Note: if it’s not clear (but it should be), this is a celebration of my identity and my Blackness because February is Black History Month and it’s taken me this long to put my thoughts together.
“I didn’t know you were so… political,” my supervisor says to me on September 11, 2015.
It’s not a compliment.
What it is is a rebuke about the discussion I’d been having (mostly with myself) as I collected information about the Iran Deal and US interference in that part of Asia for a friend’s project. Because apparently, talking about the fact that the United States needs to get out of that part of Asia and stop interfering the way its done for like sixty years is problematic. My voicing that the Iran Deal was a good step forward to all of this was apparently disrespectful on September 11th.
I disagreed then and I disagree now, but what stuck with me was the idea that I suddenly became political that day.
Not when I spoke to one of my coworkers about her focus on making fun of AAVE or when I pointedly shut my office door on a discussion of who had it worst throughout history. Or not even when I spoke about my (a)sexuality with these people I thought were also my friends.
I was apolitical until what I was saying was too much to ignore.
Because those three examples I mentioned up there?
All got ignored.
The coworker continued to rail against AAVE while insisting she wasn’t racist. Oppression Olympics kept being played in the office. And the same supervisor who I spoke to invalidated my asexuality multiple times (because “one of those days you’re going to pick someone and have sex with them” she said).
But talking about Iran in a positive way?
That awakened her to my political person?
Because I’m black, asexual, quietly genderqueer, and open to many different experiences and identities.
I am political and I always have been.
My existence itself is political.
By existing as a Black woman in a world that hates Black women, I am a political being. By being as openly queer as it is safe to be, I am existing as a political being. By challenging gender and sexual norms and stereotypes by personally rejecting hypersexualized images of Black femininity, I am existing as a political being. By talking openly about my mental health needs and about what being prochoice means to me and mine, I am being political.
They make me. They’re part of an intrinsic Zina-ness than no one on this lump of rock hurtling through space can copy. These aspects of my identity and the way that I talk about them, they way that I perform them, make me someone that goes against the mold.
And hey, they also make me more political than a half an hour of extrapolating information from the internet about the Iran Deal ever could.
If you look at me and you don’t see a political being, someone that shakes up your worldview by being frank about theirs, maybe you’re not actually seeing me. If you’re surprised by the fact that I have negative thoughts about politics, about power and privilege in a world that prides them both over just not being a dick to other people, then you’re not paying enough attention.
And you need to work on seeing me the way I present myself: as a political Stitch.