Nate Parker, and sitting with the “WHY”…

This is an unedited stream of consciousness that was sparked by reading this article. (click on the link)

I spent much of this week at a Pedagogy and Theatre of the Oppressed professional development training/workshop/regional-gathering. lt was about 45-50 of us, I think. As with all things PTO, it was predominately white, I mention this cos I’m not blind, I see color. I also mention this cos it’s fascinating that something that’s in the same spirit of pedagogy of the oppressed, is so white.

The power of patriarchy as we fight racism demands that we fracture ourselves.

Mon-Wed, we (participants) were taught/challenged/explored making “images,” “scenes,” and engaging in “Forum Theatre.” Forum Theatre = A dramaturgy technique pioneered by Brazilian radical Augusto Boal. It’s a play or scene, usually indicating some kind of oppression. In Forum Theatre, specactors (audience) replace the protagonist on stage to demonstrate how the oppression can be interrupted / transformed / eradicated. In this process of building the scene however, we must keep the “WHY” in mind. In essence, what is the why—not getting caught up in the what, who or how. When we address the WHY, we get out of the personal/interpersonal and value judgment of “good” or “bad” people, and get deeper into dismantling and interrupting the SYSTEM/structures in place!

Tha fugg this got to do with the Nate Parker rape (allegation), you ask? Because, patriarchy, is the why. The maintaining of an imbalanced system that protects men and harms womyn, is the why. Folk making money off of patriarchy, hence capitalism, is the why. Fear of the fear of ‘going without,’ is the why. The quote from this article about Nate Parker, is the why, this quote however, is also grounded in both the personal and the structural: “The power of patriarchy as we [Black womyn] fight racism demands that we fracture ourselves.”

It is humons who maintain the system, and sometimes, the system is maintained by the oppressed because not only are we indoctrinated and it takes a certain amount of “wokeness” to not only get out of the matrix, but to understand it…in the meanwhile, we also gotta live and survive. To this end, there are contradictions and nuances to this all. But the onus SHOULD not be on the oppressed to create the solutions for our own oppressions. Therefore in forum theater scenes, the protagonist is not the person who is directly doing the action or asking for “help” or seeking resources or forming allies, it is someone else. For instance, the girl who experienced being raped wouldn’t be the protagonist, but the friend who is supporting her. Which, I also see that the friend falls into this emotional labor role and it feeds back into Black womyn being the fixers. Heck, so it’s a cycle. I know.

With Nate Parker, Black womyn are in a space again of being on the libra scales saying, “Black” or “Woman”…”Womon” or “Black”. We are back to the Cosby situation, what happens when a Black man does wrong, even if the wrong is towards a white wo(man).” On which side do we err? And no, it is never that simple!

And the further trick is, when do we choose us? And how does our not choosing “us” maintain the system of patriarchy cos we defending our brothers.

And then I find myself back at Korryn Gaines. When the fuq do we get defended, shielded, protected and reap the benefits of “ride or die” brothers? So, once again, I turn to the system and not drive myself mad with the personal or the specific. But damnit, how bout this: Audre Lorde told us…our personal is political…

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