Pinay poet Niki Escobar has a great post about the prevalence of misogyny, and the reckless deployment of such terms as “bitch,” “ho,” “fag,” in the open mic and spoken word scene, which is populated by so many politically astute and supposedly decolonized men of color who we think of as allies.
Niki’s post is resounding; I’m reminded of my undergraduate years, becoming politicized among Pin@ys at UC Berkeley and the local community of activists, artists, and college students from outside of UC Berkeley, and the kind of hypocrisy and double standards I encountered just trying to speak my piece, as I was coming up as a Pinay poet and public speaker.
These days, I experience racially tinged misogyny enacted with so much more finesse (which I find more insidious), in which fellow Pinays tend to be the ones actively policing and enforcing the mainstream’s standards of acceptable behavior. So I am told my fierceness and literary success are necessary, in the same breath as I am chastised or isolated. Similarly, what I find most disappointing in Niki’s post is her attempts to have dialogue with men of color met with defensiveness, and ultimately rejected. And this leads me to search for less abstract, more viable definitions of community. Alas, so much unlearning.