As I get older, the world gets worse, or gets differently bad, or stays the same. Still, my understanding of its badness deepens and broadens, and I grow ever more dependent upon books like Akwugo Emejulu's Fugitive Feminism. This short, sharp text reminds readers that, like the rattling door in a haunted house or the concerned face of a friend who understands well the way a lover is slowly bringing about your destruction, it is good to leave that which does not serve you. Fleeing, as in the case of the enslaved from the plantation, is no act of cowardice but a tremendous gesture toward liberation. The flight Emejulu encourages is not from a place but a conceptual space. Referencing the work of Black critical theorists like Sylvia Wynter, Fugitive Feminism troubles the notion of the “human,” arguing that it is not a neutral, objective term for one type of mammal but a philosophical and political category informed by colonialism that, from its invention, excluded Blackness and Black people. For years, many have fought (to no avail) to be, for once, called and acted upon as humans, but for Emejulu, there is nothing to be reclaimed in that cursed white supremacist taxonomy. When we stop seeking inclusion into a category built on genocide and eugenics, we can explore other ways of being, seeing, and doing. Emejulu's writing is clear, evocative, and concise, and while readers […]
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