• Politics is Bigger Than You Think

    Power poles at a substation in San Carlos, California.

    I was really in the groove with my #30WriteNow challenge and then last week hit. Suffice it to say that work got crazy and I had to make some choices. Nevertheless, my hope is to get back to it now, and to continue thinking and growing with you all.

    So one of the things I think people really don’t understand is what the word “politics” means.

    To often, politics is almost always equated with traditional power structures like the presidency, congress, or even the law.

    I’ll give you an example. When I was doing my research on black women’s political engagement, one of the question’s I would ask people is what popped into their mind when I said the word “politics.” Frequently women responded “the president,” “the white house,” or “white people.” It was almost never the everyday political things that we all do on a day to day basis.

    When I say the word politics, I mean activity that seeks to shift the world we live in, in one way or another. That could be participating in a “buycott” (refusing to buy a product), withholding rent, cleaning up your neighborhood, or even supporting your neighbor. Politics is an expansive set of behaviors that seeks to shift power in ways that can profoundly affect our daily lives.

    Black feminist scholars like Patricia Hill Collins argues that for black women, telling our stories is inherently political. By reinserting our narratives into power structures that would frequently leave us out, we are engaging in a politics that argues our existence and experiences matter.

    So why does any of this even matter?

    It matters because during a moment in history when our congress is one of the least productive it’s ever been in history, it is easy to feel as though our lives don’t matter. Friends and family were furloughed for weeks during a power struggle that was disconnected from the daily experiences of many.

    But my message here is that our daily lives do matter. The choices that we make on a day to day basis are profoundly powerful. We have the ability to shift our communities in a way that is transformative. Whether you are an artist, a mother, a blogger, or a heavy internet user (or all of the above lol)… you can shift your world by speaking your mind and walking in your power.


    So tell me, what do your politics look like?

    (photo courtesy of Peter Kaminski)

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