“The torture of being the unseen object, and constantly observed subject.” – Amiri Baraka
Identifying “The Others” is all about power dynamics. It is the messy intersection and interaction of multiple identities, mixed with toxic socializing, body scaling and the assumed hierarchy inherited from racial, economic, religious and social identity. It lays bare our prejudices and biases. It exalts what we perceive as normal and points fingers and marginalizes the “deviants”. The others.
Who are the others? Where do I end? Where do the others begin?
As Sara Rismyhr Engelund so simply states in her Essay: “The Other” and “Othering”:
“The question of who the other is might seem useless, because in some way we are all “others” to someone, and everyone else is “other” to us.1)Sara Rismyhr Engelund Introductory Essay: “The Other” and “Othering”) https://newnarratives.wordpress.com/issue-2-the-other/other-and-othering-2/ target=”_blank””
The others live in the shadows and in the spotlight. It is the stranger and the familiar countenance. They are women rushing through the city as unsolicited suggestions are hurled at their thighs. They are the guilty faceless black men. They are the taxi driver and his mysterious friend with the leather jacket. They are white men, invading idyllic beaches. They are slaves thrown overboard. They are the herbalist and his albino pythons and the faithful Muslim two seats behind you on a 10-hour flight. It’s the religious zealot. The sexual deviant and a life of celibacy. The shack dweller and the chartered accountant. It is heteronormative society. It is the ex-convict, and the successful graduate, it is black people, white people, Asian people, the LGBTQIA community, Muslims, ghosts, spirits, ancestors, Tarot cards, juju, muti and Catholic incense. It is women’s bodies and hypersexualized men. The others live outside our box. The others are both the oppressors and the oppressed. Both black and white. We are all on the receiving end of varying degrees of othering.
Othering is responsible for the Rohingya blood on Buddhist robes. It is responsible for the morbid tourist attraction of Tutsi skulls. It left Saartjie Baartman dead in Paris. It murdered the Aboriginees and justified ripping black bodies from Africa’s back, to sell across the seas. Because othering seeks to dehumanize. To draw the line between us and them. Being the other almost guarantees you a rendezvous with rejection. Exclusion from the finger pointing section of society.
In this edition, our contributors delve into the nuanced nature of the others. The many faces and facets of the other: be it race, religion, sexuality, gender, culture, etc. Who are they? Who am I in relation to them? Where do I end and where do the others begin?
Some poems speak to the traumatic effects of othering. Some speak for the Others. Some are the Others. Mutle Mothibe explores the other, unseen realm of our existence in his essay ¾ Of an ounce.
In #FreeTheNipple, Gene dives into the othering of breasts. The fascination men have with breasts and the inherent othering that accompanies it.
Wopko Jensma was a South African poet and artist that certainly lived outside of the borders prescribed to him.
I review Koleka Putuma’s Collective Amnesia and find out what made her collection stand out from the others.
We are moving(albeit at a glacier’s pace) towards a more inclusive society. The call for equality has never been louder. Marginalized others are speaking truth to power. The others refuse to be silenced. To be dehumanized. To be othered. Hopefully, this edition is a worthy addition to that cause and I hope you enjoy The Others.
– Quaz –
editor, Poetry Potion
republished here with permission from Poetry Potion.
Poetry Potion 12: The Others is available for sale on the Black Letter Media website and from African Flavour Books in Braamfontein, Johannesburg.
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Sara Rismyhr Engelund Introductory Essay: “The Other” and “Othering”) https://newnarratives.wordpress.com/issue-2-the-other/other-and-othering-2/ target=”_blank”|