I read a lot on social movement, religion, and leftism and I’m struck at the whiteness of this literature. By whiteness I mean both that “religion” is understood in white Protestant terms (the “religious” has to fit into white Protestantism) and that it centers on white people.
I read these books thinking about Caribbean Santerxs building mutual aid, about Black/Latinx Muslims creating social service programs, about the Black Radical Tradition and Islam, about Puerto Rican Christians fighting for a socialist society, and I see.....none of this.
Instead what I see is that “Leftism” is related to white leftists (often white intellectual leftists tbh), religion is equated to Churches and Protestant adjacent understandings of faith, and to diversify there is the necessary sprinkle of MLK in 1968.
My work has been to discuss religion and social movements and leftism/progressivism and to be honest, 99% of the time I never even mention white people. Not because white folks haven’t contributed to these topics, but because there is *so much* mimoritized folks have done.
So I’m honestly shocked when these volumes center on white people, religion, and social movements. Because there is so much else to analyze.
The role of Buddhism among the Combahee River Collective, Islam and Black Radical Tradition, Santeria among Caribeñxs engaging mutual aid, Latinx Christians occupying Churches. I could go on because there is *so much.* But the literature doesn’t highlight this.
And I don’t know if scholars just haven’t been trained to think about anything other than white people and white Protestants (I know this is a whole convo in #AmRel) or if it’s because minoritized communities bend all white normative methods or if folks just don’t know.
It’s a whole ass convo to have though tbh. Because my goodness...

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More from @JJRodV

14 Jan
A tension rarely discussed in the academy is how 1) a PhD is inherently an elite pedigree associated with power and tied to a historically exclusionary system and 2) not all bodies with PhDs are assumed to have the same level of expertise.

Both those things can be true.
I think about this often as a first-gen Latinx who (Divine willing) will get my PhD soon. The further I’ve gone through the process to acquire this degree the more I’ve realized that for 700 years or however long this degree has existed, it hasn’t included people like me.
And the further I work to ascertain this degree the further away I get in some respects from the community that raised me. There is no denying that this pedigree socially places you in elite spaces and demarcates you among a small group of folks. It’s a position of privilege.
Read 10 tweets
13 Jan
Something I’m thinking through is that I’ve never identified as a leftist, even though politically that is where I most closely fall. But I think part of the reason I haven’t taken on the label is because I often see the term bogged down in ideological debate.
When I think of leftist movements I find most compelling throughout the 20th century, I see people coming together to engage communities on imagining a radically different world. In those movements, “leftism” has guiding principals of socialism, sure, but it’s more of a process.
In our present discourse, I see a lot of people without ties to community work identifying as “leftist.” Relatedly, I see “leftism” often used as an ideological bully stick to seek conformity around a series of ideals without accounting for the complexity of community.
Read 7 tweets
13 Jan
Was reading about how some Young Lords considered educators (teachers, professors) part of the petit-bourgeoisie (the little upper class who often does the bidding of elites). They argued that educators have been taught the performances of elites and are apt to oppress. BUT+
What was interesting about the argumentation was that educators (teachers, professors) are petite-bourgeoise while occupying a liminal class space. At once they have learned the performances and language of elites through their (our) education but aren’t necessarily rich.
There is an implication in the analysis that educators (teachers, professors) are then apt to betray ruling classes because their role as petit-bourgeoisie is merely fictitious. They are taught the performances/language of power without necessarily economic benefit.
Read 9 tweets
11 Jan
I’m not pressed that Republicans are skeptical of media, many leftists ate as well. What throws me is that this then leads them to throw out facts all together *and* only believe Trump who, they don’t acknowledge, was propped up by media.

The logical acrobatics are astounding.
There are many *factual* reasons Republicans can question elections: the long proven history of voter suppression, the fact that registering to vote is not automatic, that corporations prop up certain candidates.

But none of these *factual* reasons factor into their skepticism.
So it makes it wildly challenging to speak with any Republicans who buy into these theories because they don’t even subscribe to a shared definition of what constitutes facts. How do we talk to that when we don’t even have a shared understanding of the “real.”
Read 4 tweets
8 Jan
Organizers speak noticeably differently about politics. They aren’t looking for consensus or strict ideological commitment. They are building power which entails having different folks believe that their freedom is tied up to someone else’s, and together they can be more free.
I don’t identify as an organizer, I haven’t earned that title. But I have been influenced by organizers and study social movements. And what I see throughout history is that movements crumble when ideological commitment becomes more important than commitment to one another.
Many Young Lords reflect on the ways the movement climaxed when cadre debated the best ways to change society all while deepening their commitment to one another. It fell when hard ideological adherence (likely due to FBI infiltration) emerged while the org overextended itself.
Read 8 tweets
8 Jan
Currently watching this @UptownCDems NYC Mayoral candidate forum. Really appreciate this forum and the ability for folks in the audience to ask questions.
Thank you @mayawiley for answering my question about schools, the current Mayor, and the pandemic.
You know, @ShaunDonovanNYC started a little shaky but I’m real hip to his ideas on housing, closing Rikers, and “15-minute neighborhoods.”
Read 18 tweets

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