-opened POC businesses. So our money automatically goes to white businesses more often than not. I try to buy from local POC. I stay away from chain stores as much as I can and I thrift shop often.

 

Advocating for anarchy and simpler forms of government

American democracy is corrupt. Yet the way it is layered like a cake makes it look safe, official and fool-proof. The long chain of command from the people to the president in the U.S. political system creates a large gap between the needs of the people and the changes that actually take place. You might think that we can’t just not have a government Ñ and to an extent, that is true for the present moment. We cannot go to sleep and wake up to an anarchist society without causing chaos, but what we can do is simplify our existing government. Communities of color existed in peace and harmony under different forms of minimalist governments before colonization. Decolonizing my behaviors and attitudes towards the government and authorities have been possible by demanding more transparency and more actions related to our current needs.

 

Queer advocacy in shattering gender expectations

The gender binary is not and has never been universal. There are many communities of color who have historically respected and accepted a third gender or the lack of gender altogether. So when the colonizer pressures the colonized into gender expectations and roles, we need to fight back. I actively use gender neutral language for strangers until I ask for their pronouns. I research the gender roles and gendered traditions of my community and try to deconstruct them in ways that leave gender out. Once this practice is mastered within one’s community, it can be applied to the context, including the colonizer.

 

Advocating for black lives

Anti-blackness in non-black communities of color is a major issue that risks the lives of black folk. It is also heavily rooted in American slavery and the initial interactions of the first British to enter Africa. Therefore, calling out anti-black behavior in non-black communities of color helps me and the POC around me to recognize this form of colonization. It also sends a message to the colonizer that he can no longer divide us as we stand united in our struggle.

 

Eden Sarkisian, Discourse Editor
Eden Sarkisian is a femme of color from Los Angeles. Eden is majoring in economics with a double minor in gender and women's studies and Middle-Eastern studies. Aside from their position as discourse editor, Eden contributes to TKS through their feminist column, "The F-Word," and their comic strips, "Apple Strip."

Tags:  colonization decolonization F-Word feminism

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1 Comment

Apr 09, 2018

Are you having a hard time passing your classes here at Knox College with inconsistent punctuation and inconsistent grammar due to the higher level of academic excellence set by the professors here? Also, ironically enough, you use consistent punctuation and consistent grammar along with professional English in the article which goes against everything you claim to do.



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