Tikkun Winter 2019 (34.1) - Page 91

tinue using them to single out and negate those who are ‘different’ because of color, language, notions of reality, or other diversity.” When we base our assessments of others primarily on their “markings,” we make biased, inaccurate assumptions about their politics, worldviews, and so forth. And, when we act on these as- sumptions we close ourselves off from potential allies. Or as Anzaldúa so eloquently asserts, “For the politically correct stance we let color, class, and gender separate us from those who would be kindred spirits. So the walls grow higher, the gulfs between us wider, the silences more profound.” Positing radical interconnectedness, Anzaldúa dismantles these walls and builds bridges. She enacts a post-oppositional approach and adopts flexible, context-specific perspectives enabling her simultaneously to see and see through exclusionary identity classifications. She does not ignore the importance of color, class, gender, and other identity markers; how- ever, she views these classifications relationally and defines each person as a part of a larger whole—a “cosmic ocean, the soul, or whatever.” She insists on a commonality shared by all human beings, a commonality that spaciously includes and acknowledges the differences among us. For Anzaldúa, this “common fac- tor” goes beyond—without ignoring—identities based on gender, ‘race,’ or other systems of dif- ference; it is “wider than any social position or racial label.” Indeed, this identity factor exceeds (and decenters) human beings: “Your identity has roots you share with all people and other beings—spirit, feeling, and body comprise a greater identity category. The body is rooted in the earth, la tierra itself. You meet ensoulment in trees, in woods, in streams.” Post-oppositional work is not easy. The will- ingness to witness all sides can lead to accusa- tions of disloyalty, stupidity, and (ironically) VOL. 34, NO. 1 bias. However, if we aspire to be creative, to think more independently, to enact progressive change, to break out of the status quo, we can’t allow ourselves to become further entrenched in binary-oppositional thinking and its “either you’re with us or against us” mentality and activism. When we always limit ourselves to this oppositional approach, we remain trapped in a reactionary stance that’s been shaped by the dominating culture and the existing frame- work. Post-oppositionality invites us to think more spaciously, to step beyond conventional rules, to liberate ourselves—at least occasional- ly—from the status quo. The possibilities might be almost endless. ANALOUISE KEATING is professor and director of the doctoral program program in multicultural women’s & gender studies at Texas Woman’s University. Her most recent book is Transformation Now! Toward a Post-Oppositional Politics of Change; and she has edited several of Gloria Anzaldúa’s books including, most recently, Light in the Dark/Luz en lo oscuro: Rewriting Identity, Spirituality, Reality. Her work focuses on transformation studies: multicultural pedagogies; U.S. women-of-colors theories; Gloria Anzaldúa; womanist spiritual activism; and post-oppositional thought. FUTURE SPECIAL SECTIONS: (A) DECOLONIZATION (B) SOCIALISM (C) REVOLUTIONARY LOVE You can subscribe here: tikkun.org/newsite/magazine and/or donate here: tikkun.org/donate © 2019 TIKKUN MAGAZINE 91