Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Oppressor's Greatest Weapon

'The greatest weapon that the oppressor has in his hand is the mind of the oppressed.'

Clarence Glover wrote that in a December 1987 ESSENCE magazine essay entitled 'Spirituality: An African View'.

He's dead on target in his assessment.

When you have been beaten down by shame and guilt, told that you are insignificant, ugly, freaks, won't amount to anything, and whatever other pejorative du jour they come up with, it takes a toll on your psyche. It makes it easy for you to give in to the despair and daunting odds of reversing your negative civil rights and social situation.

If you give up before attempting anything or refuse to even make the attempt, your oppressor is smiling. At that point the oppressor has already won and you've lost.

Your first tool for taking control of your mind is knowledge. Knowledge of self. Knowledge of your history. Knowledge of current events. Knowledge of your rights under the current law.

You get the drift.

You must combine that with pride in yourself and pride in being part of a marginalized group. It's cathartic to know that you aren't alone and there are others like you.

As simplistic as that sounds, it works wonders in lifting the veil of shame and guilt so that you can get to the point that you empower yourself to fight for the civil rights that are guaranteed to you under our Constitution and the life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness that the Declaration of Independence so eloquently spoke of.

In order to tap into that power you have within yourself to be finer specimens of human beings as trans writer Sharon Davis called us, we have to believe it and in who we are as trans people in order to achieve the things the Creator has tasked us to do in our limited time on Earth.

Once you've taken control of your mind away from your oppressor, you can finally get to the point in which your mind works for you instead of against you.

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