What Does Liberation Look Like?

The officer who murdered Philando Castile was found not-guilty this week. I am sad, but I am not surprised. Most people I know are not surprised anymore, and that sticks to me. I often think about the importance of being at the table, so that we can revise and recreate the systems that allow this type of inequity to persist, but now I wonder…

A system is made of policies (written and unwritten) and people. Systems are subjective, as are people, meaning policies rarely apply equitably. Power is also at play. So a system is made of policies, people, and power working together to achieve some intended outcome. Is our liberation ever the intended outcome in the current US system?

In my live research project How to Love a Human, I ask all of the humans what the world would be like if it loved them. The answers vary, but most of them point to systemic and interpersonal recognition of their humanity and the subsequent liberation that comes from that. Most of them cannot even fathom that world, and that speaks to me. Is there a point where we can come to some agreement, all humans, on what liberation actually means. Perhaps because some people do not require liberation, they’re already free AF, that isn’t a realistic outcome. So, what is the point of trying to work within or with the current system?

I need to sit with that question for a while, because I am not sure anymore. I serve on several boards, and the longer I sit at these tables (tables where my presence is abnormal), the more I wonder what it would mean to simply build our own.

, by : Dr. Candice Nicole

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