I Don't March
I Write. That is My Activism.
I was given a pamphlet today on my graduate campus — super white, super Ivy League — advertising a Black Lives Matter (BLM) solidarity march this upcoming weekend.
To be truthful, I won’t be going.
Let’s be real clear, ’cause I know — I just know — someone will be tempted to revoke my Negro card. And this sentiment is to an extent understandable, what with the legacy of marching in Black folks’ history and all. There is an undeniable value in marching, in unapologetically confronting the latest incarnations of Bull Connor and invalidation of Black life. Swarms of Black bodies marching in solidarity is a powerful political move, on some real shit.
You get a community of Black folks together fighting for a common cause and you know shit’s about to get real. But I don’t march. I write. Marching is not my form of activism, and I’ma proclaim this boldly:
I am no less Black or down for the cause than the rest of y’all.
I’m gonna refrain from an activism pissing contest — arguing that my writing is doing more “work” than your marching — because the two are not quantifiable, nor are they mutually exclusive, nor is the proverbial debate productive at all.
I will not (I repeat, WILL NOT) make the spirit-killing, argumentative claims that:
“My writing is reaching thousands. Your feet went down the block. Who do you think is doing more?”; or the obverse, “We’re actually doing something by marching, being visible and courageous. What are your measly words doing?”
We don’t do that over here.
I have a proclivity for misanthropy at times, and an aversion to crowds, so if I’m out there in a big ass crowd in the hot ass sun with somebody yelling at me, coercing me to sing and chant and whatnot, I won’t be a happy camper. That’s more a comment on my own idiosyncrasies than grassroots activists’ methods. I’d be there with the bruh face and it’d be just my luck to have a camera spotlighted on me, fucking up the efforts.
I can hear it now:
Purported Black radical feminist does not look happy at the BLM march. The movement must be on its way out if it’s losing the interest of its most avid supporters.
I refuse to jeopardize BLM, or any other movement for social justice, like that.
My realm of activism lies at my fingertips — in my pen, at the keyboard. My written words give discursive manifestation to my Black radical thoughts, traveling across regions, penetrating minds with clicks of a mouse or Google searches of my name. I spill Black blood every time I face the pulsating cursor, the blank page awaiting an outpouring of my cacophonous Black radicalism.
I write. That is my activism.
And I’m just as radical on the page as your feet are on the pavement.
The other day I delved into a book that’s been sitting on my shelf for a bit: Tamara Winfrey Harris’s The Sisters Are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative of Black Women in America.
As a scholar of Black Feminist Thought, this book was like, “Yoooo, Harris is dropping knowledge on knowledge on knowledge.”
But I was struck to my activist-writer core when she wrote:
“I am not an organizer. I am not much of a fighter. But I have faith in my way with words. I can write.”
She was speaking to me, writing to me. I feelz you on that, Harris.
And that is where I stand: immersed in my words, writing it out, knowing that my language is complementing, validating, the efforts going on out there on the concrete from which roses with damaged petals grow, as Tupac once said.
So for the BLM solidarity march happening in my campus community this weekend, I will not make it, but y’all do your thing. I’ll be here writing, being just as radical, Black-loving, and devoted as you.