We’re three months into 2019! I thought this would have been enough time for me to reflect on the books I read back in 2018. I have explored many topics from anti-capitalism, environmental justice, career humanitarianism amongst many others. These are some of the books that some I have borrowed and later personally bought myself a copy – because they are so good and I know I will need to refer to them in the future! I’ve kept the list clean because I hate long lists!
No more Heroes by Jordan Flaherty
Flaherty calls out performative activists/activism, and those who suffer from a savior complex whose advocacy is not centered nor led by the people they boast to help. These self-claimed “activists” treat themselves like a brand and a movement that is led by them and centers around their selves. As opposed to building solidarity with the community as equals.
These people self-tokenize where they brag how amazing it is they’re the first of their community to achieve that success. Ignoring the work of the community before them who have made slow and sustainable progress without much media frenzy surrounding them. Rather than question systems in place that have took centuries, or decades for a person of colour to achieve mainstream success, they serve to maintain it.
Unbought and Unbossed by Shirley Chisholm
One quote won me over, and changed how I thought about self-tokenization since.
“In a just and free society it would be foolish that I am a national figure because I was the first person in 192 years to be at once a congressman, black, and a woman proves, I would think, that our society is not yet either just or free.”
Growing up Perempuan Editted by Filzah Sumartono & Margaret Thomas
This is an anthology of essays by Muslim women and girls in Singapore. These stories run the gamut, from a sex worker, to a third wife, inheritance and domestic abuse survivors. These stories were written by women who are attentive and ware of the system that renders us quiet, and a community that judges our choices. I choose to re-read these books to remind myself of the work still required in my community, the everyday violences my people face. It is also a commitment, to listen to each other and that we heal when we listen to each other without judgment. That the culture of silence hinders us from finding strength in solidarity and to find the courage to collectively challenge the status quo.