Power and who gets to have and wield it often get a bad rap.
Power and its direct offshoot, leadership, are not valued by people who have been victimized by powerful people.
I am very concerned with who gets listened to and why and why more of this type of inequality is not more scrutinized by everyone.
Most people don’t do the work on themselves that non oppressive, manipulative leadership requires.
As a teacher and lover of young people, my teaching style is based on this mantra : the purpose of my teaching and offering you resources is so that at some point you will not need me.
My soft power approach to leadership often makes people uncomfortable and doubt my abilities and commitment to instituting change.
What seems to really get folks in a snit is when I honestly and shamelessly admit that there is something I don’t know or will need some additional thinking to create a productive solution. Apparently, the worse thing anyone can say beyond the ago of six is : I don’t know.
To create something new, invite in mystery and a fresh way of thinking, there must be permission granted to dwell in uncertainty.
An effective leader does not run away or avoid uncertainty.
Many of the folks doing the leading globally are not thinking and feeling, contemplative individuals.
People have either ascended to the ranks of power or have anointed themselves leaders amongst a group of people too intellectually lazy to do their own thinking.
Another one of our lies is that only some people are qualified to lead.
When I first dedicated my life to one of intellectual curiosity and creative expression, I immediately sought out those that were smarter than me and had been committed on a very different level.
I am no longer intimidated by those that are wiser or more gifted.
To enter a place of creative expression (school, a play rehearsal,etc) and be the most gifted one there will limit my learning and the opportunity to grow as a human being and artist.
American culture believes the loudest, best looking, flashiest is there to pay attention to, worship and fawn over.
Power and its distribution are determined by people who have the most to gain by wielding it sparingly to those who need it the most and would use it most radically.
Gays, minorities, women, sexual outlaws are all groups who would benefit most from the redistribution of power and its significant and uplifting possibilities.
These same groups would also be wise to unlearn colonized ways of thinking and organizing.
When I have “dared” to write and speak about black male mental health, I have been interrogated by black men who insist that I share my “credentials” and then speak.
When I say : I’m black, gay, HIV negative, been dealing with intimate terrorists since I was 17, homophobic parents, racism, artist oppression and a world that hates direct questions and pure curiosity, this fails to suffice.
When I mention that older white men with Ph.D’s are quoting me on their sites and journals without recognition, the assumption is that I must have something of value to offer the world.
When there is no intense and unrelenting self interrogation, our thinking becomes stagnant and we simply reinvite and reinvent the same shit we are trying to eliminate. Awhile back I wrote about progressives only being progressive to the extent that there is no true sharing of power.
It starts with honesty and discussions around who has power (ability to incite change and gather attention in large amounts).
It starts with the belief that we all have power and to wait for an outside force to grant us access to this power is doing a disservice for the world.
I recently launched a class to teach people about their true power(the ability to make choices) but disguised as s a class on surviving unemployment. Everyone that I assembled for the class knew a great deal more than me.
I knew very little and was willing to learn as the class progressed.
This is how true power is learned, shared with others and utilized to create serious social change regardless of the context and outside forces interfering.
Power to the people.